St. Charles Wedding Photographer/How do I chose a wedding photographer?

Yep, I am doing it. I am going to break down the most important points of choosing a wedding photographer and what to think about for your wedding day regarding pictures! This piece of the wedding day is going to last the longest, yes even the dress ends up yellowing, so really taking the time to chose the right photographer is important. There are so many brides that I have personally spoke with that had no clue what they were getting into when they started this part of wedding planning. Knowledge and confidence is key to not feeling left in the dark and taken advantage of.

Most brides seem uneducated(WHICH IS OK!!!) and a little terrified when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer.

So let's start with the obvious...

1. BUDGET

Before you start to research photographers, think of an ideal budget you have for this aspect of your big day. Photographers usually price their work per hour and then bring in the add ons like albums, canvases, engagement shoot, and second shooter. All of these things will raise the price of your package. $1500-$2500 is a decent budget and can get you a really good photographer with a few package options.

-An entry level photographer - one who is trying to build a portfolio with charge around $150 an hour. This photographer may have only acted as a second shooter with only a few Lead shooter weddings.

-An experienced photographer - one with at least 50 weddings under their belt as a LEAD shooter will charge anywhere from $225-$250 an hour. Usually has a few key second shooter they prefer to work with.

-A senior photographer who has at least 100+ weddings can charge anywhere starting at $300+ per hour. They are going to come with a whole team and offer major package incentives. 

So know your budget and then you can start to look at the right category of photographers. Not sure of the photographers level of knowledge? Ask for their wedding count! This number will tell you how many weddings they have done as the Lead photographer. Which means they can run your wedding day with knowledge and experience.

2. STYLE

What is your ideal style? When you flip through Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram what style get's your attention most? Do you like the sunny open feel or do you before dark with a little bit more emotional feel to it? Make a Pinterest board and share it with your potential photographers! Know that they won't duplicate this board but know where your personal inspiration for you wedding day is coming from. I love seeing bride's boards!

I will put some examples below:

Light & Airy v. Dark & Moody

Can you tell the difference? Jheart Photography uses the Left side look for all images. I am definitely a light and airy photographer!

Can you tell the difference? Jheart Photography uses the Left side look for all images. I am definitely a light and airy photographer!

Also in style, do you like candid portraits or more formal posed? Ask to look through a few potential photographers portfolio to get an idea of their individual style. No style is right or wrong, it's ALL about personal preference.

3. REFERRALS

Now that you have those 2 things narrowed down. Ask around to friends and family photographers that they have worked with. It is ALWAYS comforting to know someone that has had a great wedding day experience with their photographer. Some also offer incentives for being a referral. (I know Jheart does!)

4. What do you WANT?

Photographers will offer more than just day of service hours. Here are a few add on shoots you may want to consider! Outside of these add on shoots some photographer offer albums, canvas, and other prints options. 

Engagement shoots are my favorite way to get to know a client. It really helps me prepare for the big day. Every couple interacts differently so to know what to expect ahead of time is a huge bonus!

Engagement shoots are my favorite way to get to know a client. It really helps me prepare for the big day. Every couple interacts differently so to know what to expect ahead of time is a huge bonus!

Engagement Shoot - A great way to announce you are getting married! It is also a fabulous way to get to know well you & your photographer work together. It also helps add a personal touch to your special day!

 

 

 

 

Bridal shoots are a perfect chance to get to wear that stunning gown one more day!

Bridal shoots are a perfect chance to get to wear that stunning gown one more day!

Bridal Shoot - This is a session prior to the wedding where you just take pictures in your dress! It can be scheduled when you do your hair & makeup trial so it looks like they were all taken on the same day. Plus you can display them at the wedding!

 

 

 

 

Obviously these images are to private to post, but if you are interested I would love to send you a private gallery!

Obviously these images are to private to post, but if you are interested I would love to send you a private gallery!

Bridal Boudoir - I LOVE boudoir sessions. Not only is it the perfect gift for your new hubby, but it's shocking how beautiful, confident, and sexy it will make you feel as a bride!

 

 

 

 

 

5. QUESTIONS TO ASK

Now that there is a budget, preferred style, and  possibly have a few photographer leads to start with, let's talk about great questions to ask potential photographers. No question is a stupid question! Honestly the more questions a Bride asks me the better I feel. 

1. What would you say your style is?

2. Do you always work with the same second shooter? Can we only use a second shooter     for the ceremony or do we have to hire them full day?

3. When should we expect photos back after the wedding day? When do you provide a preview or blog post?

4. How many weddings have you done as LEAD shooter?

5. Do you organize a timeline for our day to best suit your photography needs to get all the shots we are looking for?

6. Do you set up consultations so we can meet and chat?

7. How are the pictures delivered? Digital? USB? Both?

8. Do you make packages special to weddings or do you only offer set packages?

9. Do you have a back up shooter if you are ill and can't shoot the wedding? Do they do the editing too?

10. Do you have a contract?

11. Do you have insurance?

12. Can I contact a previous bride and ask her experience working with you?

I know there is quite a few questions but all of these details are important. You will figure that out when it gets closer to your day and even after the big day. You will be glad you asked these questions! Any great photographer will be able to answer all of these questions for you to help make you feel comfortable with how your day will go, what you are paying for, and what to expect after the day is over. 

6. THINGS TO JUST KNOW

Sometimes it's just easier when someone points out the obvious. So here are some obvious details to remember:

*Having more than one PROFESSIONAL photographer at your wedding is not necessary. Each has their own style and flow to structure a wedding day, so trust me, just using one company is better! Of course family can shoot as long as they do not interfere with the work flow of the professional. 

*No photographer is going to allow Brides to personal edit or filter their images. Yes, this includes Facebook and Instagram filters. We take a lot of pride in our work and when a filter is added it produces an image that is no longer ours. 

*Professional photographers do not give out RAW images. Most clients would not even be able to open and view a RAW image, you have to have special editing software. Also, as a client you probably don't want the RAW image. Personally my back of camera is really dark so that I don't loose details and highlights.....as a client, you wouldn't want to hang that image on your wall. 

*Professional photographers do not offer Copyrights to the images. They will however offer print release. These two things are very different. Print release gives the client privileges to print the images as they see fit. Copyright signs over all right from the photographer to the client over the image. We don't really want to give up the rights to our artwork.

*Photoshopping "Aunt June" into pictures because she wasn't there, isn't an easy task. So unless you want to pay big money to have her added, you might just have to let that go. 

I really hope that this helped some Brides decide the best photographer for their big day! Choosing your photographer in the giant ocean of photographers can be so overwhelming, but going into the process with confidence and knowledge is the best place to start. 

Jenny

St. Charles Maternity Photographer/Remiger Baby makes 4

Lindsey & Dan are getting ready to welcome Baby girl #2 and if she is anything like sweet wild Miss Ellie they are truly going to have their hands full of so much love. We ended up with a gorgeous January day & were able to shoot outside at Quail Ridge Park.

Lindsey is absolutely stunning pregnant & it was such a joy to get to capture this moment for them. Hopefully Dan is ready for a house full of ladies!!

St. Charles Wedding Photographer/Chaumette Vineyards/Chaumette Wedding

Chaumette Vineyards was a gorgeous spot for a beautiful wedding day. The open fields, the grapevines, and the overlook of Missouri is just breath taking as you stand on top of a hill to say your vows. Not only is the wedding venue perfect for your rustic wedding day, Chaumette offers the cutest rental cabins for your bridal weekend stay! 

I loved shooting here and couldn't believe how gorgeous this October wedding was. From the moments of anticipation and getting ready, to that feeling of relief as you see your loved one at  the other end of the aisle. I love capturing weddings. It brings out all the feels for sure. 

St. Charles Family Photographer/Phoenix Family Photographer/Stinson Family shoot at White Tank Mountains Arizona

Megan is a very near and dear friend to me. Recently she relocated to Phoenix for a better job for her husband so I decided I was going to go visit. How could I not visit without capture her and her adorable 4 kids. Gabe, Audra, Maxwell, and Ella. All of them are amazing kids and rather hilarious. 

Megan & I became friends when she won a contest I did for my photography business and we were instant friends. We then continued to bond or motherhood, wifehood, and just life. Megan has such a beautiful heart and I really enjoyed spending the weekend with her and her crew. 

Can't wait to go back Megan <3

St. Charles Family Photographer/St. Charles Photographer/Amber, Travis, Kenz & Landon - Quail Ridge Park

The Irvin Family has always been a great joy to capture. Quail Ridge Park in Wentzville has been amazing this season, I absolutely love shooting there. I honestly can not believe how grown up and beautiful Miss Kenzie is, I think I first took her pictures when she was 7 or 8! Landon is an such a ham. I always know he is going to make me laugh during our session. This family always does amazing things in front of the camera that it makes my job that much more fun. Plus I think Amber needs to become my personal stylist. Her outfit choices are always so so good!

Irvins I hope you have an amazing holiday season & I can't wait to see you next year!

St. Louis Senior Photographer/St. Charles Senior Photographer/Christian Senior Session at St. Louis Arch

I hadn't been down to the arch grounds in a few years. I was delighted when Christian decided to shoot his session down there. When his Mom mentioned he was a soccer player and wanted some trick shots, I was so pumped! Senior's these days are just amazing. Christian was so pleasant to work with and really did amazing in front of the camera. Especially for him saying he wasn't very photogenic. I mean, look at this guy! Christian is looking forward to hopefully starting college in Colorado in the fall. 

Thank you Christian for hanging out with me and I hope you love the remainder of your senior year!

 

St. Charles Photographer/Columbia maternity Photographer/Chloe at Rock Bridge Memorial Park

Chloe is an amazing lady. I met her on a business trip to Kansas City. She was running the hotel's front desk and we immediately hit it off. Friendship at first sight! We have stayed connected through Facebook and when she messaged me sharing the big news I was over the moon excited for her. We decided to meet half way at the gorgeous Rock Bridge Memorial Park in Columbia Missouri. The fall colors here were STUNNING! Chloe did amazing picking out her outfits too. 

During the session I realized I had not laughed that much in SO long. It really reminded me why I keep the friends I do. I absolutely can not wait to meet Mr. Carter in January. Chloe is going to be a rockstar Mama and I can't wait to meet Dad who unfortunately was on the road when we shot these. 

Thank you Chloe for trusting me to shoot these for you and I really can't wait to meet the new addition!

St. Charles Photographer/St.Charles Family Photographer/Ellie turns 2

Miss Ellie is one of the cutest tiny humans on the planet. She was a little shy at first with me and then before I knew it she was jumping on the bed and dancing for me. It is incredible to think little miss is 2 now and going to be a big sister! Ellie is going to be amazing at reading books and teaching her little sister to jump and dance! Thank you Remiger family for welcoming me into your home to capture Ellie turning two. I loved the in home session while she played in her room. I can't wait to meet the new addition to your family.

St. Charles Family Photographer/St. Louis Family Photographer/Jogerst Family Quail Ridge Park

The Jogerst family is getting ready to go from a family of 3 to a family of 4 weighing heavy on the boy side. That's right, Another baby brother is due in February! We were worried we were going to get rained out, but for the 30minutes we met up for, it was the most gorgeous sky the whole time. We even started to sweat a bit! So thankful Mother Nature held out! 

Isn't Nick's smile the best?

 

St. Charles Family Photographer/St. Louis Family Photographer/Happy Halloween

This year for Halloween the costumes where so good, I hooked up my camera to get some shots. Halloween is my favorite. I love the colors of Halloween and fall. The reds, purples, blacks, and oranges, together they are all just so pretty. 

My husband help make his oldest costume an Elvin Warrior. He made the bow and the outfit accessories with the pants. My love is one creative man! I had a lot of fun last minute making Parker's because he left his at his Dad's. I also did his make-up! Parker really got into being a zombie, but immediately washed his face when we got home HAHAHAHA. 

My Facebook feed is always the best on Halloween. My friends are so creative. I even got to head Parker's classroom party this year. Each year the kids get to parade around the school in their costume! I LOVE IT!! This year my favorite has to be the 5th grader that came as Donald Trump. Kids are hilarious. 

So here's a fun blog of my family life because it's been a minute since I reminded myself why I really do this job.