Photography by Tiffani Jones
Seeing the big day through an important lens
There are many important people who will surround you on your big day. From your bridal party to your future spouse, this day is filled with individuals who have played a significant role in your life and will play a significant role on your wedding day.
In addition to these individuals, there’s another person who will also play an important role on this day. They’ll be the one who will handle the most cherished moments and give you the ability to look back on this day with deep fondness. They are the storytellers and memory keepers, and they will be with you every step of the way: the wedding photographer.
Wedding photographers get to see every aspect of a wedding and provide a unique perspective of the big day. From the hiccups to the hoorays, photographers have seen it all and can be a valuable resource in the wedding planning process, too.
Local photographer Tiffani Jones first started shooting weddings in 2009 while working full-time as a registered nurse. More than 10 years later, she’s now a full-time photographer with over a decade of experience documenting dozens of couples’ big days. She’s here to glean some insight on what to expect from your wedding photographer and give some overall advice on weddings, too — all from a photographer’s perspective.
How should couples start searching for their wedding photographer?
By the time most couples hire a photographer, they have set their wedding date and booked their venue. If working with a planner, ask about photographers they recommend, keeping in mind the aesthetic of photography you gravitate toward. If you are not working with a planner, try searching your wedding venue and see how photographers have photographed other weddings at your venue.
What important elements should couples consider when choosing a wedding photographer?
Aesthetic, experience, reviews, trust, and budget. Since budgets for weddings hugely vary, you will see price ranges for photographers also vary. Remember that old saying: “You get what you pay for.” Additionally, the photographer’s personality has to gel with the couple’s.
When should couples first meet with their photographer?
One to one-and-a-half years. Yes, that soon! Most photographers are booking one to two years in advance, and the early bird gets the worm, so to speak. So, if you really love a particular photographer, book them right away to save your date!
Best questions to ask your wedding photographer?
1.How long have you been professionally shooting weddings?
2.Do you have backup equipment if something malfunctions?
3.How do you back up the files after the wedding to ensure they will be preserved before delivery to the client?
4.What if the photographer gets sick, injured, etc.? Will there be a replacement to cover the wedding?
Top tips for working with your photographer?
Relax – I know that’s easier said than done but just enjoy being with one another, and your family and friends. If you do, you’ll forget there are even cameras around!
Communication – Have you ever heard the saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know?” Well, that is true especially when it comes to photographing weddings. I generally send out an online questionnaire one month prior to the wedding. This gives me a lot of logistical and personal information that helps me better serve my couples. From “Do you have any personal things that bother you about yourself in pictures?” to “Are there any family dynamics that I need to be aware of?”
There’s nothing worse than a couple saying they hate the way they look in their pictures. Your photographer isn’t a mind reader; tell them what you are self-conscious about so they know how to photograph you at your best. We want to make clients happy!
What are your thoughts on “first look” photos?
I think first looks are a personal choice. I never push my clients into doing one. The only times I’d suggest one is if the ceremony is close to sunset (photographers need light) or if the couple wants all photos completed before the ceremony.
Should couples hire a wedding planner?
Yes, yes, and a resounding YES! I know a lot of people think that it’s not a necessity, but I really feel like my couples can enjoy their day without having to deal with all the unforeseen logistical nightmares that can happen on a wedding day.
For example: You’ve planned a romantic outdoor garden reception under the stars, and it starts storming during your ceremony and the reception space is all set up. Who is going to have a rain backup plan? Who will implement the plan? This is one example where an experienced wedding planner turns into a super-powered superhero!
What tips would you give to someone planning a destination wedding?
From a photography aspect, reach out to your top photographers and ask them if they do destination weddings. If so, ask them what their travel fee is to document your day. If that option is out of your budget, try researching local photographers.
What would be your overall top tips for couples as they plan for their wedding day?
1.Be willing to be flexible during your wedding day. As much as we professionals like everything to go perfectly, there are certain aspects of the day that we can’t control, like the weather. Know that your team is working very hard for you.
2.Enjoy the people who are attending. This is one of the only times in life you’ll have everyone you have emotionally vested in one room. How awesome is that?