Hiring a wedding photographer is simply not enough to receive a collection of the best wedding photographs. There are a few extra easy steps which every engaged couple should do. You might have already heard some hints, but I guess most of them will be a real surprise for you. And I can assure you – these work as a charm.
1. Hire a true professional wedding photographer who fits your vision
I know, what you think right now… this is not anything new, actually it’s very obvious. Hiring a real professional wedding photographer is just a necessary first step. And I am sure you are totally aware of this. So why on earth am I suggesting what you already know? The answer is simple and unexpected. Because most of the couples just can not recognize a real professional wedding photographer. Yes, this is true.
Can you tell how to recognize one? Not easy, right? I know, but don’t worry, blame is not on your side at all. Almost no engaged couple can.
In fact, there is no exact method how to evaluate a quality of a wedding photographer. You just can’t measure any parameter and calculate the result. Thus it’s not easy to tell who is a real professional wedding photographer and who just started one year ago.
Although I have not invented any exact method, I still do have a solution to this issue bothering so many couples each year. Thanks to my 13+ years of experience in a wedding industry, I have prepared a step-by-step guide which will walk you through the process of booking a professional wedding photographer. This guide is available here: “A Quick Guide to Booking a Destination Wedding Photographer“.
I know this might mean a little bit of study, but trust me here – you will not regret reading the above mentioned guide after you receive the most beautiful wedding photographs ever…
Have you already finished reading the guide? Do you feel quite confidend about choosing the right wedding photographer? Congratulations, that sounds great. Now, let’s proceed to another step – talk to your photographer about yourself.
2. Talk to your wedding photographer
Whether you have booked a destination wedding photographer from a different country or someone local, get ready to have a skype or live chat together. This can wait if you are booking two years in advance, but usually a few months prior to your wedding day, you should talk together.
What topics should be covered?
- The complete itinerary of your weding day.
- Your overall expectations: your vision and ideas about your wedding, what do you expect it to be, what moments are you mostly looking forward, is there anything special you wish to be covered?
- The agreed coverage of your wedding (planned arrival of your wedding photographer, hours of coverage, the possibility of extending the coverage,…).
- Other vendors (who they are, will the be a videographer?).
- Some other topics like dress code, special requests, delivery time of your photos, payment calendar, etc.
Except the necessary “business talk”, the most important task for you is to reveal to your photographer your overall expectations and vision. Let me explain why.
Your wedding wishes and dreams…
Since I started my carrer as a destination wedding photographer in 2007, I have photographed more than 300 weddings so far, mainly within European borders. And I can assure you: each and every wedding was different. And I am not talking about venues or decorations, but you. A couple… two human beings in love. Each of you has different vision of the world and unique desire, which should be fulfilled. How? With photographs.
Of course I have my own style and approach so the couples know what to expect when they book me for their destination weddings. But within my style, there is still a lot of working space for fulfilling your wishes and dreams. And let me assure you that this The task no. 1 on my list. My job is not to click a shutter… this could by done by any amateur. My job is to find out your dreams, uncover your wishes and then make those come true. Only this approach can result in wedding photographs that will be the most beautiful to you.
Can you feel the passion now? It’s because I really care about my clients. And this leads to some skype / phone calls, meetings, e-mails, which help me to deliver the best wedding photographs to you. So please do not hide your dreams about your planned wedding. Be ready to express your wishes to your wedding photographer. He / she will love you for that. Trust me.
Now you see why it it’s so important to talk to your wedding photographer? I would love to commend you for reading this article up to this point. You are doing great. Now, let’s proceed to the next step which will be more brief, I promise.
3. Ask for a pre-wedding or engagement photo session
Pre-wedding and engagement photo sessions are very popular worldwide. There are many reasons for planning such a photo session before your wedding:
- You get used to be in front of a camera. Which means you will be way more relaxed during your wedding day couple session. Therefore your wedding portraits will be more relaxed, natural and overall more beautiful.
- You have a chance to get to know your photographer. After such engagement photo session you will be sure that your photographer is just a nice human being. Which again means less stress before / during your wedding day.
- Your photographer will have a chance to get to know YOU better. Remember when we discussed your wishes and dreams a few paragraphs above? That’s it.
- You will receive beautiful engagement photos. Which you can later add to your wedding album. And these can also be used for your wedding decorations, thank-you cards, etc.
- You will definitely enjoy getting your hair styled & dressed-up for such occasion, am I right?
Think of your engagement / pre-wedding photo session as a trial which you will enjoy, and moreover it will bring you closer to your dreamt wedding photographs.
A quick note: Although both terms (pre-wedding / engagement) are usually used interchangeably, there are differences. Pre-wedding photo sessions are usually formal (evening dress, suit, tux,…), while engagement sessions are more casual (casual clothing).
4. Ask wedding guests not to use phones
Cell phones and tablets represent a serious issue for every wedding photographer and a also couple. Not because these would always mean obstruction for a photographer, but rather because of appearance of these phones on wedding photographs.
Imagine a wedding ceremony – a bride is approaching an oltar and most of the guests point their cell phones or even tablets to this bride. Now let me explain, why this behaviour is inappropriate:
- Almost nobody is looking at the bride herself – instead the guests are watching their screens.
- These phones WILL be visible on all the photographs of the bride approaching.
- Some guests even push their phones in the middle of a wedding alley, leaving a photographer very restricted (or even none) chance to capture the beauty of the bride approaching with her father.
Now, let’s think of the consequences of such situation:
- Guests get their snaps.
- Guests share these snaps on social media, announcing Mr. & Mrs got married. Weren’t supposed to do this the newlyweds?
- Resentful wedding photographer – because all the beautiful moments were ruined with cellphones everywhere; or even worse – because of a very restricted point of view for capturing bride approaching.
- Peeved couple – because bride has a cell phone instead of her head.
I can hear you saying “oh no, we do not want to end up this way”. Brilliant. Now let me advice you how to easily avoid it. There are actually two options how you can approach this. The first one is very easy to implement.
a) Unplugged ceremony
This is the most common approach, used very often, worldwide. Your task is very simple – ask your wedding guests not to use their phones during the ceremony. This is usually done by “please, no phones” sign at the entrance to the ceremony. The best practice within this strategy is to talk to your wedding registrar and ask him / her politely to point out that cell phones should not be used during the whole ceremony. This can be said as a side note to a welcome speech, or just at the begining of a ceremony. This note will never be obstrusive at all but it will help a lot!
b) Unplugged wedding
This strategy is obviously a little bit more restrictive – you just ask your wedding guests not to use phones for taking photos during the WHOLE wedding. Frankly, I am not a big fan of this option because I think your guests just might want to take some selfies with friends in the evening, snap some beautiful decorations or just take a photo of a sunset. And I think there is nothing bad about it. There actually are these kind of weddings so if you like such idea, go and make it happen. Your wedding = your rules.
I have been a destination wedding photographer since 2007 (and that is quite a long time). And let me say I have witnessed many beautiful and romantic wedding moments ruined by guests with their phones. That is why I strongly recommend to inform your guests not to use their phones during:
- a wedding ceremony (announced by a registrar at the beginning of a ceremony),
- a ceremony exit (announced by a registrar at the end of a ceremony),
- a first dance (announced by a band / DJ before the first dance).
These are the moments where cell phones will be very obtrusive and might actually ruin your official wedding photographs. And as you see, there is a very easy solution to this problem. .
Of course if you hired a wedding planner, everything is going to be much easier for you. All you need to do is just talk about this issue with your planner and they will take care of it completely.
5. Trust your wedding photographer
If you read my first recommendation in this article and even followed my Quick Guide to Booking a Destination Wedding Photographer, then you most likely booked (or will book) the right wedding photographer for you. He / she should be a real professional with a lots of experience.
So there should be absolutely no need to inspect work of your photographer or even manage his / her actions during your wedding. Let your photographer “make good art”. Of course it’s good to tell your photographer about some changes in your schedule or point out one special guest in the crowd you really with to have captured. But as you do NOT visit chef in a kitchen and tell him to add a little bit of pepper, you should not tell your photographer how to take photographs.
If you hired a real professional wedding photographer and you love his / her style, there is no need to act as a director. Professional wedding photographers know their job very well and thanks to their skills and experience, they know what they are doing.
I guess you might actually not even think of doing something like this. Good for your. Your wedding photographer will praise you.
Do you want your wedding photographer not only praise you but to also love you? Feed him…
6. Feed your wedding photographer
Allright, this might feel a little bit awkward but please trust me here – all your wedding vendors are human beings. I know sometimes they manage impossible so you might actually get impression of them being supernatural, but they still need to sleep, drink water and eat something.
I know you have way more important tasks during your wedding day. So arrange it this way. When you meet a manager of your wedding venue, before your wedding, please let him know there will be wedding vendors (photographer, videographer, musician, DJ, …) who should be served with beverages and food too. Usually these vendors have their own table somewhere aside, where they can eat and drink some water. The most common practice is: vendors eat when wedding guests eat. Apart from toasts and some other traditions, there is no need to capture guests while eating (in fact it’s inappropriate). So it’s the best time for your photographer / videographer to eat at such moment.
Every professional wedding venue usually takes care of the vendors. All you have to do is just tell them how many vendors (+/-) are there going to be. Thats’s it.
Note: if you hired a wedding planner, you don’t need take care of this issue at all. It is always part of your planner’s job to take care of all the vendors (if not agreed otherwise).
7. Get your wedding photographs printed
The last step to the best wedding photographs is to get them printed. Whether you prefer prints in a wooden box, one large canvas or a fine art heirloom album, it is very important to get the photographs printed on a paper.
Let me present reasons why:
- You will enjoy your prints: isn’t it lovely when you can bring your wedding album to your parents and share with them those lovely moments? Isn’t the possibility of opening your heirloom album whenever you want to, charming? I know it is. Printed photographs always brings more joy then digital ones.
- Your prints will be there for other generations: fine art prints are guaranteed to last 150+ years. That means your prints will become a real family heirloom. Can you say that about CD or a flash drive?
- Your prints will act as a backup. You can never tell when a hard drive fails or a usb flash drive becomes missing. But your wedding heirloom album will be there, sitting on a shelf, guarded as a treasure.
Many couples prefer one big heirloom album plus a few smaller albums for their parents. These smaller albums make a terrific gift to parents and grandparents.
I always provide my clients with options of extra printing and wedding heirloom album. And I am pretty sure your wedding photographer will be very happy to provide you with such options too. Just ask…
I know this will represent another investments. But have you EVER heard anybody regretting having their wedding photographs printed?
Beautiful wedding photographs just do not happen overnight. There is some planning involved and some effort that has to be invested. Not only from your professional wedding photographer, but also from you.
Don’t get me wrong… There is no need to spend long hours on skype chatting with your photographer, talking about the tiniest details over and over again. This would be nonsense. All you should do is have have one call or a meeting with your wedding photographer and explain your vision, your desires and thoughts. That’s it. I usually find one hour meeting long enough to talk about all the important things; and there is still usually left enough time for some chit chat about my cat, their dog and good coffee.
Remember, first of all, choose the right photographer (thanks to my Guide). Then talk to him / her, consider engagement photo session and think about phones. Trust your photographer during your wedding, don’t forget to provide some (at least basic) food and refreshments and as soon as you receive your beatiful wedding photos, remember to print those – heirloom wedding album is an amazing choice.
Thank you for reading the whole article up to this point. I am really impressed by your passion about this topic. And because you obviously really care, you deserve the best wedding photographer in the world. If you feel I can help with that, just hit my e-mail right away.