Choosing a Wedding Photographer for Your LDS Wedding
After months of planning, your wedding day seems to happen in the blink of an eye and then it’s all over. We are so lucky to live in an age where we can document every minute of the wedding day with wedding pictures. The fleeting memories of the wedding day are captured in photographs that we can look back on, year after year. Because the wedding pictures are what will last long after the ceremony and reception are over, it’s important to get it right. No matter where or when your wedding takes place, preserving those memories in pictures is vitally important.
If you have the funds to hire a professional, then you probably want to spring for one. Hiring a professional wedding photographer generally gives you access to better camera equipment and a more experienced photographer and crew. Many professionals will also include additional services like air bushing photos or compiling the prints in a high-quality engraved wedding album when they’re finished. Even though the sticker shock may give you heart palpitations at first, realize that wedding photography is a very specialized art. You’re paying for more than just a handful of pictures. A professional photographer carries his or her experience from shooting hundreds of previous weddings and knows how to make yours the very best yet. The wedding pictures taken by your photographer will last forever, so you want to do everything in your power to secure a good photographer who you trust to handle your LDS wedding.
Different photographers have very different styles of wedding photography. Some are more traditional and like to shoot “portraits” of wedding party members as they pose and smile for the camera; others avoid staging shots and prefer to capture the spontaneous moments of the wedding on film as they unfold. Neither approach is better or more professional, just different.
Once you get a feel for the styles of which photographers you like best, visit their websites or contact them for their rates in your area. Most include pricing information on their site, and often they will showcase their best work in an online gallery. It’s important to weigh the quality offered by different photographers against how much money you have to spend, otherwise you may find yourself hiring the very best and finding that you really can’t afford it. Use the Wedding Budget tool available on this website and stick to it, because photography can easily become one of the most expensive aspects of wedding planning if you aren’t careful.
With wedding planning, things must be booked as early as possible, and photography services are no exception. It can be very time-consuming to contact and evaluate different photographers when you are in a time crunch. Just a quick glance at the professional wedding photographers’ ads in your local LDS temple area is enough to tell you a lot about them. If you see their portfolio and love it you know to check out their website and contact them. If their style of wedding photography doesn’t move you, move on to the next in the list.
Most photographers do a good job at capturing all the big moments of the day on film, but draw up a wedding pictures list together with your fiancé just to make sure they don’t miss anything that is important to you.
Questions to ask a potential photographer are:
- How many years of experience do you have?
- Are you the one who comes to do the photography?
- What kind of equipment do you use when shooting weddings?
- Do you use an assistant?
- Do you prefer to shoot weddings in black and white, color, or both?
- How would you describe your photography style?
- What has been your favorite wedding to photograph?
- Have you ever shot an LDS wedding before?
The last question is perhaps the most important one for an LDS bride to ask a potential wedding photographer. Mormon weddings, particularly those that involve an LDS temple wedding, are uncharted waters for many professional wedding photographers. They require an understanding of the LDS view of marriage and the temple that many photographers don’t have. Of course it’s possible to get great wedding pictures with a non-Mormon photographer, but it makes open communication with the LDS bride and groom even more essential. You need to communicate to the photographer the protocol for taking pictures on LDS temple grounds.
In an LDS temple wedding, the photographer cannot be present to photograph the actual ceremony. LDS brides and grooms need to alert the photographer to this fact, because it is probably a big surprise to most professional photographers! Instead of covering the actual sealing ceremony, however, there is a lot that the photographer can do to capture the events of the big day. Pictures of the wedding party on temple grounds, the bride and groom with the temple spire in the background, and shots of the newly married couple coming out of the temple after the sealing are all great ways to document an LDS wedding day.
Finally, meeting your photographer in person is absolutely necessary. Even if their resume looks great, the price is right, and you love their portfolio, personal chemistry is important, too. Find someone that you feel comfortable with. If your photographer puts you at ease, you will look beautiful and relaxed in your pictures. If things don’t “click” (we couldn’t resist the pun ♥!) between you and your photographer, it will inevitably show. The same photographer is not right for everyone! And for some LDS brides and grooms your budget just may not include a professional as an option. In this case you may want to take a DIY approach to your wedding pictures.
Choosing how you will handle your wedding photography is a big decision for any couple getting married. Hiring a professional photographer can be pricey, but in many cases it’s really the best option. If you do select a professional, make sure to examine their portfolio to see if their work agrees with your philosophy on how your wedding day should be photographed. Meet them in person to ask questions and get a feel for how they will work with you on your wedding day. Remember that this person will be interacting with you and your family for hours, and you owe it to yourself to make it a pleasant experience. Select the right photographer and communicate all your wants clearly. If you do this, you ensure that your wedding photos will be ones that will accurately reflect all the moments and emotions of your big day.
♥ Jenny Evans
Exclusively for WeddingLDS.com
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