I Hired a Professional Photographer – Now What?

When I started wedding photography, about 15 years ago, I really didn’t know what I was getting into. I really didn’t charge much for all of the work I put into it, film and processing was expensive, and it was a real time consumer. Really, as many aspiring photographers, I was just happy to be working. New, inexperienced photographers often find that they are ‘watched over’ by clients more than when they become more established, as couples tend to trust more experienced photographers with their day.

So, assuming that you have hired a seasoned pro- how much should you expect from them, and how much should you watch over what they are shooting? From being in the business for many years- and having worked with all sorts of couples, here is my strategy for getting the most out of your professional photographer- and in turn, the best photography possible.

Let’s break this up into 3 sections- pre-wedding, the wedding day, and post wedding.


Read over the price list in detail, and ask…ask…ask so you know what you are getting into. This is critical to make sure that what you want is offered, and at what price. Do you want the full resolution images? Do you want full coverage? What about albums? I have seen some photographers charge little for the day- and then charge thousands for the images and/or albums. Know what you are getting into.

Plan the timeline for the wedding day in detail including driving time. This really helps me when I photograph weddings so I can help keep the couple on time. Nothing worse than being told halfway through my session that “we have to go now”- before I have what the couple and I discussed. The photographer should be willing and able to help you with the itinerary of the day- use their experience! If the photographer wants 2 hours with you and the party, family etc- give them the time. Guests expect to have a break while this is done so do not sell yourselves short on photography time.

The style of photography should also be discussed. Sure I have a certain way of doing things- but this does vary depending on what I think the couple wants. Just because you see photos you like in the photographer’s portfolio does not mean he/she does that every wedding- let them know what your likes and dislikes are!

Wedding Day:

Number one advice- keep smiling! I cannot remember a wedding where absolutely everything went according to plan- there are just too many variables! When I see brides get ‘hung-up’ on small things like ‘the hall has the wrong center pieces” it can really kill the wedding shoot. The best images come from couples who brush off the problems of the day and roll with the issues. (You can always deal with the problems of vendors after- do not let it spoil your wedding. This can really cramp any flow to the photo session- the worry and anger on couples faces really comes through in the photos. I tell my brides “go into the day knowing that you did all you can- and once it starts just enjoy the ride!” Positive attitude plays such an important role for your wedding day.

Do not spend ‘all day’ on the family photos. Don’t get me wrong- I do take plenty of family photos- but the number of times I have couples asking for every combination of family photos to be taken, with every mathematical variable of relatives possible, until everybody is photo exhausted before the couple and party photos have even started! Parents, immediate family, large extended family- keep it simple!

Be willing to try what the photographer asks. Sometimes what I have wedding parties or couples do does not feel ‘natural’, but then it shouldn’t! What is common about being at a photo location dressed up in expensive clothing for 90 minutes! Many unnatural actions are to bring out the expressions that we need to get the shots we wanted- so roll with it and you may be surprised what the results are. For example, if the bride and ladies are not giving me the fun expressions that I may want, I may ask them to drop their flowers, and run across a field holding hands- then stop and move in close together. This can be a great way of getting laughter and great expressions out of the bridal party. The worst thing you as a couple can say to your photographer is “this is stupid- can you take some fun photos and make us laugh?”. That is usually when the crickets come out and the fun of the photo shoot shuts down for good.

Post Wedding:

Once the images have been taken, work closely with your photographer to get the images, albums etc. So much can be done with photography after the images are back in the studio- but this can also be a curse. Try to narrow down a theme or a certain style that you are looking for in your photographs, that is the way that they are presented. Even great photos will look poor if they are laid out or over edited with special effects etc. Do not try to ‘get it all’ with your album- be consistent for a cleaner looking album. Just as in successful advertising, a strong clean message usually delivers better results than a ‘mish-mash’ of ideas.

If you would like more advice on wedding photography- feel free to contact me. I only book one wedding per day, so if you are interested lets book a relaxing, no pressure meeting to go over what you want in your wedding photography. Remember, have fun- it’s your day so enjoy it.