Welcome to the wild and sometimes crazy world of wedding planning! I would like to share a helpful roadmap full of some insider tips about what I consider to be the top 10 things to look for when you are looking to hire your wedding photographer. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. PORTFOLIO: This first one is a given. You are drawn to photos that you like, of course. Make sure to really look through the images and try to describe, even just to yourself, what it is that attracts you to these images. Look at elements such as posing, expression, lighting, composition, color, exposure, etc.
2. PERSONALITY: When you meet with a photographer, how well do you click? Is it easy to talk to him/her, or do things feel disconnected and awkward? Does their working style fit with what you envision? Do you like the ideas they propose for working together? Do you feel confident that they can do an excellent job with your wedding day? Plan to spend a few minutes chatting to get to know him/her and see how you mesh. Remember, your photographer will be the one vendor you are with the majority of your day, not to mention during other meetings, your engagement session, etc, so you should find someone you can connect with and trust that they will work well for you!
3. INSURANCE: Make sure to check that the photographer is insured – both for liability as well as equipment. If a guest (or even you!) were to get hurt, who would cover medical bills? And if the photographer were to have gear broken or stolen during your event, would he/she request that you help with the cost? You want to make sure to be covered against anything imaginable, so always verify that a photographer is fully insured.
4. BACKUPS: Another form of “insurance” is having full backup equipment. Not just limited to an extra camera body, does the photographer also have extra lenses, extra lighting, extra memory cards and batteries, etc? There isn’t one moment to be missed during a wedding, so photographers have to be able to grab new equipment at the drop of a hat if the need arises.
5. PRICE: There are as many pricing strategies as there are photographers. Some photographers price in packages, and others price a la carte. Some include digital files or albums automatically, some do not. Make sure to discuss with your fiancé(e) what you are hoping to receive from your wedding photographer, and compare the options available. Also, make sure to discuss whether you have a set budget in mind, or if you are more open-ended and want to see what each photographer charges for their services and then compare their value. Lastly, make sure that the photographer’s price is not the only option you consider when you are shopping around – we have seen and heard horror stories of what happened when people have hired purely on price. Just remember that your wedding photography will be the only keepsake left from your wedding day, so make sure all of these factors are weighted equally, not price alone.
6. HOURS OF COVERAGE: Some photographers price their coverage hourly. Some give “full day coverage”. And others give packages with a set number of hours. It helps to have a ballpark idea in mind of what you are hoping for, but make sure to request that your photographer help with planning out the timeline of your wedding day. Then you need to clarify how much of the day you actually want your photographer present. For example, do you need your photographer present during your visit to the hair salon in the morning? Or do you want your photographer present up until the very last dance is finished, lights are brought up and guests are leaving? In our experience, 8-10 hours of photography coverage will ensure you get the majority of the important details from your wedding day.
7. NUMBER OF PHOTOGRAPHERS: Unless your wedding is very small (max 50 guests), many weddings would do well to have two photographers present. From having more details and candid moments captured, to having both bride AND groom expressions captured during first looks and walking down the aisle, some images are only possible when there are two photographers present.
8. ALBUMS: A wedding album is the most important keepsake you can receive from your wedding day – don’t underestimate its importance as your first family heirloom. Make sure to review the quality of the albums of the photographer. Look at cover materials, paper finish and thickness, number of pages, the style/design of the layout, whether it includes a box or other protective case, binding quality, etc. There is a vast range of albums available, so make sure you will be getting great quality and value in your biggest family heirloom from your wedding day.
9. PRODUCT OPTIONS: Also make sure to review the full range of product options offered by the photographer. Do they offer both wedding AND engagement albums? Prints, canvas, metals or other wall art? Digital images or not? Parent albums, gift albums, greeting cards, or any other extras? Sometimes it’s hard to know what you might want to order from your wedding images, so make sure that you have a good variety of options that you are interested in considering when the time comes.
10. PROFESSIONAL: This item is last on my list, but it might be one of the most important. Please make sure that the photographer you choose to work with is a professional wedding photographer. I know that the term can be widely interpreted. (Full-time? Part-time? Occasional? How many weddings have they photographed? etc.) Asking a friend or relative with a DSLR to be your photographer, if they have no experience photographing weddings, can potentially lead to disaster and you could end up with no or very few usable photos from your wedding day. For some people, photography may not be that important, so it may not matter if you have photos to look back on from your day. But if you do want to make sure you get beautiful, high-quality photos artistically capturing every facet of your wedding day, make sure that you can trust that your photographer is a professional and can work through any scenario or challenge that may be presented.
I hope this road map and tips will be helpful to you as you navigate your way through the world of wedding planning. If you’d like to get together and see if I would be a great fit for your wedding day, just give me a call! Best of luck and happy wedding planning!
Our 2016 wedding photography season kicked off with a bang for Kim + Lucas’ big day, held at the ever-gorgeous Aria in Minneapolis!
Kim + Lucas were married on a cool, dry March day – we felt to be pretty lucky that we were not inundated with snow at the time. The day started off with the happy couple preparing for their day in the separate dressing rooms of Aria. Once they were ready to go, we held their first look near the back of Aria. The look on Lucas’ face was priceless – the best mix of smiles and tears! Next we spent time on portraits of them, as well as including their bridal party and families. We followed up with a little more time on portraits up in the Aria lounges.
Kim + Lucas’ Aria ceremony was held as a “wedding-in-the-round”, a really cool configuration in which Kim + Lucas were in the center, and all the guests were seated entirely around them in a large circle. The bonus was that being at Aria, we could get upstairs see the circle from above. It was so amazing!
After the ceremony, the wedding party snuck over to The Tangiers next door for a quick celebratory drink, then headed back to greet guests during Aria’s lobby cocktail hour. Once the main room was set for dinner, guests were treated to a gorgeous display of candles, glass, silver and wood among the beautiful Aria ambiance. Dinner was followed by toasting, and then on to dancing and Photo Booth fun!
Kim + Lucas, I am so honored that you chose to work with me on your amazing day, and I wish you every happiness in your new life together!
Venue: Aria Minneapolis
Wedding/Bridesmaids Dress: Angelique’s Bridal Salon
Makeup: Makeup by Mindie
Hair: Brittany Tallman
Groom/Groomsmen Attire: Saavi
Rings: Wedding Day Diamonds
Rentals: Bella Amore Events
Florist: Serendipity Flowers
Ceremony Music: Ovation Strings
Catering: Deco Catering
DJ: Northern Lights
The 2014 year was very busy for me and my wedding and portrait photography business. As the year neared its close, I realized I could no longer go on holding client meetings in poorly-lit coffee shops and loud restaurants. Not to mention that I had never had a good indoor location for portrait sessions, image reveals or other meetings. It seemed that the time was right to begin looking for my own photography studio.
Anyone who knows me would know that any decision I make is never taken lightly. I started by meeting and interviewing several studios around town who were looking for an additional photographer. I then also started looking into options for renting my own studio. I found one that I loved at the Vandalia Tower building, located on Vandalia Street at the 94 exit in St Paul. The building was undergoing a major remodel, so at first glance it was not much to look at. But being a member of the First & First family (the group who owns and operates the gorgeous Aria event space in Minneapolis), I figured the building owners knew what they were doing. And they had great plans underway, including the recent opening of Lake Monster Brewing and the Paikka event space, as well as plans they are still working on. So I opted to lease my own studio beginning in 2015! I know it’s been over a year, but I finally should blog about this major event!
To say that I love my studio is an understatement. It’s an awesome space, and I was lucky enough to have a friend help with the build out so we could customize the space to fit exactly how I wanted it. I started by polishing and coating the floors white. I added a small room in the center (partly for my husband’s painting studio, and partly as a place for my hair/makeup artists to work with my clients, as well as a client changing room.) And then my much-needed front room is a meeting space, a show-room of product samples, and a space that I can hold Image Reveal Sessions projected directly on my wall. All-in-all, it is truly awesome!
The back of my studio is the shooting area – I’ve got numerous backdrops, props and seating, all set against the gorgeous light coming from a huge set of warehouse windows in the back wall. I’ve also got full studio lighting and blackout curtains in case I need to control the light in a more detailed way.
My studio is so awesome – I am so excited to share it with everyone. Please take a moment to let me know if you’d like to visit – I would love to meet with you (as well as photograph you) in my studio soon!