Expert Advice on Getting the Wedding Photos You Want

— Planning Advice

Intimate, bold, wistful, provocative, nostalgic - when it comes to wedding photography and artistry, the list of styles is endless and choosing the one that works for you is crucial. In confirming your wedding photographer, you’re inviting an artist to portray one of the most emotionally significant days you’ll ever experience. Like artists of all mediums, each offers a distinct style and unique angle to their work.

Selecting and investing in a photographer who shoots in your preferred style is vital to achieving the enduring images you envision. We asked four expert photographers, handpicked by The LANE, to share their best advice on how brides can get it right.

What is the best way for brides to find a photographer that will complement their style?

Greg FinckI think the bride should follow different accounts on Instagram, just to have an idea of which type of wedding photography she likes and wants for her wedding. Does she want to hire a film photographer for great portraiture, a fine art photographer who will be more focused on details and design, or a photojournalist who will capture great emotions? The best way would be to follow different photographers on Instagram for a certain time, and then determined a budget to know which one they can afford.

Alice Mahran:To really look at a whole gallery or series of a wedding that will be in their style of the photographer. Please don't get blown away by a beautiful Instagram or the followers amount the photographer has. It’s the art in capturing the whole story and not just some eye-catchers.

Lelia Scarfiotti:I would suggest the brides to look at blogs and find the ones they really like for their style. Blogs like The LANE (my favorite) publish a lot of Real Weddings featuring the work of many photographers and that's an amazing way to find a photographer that will match your style.Once you find a photographer that catches your eye, visit their website, look at their Instagram and at their Pinterest boards and if you still like their work as much as you did before (or even more) you found an eventual fit!

Courtney Illfield: Lets be honest here (clearing the throat) – one-stop shop, The LANE. Seriously though, a bride should find a publication whether its online or in print that she feels she can identify with best, and I guarantee that she will find a photographer that she gels with amongst the photographers they call family. 

As a photographer, what information do you need from the bride to ensure you both share the same vision for the images you’ll produce?

Greg Finck:Of course, as an artist, it’s more comfortable when the bride trusts you fully with your images of the day. There is nothing worse than having a Pinterest board of photos you’re supposed to reproduce during the day. Because a wedding remains a natural and unique event, and there are few chances that the light, decor, and conditions are going to be similar to any other one. I think it’s best to discuss with your photographer the specific requests you may have (group photos, people not to miss, etc.) and to ask your photographer for full galleries of weddings they have shot in the past. But you should be able to trust them fully with their work.

Alice Mahran:I find it mostly important that we meet. If it’s impossible to meet because of distance, we FaceTime. To have that flow, in even having a conversation will be important.
Both sides will figure quickly enough if you’re on the same level or not. When you know how the bride thinks and how she is as a person, that’s when you know she trusts you and therefore you will capture it in the best way possible.

Lelia Scarfiotti:I will always ask my brides to Skype and have a chat. I want to get more personal, to know about them, what are their interests, what music they listen to, what books they read, where would they go if they could travel for one year around the world and many other things. Who they are as a person helps me to really understand if we will be a good match or not. Also knowing the kind of wedding they want to have gives me the information I need to see if we can work together. If I feel I am not a good fit for the couple, I will tell them. Honesty it's the key for me. I want them to be happy and if I know I will not do the best work ever for them, I will not take the job. In conclusion, the most important thing for me it's the connection. If I get that, I know that it will work out.

Courtney Illfield:I like knowing how comfortable couples are with being intimate and affectionate with one another while in another person’s company, aka me  - the photographer creeping around. I like to understand what sort of threshold I will be working with and what sort of energy I will be amongst and photographing.Love is intimate and passionate, and for me passion is an important part of why we choose to be with one person over the next. I adore photographing this connection, whether it’s a hand gracing the small of her back and pulling her near, lips brushing past her shoulder, or the familiar wide-eyed look at one another with the cheeky smile that follows and that urge to grab one another’s hand and run quickly to the closest bedroom… haha. The other major information I require from my wonderful clients to make sure we are on the same page is in regards to the visual product and aesthetics. Whether it’s through email or (if I’m lucky enough to meet the couple before their wedding day) at our first meeting at my studio, I ask them to show me their moodboards, Pinterest boards or favorite images of mine and other photographers’. This immediately shows me what they like in imagery and can immediately show me whether we are hanging out on the same page. The most important thing for me is that they receive imagery that they connect with as much as I do.

What are the most important factors brides need to consider when briefing their photographer?

Greg Finck:They don’t want to be too specific about photographs they expect. They can’t ask for only black and white photos if there is not a single one displayed on the photographer website. They can be specific about the important moments of the days, the design, portraits, etc. that are not to be missed. But they can’t list 100 photographs they exactly want.

Alice Mahran:To get to know the photographer themselves through seeing each other in person. Who the photographer is - that’s going to make a big change on the day itself. That person is going to be very near and you do want to feel good about the aura of that photographer.

Lelia Scarfiotti:If I was a bride-to-be, I would look first thing at the general mood that the photographer is giving trough his/her pictures. I know it's extremely hard to buy a product that you didn't see, that you don't know and that doesn't exist yet. So I would definitely go for the atmosphere. I would pay a lot of attention to the feelings that the pictures generate in me, and to the way the photographers tell the story of the day. Where they put their attention, the kind of pictures that they show the most and how. I would not focus on a single image or on a single wedding because your wedding is going to be unique, just like you. Also, once again I always remind my brides, the photographer is going to be with them all day, they are going to remember the photographer like a friend or family member, so it's extremely important that they are happy to have you around as a person as well, and not only as a photographer.

Courtney Illfield: Identify the must-have photos and the please-no photos. All the images in between, I feel, should be kept to the naturally occurring.

What is the best piece of advice you can give to brides on how to work with their photographer to achieve the style of images she wants?

Greg Finck:Conditions are so unpredictable on a wedding that she can’t be too specific in her brief. She must be sure to hire a photographer that is a professional and has many years of background in the industry and amazing, full galleries to display.

Alice Mahran:Be fully yourself, love yourself and have confidence in that the photographer will capture who you are that day as well. Rest in being yourself and they will not miss a thing. Be always honest, dare to say what you think and what you hope for. Nobody likes surprises. I’m Dutch, and it comes more naturally for me, but I love it when a bride can be honest. For that moment of time we are friends and only then we/I can capture the bride and the wedding, the way it really is.

Lelia Scarfiotti:Talk, talk, talk with your photographer. Explain what you really like about their work and what it's really important for you. I try to guide my clients as much as possible. I ask my couples what it's important for them, what they really care about so that I can focus on that. I let them know About the light, how it changes in different situations, about the timing, about the way I work. The couples, most of the time, will not know so it's really important to guide them, let them know what you need to achieve a certain look. The most important thing for me remains the human interaction and the feeling, the emotions. Always. So as a bride, I will certainly look at the photographic work, but mostly I would want their personality to match mine, I would like to feel them close, to feel as if I always knew them. This is what being a wedding photographer it's all about for me. We are there to document one of the most important day for two people and their families. It's just magic. We are so privileged and it's really important to do the most we can to make it work in the best way possible, that is why communication it's the key.

Courtney Illfield:Firstly know what your style is. Secondly know what sort of images you like - not just wedding images -  but fashion images, art images, anything that you feel is your style, collect them and archive them, then hunt down the photographer that you feel best mirrors your vibe. You can search into their personal work which also shows you their style and boom! Hopefully this strategy will guide you to a photographer that you will gel with. Thirdly, trust your choice and trust your photographer.

Find our handpicked edit of photographers in The LANE Brand Directory.

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