To My Brides: Choosy When Choosing

When I planned my wedding four years ago, I never imagined that today I’d be “knee deep” in weddings and would be a wedding photographer.  For those of you who do not know, I was not in the photography business when I got married in November of 2007.  I always had an interest in photography and even attempted my first “real” camera when I was in high school (ordered a Canon something or other film camera off of Ebay and had NO idea how to use it!), but had never taken it to that next level until I bought my Nikon D40 SLR right before I went to Kenya in May of 2007.  Even then, I had no idea that by January, I would be doing my first set of engagement pictures for my best friend and college roommate, Kristi.

So when I was planning my own wedding, I was clueless in what to look for in a photographer.  I knew that I wanted an affordable photographer, because I was on a budget!  After some changes in original photographer plans, it was early October and I needed to find a new photographer for my wedding.  I had seen pictures from various friends of mine on Facebook and did some emailing around, but no real research on any of the companies I found. All of them were what I thought at the time “outrageously” expensive for pictures– little did I know how much work goes into taking pictures and why they were “so expensive.”

I was VERY blessed to have contacted an acquaintance from college (at the time- now friend), Katherine Birkbeck of KB Photography, to shoot my wedding.  If you tried to contact Katherine today a month and a half before your wedding, you’d be kidding yourself; but I was in luck with the fact that she was fairly newer in the business and she was available.  I had no idea what to look for really in a photographer, but I lucked out with Katherine. She was more than I could have asked for!  I am beyond pleased with my amazing pictures!  As I go through my explanation of everything, I’ll show you a sampling of my wedding pictures. 🙂  Thanks Katherine!

So when looking for a wedding photographer, what are some of the things I should have considered as I was researching? (What should you be looking for?)

1) Find someone’s work you LOVE.  If you don’t love their work, don’t book them!  You hear this all of the time, and it’s completely true; but your wedding day flies by so fast!!  It’ll be over before you realize it; and your wedding pictures are the one thing you get to walk away with from the day.  Make sure that their work is something that you will forever love looking at in your house.  I have had too many friends unhappy with their wedding pictures because they didn’t know much about their photographer beforehand.  Their style needs to fit your style.

2) Make sure you like your photographer- if their pictures are great, but they have a horrible personality or you cannot get along with them, this is a recipe for disaster. Did you realize that even more than your groom and even sometimes bridemaids, you spend more time on your wedding day with your photographer than anyone else?  With my business, I am there from beginning to end, so I for sure spend even more time with the bride than the groom does the day of the wedding!!  (Don’t be jealous boys!)  I have become great friends with many of my past clients, and I think that’s partly because I get to share in the intimacy of the most important day of their lives.  I love getting to laugh and even cry sometimes with my clients throughout the day.  You get to pick your bridesmaids and the most important people of your life to be with you on your wedding day, so make sure your photographer is someone you feel like “you’ve known forever.” 🙂

3) Be willing to make an investment. I almost made the mistake of getting so caught up in keeping a budget that I would not have gotten the amazing pictures I did from Katherine. Like I said earlier, these are the one thing you walk away with from the wedding, so they should be good- and good takes time and money from a skilled photographer.  It makes my heart sad when I hear of brides who complain about how expensive wedding photography is- and sadly enough- I was kind of one of those brides.  I understood that photographers edited pictures, but I never knew how much work goes into a good set of pictures.  The brides see the photographer for nine, maybe ten hours of the day; but the photographer “sees” the bride for MANY hours beyond the day of the wedding.  I cannot speak for all photographers out there, but I know for my business that not a SINGLE picture goes unedited by me.  I want to make sure that my clients receive the best quality work from me, so that means hours of editing after the day of the wedding.  Through another photographer, I found this article on how photographers really spend their time. Beyond editing pictures, I spend time uploading pictures to my Facebook page, writing these super long BLOG posts (yay if you ever read my blogs and are still reading this one!) :), updating my website, designing albums, and so much more.  Since this is my part time gig, I do all of that in addition to teaching and grading! Whew!  It’s a wonder I ever get any sleep!

Your wedding is the most special day of your life, so make sure that 5, 10, 20 years down the road, you do not regret the decision you’ve made for your wedding pictures.  Your wedding photographer will be one of the biggest and best invests you make in your life- I know mine was! 🙂

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