He got down on one knee, and you said “Oh, yes!” and now you’re preparing for the wedding of your dreams. You have a date, a venue, a planner…for most couples, the next vendor to contract is usually a photographer. You’re putting together a big event and you need someone to document it all! Here’s what you need to know to make your photography experience as amazing as your love for each other.

Hire a photographer you connect with on personality, experience, and style.

You spend more time with a photographer than any other vendor on your wedding day — maybe even more time than you might get with some of your guests! Interview your photographer in person or over Skype to make sure he or she will be an uplifting, calming presence on your wedding day, and don’t forget to check reviews from past clients! This person is going to be “third-wheeling” for you on one of the most important days of your life, so make sure you click!

When considering a wedding photographer, ask them to walk you through their client experience from start to finish. Go beyond basic details of contracts and payments! Learn what they can do for you before, during, and after the big day. Does he or she provide timeline consultations? (I do!) What about on the day of the wedding? Can you count on your photographer to bring a bespoke styling kit tailored just to photograph your getting ready details? Don’t forget to ask about image delivery and albums, as sometimes the hardest part is waiting for what seems like forever for gallery delivery. (Did you know that my couples receive their finished galleries an average of just four weeks after their wedding date? You can learn more about my wedding photography process here.)

And last — but certainly not least! — make sure your photographer’s style resonates with you. After all, the images he or she makes will be one of the few tangible keepsakes you can bring home after the dancing stops and the guests say goodbye. Make sure their style is consistent! When you meet with your photographer, review a wedding album or wedding gallery with them to see how they document a wedding day from start to finish. (Tip: Reviewing a photographer’s work during a consultation is a great opportunity to identify what exactly you love about their work and ask specific questions!)

Add an engagement session to your package!

Engagement sessions are a great way to get comfortable in front of the camera before your big day. Many of my couples have “portrait jitters,” telling me they’re not comfortable in front of the camera, or they have little-to-no experience posing. The engagement session is the perfect time to build confidence responding to your photographer’s cues and prompts, all while loving each other and having fun. You can learn more about how I coach couples through portrait sessions here.

Consider a first look.

First looks are gaining popularity these days, and for good reason. First, you get a private moment to enjoy each other without everyone waiting and watching. A first look is also a great opportunity to alleviate some wedding day jitters and capture some beautiful couple’s portraits near the beginning of the day while you’re still fresh. Still not sure? Then check this out.

Leave the Pinterest shot list at home.

Social media is a valuable tool, but don’t let someone else’s experience dictate your day. Your photographer is there to help you capture your story, not someone else’s. When we focus on reproducing every shot from someone else’s wedding, we risk missing the special moments that make your wedding beautiful and unique. Instead of sending a detailed shot list, communicate to your photographer what aspects of the day are most important to you.

Some of my favorite weddings to photograph have been when brides and grooms told me exactly what was special to them. Friends from far away. Ceremony decor carefully and artfully curated by the sister of the bride. A father who was sick for years, now healthy enough to walk his little girl down the aisle. When I know what each part of the wedding day means to you, I can better tailor my services to create one-of-a-kind imagery that tells a story that is yours alone.

Print and display your photos.

I include heirloom albums in every wedding day package I offer, because a printed photograph is a tangible reminder of the commitment you’ve made to each other. The images we create become a part of your story as a couple, and they deserve to be cherished and shared. I partner with several professional labs to offer albums and individual prints produced with archival-quality materials so they stand the test of time, remaining elegant and authentic heirlooms for years to come.

Does all that sound like what you’re looking for in a wedding photographer? I’d love to connect with you to learn how we can partner together to document your love story.

“He made it clear that he really cared about us and our wedding.”

Morgan & Chris

View more client testimonials here.