A wedding photographer will capture intimate moments of your day that will last a lifetime, so it’s important to find the right one. We asked Christy Weber—a former wedding photographer as well as the co-founder and executive editor of the popular wedding inspiration site Junebug Weddings and the blog What Junebug Loves—to share her favourite wedding photos with us. Since she works with wedding photographers on a daily basis, we also asked her advice on how couples should go about getting the best shots for their wedding albums. Here’s what she had to say:
What advice can you give to couples looking for a photographer for their wedding?
First, find a wedding photographer whose work you love. You should be able to imagine yourself in their photos. Then, meet with the photographer to be sure you connect. Ask yourself, would I like to spend time with this person on my wedding day? Great chemistry between you and your photographer will add authenticity to your images and make the experience of having your photos taken fun.
What makes a great wedding photo?
It has that magical combination of technical expertise coupled with a distinctive viewpoint from the photographer that captures the true emotion of the subjects. I love how an outstanding photograph produces an emotional reaction—instantly making you laugh, cry or feel transported back to the exact moment it was taken.
Do you have any tips for couples on what to do when posing for a picture?
Relax! Just be yourselves. If you’ve chosen a great photographer, they will let you know if they need you to move a certain way or look in one direction or another. Fully enjoy your wedding, and allow your photographer to capture the true beauty of the day.
What are some must-get shots every couple should have?
Take a 15-minute time out from the busy festivities for fun and creative portraits with your new spouse. This time will allow you to connect, take a deep breath and celebrate your marriage, and the sweet photos will be some of the most treasured of the day. This is also the perfect opportunity to get stunning portraits of your families, since the chance to have professional photos taken of the ones we love doesn’t happen very often. Those photos of your parents, grandparents and other loved ones will become priceless family heirlooms.
Do you have any wedding photography pet peeves?
Any wedding photo can be wonderful if it’s what you love. Let your photographer know ahead of time what shots of theirs are your favourites and why. Tell them about the qualities, emotions and visual styles you’re most attracted to in photography so they can get a solid understanding of your personal aesthetic. If you want detail images of your invitation, décor and other personal touches, or if you want to have your wedding published online, be sure you let them know. Not all photographers will focus on details unless you let them know they’re important to you.
Do you have engagement photo advice?
Just like with wedding photography styles, anything goes with engagement shoots! Do you adore your home or your neighbourhood? Have photos taken there. Do you and your fiancé share special hobbies? Then consider an active photo shoot where you’re playing games, cooking together or sight-seeing in a favourite vacation spot? Have children or a pet? You can involve them, too. Just keep it meaningful to both of you, and your happiness will show through in the images.
Hanging your engagement photos in your home or using them in your save-the-dates and on your wedding web site are always great ideas. I also love printing on wood, metal or canvas; having stickers, stamps, magnets or mini albums made; or having a case for your iPhone created with one of your engagement photos.
Is there a descriptive phrase that couples should look for when reviewing a photographer’s web site?
Many photographers describe their work as documentary or themselves as storytellers, which means they work unobtrusively to capture images rather than create them. There are no official terms or titles that mean exactly the same thing across the industry, so look more at the quality of the photographer’s work, the way they describe their approach to photographing a wedding, and the customer service you receive when you interact with them. Scheduling an engagement shoot with your photographer is a great way to get to know them in advance and to become more comfortable in front of the camera.
Film or digital or both?
Film photography and digital photography are just platforms that a photographer can choose from—what really matters is that they’re experts at whichever medium they use. There are countless wonderful wedding photographers that use one or the other, or both.
Can you share some advice on how to get your wedding album ready so you have it for your first anniversary?
Don’t let your momentum fizzle after the wedding. Set a deadline for yourself and your spouse to have your favourite photos chosen for your wedding album, so the activity doesn’t get pushed to the back burner of life. Tell your photographer in advance that you want to work with them on an album, so they can help guide and remind you as well. Wedding albums are wonderful to have and to give to family members, and definitely worth the time it takes to put them together.
Editor’s Note: Not sure where to look for a wedding photographer? Ask to see the wedding albums of recently married friends, or browse real weddings online and in bridal magazines. Junebug Weddings’ “World’s Best Wedding Photographers” is a great resource for photographers as well as wedding inspiration.