Photographer Scarlett Lillian has some FANTASTIC advice for people planning their wedding:
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Dear Brides: Love Your Photographer
It’s the day you have been waiting your whole life for.
It’s your day to indulge in everything you’ve ever wanted and look your most beautiful.
It’s all about you.
We get it.
But there are certain things you can DO and DON’T to help enhance the relationship you have with your photographer on your big day.
While you are the star of your day, we are the director coordinating the whole show, stressing behind the scenes not wanting to miss a single moment, yet keeping a smile on our face to provide you with amazing customer service like you deserve. However, we need you to help us help you. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to help your photographer pull off your day as nothing less than fabulous.
1. DO make photography a priority in your budget. Photography is an investment, and just like any investment, you get what you pay for. If you try to find someone cheap to save a few dollars, more than likely, you will be unhappy with the quality of your photos. Yes, in the digital day and age, anyone can whip out a point and shoot camera, as most of your guests will probably be doing, but true photography is an art and worth the little extra you pay for a rock star wedding photographer who delivers stunning and emotionally rich photos. If need be, pay by credit card and pay it off later. Or sacrifice the extra unnecessary frou frou decoration to pay for a few extra pages in your coffee table album. When your wedding day is over, your photos and album are the only things that remain and last forever. Remember, your grandkids will be looking at these photos one day. You want a photographer who can capture the true emotion of why their grandparents fell in love, not a photographer who can cut you the best deal right now.
2. DON’T just look for a photographer in your market. If you can’t find a photographer you like in your area, don’t settle for one just because they are close by. Most photographers love to travel and shoot destination weddings. Don’t be afraid to pay a little extra in travel fees to be able to hire a photographer who better fits your style. Plus, you are fabulous enough to fly in only the best, right?
3. DO your research, but DON’T compare photographers’ packages. Each photographer offers different packages to best showcase the art we create for you. Just as unique as your photos will be, a photographer’s packages are just as individualized. Photographers can be insulted when you try to insist our competitor offers A, B, and C in their package at X amount of price, and then ask us to do the same. If you want that A, B, and C package at X amount of price, then go with that photographer. We want brides who want us because they connect with our style of photography and appreciate our art, not brides shopping around for the best deal.
4. DON’T ask us to make an exception for you on the price of our packages. We don’t care what budget you have and if our price fits in your budget or not. Would you go into Louis Vitton, find the purse of your dreams, go up to the counter and ask the sales person to give a discount on the purse because it’s not in your budget? No! Please don’t do that to us either. Just because it is a service we provide, doesn’t mean the value is any less than a tangible good.
5. DO hire a wedding planner. While the photographer is responsible for how your day flows visually, a wedding planner is an expert in how to coordinate your day to flow with as less stress as possible. It helps us get the best photos when we can concentrate on simply being the photographer, not the director too. And you shouldn’t be worrying about all the details coming together either. It’s your day to be a princess and catered to, not stressing about if the bows are tied on the seat covers or having to track down the florist because the bouquets were the wrong shade of magenta. A general rule: Something will always go wrong, and these minuscule details are worth the stress you can save for the price you can hire a wedding planner to handle it for you. Photographers like brides who are relaxed, not stressed. Relaxed brides make for more beautiful photos.
6. DON’T plan your ceremony at sunset. A given on any wedding day is that things will always go behind no matter how much you try to plan ahead of time. Yes, sunset lighting is the most gorgeous for outdoor weddings, but set the ceremony time half an hour before in order to actually be walking down the aisle by the time it is actually starting to set. And if you can, start the ceremony an hour before in order to give your photographer enough day light after the ceremony for the required family formal photos that follow.
7. DO see your groom for a First Meet before the ceremony. Yes, it’s traditional to wait for the groom to see you walking down the aisle. And while photographers respect tradition if need be, from our perspective, we prefer you to see your groom beforehand. It will not only help the flow of your day, but also help you get the best photos possible with your groom if you allow time to meet him before the ceremony. Normally, by the time the ceremony is over, you are relieved it is over and ready to party, and it should be your time to relax and mingle with guests and soak in your congratulations. Don’t stress yourself out further by having to further squeeze in your photos with your groom after the formal family photos and before the DJ is ready to announce you. Your guests will be starving and ready for dinner. The more photos you can get out of the way before the ceremony, the more time you have to truly enjoy the experience of your day in the midst of the whirlwind that is swirling around you.
8. DON’T expect your photographer to tell you every which way to pose for your bridal photos and photos with your groom. Yes, your photographer will be happy to suggest poses, but you ultimately know what your best side is and how you feel most flattering. We love when you work it for the camera! The more fluid and into your photos you can be, the better it looks. This is probably the one time in your life you will have professional photos done, so live it up. Bring out your inner supermodel and pretend the photographer is your mirror that you secretly strut in front of when no one is looking. Watch shows like America’s Next Top Model to see what works and doesn’t work. Study fashion magazines to practice poses in front of the mirror before you are in front of the camera. In the shots with your groom, don’t be afraid to show passion with your man! So what if your grandma is a few feet away watching you make out with your new hubby in a few shots. You are in love, celebrate it! The more you can work it for the photographer, the more your photographer will be inspired creatively to provide you the best photos possible. Anyone can take a photo of you and your groom smiling at the camera. Your photographer wants to see the laugh you share, the sweetness in your eyes when you look at each other, the way you snuggle up together, the sassiness of knowing you look hot on your wedding day, the way your groom knows he’s with the hottest girl in the world, etc.
9. DO communicate with your photographer what photos are important for you to have, but DON’T give them a list of pre-planned unnatural photos (i.e.: Mom holding veil of bride and smiling at the camera). As artists who shoot from the heart, not by a list, we would rather capture the natural emotion of your mom crying as she’s putting on your veil, not the posey-stop-and-smile-at-camera-in-between-every-move shot. Especially to true photojournalists who capture the day as it unfolds naturally. If your photographer needs you to stop and smile at the camera, they’ll let you know. Trust me.
10. DON’T forget to feed your photographer. By the time your reception starts, your guests aren’t the only ones starving; we are too! Having been on our feet all day running around like crazy, we need a quick moment to rest and recharge before the party gets started. Please remember to include us in your budget for a regular meal when counting heads for the reception meal. Don’t provide us a lunch boxed “vendor meal”. We aren’t in kindergarten. But we will always save room for dessert, so reward your photographer for a hard day’s work with a piece of cake at the end of the night!
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