**Emily Takes Photos is offering 20% off for APW couples who book her for a wedding that takes place between now and March.**
Long time readers know that Emily of Emily Takes Photos in the San Francisco Bay Area was one of the first ever advertisers on APW. She’s super talented and takes beautiful photos with a sense of humor, has shot more of your weddings than I can count, believes in the philosophy of APW more than anyone, recently helped us run Yay New York, and has generally built her business here. So I’m thrilled to finally get to announce that after months of helping out behind the scenes, Emily has come on board as APW’s advertising manager. Yayyyyy! That means she works with vendors to help them build sane, sustainable wedding businesses (ask any APW sponsor and they’ll give her a standing ovation for how hard she works). That also means that when she shoots your wedding, she’ll be even more invested in making it awesome and amazing (if that’s even possible). Today she’s here to share with us five things your photographer wants you to know—tips on hiring and working with your wedding photographer so you too can have beautiful ass grab shots like this one (you’re welcome):
It’s important you like your photographer’s work and personality:
If you like a particular style or aesthetic, try to find a photographer who actually makes photos in that style. Don’t hire a photographer who does clean and crisp work if you prefer vintagey filters and textures. Asking a photographer to copy another style is asking them to not do their best work, which could result in disappointing photos. Also, don’t hire a photographer with the idea that you’ll edit the photos yourselves later. The whole idea of paying someone to do something is so you don’t have to do it yourself.
Unlike other vendors at your wedding, chances are you’re going to spend all day with your photographer, so you’d better like hanging out with them! Make sure you get a chance to meet them before you hire them, and ask yourselves if they’re someone you’d want to hang out with outside of your wedding. I’m lucky to say that I’ve maintained friendships with a number of my clients, and we actually do hang out after their weddings!
If you go to Google and type in “questions to ask your wedding photographer,” you will find lists upon lists of questions; some are great, but others are more or less irrelevant. Obviously you want to ask logistical questions regarding contracts, backup plans, etc, but other questions like “What kind of camera do you use?” are probably completely useless. Chances are, if you’re interviewing a photographer for your wedding, you’ve probably already seen their portfolio and are pleased with their work, so it shouldn’t matter what equipment was used. If a question seems odd to you, ask yourself “Would I ask this question (or a similar one) to another vendor?” As in, would you ask your caterer what kind of oven they use or your florist what kind of buckets they carry flowers in? I’m guessing, no.
Keep the family portraits to a minimum:
Not that we don’t want to shoot photos of your families, but your wedding is not a photoshoot. One of the most common reasons I’ve seen for getting behind schedule is family portraits running long. The best way to combat this is to keep it simple: work from biggest to smallest group, and don’t do too many family combos. Ask your families to stick to the set shot list, and if, let’s say, your mum wants a photo with all her siblings, remind her that she can always flag down your photographer during the reception. I suggest a big family photo, a nuclear (parents and siblings) family photo, and then one with parents; one set for each of your families. Make sure you and your partner are in all of them. Think about the photos you’ll hang in your home; are you really going to hang a family photo without your partner in it? Probably not.
When to feed your photographer(s):
The best time to feed your photographer (and all other vendors, really) is when you eat. Have your caterer serve them after they’ve served the head table, but before the rest of the guests. Most photographers won’t be shooting anyway during a meal (even hot people like you don’t look good eating in photographs). This way, if you have anything planned immediately after the meal that you want your photographer to shoot (toasts/first dance/sumo wrestling demonstration), then they will have had a chance to eat instead of sitting around with nothing to photograph. Most caterers will want to ensure your guests eat before the vendors do, but if you talk to your vendors ahead of time, they will be able to plan ahead and set food aside. Speaking of food, please make sure your caterers feed them actual food. Chances are they’ve been working a long day, and I keep hearing horror stories of vendor meals consisting of a granola bar and some raisins.
Why it costs so much (sometimes):
This isn’t to say your wedding photography should or even will cost a lot, but often it can be a big chunk of your budget, no matter what size your budget is. One of the biggest reasons is most weddings tend to happen on weekends during, well, wedding season, and photographers are limited in how many weddings can shoot each year (and they have to pay their rent for a full twelve months!). You’re also paying for experience, good equipment, higher-quality prints and albums, and the fact that a good photographer will know how to get the best shots out of your wedding with no chance for a reshoot.
So please, everyone, read this carefully and take Emily’s advice (it’s seriously good advice). And Bay Area ladies and gents… go check out Emily Takes Photos. You will love her, her wry sense of humor, her down to earth manner, and her amazing amazing photos. The end.