Capturing photos from your wedding day should be easy: You look beautiful, you’re happily in love, and the Twin Cities is filled with picturesque locales to serve as a scenic backdrop for you and your groom. But finding a photographer that you connect with who can also deliver images that warrant one-word phrases of praise is easier said than done. “It’s important to hire someone you could see yourself spending a day with,” says Jason Thon, co-owner of Staja Studios. “Your photographer is the person you’re going to be around the most on your wedding day. You may see your photographer more than your fiancé.”
The first step in finding the right photographer is to set up a variety of face-to-face meetings. While the images on the photographer’s website are a good place to start, be sure to check out more pictures in person. “Ask him or her for recent, full wedding samples,” says Katie Fears of Brio Art. “That’s what the bride and groom can expect to see from their wedding day.” Couples should also make note of the photographer’s style and technical abilities. If you’re drawn to a photojournalistic approach as opposed to the traditional technique, share your preferences and bring pages from magazines that you like. Bring pictures you don’t like as well to clarify your expectations.
Once you know you’ve found the one (for the second time), make a deposit. “Most of my clients book 10 to 13 months in advance, right after they book their venue,” Fears says. Also schedule an engagement shoot so you, your groom, and your photographer can spend some quality time together before the wedding. If smooching in public isn’t your style, use this opportunity to test-drive your on-camera persona and test the waters with your photographer. “The engagement shoot is a huge opportunity for a photographer to get to know the couple,” says Fears. Pick venues, poses, and outfits that represent you as a couple. “Don’t be too matchy,” says Stephany Wieland of EyeSpy Photography. “Everything should blend well together. Details such as jewelry, a hat, tie, or cool shoes pull it all together.”
And once you survive a trial run of hugs and hand-holding in front of the lens, reconnect with your photographer to debrief. “When we get the engagement photos back, we can figure out what the couple likes best,” says Fears. “That way, on the wedding day, the focus can be on what worked really well during the engagement shoot.” And you can rest assured that those one-word exclamations will soon be in your future.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Forget the Stone Arch Bridge. Hit these hidden gems for your engagement photo op—the end result is sure to be fun, flirty, and frame-worthy.
Katie Fears, Brio Art
“The Arboretum and Minnehaha Falls are great greenery locations. If you want a more urban look, there’s a cool alley behind Joe’s Garage with cobblestone and brick.”
Jason Thon, Staja Studios
“There’s a field on Nicollet Island that looks really cool in May. The grass blooms and looks like fuzzy cattails all over. If you shoot near sunset, you get this glow around everything.”
Stephany Wieland, EyeSpy Photography
“Pick a destination that means something to you as a couple. I did a really cool shoot at the Pizza Farm in Stockholm, Wisconsin. The couple loves to go there and make pizza, so we set up a picnic with flowers.”