June is the month for LOVE!

We’ve all heard that June is the most popular month for a wedding.  Did you know, that in truth July and August have beat out June for the last three years? (American National Center for Health)  In my effort to make my blog more fresh, fun and maybe even informative, this little piece of information is going to be ignored!  Here at Two Color Photography, we are going to pretend we never heard about July and August’s effort to beat out June for the month of love!

For the month of June, maybe we’ll even sneak into July, every Wednesday is going to be “Wedding Wednesday”!  I have contacted professionals in the wedding market and have asked them to guest post on my blog.  We’ll have wedding planners, hair stylists, make-up artists, cake decorators, videographers, florists . . . you name it!  Each of these vendors are experts in their individual fields.  I’m going to give them a chance to brag about their business, and they are going to offer their tips and advice to help you select a professional that will deliver on their promises to help make your day the very best possible!

Seventeen years ago, my sweet boyfriend got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  I was shocked and excited!  We hadn’t talked about marriage and we hadn’t gone ring shopping.  Those who know my husband, know he is VERY traditional.  He felt that the proposal should be a GRAND surprise!

As we started the planning process (he doesn’t remember being involved in the planning process . . . except that he made sure there were cream puffs at the reception) I began with my wedding photographer.  I opened the yellow pages, not the online version, but the paper version!  I called a few of the photographers making notes about cost and packages.  I couldn’t go online and find reviews about my list of photographers, there wasn’t a facebook to see samples of wedding work done by my future photographer.  The factor that determined the person who would capture the memories of my big day was price.

Inkley’s did my bridals, and the quality was nice, but I had 6 poses to choose from.   3 were full body shots of my dress, one of my hands holding my flowers, one a close up of my face with the veil, and one a 3/4 shot.  The backdrop was black, we didn’t change set-ups at all.  I wasn’t disappointed, because 17 years ago, that was the norm for bridals.  I’m a little jealous now when I finish a bridal session and I see how many gorgeous pictures the brides get to choose from.

The day of the wedding came and I learned that my photographer wasn’t the most patient person in the world.  He spent the afternoon yelling at the nieces and nephews and their parents.  “Why can’t you get your kids to sit down and shut up”.  He didn’t play with my veil, or billow out my train.

I was so disappointed in my photographer, that when it came time to buy reprints, I didn’t buy any.  Not a single print.  My mom and mother-in-law each bought a few, and I have the 4×4 proofs in the proof book.  There has never been a wedding picture hanging on the walls of my home.

So how do you make sure you get a photographer that will give you exactly what you want from the images of your wedding day?

I’ve come up with a list of tips to help you find a wedding photographer that will give you your dream wedding pictures!

  1. Meet with your potential photographers.  Some photographers will even take you to lunch to get to know you and win your business!!
  2. Ask your photographers to see an ENTIRE wedding set.   You’ll want to see one couple’s engagements, bridals and wedding day pictures.  Any photographer can show you a half dozen awesome shots they took, but can they consistently deliver great images from beginning to end.
  3. Make sure your potential photographers use high end equipment and back-up gear.   From their cameras and lenses to their photo editing software.  Chances are, if your photographer is using a point and shoot and editing on Picnik, you will not be pleased with the end result.
  4. Ask to see a sample of the photographer’s contract.  A contract protects you as much as protecting the photographer.  DO NOT hire any wedding professional who can not offer you a signed contract. I can’t stress enough the importance of signing a contract!
  5. Are your potential photographer’s licensed?  Your photographer should go through all the legal and appropriate channels when starting up their business.  Your photographer should be able to show you business and tax licenses.  How long has your photographer been in business?
  6. Your photographer should be able to provide you with referrals from past clients.  Your photographer should be able to provide you with at least 5 references.
  7. How do your potential photographers present themselves.  When you meet with them do you feel like they have it all together, or do they appear scattered and disheveled?  
  8. Do your personalities mesh?  It’s fact that you aren’t going to be able to have a best friend relationship with everyone you meet, are these photographers someone you can see yourself connecting with? 
  9. Make sure your potential photographers are open to your ideas.  If you see a picture you’d love done, it is important to find a photographer who is willing to give it a try!
  10. Ask about a second shooter.  Some photographers have photographer friends they can call in to second shoot your wedding.  This gives you an entirely separate view point of pictures.  Keep in mind, you most likely will have to pay extra for this second shooter.
  11. Find out about package deals.  Do you get a better deal by having the same photographer for the entire process?  Do you receive prints with your sessions?  Can you customize a package if it doesn’t quite cover everything you need it to?
  12. Are the potential photographers willing to travel?  Is there an additional charge for mileage?
  13. How long will it take to get your pictures back from the photographer?  Do you get a CD and copyright release for the images?
  14. Ask your potential photographer if you will be the only session that day.  Wedding schedules can be crazy, and you have the right to ask to be the only session that day.  Again, keep in mind, you may be charged extra for that request.
  15. Ask if your photographer will have an assistant. 
  16. How will your photographer and any assistants be dressed during your event.
  17. Find out if it is okay if other people are taking photos at the same time as your potential photographers.
  18. Find out if your potential photographer requires a deposit and when it is due.  Find out if your photographer offers a payment plan.
  19. What is the photographer’s shooting style?  Edgy, Documentary, Portraiture, Classic i.e.
  20. Ask the potential photographers what sets them apart from other photographers.  Ask them to tell you why you should choose them.  Give them an opportunity to brag themselves up!

Once you’ve found YOUR photographer, and SIGNED THE CONTRACT, here are some things that you can do to assure you and your photographer are on the same page the day of your event.

  1. Tell your photographer about the dynamics of your family and your groom’s family.  Are there step parents?  Are both sets of grandparents going to be in the pictures?  How many siblings and in-laws are in the family? Are there any touchy relationships that need to be handled with extra special care?
  2. Give the photographer a list of the shots you want to make sure to get.  
  3. Assign someone on the bride’s side of the family and someone on the groom’s side of the family to help the photographer with the list.  Chances are your photographer won’t know who Aunt Bertha is, but your bridesmaid will, and she can make sure Aunt Bertha is nearby when it’s time for her picture. 
  4. If you have a pose you found on pinterest that you are absolutely in love with, let your photographer know! Chances are she is on pinterest too, and you can tag your photographer in the picture to make sure they see it!
  5. Be on time.  From your engagements to your bridals through your wedding day, make every effort to be on time and ready.  In the situation that something happens that is out of your control, shoot a quick text or call your photographer giving her a heads up that your running behind schedule!
  6. Let your photographer know if they will be working with a videographer.  If so, give her the contact information so that they can colaborate how the day is going to run.

There are so many things to make sure you ask when looking for the person who will capture your event, but it is SO important to make sure that your day is preserved for future generations!

Watch for Wednesday’s guest post from a fabulous Wedding Planner.  She’ll talk about the importance of getting wedding planner, and help you find the one that will work for you!

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