Okay, so let's be very honest for a moment.
When you get engaged it is an extremely exciting time and you can't wait to tell your friends and family about this huge milestone in your life, right?
YAY! You've officially told all of your family and closest friends and that means now you can announce it to the world! (i.e. Instagram). ohhhhhh yeahhhhh, those likes are coming in! This is by far the most popular post you've ever shared and you can barely keep up with the comments, but it's fine, it's exciting!
You're engaged! Yay!
Okay, now it's two days in. Just two days.
Again, you've been engaged two days.
And it's time for you to officially be inundated with targeted advertisements, posts, stories, emails, oh and of course planning advice from everyone.
You're going to see more wedding planning advice and ideas and inspiration than you could ever imagine the very second you change your relationship status on Facebook. You're going to see a lot of images and a lot of captions. So be prepared. Go out into the world of wedding planning excited and ready.
One of the things you are going to run into pretty quickly is a wedding planning checklist. (I highly, highly recommend using The Knot--that was my go to when planning our wedding and it was great!) Once you start looking at the checklist, some of the first things you will see are to pick a venue, date.
Now, this is where I would say to go rogue from the list. Once you have your date and venue, go find your photographer. We book our weddings typically 1 full year in advance!
The other thing to keep in mind is not only do most photographers book weddings 6 months-1.5 years in advance, but some of us also put a limit on how many weddings we do a year. If you'd like to understand a bit more about why we would limit ourselves check out our FAQs here.
Here are my top 3 tips that I share with a lot of our clients about choosing a wedding photographer from my own wedding planning experience and also my experience as wedding photographer!
1. Determine Your Budget
And think of you wedding photography as an investment.
It is so, so important to know your budget. While I personally may believe that photography is the most important part of a wedding budget (I mean, what else are you actually investing in to last a lifetime?) you may not feel the same way--and that is fine, we all have different priorities for our wedding!
If you know your budget ahead of time, you can easily use planning site such as The Knot to determine photographers in your price range or some photographers will include pricing information on their website to be transparent with busy engaged couples. If a photographer is slightly out of your price range, maybe you could still reach out and see what packages they offer, and maybe move the budget around a little!
But if you're looking at a photographer and their starting price looks like $$$$$$ and your budget looks like $$$, maybe go a different direction to find someone who really fits your needs.
2. Do Your Research & Determine Your Style
Okay, so now you have your budget figured out. The next step is to really do your research. Check out some bridal magazines or popular wedding hashtags on Instagram to find what photography style really fits you. Unless you are a photographer yourself, terms such as "traditional", "modern", "documentary" may be hard to understand. So go to the 'gram and find what styles you really love. Once you have found that style, look for photographers who shoot using that style.
For example, we do a pretty consistent mix of documentary (read: candid) and traditional (read: posed). We do this mixture because we love, love, love capturing the candid, unplanned moments that will enable you to remember how you felt on your wedding day. We make sure to include the traditional style as well so that we can also provide you with some timeless images that won't go out of style within two years.
3. Hire A Photographer You Could Hang Out With
This is key to our weddings and the couples we work with. Not to mention, this was also a huge part of what helped us choose our wedding photographer, Laura Von Photography. When you connect with your photographer I promise it will make your images so much better. Unless you are a professional model, then you probably aren't used to having a camera in front of you for 6+ hours straight. And that is what your wedding is going to be like.
If you connect with your photographer, then that whole day will be fun and you'll probably even forget about the camera! You're going to be with your photographer more on your wedding day than probably anyone else other than maybe your maid of honor. That is a lot of time on an incredibly important day which is why it is so, so, so important to work with someone who you enjoy spending time with!
Adam and I love, love, love it when we meet a couple for the first time and leave the consultation or engagement session thinking we could hang out with them. Since we are a husband + wife duo, we work to make the time we spend together feel more like a double date than hours spent with two people holding cameras asking you to turn your head in different directions.