Photography is a MASSIVE part of your wedding. Both budget-wise, and importance-wise. (Those two can tend to go hand-in-hand.) I mentioned how much I love Erin, our photographer- but I think it needs to be said what it honestly took to get from point A to point B; from "we're engaged!" to "photographer BOOKED!"
Luckily, I was a photography minor in college. Or maybe not-so-luckily, because I tended to look at photos with a "judging" eye when looking for our photographer. Community sites for brides are a great place to hear some names and reviews, but you really need to understand what you want before you go searching! From my research and experience, I'd say there are three "styles" of photography. In typical Miss Pug fashion, I am giving some facts and some opinions!1. Classic- this style is very traditional. Think your mom's wedding (unless she was a hippie and got married barefoot or something.) It is the portraits, the line-ups of people, the grouped shots. They tend to be pretty standard and don't show a lot of personality, however, many people like this style for the classic feel you get from it. It might be the kind of pictures you want to frame above your fireplace. This style of photography isn't necessarily "en vogue" right now, but won't be going completely out of style for a long, long time. 2. Fashion- this is the type of photography that, to be honest, scared me. Think America's Next Top Model. I'm serious! Sometimes you look at the pictures of these girls and think "Wow... gorgeous!" and sometimes you think "I.... um, don't get it." Fashion-style photos are like fashion, and can go quickly in-or-out of style. Think serious looks, interesting poses, artsy effects and angles, and non-traditional locations. This style, I think, works best for really confident people who love being in front of the camera.
3. Photojournalistic- MY FAVORITE. I knew I wanted some element of this for my wedding. Photojournalistic photography is just what it sounds like. Think of a journalist in the middle of an event, taking quick pictures as things happen. They are not posed, they are true-to-life. A bride laughing, or guests dancing, are great examples of photojournalistic pictures. The pro? It can't go out of style, since it's not really a "style" so much as a moment captured, no posing required. Con? You aren't going to see a ton of the over-the-mantle, frame-worthy pictures. It is probably the most different of the three in that sense.
It would be great to put yourself in one of these catagories before booking. That way, when talking to other future-brides or newlyweds, you have an idea of what to ask about, and know if how they describe the photographer will make them a good fit. Many photographers specialize in one of these areas, especially when they're starting out, since it helps build them a base. I believe that it is very important to find a photographer whose work shows all of the above styles. They may focus on, say, artsy photos, but should be able to do a great traditional portrait for great grandma Nellie, as well as a few more candids of you and the groom breaking it down with your wedding party on the dance floor. You should always ask your photographer about their style.
Some other things that I personally looked for in a photographer? Friendly, bubbly, outgoing attitude. The ability to know I stalk their photos and be ok with it. Lots of resources! Erin has a massive emergency kit for her weddings (it's on WHEELS, people) that holds first aid, tape, sewing kits, deodorant- it boggles the mind thinking of what is in there. She has "saved" many a wedding with that kit! She also has great referrals whenever I need them. A photographer or wedding planner will be a great resource to you for finding other vendors- they truly see the good and the bad! Don't be afraid to ask these questions when meeting with a photographer.
Photography is one of the only things that lasts past your wedding day. Do LOTS of preliminary research, and don't make a decision without sleeping on it, but... still go with your gut! And feel free to find pictures you do not like and show them to your photographer after you have booked. You want him or her to know your loves as well as your hates.
Here are some of the photos I LOVE from my photographer Erin. These are just from her shoots over the past few months.
Below is an example of an artsy photo that's not too over-the-top.
Erin does GREAT ring shots (we are planning our "props!") that are full of the couples' personality.
This one is also very artsy and urban.
Erin really appreciates the details that her clients put towards their wedding. She is great at giving tips for how to make it really personal and "you."
Erin has experience with pet photography, which was a big plus for us, seeing that our pugs are a huge part of our life and marriage.
This one is so creative, I love it!
This one is from an engagement session with a couple and their dog. It melted my heart!
Instead of traditional portait-style bride & groom shots, Erin followed these two and took more photojournalistic style (aka "stalker" style as I call it) photos. She said the veil just happened to get picked up by the wind when she took this, and it worked out perfectly.
Dancing shots show TONS of personality and are clearly photojournalistic! Not something you'd frame or send to grandma, but a memory that you will smile and laugh looking at.
For any pictures you take, your background setting is important. We took some at Lucas Oil Stadium too, which we decided on after seeing this couple's AMAZING engagement session there.
Don't be overwhelmed by all the choices when it's time to choose a photographer! It will be FUN when the decision is made, and you will feel good knowing you made the right choice for you.