My wife and I are celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary this month. So like most couples, we recently hauled out the old photo album to remember what our wedding day was like. We had a great wedding. We had fun, we laughed, we danced and our guests told us they had a great time.
But the photos?
The photos are disappointing.
Through no fault of the photographer, mind you. She was a friend of mine from photography school and did her best. But she didn’t know how to photograph a wedding. She didn’t know how to advise us on how to get the photos we most wanted. She didn’t even know to ask us about photos we most wanted. And I wasn’t thinking about telling her what we wanted! I just wanted to keep my wedding easy, simple, fun, and progressive.
As a result, we didn’t create opportunities for our friend to make the great photos we wanted. We didn’t know that every decision we made would impact those photographs. For example, we didn’t serve dinner so we didn’t have any down time to mingle with our guests, which meant no amazing candid shots of us celebrating with our friends. We didn’t hire a DJ, so we didn’t have much dancing and thus don’t have photos to help us remember what a fun party it was.
When I look through the photos now, all these years later, I feel sad and confused. Here we were, planning a wedding that was authentic and just right for us. How could our photos not reflect that at all? If this happened to us, how many other couples out there end up feeling let down when they see their photos?
But you know what? This experience of feeling let down by my own wedding photos, helped me become the wedding photographer I am. I learned from my own wedding two really important things:
Number 1 . . . Hiring the right photographer for you is essential. Hire someone who will be by your side throughout your entire wedding day. Hire someone who will help you manage your day so you get exactly the photos you want.
Number 2 . . .You’ll be consumed by the emotions of your day (How will you feel? Will you cry during the whole ceremony? Will your parents be nice to each other?); and the many details of your day (how tall should the centerpieces be? Do you want to serve signature cocktails or not? When should you change into comfortable shoes?) Know that you have a say in all of that – including and especially with your photos. You tell your photographer what you want your wedding photos to look and feel like AND make sure you they respect that. Because when take ownership of what you want and you work with a wedding team that respects that, many of those myriad details and emotions work themselves out on their own so you can relax and enjoy getting married!
I believe every couple has the ULTIMATE say in what wedding you get. I share my story so you know it’s OK to do it your own way AND you don’t make the same mistakes I made. Work with a wedding photographer who is hands-on, collaborative and truly cares about making sure you get what you want. And know that you absolutely deserve to have beautiful wedding photos that reflect your love and personality. (For more tips on how to avoid common mistakes when hiring a wedding photographer, check out my free guide here.)
When you look at your wedding photos 10, 25, 50 years down the line, imagine what you will feel like when you remember each precious moment and see your love, light and happiness shining through.
(And since I can’t share any of our wedding photos here, due to copyright restrictions, I’ll share some cute ones of us taken more recently.)