Today’s guest post comes to us from Camille of Camille Catherine Photography based in Washington D.C. Camille is a wedding and portrait photographer with an international background, love for everything and anything metropolitan, and a penchant for classic and timeless photography. She takes a photojournalistic and highly-personal approach to her work, striving to capture love’s most authentic and real moments to tell each couple’s unique story.
So, you’re newly engaged! (Or have been procrastinating wedding planning?) Either way – congratulations! After the euphoria has worn off and you decide there are only so many times you can stare at the new bling on your ring finger, you might find yourself faced with a lot of decisions and tough calls on the road to solidifying your marriage. My hope is that today I’ll give you some guidelines that will make at least one of those choices you have to make a bit easier – who to have document and capture your wedding. As a wedding photographer who gets to see dozens of weddings from start to finish (as well as the behind-the-scenes dynamics with other vendors), I really believe that finding a great wedding photographer is one of the most important wedding day decisions you’ll have to make.
Read more after the cut!
This team or individual will be with you all day, in almost every situation and scenario you might find yourself in. Putting your dress on? They’re there! The first time your fiancé sees you in your dress? They’re still there. Crying before you walk down the aisle? Oh – surprise! They’re there! If you choose to give them access to all parts of your day (which I believe is essential to capturing your day in the most authentic and complete way possible), your wedding photographer is going to be around for a lot of intimate and emotional moments. So you better be darn sure you’ve made a great choice! I was initially overwhelmed by this realization when I was on the hunt for my very own wedding photographer. Having that experience under my belt, as well as the perspective of actually being a wedding photographer, I learned a few guiding considerations that I hope will help you too!
Define your style
My first piece of advice would be to define what style of photography you like, stick to your guns and then find someone who embraces and executes this style. Between the faded vintage look, high-contrast photography, the “film look” and dozens more styles, it can be really confusing to start your search without first deciding what you like. I think it’s a great idea to browse websites and get a feel for various styles – but narrow down the aesthetic that you like and that fits your style and personality. It will make finding “the one” (photographer that is) in a sea of great choices with widely varying styles a lot easier!
Do they know off-camera lighting?
I think this is an area where a lot of couples trip up in their wedding photographer search. Natural light photography is a wonderful thing – especially when that dusk sunlight catches in strands of hair so perfectly and lights everyone up. But make sure you get a wedding photographer who knows their OCF (off-camera flash) because there are no guarantees that you’re going to have dreamy, swoon worthy light the day of your wedding. On top of that, receptions and ceremonies are of course usually indoors and OFC is often essential to balance out harsh or colored lighting.
Can they meet your needs?
This sounds like a no-brainer. Of course you’d consider this question before hiring any vendor….but think outside the box with your wedding photographer. Your needs will go beyond just having wedding pictures taken, and you might not realize it until it’s too late. Make sure your photographer offers engagement sessions, venue site visits, albums, photo wrapped canvases, professional prints… or whatever it is that might be important to you.
Are they genuine?
It might go without saying but make sure the wedding photographer you have your heart set on has legitimate business practices. Do they have a good reputation? Are they insured? Does their website look personal to them and like they actually care about the weddings they photography? Or does it look commercialized and void of any genuine personality. Good photographers pour their heart and soul into their business. They care deeply about their clients and providing the best personal experience for them – with legit photographers this comes out through their website and their work.
Do you click?
This is kind of the crescendoing conclusion of my above points of guidance. It might be something you’ve considered, thought long and hard about, or think is completely irrelevant. Clicking with your photographer might seem like it won’t add anything to your wedding day – and it’s certainly not the end of the world if you don’t. As a former bride and wedding photographer myself, however, I can say with certainty that your photos will be that much more special, genuine, authentic and fun when the person taking them is considered a friend and can bring out the best in you.
Expressions flow freely, laughter comes easily, the true you can emerge and embarrassment and shyness go flying out the window when you have a great connection with your photographer. And I think that’s something worth prioritizing and adding to your list of search criteria when finding someone to capture the most important day of your life!
Do you have any questions or comments for Camille about finding a great photographer to capture your big day? Add them to the comments below!