Did you know that on your wedding day, you may end up spending more time with your photographer than your family (or even your fiancé 😳)?
Wedding photography is unique in that it’s an active part of your wedding day. Unlike other vendors who do most of their work behind the scenes, your photographer will be frequently interacting with the people closest to you.
His or her personality and style will have a big impact on the overall energy and mood of your day.
Not only do you deserve beautiful images, you also deserve an amazing photographic experience!
Here, the 3 most important traits to look for in your wedding photographer.
The best photographer for you totally gets your style and expectations.
It helps to find someone who has a similar vibe to what you’re looking for—who understands that you might not want overly posed or traditional photographs, for example, but rather a more candid and natural feel.
It’s also important to find someone who really takes the time to learn your values to personalize your experience.
One of the ways I do this for the couples I work with is by providing them with a questionnaire. In it, I ask specific questions that both relate to the details surrounding their wedding as well as the atmosphere they are trying to create.
With that knowledge, I’m able to approach their wedding with an open mind and in a way that aligns with their vision (such an important part of feeling relaxed in front of the camera is that trust!).
You’ll see pretty quickly that having a photographer who’s part of your support system before, during and after your wedding day makes a world of difference.
I often joke with the couples I work with that my goal is to be like an extra bridesmaid or groomsmen by the end of their wedding (but don’t worry, there’s no need to invite me to your bachelor/bachelorette party 😂).
For me, it’s so important that I’m available to answer questions, give wedding-planning advice and be there when you need me!
Planning a wedding is not easy (we know firsthand: Heather and I are in the process of planning one ourselves!), and I’ll use my experience to help you with planning any way I can.
Another sign that a photographer wants you to have the best experience is when they work through your timeline with you to figure out the general flow of the day.
This saves you from unnecessary stress—that way you can focus on enjoying the moment (because, hey, isn’t that what your wedding is all about anyway?).
In that same questionnaire I send to the couples I work with, I ask for the locations and times for the major events surrounding their wedding.
With that knowledge, we can work together to craft a timeline that allows you to take amazing photographs and also be present during the day.
A great photographer will have a system in play to capture all of the must-have family combinations while making sure to avoid accidentally creating any awkward family dynamics.
Although I generally don’t work off of a physical shot list on the day of the wedding (I have a mental shot list of what I need to capture), I’ll use one when photographing the families.
This ensures we don’t miss any combinations and we’re able to set the proper amount of time beforehand for family pictures.
Once you and your photographer have created a rock-solid timeline, next it’s about actually taking great pictures.
Even if you’re not super comfortable in front of the camera (there’s few of us that are!), it’s your photographer’s job to make you feel comfortable so you appear relaxed—and you look like you.
Many of the couples I work with tell me they have two main concerns:
That’s why helping you to feel comfortable is my top priority.
I’ve found that simply learning about you and your fiancé as people, not just as clients, is the best way to tackle those two concerns at once.
That is why I prefer to do a video chat or meet in person instead of a regular phone call when discussing your wedding details, and why I always recommend doing an engagement session before your wedding if possible.
Having that time to chat and really connect is the best way to ensure you feel comfortable in front of the camera. This naturally leads to authentic, candid-looking images.
A great photographer will feel more like a wedding guest than just another vendor.
(Remember, they’ll be frequently interacting with the people closest to you.)
You want them to be a calm and uplifting anchor, not a cause for unnecessary stress.
As the famous photographer Alfred Eisenstadt said, “It is more important to click with people than to click the shutter.”
This mantra is a core value of what I do and a necessity to capture images that don’t feel stiff or forced.
Often we connect images with how we felt when they were being taken.
Think for a second about a photograph that has a lot of meaning to you.
It is the most professional of photographs?
Most likely not.
That’s because truly great photographs take us back to a moment in the past and allow us to ever so briefly relive it.
If your photographer is pushy, aggressive, stressed out or just plain old unkind, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the images are.
Years after your wedding, when you look back at those photographs, you’re going to remember how you felt when those photographs were being taken.
Though a beautiful photograph can make that memory that much more special, the most important thing is that you find a photographer whose goal is to make beautiful images *and* ensure that you feel amazing as they’re being taken.
These three skills—aligning with your vision, being an uplifting source and putting you at ease—are at the core of why I became a wedding photographer in the first place.
Do these values resonate with you? If so, I’d love to hear more about your wedding. Let’s chat and see if we’d be a good fit!
Want more wedding inspiration? Check out these boards on Pinterest.
Using our cameras, we get to record your love story for you and your family to share with future generations. How cool is that?
As a wedding photographer based in both New York City & San Diego, Tom has captured over 100 weddings! Together, we love to celebrate with you and your friends on one of the most exciting days of your lives. It brings us such joy to capture your wedding in an artistic way, not only telling your wedding story, but also making sure to bring warmth and friendliness (and a few laughs!) to the day.