Something To Smile About

WRITTEN BY  |  Nicole Chilton

Your wedding day will go by as quick as a flash, and with the right professional photographer, the smiles you see in your pictures will reflect your memories for years to come. By doing proper research and setting a realistic budget, brides can focus on their big day instead of worrying about their photographer.

“There are a lot of things brides don’t think about when it comes to choosing a photographer,” Dawn Shields, Metropolitan Bride publisher, says. “They need to ask the right questions.”

With over ten years of experience behind the camera as a wedding photographer, Dawn has compiled her knowledge into valuable tips for brides:

Get the full wedding story.
“All photographers get good shots,” Dawn says. “But just because someone can do a good portrait, doesn’t mean that they can shoot a full wedding.” Dawn suggests looking at the entire wedding story, from start to finish, and at multiple weddings from each photographer. “They need to know how to shoot in all types of lighting,” she emphasizes. If your wedding is in a dark church, see if the photographer has shot in the same, or similar, location. Picking someone based on a beautiful outdoor shot you’ve seen can backfire if your entire event is inside, Dawn says.

Know what you are getting in your collection.
Up front, you should find out package prices and what you receive. How many hours does a shoot include? Do you get an album, proofs and a bridal session for example. Dawn says to have a contract agreement in advance. She also adds to have a budget, but be willing to be flexible. Spending extra on experience is money well spent. “You want to get a photographer whose work represents everything you are looking for.”

Make sure your personalities match.  
The wedding day is stressful enough, so make sure you choose a photographer who can bring good energy and make you smile, Dawn says. “Make sure your spouse loves them, too,” she adds. A wedding photographer and the bride should have a mutual understanding of the work that is involved in the big day. “The photographer needs to be humble and know they are doing a service for the bride,” Dawn says. But just as importantly, she adds, “The bride needs to respect the photographer.”

Look for a timeless portfolio.
“You want your images to be about you,” Dawn says, “not about a trend in photography.” Feel confident that the photographer you end up with will accurately represent you and your spouse in a way you want to be remembered. “Feel confident that your photographer has enough experience and that their talent and the way they see through the camera is what you’re looking for.”

Hire a professional.
You are depending on one person to capture the thousands of dollars and time you spent planning your wedding. “These are the memories that should last you beyond your 50-year anniversary,” Dawn says. She has talked with countless brides who were ‘gifted’ wedding photography by friends or family members. “It can end up breaking both the bride and friend’s hearts, and mess up a meaningful gesture.” Dawn suggests a bride tell their friends and family to enjoy the wedding, and to leave the photos up to the hired professional. The bride instead, could take up the offer for an engagement session. “No one can ever reshoot the wedding,” Dawn says.

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