I've decided I am going to do a few posts a month where my brides write about different topics to help you plan your wedding! I'd like to first introduce you to Valerie Menzer, my awesome bride and friend from Chicago! Here is her advice on choosing a wedding photographer.
Interviewing and researching photographers: One of the first things you should do when planning your wedding is to find your photographer. It is crazy how fast some of them book up! You don't want to end up with whoever is left over. After all these are the pictures that will capture the happiest day of your life and these are the pictures one day you will want to show your grand kids. Before you interview anyone make sure that you look at wedding pictures to get a sense of what style you like, whether it be more posed shots or candid, or a mix of both. When looking a photographers website look at the pictures that they post not only on their website but also the ones on their blogs, if they have one.
After you think that you have narrowed your search down to a few make sure that you set up a time to meet in person with them. Before going make sure you write down any and all questions that you may have for them. Remember there are no stupid questions, and they have heard them all! If your wondering ask! Make sure you ask what their package includes as far as hours, an engagement shoot, how many pictures, an album, second shooter, a photo booth. You need to get a feel for the person who will be there on your big day. I cannot stress how important it is that you like your photographer! This person will following you around all day documenting you, on one of the happiest but also sometimes most stressful days. When you are comfortable with the person who is photographing you it comes across in pictures. I can speak from experience having Whitney and Tri photograph us was amazing. It was nice to have someone I felt completely comfortable and someone I consider a friend there documenting. Seriously made everything much better and everything felt very natural.
Once you have decided:I would highly recommend doing a Engagement shoot! It is so much fun,you really have chance to be creative and do something fun. For ours I wanted two different looks. First I wanted to do a pillow fight and then for the second part, dress up a little retro and feel like a bit of a bombshell. I thought Whitney would look at us like we were crazy but she was like sure that sounds fun! It is a great chance for you to get to know your photographer, and for your photographer to get to know you. Plus this way you kind of get a preview of their work. Also some brides like to use these shots as save the dates or incorporate them into the wedding. Definitely not something you should skip!
Also during the planing process make sure that you keep in touch with your photographer on picture ideas what the venue looks like, what time of day you were thinking of shooting, time and locations that the photographers will be needed and any questions that you may have. One thing that I did was send a bunch of pictures that I saw that I liked to Whitney, not saying necessarily that I wanted all of those specific shots but so that she could see pictures that I liked, to get a better idea of our style. Another thing that she made me do which was genius was to have me write down a list of specific pictures that i absolutely wanted and needed. The day of can be hectic, so writing it down can really help.
I really hope this helps you in your journey to find the perfect wedding photographer! Stay tuned for Part Two of this post next week!