As an avid reader, I enjoy reading many of the bridal magazines, guides and books that are available at any bookstore, or even online. All of them offer suggestions on finding and choosing a photographer; however, none of them provide any information that is new or monumental. As someone who is relatively new to the wedding business, I thought that I would include some helpful tips or suggestions that aren’t being covered in the bridal magazines.

Jennifer Gilman

Our biggest suggestion to brides is to book the services that can only do one per day. While choosing your color scheme and dresses may be more fun; book your church, reception site, photographer, band, etc. first (especially if you are a May, June or July bride).

Book the above-mentioned services as soon as you have picked your event date. Many magazines tell you to book them anywhere from nine to six months beforehand. What you may not consider is that these magazines are published in major U.S. cities with beautiful churches and reception sites too numerous to mention. In peek wedding season, Dayton’s Best book quickly, which may leave you scrambling to book something that wasn’t your first choice or leaving you to change your date.

Many of our repeat clients book us up to two years in advance, especially our Bar Mitzvah clients, so don’t think you are being overzealous if you book early. The other bonus is that you lock into our current pricelist, even if your event is two years away.

A lot of photographers are toting the word ‘awarded’ in their advertising. However, there is a huge difference between nationally recognized photographic awards and an award given by a local self-appointed photography group. Be sure to ask your photographer to explain their credentials.

Not long ago, I overheard a photographer telling a bride that he "photographs for the bride, not for awards." That may be true and completely correct; however, competing for awards is a good way to keep on top of your field. It is also a great form of continued education and networking amongst professionals.

Be leery of pricing. Sound strange coming from a photographer? Do you think that a photographer shoots a minimum package with the same energy and enthusiasm as his top package? For those photographers that don’t have packages, but have a minimum purchase instead…what happens if your images don’t turn out or if they aren’t what you expected? Be sure to understand the psychology behind the pricing.

My best tip is to book a photographer that not only has great images, but also one who matches your personality. Aside from your coordinator, of all the people you hire to help with your wedding day, you will spend the most time with your photographer. Trust me…personality will matter. It won’t matter how gorgeous your images are if you had to spend your day with a jerk.

Just as in any industry, there are many ways to cut corners. We use only the absolute finest in materials available to create your wedding story. Be sure that your images are completely archival and that your album is guaranteed.

Finally, there are no ‘re-do’s’ in wedding photography. There is only one opportunity to capture your first kiss, first dance, bouquet toss, your entire family from out of town…don’t entrust those responsibilities with just anyone.