Some photographers pride themselves on shooting the most expensive weddings in the area; others market the most epic portraits; still others focus on the artistic captures of wedding details; like dress, shoes and bouquet shots, and finally there’s us; the photographers who live and breathe MOMENTS. If we could see into the future and know which weddings would be the most emotionally driven, spontaneous and raw (where people were completely blind to a camera being there), I would take any one of them over a romantic, million-dollar wedding on a giant homemade raft, with a model couple on the lake at Maroon bells with Style Me Pretty Details (no offense to our lovely Aspen Bride this year!)
So as a bride, how do you know what type of photography style is right for YOU? Well you certainly don’t have to have a lot of experience with professional photography to figure it out, which is wonderful, because a couple’s wedding is usually the first time either the bride or groom has been professionally photographed. So here are some questions to ask yourself:
1.) Assuming everyone has been to at least one place in the world that they consider to be beautiful or unique and taken pictures there, what was your favorite photo from that trip? Was it a picture you asked another tourist or friend to take of you (or you and your SO) standing in front of a gorgeous backdrop? Or was it a candid snapshot someone grabbed after your friend accidentally shot some of her Pina Colada out her nose and everyone was cracking up hysterically? Okay, so maybe not this exact example, but you get the idea.
2.) What is your all-time favorite photo of you and your SO? Again, look at this picture, were you two cheesing in front of the camera or asleep, snuggled up next to each other in a bathtub fully clothed for some strange reason (don’t worry you’ll get used to my crazy theoretical examples).
3.) If you had to choose between a picture of your wedding cake and a picture of your 90-year-old grandma doing the robot on the dance floor at your event which would it be?
4.) If your house were burning down, and you had to choose between saving your photo collection (whether in the form of digitals or albums) and the item with the most monetary value, which would it be?
5.) With regard to editing/post processing, do you want photos that follow the latest trends as set forth by wedding blogs like Style Me Pretty or Green Wedding Shoes that will be dated by the time you go to show them to your children or grandchildren, like that poofy-sleeved-up-to-the-neck wedding dress your mom wore? Or do you want clean, vibrant photos that will be timeless and provide an accurate photographic record of your day?
If you’ve answered these questions honestly, somewhere in your responses there should be a clear indication of the photography style you’re looking for. You will either receive confirmation of what you already knew, or you may be surprised to find you value one or more aspects of a photographer’s style more than you initially realized. When planning a wedding, it’s okay to admit you aren’t automatically sure of everything you want, which is part of what can make the process so stressful. Use this questionnaire as a tool and look for photographers who produce work that is in line with the recurring themes in your responses. If you don’t see examples of what you’re looking for in their portfolio or blog, move on. Don’t settle for anyone who tells you they can give you something different from the work they’re showing – those photographers are just trying to make a sale and are not going to change their shooting style just for your wedding. You deserve the types of images that you won’t just be “satisfied” with but ones that will truly move you.