TO the Feathered Arrow blog. I'M Kari! A WEDDING PLANNER, PODCAST HOST, BIZ EDUCATOR, AND A LOVER OF COFFEE, ALL THINGS OUTDOORS + A SUCKER FOR A GOOD LOVE STORY.
We’re back with another round of our vendor question series! (If you missed it, check out last week’s blog post about bartending here!) Today, we’re chatting with photographers and getting their insight on some of the most asked questions by clients. Because, let’s be honest: finding the right wedding photographer is crucial! This is such a fun one because we connected with three of our favorite wedding photographers to give you all the answers you need when looking for the perfect photographer for your big day! See what they have to say below:
The key factors to look for when hiring wedding photographers are a consistent style, a personality that vibes with yours, clear communication, and a portfolio that showcases a diversity of situations and people.
A consistent style doesn’t mean that all of the photographer’s photos look exactly the same–– this is actually a bad sign. When I say consistent, I mean that they are of consistent level of quality and general style. Does the photographer have a highly retouched IG portfolio but a barely color-graded full wedding gallery? Do they switch between a deep moody edit and a light paler edit? You can spot this by looking at a photographer’s IG, website portfolio, blog, *and* full wedding galleries. This is the best way to ensure your expectations are met when you receive your wedding gallery.
A personality that vibes with yours is *huge*. This person is most likely with you more than your new spouse is on your wedding day. Look for someone who puts care into getting to know you two so that you can have a great rapport on the wedding day. A good relationship with your photographer brings the emotional quality and honesty of your wedding images to a whole new level. Engagement sessions and Facetimes are great for feeling this out.
Clear communication is key! It doesn’t matter how phenomenal the photographer’s portfolio is if you can never reach them, don’t receive a professional contract, or don’t understand when or how you will receive your images. Make sure your photographer is proactive in their communication about what is included. If a photographer can’t clearly lay out their pricing information, doesn’t tell you what rights you have regarding printing your images, or doesn’t have a contract, move on.
A diversity of situations and people goes hand in hand with the consistent style. Does the photographer kill it in both harsh light and dewey golden hour? Can they accurately edit all types of skin tones without washing them out or becoming radioactive? Do they only photograph models in styled situations or do they also take beautiful photos of regular people on real wedding days? Again, take a look at those blogs and full wedding galleries! – Safeena Noah
“…As long as you’re speaking with a professional photographer, the answer to that decision shouldn’t sway whether you work with that photographer or not in my opinion. A great photographer will a) be sure to scout the venue before the wedding and possibly even do a walkthrough with you and b) should feel confident in their creativity to photograph a new space (inspired even)!” – Jess Onesto of Cheers Babe Photography
“Couples are always curious about the timing of the day and how it relates to photography. They want to know how much time they need to get everything they want photographed and aren’t quite sure how long everything takes. This answer will vary from photographer to photographer, but in my opinion, the more time you can book the more relaxed your event will be. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to be rushed from moment to moment for photo opts. The more time you have booked, the more you can relax!” – Brett Loie of Loie Photography
“Digital cameras are standard for weddings, and, use an electronic sensor, and writes your images to memory cards that the photographer later uploads to their computer to edit digitally. Film camera are analog and write images to a roll of film loaded into the camera, which is then processed and exposed by a film lab before you see the final product. Film is the traditional medium, and tends to be a a slower, more selectively documented process.
Most wedding photographers shoot digital only due to the pace of weddings and high cost of film, but some photographers document on both digital and film. Or they have a second photographer document on digital while they document the day on film. A roll of film can only expose a few dozen images, so your film photographer will shoot more carefully and have to switch rolls of film quickly. Film can be shot in all different kinds of styles, but is typically associated with the light and airy look in wedding photography. The “film look” *can* be replicated in digital editing style if you want the style but not the expense.” – Safeena Noah
“Even if they have already decided on a first look, couples are still interested in my opinion on this.. which is always: If you’re interested in spending more time with your partner on your day and want to be able to go to at least some of your cocktail hour.. Go for it!” – Brett Loie of Loie Photography
“A second photographer is just that–– a second set of eyes chosen by the photographer to help document your day to the fullest. The main photographer will still be the one editing and delivering images that the second photographer takes. Whether you should have a second photographer is not one-size-fits-all. I recommend having a second photographer if you highly value guest candids, detail and decor photos, or documenting both sides getting ready. Those are things that can get missed if there’s only one photographer and a tight timeline. They also get a second creative perspective, especially during the ceremony, and wherever I can’t be in two places at once. I often require them for medium to large size weddings. They are built-in “insurance” for documentation of the day.” – Safeena Noah
“Definitely candid! I like to do a mix of portrait/editorial and candid/documentary. Most of the day is documentary for me except for some formal family portraits, some wedding party portraits, and some couple’s portraits. Even for those photos, I like to do some normal smile-at-the-camera photos and also get some candid expressions. Candid moments highlight all of the emotional magic of the day that you weren’t even aware was happening so beautifully. Those images tend to be the favorite, and the ones loved ones will look back on the most fondly.” – Safeena Noah
“Everyone wants to look good in their photos, and the pressure is ON for your wedding day. Often photography is a high priority item for couples, so they want to know how they can make the most of it and get the best photographs possible. The answer to this question is directly tied to the previous question: timing is everything! The best way to get the best photos is by booking time so you can just relax and not even have to think about the photographs. Also…book an engagement session! A little practice run never hurt anybody.” – Brett Loie of Loie Photography
(Check out some of our tips + tricks for an engagement photo session here!)
“Speaking of engagement sessions, my next top questions have all to do with those! Some couples are on the fence if they should do them or not and would like my opinion on that. They might feel like it’s not very them to get them done, it might be just outside of their budget, or they have a preconceived notion that all engagement photos are pretty cheesy. And let’s face it.. some of them are! They definitely don’t have to be though, and engagement photos can be whatever you want them to be. I let my couples know that many benefits of getting engagement photos done: getting comfortable with their photographer, finding out their angles and what they like and don’t like, a good practice run before the wedding, and finally some insta-worthy photos of you together not in your wedding gear.” – Brett Loie of Loie Photography
(Psst – see why we at Feathered Arrow are big fans of engagement photos here!)
“I really love this question too! My biggest recommendations are to book good vendors, especially a planner and a super bomb florist. A florist elevates the whole look of your day and gives your photos a very distinct look. A planner helps to create a seamless day. Without a planner, a lot of time their duties are passed off to the photographer. When I have to do another professional’s job, I can’t fully focus on just taking really good photos. Lastly, I recommend booking hair/makeup for their engagement session too and if you’re a dude, don’t shy away from men’s grooming/make-up. Having an even skin tone for your wedding day and engagement photos is never a bad thing.” – Brett Loie of Loie Photography
(Grooms, see this post for a list of how you can get wedding day ready!)
“This varies by photographer but for me it is the same week for sneak peeks and 6-12 weeks for the full gallery! Often shorter than that during low season, but on the middle end during high season. The upper end is in case of emergencies.” – Safeena Noah
There you have it, friends! I cannot say thank you enough to our amazing photographer friends Safeena, Brett + Jess! Thank you all so so much for all of your help with this blog post. If you are ready to get your wedding day in the books, contact me on my homepage here and let’s start planning!