What Photographers Wish Brides Knew (and What Brides Wish Their Photographers Knew)!

I began asking brides that I knew a few questions:

1) What do you wish you would have known about your photographer prior to your wedding?
2) What questions did you ask or wish you had asked your photographer that were or would have been helpful?

I asked women who had been married for 2 years up to 30 years. I asked women that got married in the upper East Coast, deep in the South, in Sunny Santa Barbara, and women from the Heartland. Some of these ladies had wonderful experiences and others were not so lucky. I polled these women because as a photographer, I know what I wish brides knew, and I think it is just as important to know what brides really want to know from their photographer.

None of us are the same; therefore we don’t think the same or have the same perceptions. Open communication between the bride (bridal couple) and their photographer is critical. To understand what a bride wants to know in-turn helps me convey the importance of commonly overlooked details.

As expected, all of the brides I asked had a different story, but the one issue that was consistent from one to the next was always a result of communication error or a complete communication failure. The only way to know what you are getting is to ask.

What I heard from these women were stories like this: “I wish I would have allotted more time for my wedding photos before the ceremony, then I would not have been pulled away from my $12k dinner, not to mention it being the first sight of a real meal for a week.” Then I heard, “I wish I would have stood my ground and not seen my husband before our ceremony; I feel there was something lost in ruining the first time we saw each other that day. “ These statements are completely opposite, which only emphasizes further the need for solid communication.

Wedding coordinators can be the “bridge” for communication between the bride with her photographer as well as the rest of the vendors. If you cannot afford a coordinator for the entire wedding, there are many options that include partial planning and “day of” coordination. Need I remind you, this is your wedding!! You do not want to be the one running around thinking about all of the tiny details that will make it run smoothly.

Brides need to remember that professional photographers have spent a lot of time developing their craft. Therefore, they do have an understanding of what makes or breaks a wedding. Ask your photographer if you have questions and communicate important details with them (i.e. family dynamics). Your photographer is a professional that you hired; you should feel comfortable with him or her.

Treat your vendors nicely, and please, feed your vendors! They have been on their feet all day, and have spent countless hours in preparation work to make your day nothing shy of a dream. A wonderful token of appreciation for their efforts, is to provide your vendors a meal.


Questions to ask your photographer:

Time lines: i.e. what is the best time for optimal light for my ceremony?

Will you be at my wedding or does someone else representing you photograph it?

Do you take pictures of the details: bouquets, invitations, rings, etc.?

Hours of coverage: what are you overage rates if I go over my contracted time?

What is included in my package? i.e. Prints, DVD, Albums, photographer’s assistant?

Can I customize my package?

Do you have minimum order requirements when I order prints?

Are you a film or digital photographer?

Did you go to school and if so, where? If not, what training do you have?

Can you show me examples of your work including a complete wedding?

Are the images from my wedding mine? Do you hold the copyright (which is okay if they do). If so, do you hold it permanently or is it released after a certain amount of time?

Things to think about when choosing a photographer:

Does this photographer have an aesthetic that is pleasing to me and my eye?

Is the photographer nice and accommodating?

What kind of style do they have or photograph with? i.e. photojournalistic, traditional, edgy?

Do you feel comfortable with him/her? (They are with you all day long on one of the most monumental days of your life.)

-Chelsea Mitchell, Chelsea Mitchell Photography

See The 1st NotWedding Los Angeles through Chelsea’s eyes on her blog!

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