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Happily Ever After is a faith led mother/daughter team that cares deeply for our clients. We will go that extra mile to ensure our brides experience with us surpasses their expectations and dreams.

a mother & daughter planning duo

We are Lynn & Jessica.

Vendor Series: A Planner’s Perspective (Photography)


Happy Friday, y’all! It’s that time again, here we are with another segment to our series! Told you we’d be consistent with this blogging thing 😉 Well, it’s only been two weeks, but we are making strides!

Let’s dive right in and talk about photography! Other aspects of your wedding are very important, you want the details and concepts captured to be forever cherished. Think of your wedding day as a love story that you want to read over and over again. In order to document this story properly, you need to hire an extraordinary story teller. You want to be able to look back on your wedding day and relive each moment from beginning to end. Every time you look back on your wedding photos, the joy and happiness you felt should come flooding back.

From our experience, we would like to offer some insight on some things to consider when choosing a photographer. *As a note, we would of loved to have used some real images in this post, but we did not feel it to be fair to promote some photographers over others because there are so many we love. Or to not give credit where credit is due. Feel free to ask us for recommendations, though! We did, however, provide some comical little quotes. You’re welcome <3

  1. The first thing to do is to determine the look and feel of the photos that best capture your taste. Just like any artist, photographers have their own individual style. Some photographs specialize in crisp, highly edited photos, where others take a more organic approach. Great images are captured either way, but can speak differently to each person. Look at as many photos as you can of real weddings, whether it be on their website, blog, or social media.
  2. Now that you’ve determined your style, you should have a list of a few photographers to contact. You will want to schedule a face-to-face meeting (if distance is an issue, we recommend a video chat) because the chemistry between you is VITAL. Your photographer will be sharing in each and every moment of your day, even the private ones (i.e. first look, getting dressed, ect). You’ll need to feel confident and comfortable with them shadowing you throughout the day.
  3. Now let’s talk about finances. While photography may not be your biggest expense, it certainly is the most invaluable. This is not an area where we feel you should cut costs, unless photos aren’t at the top of your priority list. It may be appealing to save some money in this area, but again, this is the one aspect of your wedding that is eternal (besides your love!). This is not to say there aren’t great photographers out there that are less expensive than others; because just like any other service provider, they range in price. You may find a deal that is too good to be true, but if that price is coming in way less than the average cost for photographers in your area than you might get what you pay for. If you have a planner, this would be a great time to reach out to them for insight. photography ecard
  4. Be sure to find a package that fits your needs. Here are a few things to consider:
    1. How many hours are included?
    2. Is there a second shooter? (We highly recommend there is!)
    3. Are there extra sessions included? (bridal or engagement)
    4. Do you get the rights to the images?
    5. Are the prints edited?
    6. Is a book or album included?
    7. What is the timeframe of delivery? (The standard is 4-6 weeks after event)

Here are a few more things to discuss with your potential photographer:

  • Have they worked at your venue? If not, would they be willing to do a site visit? We strongly suggest they get comfortable with the property so there aren’t surprises on your wedding day.
  • First looks are steadily becoming more popular. They are advantageous to the photographer pertaining to the timeline. However, if you are taking a more traditional approach, do not feel you have to do a first look. Make sure your photographer is sensitive to your decision, as this is your day. There are definitely pros to doing one, but it is not for everyone and do not feel pressured into doing one if you’ve always envisioned the big reveal to be right when you walk down the isle.

Here are some suggestions that we feel your photographer would appreciate:

  • While you may of spent hours scrolling through wedding images, be aware not every shot can be recreated. It is good to have an idea of the shots that interest you, but you also need to grant the photographer flexibility to use their creative talents. Also, time is of the essence. Be sensitive to the fact your photographer has a lot to document in such a short time. After all, your wedding day likely amounts to 10-12 hours from the moment you put your dress on to your grand exit. If you have a planner, they will be a great tool in helping everyone to stay on track as far as time management goes. photography pinterest
  • Your photographer is working very hard for you that day, sometimes not even taking a break because of all the shots they are afraid they’ll miss. Not to mention they are getting a pretty good workout while carrying around equipment and rolling around in the grass to get the perfect shot. Physical work requires nourishment, so we strongly encourage photographers to eat while your guests eat. After all, does anyone want to look back on photos of your guests scooping mashed potatoes into their mouth? This “down time” is the perfect opportunity for your photographer to get the boost they need. With that said, be sure to include them in your vendor meal count with your caterer (along with other vendors) to be sure there is enough food for them.  We advise the photographers we work with to eat after the couple and bridal party have been served, that way they can finish before your guests and then they are ready to pick up where they left off.
  • Consider the fact you have paid a good amount for your photographer to document this very important day. Nothing is worse than the photo of your first kiss being obstructed by Aunt Peggy standing in the isle with her iPhone ready to post on Instagram. Your ceremony is such an intimate time for your guests to be in the moment with you. We recommend having an “unplugged ceremony” which allows the photographer to take uninterrupted shots as well as encouraging your guests to be more present. A great way to encourage this is to have a sign on display or a note on your program. Your photographer will truly appreciate having the leeway to shoot as he or she pleases without interruption! photo bomb
  • Lastly, we’ll lightly touch on gratuity. Photographers are not known to include a tip in their package price. Like most other vendors, they leave this up to your discretion. If you feel your photographer did an exceptional job, they would be more than thrilled to receive any form of gratitude, big or small!

SIDE NOTE: Photos are a beautiful way to capture your day, but if your budget allows, we highly suggest hiring a videographer as well. Having a videographer that can work alongside the photographer brings another dimension to your story. Photos offer a beautiful still memory, but video helps to bring the memories to life in an even more tangible way. You can apply a lot of the same fore mentioned concepts to choosing a videographer. We just love the the progress videography has made over the last decade; it really is more appropriate to label it as cinematography. Contact us and we can give you some amazing recommendations! Our eyes are never dry after watching their work, even if we don’t know the couple!

We think that’s a wrap! Hopefully your head isn’t spinning. This is a lot of information to process, but we think it’s imperative to consider these things when hiring your photographer. Just remember, this is the one aspect of your day that will last a life time. The cake will be consumed, the centerpieces tossed, and the beautifully detailed card box you worked so hard on packed away in your attic. All you’ll be left with are photos, shouldn’t they be simply amazing? We think so!

Happy planning!


Lynn & Jess




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