I often ask people, “If you could go back and change one thing about your wedding what would it be?” The most common response is immediate, “I wish I could redo my wedding photos.” The style wasn’t right, they don’t have the photos they wanted from the day, they don’t like what they wore for engagement photos, raise your hand if you can relate.
Although things never go quite as planned, here are some guidelines to keep you from cringing when you look at your photos a couple months or years after the big day.
Do your Research or Choose a Photographer You Trust
There are a lot of self-proclaimed “photographers.” And people will put their best work (often with A LOT of edits) on their blog or Instagram feed. However, the photos you get back might not look anything like what they have posted on their site. Ask to see more of their portfolio if they don’t have a lot of photos on their site. Don’t just take one look at an Instagram feed and pay your deposit. If choosing the wrong photographer stresses you out, book one that you (or a close family member or friend) has used before and trusts. You will know what you are getting and not have unrealistic expectations or be disappointed when you get your photos back.
Think Twice About What You Wear
I hate looking at pictures and thinking, “Why did I think it was a good idea to wear THAT?” Individuality is important. Expressing personality and style through an outfit is a good thing. But if you wear something really trendy or flashy or not something you’re not super comfortable in, you might regret it. To clarify “feeling comfortable” doesn’t mean wearing leggings and a t-shirt is a good idea (unless that’s what you want to do). Listening to your mom / aunt / someone who really knows you is not the worst idea. You will probably thank them later.
Read the Fine Print and Sign a Contract
I have heard way too many horror stories about people who have found a “best friend’s cousin” or a “sisters close friend” who promise wonderful, amazing things but then don’t deliver. Their wedding photos end in disaster. I usually ask, “What did your contract say?” I then find out that a contract was never signed. Even if you trust and know someone, signing a contract is a must so you know exactly what you’re getting (and so you can hold the person / business accountable). Any professional should have you sign a contract. And before you sign that contact actually read it all the way through. Sounds simple, but it will save you a lot of stress and disappointment.
Provide a Shot List and Set Expectations
I am always surprised by how many people don’t give their photographer a shot list or at least talk to him / her about what photos are most important on their wedding day. Have a meeting and be specific about what you’re looking for. Providing a shot list also allows the photographer to give you time estimate on how long photos will take (if you’re doing a lot of group / staged photos). This is also helpful in planning the timeline for your wedding day.
Expect to Get What You Pay For
If you want incredible, classy and high quality photos, expect to pay the price tag that comes attached to them. If you don’t have a large budget for photography find the best photographer for your price point and set your expectations accordingly. You might be one of those lucky people who has a best friend / uncle / cousin’s in law that’s a fantastic photographer. But good photography is art… and comes with a price.