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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
Choosing your wedding photographer can be a somewhat challenging process and one that brings about a lot of questions. When all is said and done and your wedding is over, pictures are some of the most important heirlooms you have to treasure and pass down. In the current market it can be very overwhelming to see all the wedding photographers and you may wonder just how to go about choosing one. Let’s look at a few simple things that can help you narrow it down to the right choice.
Body of Work:
Obviously, one of the first things you need to consider when your looking is the portfolio and actual photographic work that a photographer produces. As you start to look online or through recommendations spend a lot of time pouring over websites, Instagram and other social media. Does the work speak to you when you see it? Can you picture yourself in the images? Do you notice consistency in editing and quality of work? Does it seem like there is a wide range of uses of light?
In an industry flooded with many photographers it’s important to look for a few things in a photographers work.
- Use of light ( low light, ability to use light to tell a story, use of off camera and on camera flash, consistent light in tough situations)
- Consistency of work throughout portfolio
- Ability to tell a story within the images
- Ability to capture “in between” moments and real emotion
These are just some of many things to look at as you look at someone’s body of work. Ask questions and ask some more and make sure your wedding photographer has a good understanding of how to make an image.
It can’t be said enough that your wedding is one of the most important days in your life. When I first started shooting weddings I refused to do them on my own so I would only second shoot for other photographers. Why? Because I knew that you only have one shot to capture these moments and to miss out or make a careless mistake is something to take very seriously. The more I shot in the industry the more confidence I got, but the attitude of the importance of what I am doing has never left. When you are looking at a photographer make sure to look into their experience and expertise. Ask about education, amount of weddings they have shot and how comfortable they are in their knowledge of things such as: posing family groupings and organizing them, couples posing, difficult lighting situations, owning back up gear, replacements in case of sickness of the photographer on the wedding day, business insurance, etc.
Someone with enough experience will be able to answer those questions with confidence and can put your mind at ease that they know what they are doing.
After all is said and done and you have looked at the portfolio and asked questions about experience, it’s important to feel like you fit with the person you will spend so much time with at your wedding. Each person is a unique individual and will connect with certain personalities. It can be a good idea to start with a phone chat or Skype session and than meet in person if possible. No matter how good someones work is, if you don’t enjoy being around them, you probably want to continue to look elsewhere. Make sure that they mesh well with you as a couple and be sure they are professional yet kind and will be a calm presence for you on your day. Your wedding photographer will quite literally be by your side for most of the day and through very intimate and emotionally charged moments, be sure they will help you and not hinder you on the day of.
Last but not least, the subject of budget. It’s important to get lots of informations on your photographers pricing, not just a static number but also what’s included and compare that to others that you are considering.
I would be remiss if I did not mention again, photography has become a highly saturated market with the invention of the digital camera, making it much easier to break into this business. Do not settle for a low price photographer and not take in to consideration all the things mentioned above. Consider your budget for wedding photography to be of high importance on your list and recognize those that are practically giving it away likely are not in the place to even shoot your wedding. Ask many questions about the process of pricing, deposits, payment plans, what exactly you receive and so forth. Your budget is your decision and a good wedding photographer will guide you through that process and make it as painless as possible.
I hope these tips and tricks will help you on your journey to find a wedding photographer. Whomever you are considering, do it with patience and don’t rush the process, the right fit will find you. Wherever you are, I wish you happiness on your journey to documenting your most special day, and a lifetime of joy together.
Congratulations Amanda and George! Wishing you a beautiful life together and joy on your journey!
Who:Daniel and Joy
Where: The Westgate Plaza. St. Michaels Church, Mt. Woodson Castle
When:August 20th 2018
What: getting ready, church wedding, cocktail hour and reception
This gorgeous wedding day was truly magical from start to finish! The day was an absolutely perfect San Diego day! It started out cloudy as I arrived at the ornate Westgate Place hotel in downtown San Diego! What a perfect place to get ready. The atmosphere was so calm and the bride radiant. I enjoyed capturing both Joy and than Daniel as they prepared for their day. We than headed over to St. Michael’s Church, a stunning place for an afternoon wedding! The rest of the party took place at Mt. Woodson Castle in Ramona, California. It was my first time shooing at Mt. Woodson and I was instantly in love. The entire place is a photographers paradise and we had so much fun during couples photos incorporating their venue and capturing their obvious connection. The reception was full of sweet moments and I welcomed every minute of it.
Some definitely highlights: Joy’s dress was handmade by her sister and it was the most exquisite dress. The bride played piano beautifully and serenaded us all in the lobby at the Westgate. The groom was a wonderful singer and sang to his new bride during their reception! The first dance was to “a tale as old as time” which was absolutely perfect for this wedding day.
Thank you Joy and Daniel for choosing me to capture your day, what a privilege!
One of the many questions I get asked from brides and grooms is, “should we do a first look?” Some couples already know what a first look is and they just can’t decide if its right for them. Others have heard of it but don’t even know how it would effect their wedding day, pictures and the moments they want captured.
Lets dive in to a first look and answer all the questions you might have so that you can make a decision thats right for you, so first….
What EVEN IS a first look?
Before we start on the benefits and drawbacks of doing one, we need to know what it is! Traditionally, the couple would not see each other before the wedding, the first time would be walking down the aisle and all the formal pictures would be taken afterwards. I am not a historian and I have no idea who came up with the idea of doing it differently but behold we now have a new common trend. The first look is the concept of setting up a private or mostly private time that the couple will see each other BEFORE the ceremony. After getting ready and usually set up by the photographer or coordinator, the bride walks out toward the groom and they share a private moment. After that there is time to do couples portraits, bridal party portraits and sometimes even the family portraits all before the ceremony even takes place.
2. What are the benefits of doing a first look?
Let me just say right off the bat that I am not a proponent one way or the other for first looks at weddings. I can see how they are right for one couple and not for another, but there is no denying some benefits that it can have on your wedding day.
- Removes nerves and gives you a quiet space to see each other without everyone watching.
- Creates an opportunity to recite private vows to one another if doing that in front of a crowd is uncomfortable for you.
- Possibly gives you more time to do portraits if you have a later ceremony or packed after ceremony schedule.
- Gives you time to enjoy your cocktail hour and spend more time with guests.
As you can see there are many benefits for some couples to doing a first look! However, just like each individual wedding is unique so is each individual couple and some may feel like the negatives outweigh the positives…
3. So… what are the drawbacks of a first look?
I am the first to admit that I am a huge sucker for seeing the faces of the bride and groom as they see each other as she walks down the aisle. I won’t lie and say I haven’t shed my share of awkward wedding photographer tears as I see the look of wonder on the grooms face for the first time. On top of that I am a bit of a traditional gal and I just love the emotion of not doing a first look. I will say that the reasons for doing a first look are more practical and the reasons for not are more emotional, but on a wedding day emotion reigns supreme so either is a valid choice! So what are some benefits of keeping it old school and not doing one?
- Can add emotion that wouldn’t be quite as strong to walking down the aisle for some couples.
- Can give you a more intimate portrait time with all the stress from the ceremony being over.
- Keeps with tradition which may be important to some couples.
4. Is there such thing as a partial first look?
A good alternative if you don’t know what to choose is to do a partial first look. This can be done in many ways! For some that means a first look with dad, for others that means praying or talking beforehand while being next to each other but not actually seeing each other, or it could be as simple as chatting on the phone beforehand. If time is your concern than choosing to do all family formals beforehand besides the ones that include both the bride and the groom can be helpful as well!
5. What shouldn’t influence our decision?
I love the idea of thinking of others, in fact I think that should be a hallmark of the life we live BUT I don’t think choosing a first look should be based on how it effects friends and family. I often hear from the couple that they don’t like their guests to have to wait but I would argue that nobody minds. Your wedding day should be about you, that may sound selfish but it isn’t. Marriage is a big deal and your wedding day is the beginning of that. Whatever you decide about a first look should be primarily about what is most beneficial to you as a couple. I have had many couples that had beautiful first looks and would have been stressed out to do it any other way, but I have had others that wanted to keep seeing each other as a surprise and a first look would have ruined that.
6. Who can help us make the decision?
Your wedding coordinator and wedding photographer should both be able to help you think about pros and cons and help you decide what you would like to do. Neither decision is wrong and talking through it with someone who has experience can help take the stress out of the choice! Either way your wedding will be a day to celebrate the start of the two of you so make that the focus!
Who: Jim and Dana
What: Getting ready, First Look, Portraits, Cermemony, and a reception all at a gorgeous downtown venue facing the beautiful San Diego skyline and bay.
When: July 27th, 2018
I was contacted by Dana and Jim months before their wedding and I was SO excited when they chose me to capture their wedding day. The first time I met them was the day of their wedding, a gorgeous, partly cloudy day. Dana was the picture of peace and calm when I first walked into the getting ready room. I knew at that moment the day was going to be wonderful! The first look was sweet and simple and the following ceremony was filled with sweet words and some tears.
During our portrait time it was clear to me that their was a sweet connection and affection between these two! It was so easy for me to capture this in each of their images.
Once the reception began their was so much fun to be had. One thing that stood out to me from the moment the reception began was that Dana and Jim were together the entire night, they spent time dancing, greeting guests and just enjoying their moment. Dana surprised her guests by putting on a tradition Korean wedding dress complete with head dressing!
Dana and Jim, I pray you have a beautiful marriage full or laughter, forgiveness, and joy! A huge congratulations to you both and THANK YOU for allowing me to be apart of your most special day!
Who: Laura and Matt
When: June 8th, 2018
Where: The Island Club
What: Getting ready, Ceremony, Formal Portraits, Cocktail Hour, and Recption
I was so overjoyed to be a part of this fabulous wedding day. I was able to second shoot this great day with Brit Jaye from Brit Jaye Photography.
The morning started with everyone getting ready together and than all sorts of happiness when we shot the wedding party and couple on the beach. The ceremony was at the amazing North Chapel in Point Loma, CA and the reception followed at BRICK also located in Point Loma. The details and day were absolutely gorgeous and I am so excited to share a few of my favorite images from this wedding!
Congrats you two!
It was such a joy to be a part of B&R's special day! I had the honor of second shooting this wedding with the amazing Brit Jaye of Brit Jaye Photography! The day was so beautiful and there was so much joy, laughter, beauty, and gorgeous light to photograph! Thank you for letting me be a part of your special day you two!