6 Tips for Choosing a Wedding Photographer {plus a special freebie!} | Love & Marriage

Is anyone else shocked that it is already 2018?! This past year was wonderful, but definitely went by fast...And with the new year come LOTS of newly engaged couples! If you are one of those couples, congratulations! You are probably feeling very excited and at least a little overwhelmed with all the wedding planning that you will be starting soon! I was a bride not that long ago (Jan 23, 2016) so I know the feeling because there are many amazing wedding vendors out there to choose from! 

Never fear though! Because I have given much thought to this post and chose six tips to help guide you in choosing your perfect wedding photographer. Also, at the end of this post, I have a little freebie for you{Yay for free stuff!}! That way you can have a little more peace of mind as you begin your planning.  

 

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#1- Choose your style 

This is probably the most important because once you have decided on your style, you can start looking for a photographer who shoots with that style. The best thing I can strongly encourage you to remember when choosing a style, is that trends come and go. You want to choose a photographer who shoots in a timeless way. That is one of the reasons I fell in love with shooting film and is my medium of choice. It is the most classic and timeless way to tell a story with photographs. 

 

#2- Establish a budget

But here's the thing...if you want the best experience, you have to be willing to pay for it. It may sound kind of harsh, but it is important to remember that a lot of times in the wedding world, the quality as well as the experience you receive (think anything from your photographer's time to fine art albums) is reflective of the cost! I would never recommend a couple to take out a loan for a photographer, but you should be allocating between 15-30% of your budget to the photographer. For example, according to The Knot, in 2016, the average wedding in the U.S. was about $35,000. This means you should expect to pay around $5,500-$10,500 for your photographer. Now I know this isn't every bride and grooms budget, and that is a-okay!! You would just apply the same formula to whatever yours is. 

The reason I stress this tip and placed it at number two is because after your day has come and gone, the pictures will be what you look back on for the rest of your life! 

 

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#3- Fill out the contact form online

I love it when brides take the extra time to fill out the contact form online, because that tells me a few things. First, they have looked at my website and liked what they saw so far, and two, they are excited to hear from me! I know you have lots of vendors to contact, but make sure to fill out the contact form for all vendors! This helps keep everything organized and ensures your email doesn't get lost in the process. 

 

#4- Request a meeting 

This goes hand in hand with number 3 because when you fill out the contact form, you should request a meeting! This shows that you are serious and excited about potentially having them as your photographer. Whether it's in person or through FaceTime/Skype, it is so important to establish a relationship and make sure y'all are the right fit! And remember that this goes both ways. We only take on a certain number of weddings a year, and want to make sure to choose clients that we can serve well and who are excited to work with us {because we are people too and no one wants to work with a grump ;) } !

 

#5- Ask to see a gallery OR make sure there are examples of real weddings on the blog

It's important to make sure you see how a photographer shoots the entire day and not just a few images or a styled shoot with models and perfect lighting! Seeing examples helps you know more about what you are getting when you book your photographer and allows you to trust them more fully! 

 

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#6- Go with your heart! 

I cannot stress this enough. Choose the photographer who you connect with as a couple and who you feel you can completely trust to bring your love and vision to life through pictures! 

 

I hope that you find all of these tips helpful! And because I know it can all get overwhelming, I wanted to give you a way to be organized during the planning process! So, click below if you want a free wedding planning checklist to help you stay organized! 

umm Duhh! free stuff is awesome!

Our First Anniversary | Life

 

As Seen on The White Wren

 

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Preston and I got married on January 23, 2016. We celebrated our first anniversary by taking a three day weekend trip to St. Augustine and absolutely loved it there...but being the picture lover that I am, I also wanted to document it with an anniversary session. I have always thought that there is something special about the first year of marriage because it is such a big year. You learn so much of each other that first year. I have heard many times how hard the first year of marriage is and I would have to agree! 

Marriage is no joke. It is not all happiness and rainbows and butterflies. It is hard work living with someone else even when you are in love. Preston and I found out quickly that we had to change the way we acted with each other and give each other more grace in order to set a foundation for a successful marriage. There is so much that we have learned about each other (and are still learning) and we were open and vulnerable enough to grow as people and more in love. 

My biggest advice to couples who are in their first year of marriage, or even finding themselves having struggles like Preston and I, is to invest in each other. Remember to spend time together and date each other! Just because you are married doesn't mean you don't need to do this! We have to remind ourselves everyday that love is a choice. It is beautiful but it is imperfect because we are imperfect. Love that stands the test of time does so because the two people involved commit to loving each other unconditionally, even when it is hard to like that person. 

These images are a celebration of our first year of marriage and a reminder of the commitment we made to each other. Whether you are celebrating your first, fifth, or sixtieth year wed, I recommend an anniversary session! It is a great way to do something romantic, create memories, and remind each other of your commitment of love! 

If you want to check out more of these images by the lovely Ashley Holstein, and hear about how we first met, click here! We were blessed to be featured on The White Wren

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Isn't he handsome ;) 

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Photographer: Ashley Holstein | Florist: Veiled Lady Floral