Throughout my years in this industry, I neverrrr tire of good wedding photography. Really, I probs follow 200+ wedding photographers - from NYC to Los Angeles, Seattle to Charleston - and I’m still blown away by the shots that are coming out these days. It’s a wedding, there’s a basic blueprint to it (I guess maybe that’s a lie), but somehow there are still surprises - new ways of capturing love, laughter, passion, happiness - and it’s a great thing. When it really comes down to it, though, there’d be no magic without a solid connection between the couple and their photographer. And we’re not just talking about a platonic connection, we’re talking friends for years to come kind of kinship.
You know how sad it is to hear about celebrities splitting up? Ahem, Jenna and Channing, we’re still not okay… Even at the end, these two were sharing silly photos (okay, maybe just one - the face paint one was classic) that SEEMED to be happy - but were obvi camoflauging some serious sadness going on BTS. Well, when it comes to your wedding photos, you need to find someone who can straight up capture your love and elation in its truest form. Photos that you knowwww are transparent and representative of total bliss on that day and all the days to follow. And that’s pretty hard to do if you don’t know them and/or they don’t make an effort to get to know you.
Do some research and start getting to know your future photographer before you even meet him/her. That means doing more than glossing over their galleries, read their ‘about me/us’ pages, study the way they talk, stalk their social channels. Learn something about them! You’ll be much more inclined to slide into their DMs if you do a bit of digging and like what you see.
We spent some time diving into our wedding dreammakers’ porfolios, pouring over all the snaps of their couples’ most special days, and picked out a few of our favorites. The photos aren’t necessarily perfect, in fact, they’re far from posed and premeditated, but they highlight the newlyweds in all their nuptials glory. They’re the photos that you look at and say, whoa, this photographer just got these people. There’s some kind of off-the-charts synergy happening here. That’s what you want in a photographer. That’s what you need in a photographer.
Our friends at The Gold Collective describe their ideal scenario as working with couples who would rather enjoy their day than direct it. And they get to know their clients’ tastes, personalities, and what’s important to them so that they can anticipate what they’ll want on the day, and be able to fade flawlessly into the background.
Once you’ve decided on a photographer, and had your ‘first date’ i.e. the consultation, schedule a follow up, of the more casj kind. Go out for coffee, have lunch, go shopping, meet up for tapas and wine after work. Build a rapport outside of the context of ‘I Do.' Emily of MLE Pictures has a few of her likes up on her website, like many others of our faves, and shopping at Anthro in Rittenhouse Square is her kryptonite… Useful info, brides-to-be!! If you’re able to forge a friendship, you’ll be able to break down any pressures and start building trust. Your photographer might just show up the morning of the wedding with a whisky sour and 4 maraschino cherries for ya, while all the rest of the girls are still sipping their mimosas. #sheknowsherbride #sheknowshowtotakethestressaway
At the end of the day, your photographer/photo team is going to be spending a lot of time with you on the big day. They might be taking some stripped down photos of you if you want to do a boudoir shoot, they’ll be capturing you cursing about something you forgot at home the morning of the wedding (it’s okay, we’d be more concerned if you weren’t throwing out f bombs), they’ll probs be moving hair out of your face or wiping those drops of sweat from your forehead all day (I had an 80 degree September day, guys), they’ll be snapping those just-married smooches between you and boo for hours. So knowing they’re game for it, and good for it, is key!!
Photo Credit: Carol Oliva Photography
Vulnerability is real. So it’s smart to look for a photographer who knows how to be silly and real. Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay might just be the cutest, quirkiest team ever. They let videos tell their clients who they are, and what they can expect from booking them. And they do it with the help of Justin Timberlake…
And having common interests with your photographer isn’t a bad thing, either. It can only help to find someone who shares likes with you. Especially if their experiences can make them better equipped to shoot your wedding.
Or…. be on the lookout for people who have transitioned into killer wedding photographers after having a past life. Carol Oliva began her career as a radical sports/surf photographer, and following her own wedding, her perspectives on shooting changed. She fell in love with weddings. But for couples with epic hobbies - skateboarding, surfing, beach sports in general - Carol is suchhh a fit.
But above all else, we believe what we hear from our friends… our fam… so, don’t discount the mojo of word-of-mouth - and trust other brides!! Happy couples want to share their good fortune with those tying the knot in the future, so if you can find someone with a lottttt of 👍 testimonials, you’re in good shape. Also. Pay special attention to those shutterbugs who take the extra time to explain their process to their clients.
Photo Credit: MLE Pictures
While you’re doing all of that research, make sure you check out FAQs, if the photographer has them. Briars Atlas has some of the most insanely-helpful FAQs we’ve ever seen. He lets all his couples know everything about his shooting and editing style and makes amazing recommendations for other vendors they might want to onboard. It’s all about that trust, remember? Well, I’ve never met him, but I already believe him.
If you haven’t decided on a wedding photographer yet, take these tips to heart. There’s nothing worse than not vibing with your photographer. So, try to get there!! Until then… you can take a peek at our photo people. They’re pretty awesome.