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Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos


**Emily Takes Photos is offering 20% off for APW couples who book her for a wedding that takes place between now and March.**

Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical Wedding

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):
Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical Wedding

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.

Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical Wedding

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!

Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical WeddingAsk the questions you care about the answers to:

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.

Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical Wedding

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.

Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical Wedding

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.

Five Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know by Emily Takes Photos | A Practical Wedding

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.

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  • http://www.byebyebitters.com Helena

    What a great list! I love the comparison of the camera to the cateror’s oven – perfect! I’m currently in the early stages of wedding planning, and photography is the one thing I’m most excited about!

    (OK, besides becoming Will’s wife… you know what I mean)

  • http://elissarphotography.com Elissa

    Such great advice — and yes, Emily rules the school and is one of the sweetest folks I know. Thank you for writing what all of us are thinking! :)

    • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

      Awwwww <3

    • http://twinstyled.blogspot.com LaurenF

      Great tips, Emily! I too looked at those ubiquitous “what to ask your photographer” lists, and Elissa, I probably asked you some of the silly ones…whoops! Mainly I just wanted to feel like I had done my homework and didn’t want to feel like I was agreeing to something as important as wedding photography too quickly. Of course, we didn’t actually bother talking to any other photographers–you won us over easily–so maybe that’s why I wanted to make sure I asked plenty of questions. I’m embarrassed to think how many times I’ve clicked through the whole gallery our our pictures. Now I just need to get a real-life album made…

  • http://www.roguebride.com Rogue Bride

    I don’t agree with the pricing. I’m a freelance writer and I don’t charge my clients based on how many other clients I have and what time of year they need me to write for them, and then factor in what I’d like to live on for the year. That’s insane! I wouldn’t have clients! Does this make sense to anyone, because if it does, please explain it to me. I have an open mind and welcome other points of view as long as they’re somewhat logical.

    • meg

      Well yes, it makes sense to me. Photography is a job, and you have to charge what you need to live on. Teachers teach and get paid for nine months out of twelve, but have to make enough so they can live for twelve (or they should). As a business owner, I set my prices so I can pay my bills for a full year, no matter how things ebb and flow seasonally (I think all freelancers should).

      So if photographers can shoot, say 35 weddings a year, they need to take the profit margin they need to live on, and divide it by 35 to start figuring out how to set prices. This is what all of us small business owners do. Or should do, if we want to continue paying our rent!

    • http://www.bakkenphoto.com Noelle

      Rogue Bride, there’s a LOT of overhead in photography:

      -Equipment insurance
      -Business insurance
      -Rent for studio
      -Website costs
      -Other random business expenses – business cards, postage, gas to and from shoots, etc.
      -Cost of equipment (usually upwards of $10K or more for an average wedding photog)
      -Cost of BACKUP equipment
      -Cost of quality bags and cases to hold said equipment
      -Payment for a second shooter (if they choose to have one)
      -Cost of printing

      Weddings don’t happen year round (most of the time), so a wedding photog has to make enough over the summer to sustain her- or himself during the lean months.

      • meg

        Right. Which isn’t to say (and Emily is specifically NOT saying) that you should feel pressure to spend more on photography than you can afford… or that you should even feel pressure to HAVE a pro photographer at your wedding. Clearly, that’s against everything APW stands for. What she’s explaining is why photography often feels expensive, if that’s $500 or $50,000, and what photographers are pricing for.

    • meg

      The point is also that when you hire someone, you hire them for everything they know. You hire a writer based on the years they’ve spent honing their craft. You hire a blogger because of all the things they’ve done to grow their business and platform. You hire a photographer not just based on six hours, but on everything they’ve invested into getting as good as they are (which depends on the photographer, right?)

      It’s like the old story about Picasso: A woman came up to him in a bar, and asked him to draw them a sketch on a napkin. He did. She said “Thank you.” He said, “That will be $500,000.” She said, “$500,000?? But it took you two minutes!” He said, “No. It took me thirty years.”

    • http://www.hibouphoto.com kandise

      A freelance writer? You must have a really great computer! /justajoke :)

      • http://www.bakkenphoto.com Noelle

        Haha, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that as a photographer…

    • http://lowehousecreative.com/ Elizabeth @ Lowe House Events

      I actually DO really agree with Emily on this one – a full load in the wedding industry is considered somewhere between 20-30 weddings a year. Wedding work is seasonal by nature – the vast majority of weddings take place on Saturdays between April-October – that’s about 30 Saturdays. The chance of booking every single one of those Saturdays? Not super high. (Also – working 30 Saturdays in a row would be really intense.)

      Also keep in mind that almost no wedding vendor is just working for the 8 hours of your wedding. Most photographers I know (and keep in mind that I’m not one) spend 40-80 hours on each wedding, in between meetings, shooting, editing, etc. This isn’t counting the untold hours that all of us spend running our businesses – bookkeeping, website updating, doing promotion, staying in touch with clients, etc.

      This is why if you’re getting married on say, a Wednesday in January you’re very likely to find vendors who are willing to give you discounts. A Saturday in June? Not so much. We do have to make our living for the whole year in about seven months, which means that most full-time wedding professionals have to get really great at budgeting very quickly!

    • dragon

      Part of the pricing is based not on how many other clients they DO have, but how many other clients they CAN have. There are only so many weekend slots available. I think it is important to understand and respect that baseline economic reality of the wedding photography industry. As a consultant in a different industry I can do my job pretty much any time (as I imagine you can), so I don’t factor my rates in the same way described above. But I still need to make enough money each month to cover all of my bills. And I know that late summer and from Thanksgiving until New Year’s are slow, so I had better make enough money the rest of the year to cover those slow periods. I don’t know when your slow periods are, but I imagine that you set your rates in order to make enough money to survive the year.

    • Sarabeth

      I get what you are saying – as a client, I’m not really interested in *why* my vendors choose their pricing structure so much as whether it provides good value. Are the pictures worth it to me, or not? I don’t need my vendors (for a wedding, or anything else) to justify their prices to me. From my perspective, the trade-off is money for quality. In economic theory, this is the demand function.

      I think what Emily is trying to explain, though, is that there’s a break-even point for her, given her life expenses and the number of weddings she can realistically shoot in a year. If she goes below that, she can’t afford to make a living in this job. From her perspective, the trade-off is money per slot. So there’s a floor to what she’s going to be willing to charge. In economic theory, this is the supply function. As a freelance writer, you’ve got a supply function of your own – it’s just calculated differently, because the nature of the work is different. You’ve probably got a minimum price of some sort that you just can’t go below, because you need to work enough to eat.

      The actual price paid is a function of both supply and demand. It’s the price that satisfies both functions.

      • Jessica

        Following up on the point about supply, if a photographer can’t make her break-even point, she’s likely to drop out of the photography business and stick with whatever her day job was before taking up photography full-time. That means there are fewer photographers available, with just as many weddings competing for them. People are then willing to pay more to get the photographers they want, because they have fewer alternatives, and because if they don’t pay the higher rate, someone else will, and they’ll lose their chance. This is just basic supply and demand, but when photographers calculate their break-even point, below which they aren’t willing to be photographers, they do so recognizing they can’t work all week/all year. At the same time, when they calculate the rate at which they start losing clients – the rate above which people will look elsewhere – they do so knowing that that rate is driven by how many people are competing for the pool of available photographers, and that varies by the day of the week and the time of year.

        • Jessica

          So when I was writing that comment, I realized I was uncomfortable suggesting that photographers should charge the most they can get away with charging – that is, that they should charge less than the amount that maximizes jobs booked X average rate per job. But why shouldn’t they??? Because they’re artists? Because they’re shooting weddings? Because the service they’re providing is personal and, to Emily’s point, it’s preferable to choose photographers that feel like friends? They’re professionals – of course they should charge what people are willing to pay them. (And yet I still feel like there’s something wrong or crass or greedy about saying that!)

          • meg

            THIS is what it’s like being a woman/ independent small business owner… inside your mind, most days. You just nailed it ;)

        • meg

          You both are correct. And smart. And making fascinating points!

          However, I will say that as a consumer I do tend to be interested in how people are setting prices and why. Particularly when I’m hiring an artist to work on something as personal as my wedding, but arguably other times as well. I’m not interested in just getting the cheapest photographer (or t-shirt) that I can get. I’m interested in paying someone a living wage, and helping to support ethical business/ independent business/ my various values. And often that means I’ll pay more for a t-shirt, say, but have fewer t-shirts, knowing they were made ethically. I felt even stronger about this shopping for my wedding.

          That doesn’t mean you have to pay A LOT for photography (which Emily makes really clear). You can hire someone who’s just getting started for not very much, get less experience, and part of your payment is helping them build a portfolio (lots of options on various levels of price and experience in the APW vendor directory!). But I am very interested in how prices are set, as part of ethical consuming. Hence the focus on ethical consuming on APW over the years, and hence me including the pricing bit in this post.

  • http://www.hibouphoto.com kandise

    So much YES. I love this, thanks Emily.

  • http://lettucewed.wordpress.com Emily Rae

    Thank you so much for these, Emily! I’ve been worrying about Family Photos, because other people want me to have them done, but we only have our photographers for 4 hours, so it is really low on the list of priorities for me. Empowered with your advice, we shall do family photos and then be! done!
    Any thoughts on doing them before/after the ceremony? We are planning on doing them before, as a way to create a natural ending time (“Well, we have to go get married now!”), to organize everyone, and to not have the craziness of all the guests being there too. Does this seem sane or unrealistic?

    • meg

      Sane. We did it. Do it.

    • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

      I’m actually a HUGE fan of doing formal portraits before the ceremony, before the guests arrive if possible. It limits the amount of time to do so, so people are more like to stay on track. After the ceremony it’s all hugs and celebration, which is lovely, but hard to get away from if you’re trying to corral family members for a portrait. Plus, it gives you more time to focus on having fun (and having drinks!) with your guests!

    • http://www.hibouphoto.com kandise

      Sane! Doing the family portraits before the wedding is AWESOME. It makes everything flow so much better.

    • Amy

      And don’t be shy about setting priorities. If you’re the one paying for your photographer and its not a big deal for you to have a shot of ‘all the aunts’ or ‘all the cousins’ then don’t do it. Period. Your wedding is not the only opportunity for your family to get together and take pictures.
      I put my foot down hard on this with my parents and it meant my husband and I got to go enjoy our cocktail hour and actually talk to our guests instead of taking endless permutations of pictures. So worth it.

    • http://www.thehandmadeevent.com kari

      Amen to the strategy of doing portraits beforehand. I never really liked a “first look” photo for just the marrying couple until I started meeting photographers and they had really awesome reasons to do them (ask yours – they probably have an opinion!) – and then do your wedding party/family pictures right after, before the ceremony. Then you don’t have to keep checking the time and hoping that they don’t run out of mini cheeseburgers before you get to the reception.

      • http://lettucewed.wordpress.com Emily Rae

        Thanks everyone! I’m really going to stick to Emily’s advice (group photo, nuclearfamilies, parents) and then that’s IT! There are too many permutations otherwise. And yes, I am paying for it, so I am the BOSS!

        We will do some couple photos then too, but Kari, my fiance doesn’t want photographers there when we do our first look! Part of me is sad that I won’t have first look photos like I see on all the blogs (I know, I know), but I get his reasoning of “It’s a special moment just for us, and a chance to be alone”.

  • http://lowehousecreative.com/ Elizabeth @ Lowe House Events

    also, just let me say – in general I strongly advise my clients make sure that all of their vendors are people who they want to hang out with at their wedding, and that this the most important with their photographer, because as Emily says, you spend most of the day with them! And Emily is *definitely* someone you want to hang out with at your wedding – she is one of the most fun people you’ll ever have the pleasure of hanging out with in general! (and, of course, she takes *amazing* photos.)

    • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

      Ditto about Elizabeth! Definitely someone you should hang out with at least once in your life!

  • http://leahandmark.com Leah

    Yay!

  • Gabi

    Quick questions–I’m thinking about having a cocktail reception with heavy hors d’oeuvres. The general plan is to have a ton of delicious small set up around the room to encourage mingling and dancing. I definitely want my vendors to be fed, but what’s the best way to feed them in this situation? Should I have a separate, plated meal put aside for them? Let them snack as they see fit? Or is this the kind of thing that is up to preference of the particular vendor?

    Thanks!

    • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

      Good question Gabi! I know I prefer to eat out of the view of the guests (sometimes people see us as “the help” and don’t think we should be eating food for the guests). I always appreciate it if a caterer sets a small plate aside somewhere behind the scenes that the vendors can get to as needed. And on behalf of vendors everywhere, thank you for feeding yours! :D

      • http://www.mysanfranciscobudgetwedding.wordpress.com Sarah

        This is so interesting. We went to a wedding two years ago (gosh, it’s hard to believe it’s been that long!) where we sat at the same table with the photographers, who ate with the guests. It was a small wedding (about 50-60 people), and we were at the non-family, friends and fun people table. It was a blast.

        Since our group is also very small and I love our photographer in a waynt-to-be-real-life-friends way, we placed her and her second-shooter at a table with friends who we thought would be a great fit. I hope we haven’t caused a problem, but I think I will double check with her just in case.

        • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

          I’m sure that will actually be fine, and I’ve sat with guests at other weddings too. But a lot of the time it’s with my camera around my neck waiting for toasts during the meal. Mostly, I’m just worried that I’ll put off the other guests, because in an effort to rush through my meal and be ready for more photos, I’ll just unhinge my jaw and swallow my food whole. ;)

  • http://laurenmcglynnphotography.com Lauren

    This is an amazing post. Emily you are Awesome.

  • http://www.littlebatphotography.com Jillian Little Bat

    I’ve probably said it a thousand times, but Emily is AMAZING and I can (should) write an entire blog post on her awesomeness. But she’s also RIGHT. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about all of the things I wish I could help clients understand without sounding rude.

    If you have to ask to view 10 client galleries because you’re still “not sure”, you should probably find someone whose work you already *love*. If you’re not sure there are enough family shots after seeing an average wedding’s family shots, you should look for someone who works lots of family shots in (or just Ask!). If you know, you know. If you’re still not sure, you’re probably best off moving on to someone who will knock your socks off.

    But PLEASE let us know if you don’t think we’re a good fit rather than just not replying after we’ve invested hours with you both in email and often in person. We’re real people too, and we have both feelings (which include the ability to deal with rejection easily) and calendars that we’re holding open for you until you say “sorry, we’ve decided to work with someone else”. I know it’s hard, but I promise, we appreciate this so much more than silence.

    Also, as reference, my pricing wasn’t created with an ‘only potential for x weddings/yr’ model, but it still turns out almost the same as other similar/ bay area photographers who do, so I wouldn’t harp on this point. I had an analyst interview me and ask me a bunch of questions and then worked out I was giving myself $15/hr after costs for an average wedding. You would still laugh at how un-livable my income would be with a fully booked year.

    We’re business owners, and in addition to the great list from Noelle, some of us also have LLC taxes, lots of income tax, and tons of insane things to add- Like, did you know we have to pay the local tax collector a percentage of the value of all of our gear EVERY year? For nothing? Most of us are doing this because we LOVE it, not because it will make us rich. I promise.

    Thank you Emily!
    Jillian

    • meg

      Though I will say, I looked at a MILLION of my photographers galleries and agonized for MONTHS. I just care a shit ton about photography and am an agonizer about stuff I’m obsessed with. We booked them, and as you know, they turned out to be the best photographers in the universe for me. So photographers, when clients are asking to look at ten client galleries… they may just be obsessives who really love photography… but will also love you.

      Couples: be less crazy than me ;)

      • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

        I wouldn’t worry about looking at several galleries. I have to say that there was one photographer I really loved, but I was turned off by the style of the wedding she showed me. Not the style of the shots, but the couple’s style. It was just so far from what I’d like to do, and I had a hard time seeing past that. Perhaps I should have asked her for a different gallery . . .

  • http://intrepidbrytani.wordpress.com Brytani

    This is great advice. I was lucky enough to love my wedding photographer and we still talk often. I think some people don’t prioritize that relationship enough and choose price as the biggest deciding factor…which is understandable but maybe uncomfortable.

    Hubs and I just went through the process of picking a photographer for anniversary photos in Las Vegas. Picking a vendor long-distance is a bit of a pain, especially because you get a LOT less bang for your buck there than you do in NC. One thing I suddenly realized is that not all photographers give you rights to your photos and I was SHOCKED. It’s pretty common practice here but apparently it’s normal in Vegas to pay a few hundred extra for a disc of your photos.
    So if I may suggest it, you should pay extra attention to the copyright section of a photographer’s proposal. You’ll probably want full printing rights to at least some of them.

  • http://www.bridesanstulle.com Sharon

    Emily did a shoot for me a couple months ago and here’s the best way I can describe what it feels like to work with her – you know how there are some photographers who are so cool and talented and nonchalant that you’re intimidated by them because there’s no way they could possibly be interested in your little life (family/wedding/whatever)? Yeah, Emily’s not one of them. NOT because she’s not cool and talented (she so is), but because she makes you feel like *you’re* cool and fun and interesting enough to get to hang out with her. And that ability to bring out the best in people is, I think, the mark of a truly great photographer. I can’t sing her praises enough!

  • http://www.missgiggles.com/blog Giggles

    Definitely like the personality of your photographer. Ours was one of the highlights of our day. She was amazing. It was so much fun to work with her. And it shows in our photos because we were all so relaxed with each other.

  • http://lisaricephotography.com Lisa

    On behalf of photographers everywhere, thank you, thank you, Emily, for this post! Such good information for brides/grooms to have.

  • Jen

    What happens when you are in love with what you saw on your photographer’s website and don’t feel like they delivered the same quality with your wedding photographs? Obviously we can’t go back in time and redo them. I keep looking at all the new work our photographer is posting on their blog and it is all so amazing. Our photos are not horrible, most just look like anyone with a good camera could have taken them. They are lacking the artistic quality and gorgeous processing that led me to choose this photographer in the first place. And it is driving me crazy wondering why we didn’t deserve the same attention to detail and creativity that other couples get. I am trying so hard not to take it personally.

    Photography was one of the most important things to me when planning my wedding and I don’t really know how to get over this disappointment.

    • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

      Oh Jen, I’m sorry this happened to you. Did you discuss this at all with your photographer? I know you can’t go back and reshoot, but perhaps they could re-edit to your satisfaction? There could be any number of reasons your photos didn’t turn out as you expected (photog was having an off-day/trying new post-processing/etc). I really encourage you to chat with them and find out if there’s a way to rectify this, or at least make them aware so it doesn’t happen again.

    • http://hartandsolphoto.com Maddie

      Yes, yes, yes, you should definitely talk to them. This is my #1, panic-inducing fear, but we never know how to make it right if you don’t bring it up.

    • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

      Yes, talk to them!

      Also, talk to your friends who may have taken photos. I did have a cousin once who had a catastrophic time with his photographer — they ended up hating his work from their wedding (so much so that they didn’t pay him the full amount). So his wedding album is now my photos that I took for fun. Anyway, you may get lucky and have some of those key elements to add in.

      Plus, it sounds like different processing will make a difference with your photos. Revisit the photographer and see what can be done.

    • http://dylanandsarah.com Sarah T

      I have that feeling with another vendor (not photographer, thankfully). So highly recommended, and was so so disappointing on our day, and leading up to our day. I don’t know what to do, and it’s been a month since the wedding. At least to start I think I should send a calm-but-disappointed email and start a conversation, even though there’s nothing to do about it now.

  • RJ

    Re the family photos – my sister’s wedding photographer asked my sister and her fiance to get someone to corral the groups.

    That job fell to me, so I went to the meeting with the bridal couple and photographer, and lined everyone up for the photos. I also checked with both sides if they wanted particular photos. Then on the day I cued people that they were photograph 2 or 3 away and to head to the side of the lawn where the photos were happening. So the group about to be shot watched the group ahead, wineglasses in hand ( we had champagne and canapes circulated to the guests straight after the ceremony – the mantra for organising the wedding was that guests should never be bored, tired or hungry). It all worked well.

  • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

    Emily, thank you, because you settled my photographer dilemma yesterday! We were trying to decide between someone good & up-and-coming where we live . . . or my good friends from JH/HS who are now married and starting their own business but live half way across the country. I shot photos alongside them in class and for fun throughout those years, so I know their style and approach (and that photography is even more important for them than it is for me, which is saying a lot).

    Yet I kept debating cost, quality, etc. I love photos from both options. And our friends would cost more because of distance. In the end, though, I went with my friends, because the advice about feeling it in your gut is so important. The lady portion of my friends reiterated your advice, and I realized that I loved the other photographer’s photos but didn’t quite have the in-person click. So we’re paying a bit more to fly our friends out (okay, more than a bit), but it will be worth it to have them beside us for our day.

    And for those who don’t have a friend to click with, just keep looking. You’ll find the right photographer. I was skeptical at first, but then I thought of meeting our cake lady. It was love at first chat, and our meeting ran over because it was like old friends. I trust her completely, such that I am letting her design essentially whatever she wants (I did give her inspiration pictures and a short list of dislikes, but I also said “surprise me”). And that made me realize what kind of click I wanted with my photographer, since photography is a big passion to me.

    • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

      That’s fantastic! Glad to help, and I hope you have a blast with your friends! And to reiterate what you said, there are SO MANY wedding photogs (and other vendors) out there, so I’m sure there is at least one person everyone will click with. Here’s hoping that those vendors fit everyone’s budgets!

      • http://penn.typepad.com Leah

        Speaking of budget . . . I have a burning question. Why do a lot of photographers have you email them to get pricing for weddings? When I’ve emailed photographers, they happily send me a simple PDF file. Why don’t they put the PDF on their website? Is it because they want you to make contact with them first? From the client perspective, I just have to say it makes it more difficult for me to cross-compare a wide variety of photographers. I don’t want to waste their time if they are wildly out of my budget.

        • http://emilytakesphotos.com Emily

          I think a lot of photographers who do that want to sell to you before giving you their prices. As in, they don’t want to you make the decision based on price alone. I think they think if they can chat with you a bit first before giving you a number, you’ll start to think of them in terms of value and worth, instead of price.

          I’ve gone both ways on this, whether or not to put my full pricing up or just a starting price. But when I planned my own wedding, I planned around prices that I saw online, and I feel that vendors should at least give a realistic starting price so that no one’s time is wasted, like you mentioned.

        • http://www.jwileyphotography.com Jennifer W

          I agree with Emily here. And I agree a starting price is a nice thing to publicize. As a photog, I’m also often willing to negotiate a bit on price depending on the size of the wedding, the location, maybe the couple’s story, etc so it’s beneficial to all parties involved if I can get to know a little bit about them before just sending over my standard price list.

  • http://upupcreative.com julie green

    wait. you didn’t ask your caterer what kind of oven she uses? : )

  • mish

    I know I’m late to the party here but I have to second the clicking with your photographer. It’s pretty important, and not always easy, especially if you live in a small town in the middle of nowhere. This is why APW photogs are so awesome. They have sponsored posts and sometimes write their own wedding grad posts so its pretty easy to see who you’ll click with before you even talk to them. Also a lot of them like to travel and will put on their cowboy boots *coughEmilycough* and come out to you. They are real people too, so when you talk about travel they don’t say “I will require a private jet and a bowl of m&m’s with the brown ones picked out and a shrubbery!” Instead they tell you they are watching Bing to get the sweetest deal on a flight and that they would totally be down for sleepovers with your family to cut costs. At least, Emily does (for now… she might require private jets in the future)

    Um… since this is a sponsored post I feel I should also add that you should totally hire Emily. Mostly because she’s awesome. My family wants to adopt her. And if you have an inappropriate sense of humor she will totally best you at eruption jokes while watching Old Faithful. She has a sweet swim instructor’s voice too– and so even if you have a VERY loud group of friends and family she will keep them in line for the photos. Also she takes awesome photos of your family doing the YMCA… and the chicken dance… and the time warp… and every other cliche dance since we’re cool like that.

  • http://www.christytylerphotography.com Christy T

    LOVE this post! And LOVE LOVE LOVE Emily!!! :) Yes to all of this! :)

  • http://zacharyhuntphotography.com Zachary Hunt

    Well put, Emily. Great post!

  • Lauren

    I’m late to this post, and Emily is not lacking for testimonies of her awesomeness, but I’m chiming in with another! Emily made taking photos painless and fun, even with my husband and I who are not fans of having our pictures taken and not generally easy subjects. (We’re in one of the photos up there.) I knew she was great leading up to, during and after our wedding, but it really hit home when I was a bridesmaid in a family wedding last week. So many hours of “tilt your chin, turn your hip, press your cheek to her cheek” godawfulness that Emily’s worth and value continues to skyrocket past her price by miles. After those photos, I turned to my husband and said, “Thank God for Emily!”

  • http://oversized-cliches.blogspot.com Zan

    I am late to post but who doesn’t love a pile-on of good vibes? All I have to add is that Emily is really awesome and a fantastic dancer. If you hire her for your wedding make sure you see her famous moves at least once during your reception. It’s life changing.

  • http://laceandlikes.com laceandlikes

    this was a great read and is SO true!

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