All your burning questions about hiring a wedding photographer? They’re answered here. This is one of my longest and most valuable blog posts to date – something every bride to be will find useful!
I met Katie of Katie Tiller Photography through networking circles and immediately clicked. She is the sweetest, kindest, and bubbliest person – not to mention, super talented! I adore Katie’s work and style, she did my most recent headshots and we have collaborated together on styled shoots.
Today Katie is sharing all the things you need to know about booking a wedding photographer and how she interacts with couples before (and on) their wedding day. There’s a lot of great information here, including Katie’s thoughts on the highly debated “first look”!
Tell me about your journey to becoming a wedding photographer.
Well, I started college with the intention to become a Veterinarian and over the years as I studied I loved my biology/chemistry major, but I didn’t have a peace about going to more schooling. At the time, I had one season of volleyball left to play and not that many hours left to take to graduate. I took a photography class for fun and missed almost 75% of the classes due to our travel schedule, BUT we got to choose what we wanted to photograph for our final project and I did couples. I fell in love!!
I love being around people and celebrating love! Sounds cheesy, but things just started to fall into place and opportunities started to open up. I took pictures of anything and everything to start, but my heart was set on wedding photography! I love being able to capture the joy and love on each couple’s best day. It is a job that I am so fortunate that I get to do every day!
At what point in the wedding planning process should a couple research, inquire, and book their photographer?
After a date & venue, the planner + photographer should be the next vendors the couple book! There are a few very popular wedding dates and the earlier you inquire, the better chance you have of your date being available! It’s never too early to secure your date with a photographer. I generally book about a year in advance and that really helps me personally plan out what I would like the next year of my business to look like.
What types of things should couples consider when choosing a photographer?
I think the two most important things when choosing a photographer is connection + style. As a bride you spent a lot of time with your photographer from your engagement session to several hours on your most special day. I want all my brides to feel like I’m a friend that they’re comfortable around and can fully be themselves and feel beautiful behind my lens!
The second thing that is super important for brides to consider is the style of a photographer. You might really connect with someone, but if they edit in a light & airy style and you prefer warmer images with more contrast, find someone with that style that you also connect with. As photographers we develop a style that we are proud of and feel confident in, and when asked to change it, I think both photographer + bride won’t be as happy in the end as they should be for their wedding day.
I know money is absolutely a big factor for many brides, but I promise 20 years down the road, you will love looking back on your images if you loved how you felt in the images. You probably won’t be upset that you spent a little more money if you loved your photographer + your images. You probably would be a little sad if you decided to choose a photographer based on price and not connection + style and they turn out not exactly as you hoped they would! These photos are an heirloom and something you’ll value forever, so try and remember that as you’re searching for your best fit!
Can the client expect to hear from you between the time they book your services and their wedding day?
Absolutely! I include engagement sessions in all of my wedding collections so that we have a chance to spend some time getting to know one another before their wedding day. If they book really far in advance of their wedding, I love to check in every couple of months to make sure wedding planning is going well + to see if they need any help. Finally, two weeks before I send out a questionnaire to nail down all the little details. I love to hop on a phone call to go over the questionnaire once it’s completed to make sure I know exactly what the bride wants for her best day!
Is there anything couples can do to best prepare for photography on their wedding day?
Yes! I send out a detailed questionnaire that may seem a bit tedious at times, but I promise it makes the wedding day go so much smoother. It collects information about special details, all family members/people that you wish to have in your formal group shots, vendor information, etc. I don’t suggest putting together a Pinterest board of shot ideas, but simply letting me know if there are a couple shots you love and want to be sure are captured! Once I get to know each couple and their personalities, it is much easier to flow through a variety of natural poses with them during their engagement session as well as their wedding.
What do you recommend to couples unsure if they want to do a “first look” before the ceremony?
As bride once myself, I was super traditional in the fact that I wanted to see my husband’s face when he saw me walking down the aisle. But, as a photographer, I do love when couples opt for a first look! I always suggest doing a first look if bride + groom portraits are really important to you and if you have a large bridal party or family attending the wedding. First looks also give you just a few minutes to take in all the sweetness of your wedding day with your soon to be husband or wife. It also allows for majority of pictures to be done before the ceremony so that after the ceremony, we can quickly get through family portraits and have some extra time for sunset photos. This way, couples get to spend more time with their wedding guests!
Is there anything you can offer advice on that most people forget when considering wedding photography?
This question kind of has the same answer as what to look for when choosing a photographer. A lot of couples can get caught up in finding a photographer in their budget versus finding someone they love. I am so aware budgets are real and necessary, but generally if a photographer costs more there is a reason. They might have more experience, equipment, and value the client/photographer relationship with attention to the client’s experience with them. It’s important to ask to meet or video call with the photographer to see if you vibe and connect with them!
Finally, one more brides might forget to ask is exactly what the package includes. For example, I include digital files with printing rights with my collections, whereas I know some photographers that just include proofs and do print sales. So, when brides are searching, make sure you ask what exactly the final product includes!
Give me your biggest tip to couples just getting started in the wedding planning process.
I’d have to say my biggest tip for couples just starting to wedding plan is to know your budget AND what is most important to you! As a couple talk about overall the top two most important things to you both. Set a budget for them, then book your dream vendors for those things! If you have a clear vision and budget, it will make the process so much smoother. Little things add up quickly with weddings, so being organized, detailed, and keeping good records will help brides feel less stressed. It’s okay to splurge on your favorite things and find more cost effective options for things that aren’t as important to you.
All images for this post were provided by Katie, aren’t they gorgeous?!