By Caitlin von Gaertner of Tim Gallivan Photography
1) Meet with more than one photographer before choosing the right one for you.
There’s a lot more to finding the perfect photographer than asking “do they fit our budget?” Personality and style matter, so take your time when looking for the right photographer. Meet with at least a few to make sure you like their personality and that they will be accommodating to your needs. Make a list of what you most want in a photographer, and see who fits it best. A photographer’s portfolio will speak volumes about their skill level, experience, flexibility and style. Go with a photographer whose portfolio you love and who you feel comfortable with.
2) Do an engagement shoot
Many packages these days have an engagement shoot built in. Photographers do this for one very important reason: to get to know you before the wedding day. Every couple is different, and for some it takes time to feel comfortable in front of the stranger with the camera lurking over you as you share a romantic kiss. Engagement shoots also help photographers learn what poses are natural for you, which makes it so much easier on the wedding day. You’ll spend less time finding the right poses, and more time working with the ones you love.
3) Plan to see each other before the ceremony
As a wedding photographer, this is a piece of advice I give every single client. The wedding day flies by, and there’s nothing more stressful than having to fit in a bunch of family and wedding party photos, and then rush off to do your couples portraits all between the ceremony and reception. In Central Oregon, it’s less common for weddings and receptions to be in two different locations, so we recommend doing a first look 2 hours before the wedding. This gives you a special moment that just the two of you share, and also gives you plenty of time to do your couples portraits. This leads perfectly to #4.
4) Give yourself plenty of time
This goes without saying – but I’m going to say it anyways. Give yourself more time than you think you need for just about every part of your day. Start getting ready at least 6 hours before the ceremony – earlier if you can! If you’re unable to have your photographer for the entire day, be sure to leave finishing touches of make-up and putting on your dress until they arrive. You will be behind schedule and that’s okay, but if you want awesome photos, you have to give yourselves and your photographer enough time. With so many amazing views in Central Oregon, it’s a great idea to plan in some time to travel a small distance from your venue to some of the beautiful areas nearby. Every couple I have worked with who has been able to travel for their portraits has loved the results. If you don’t know where to go, that’s okay. Let your photographer know that you are willing to travel and they can let you know what’s nearby.
5) Laugh… A lot.
There’s one tip that reigns supreme when it comes to looking great in your wedding photos. It’s not the make-up or the dress – it’s you and your partner having fun and laughing. Everyone looks great when they are having fun. The best smiles and expressions come when you get silly and just relax and be yourself. No need to “try to look good.” Just be you, and you’ll look amazing.
So here’s to you and your future lifelong partner! May you have the wedding of your dreams and the photos to match.