Annie Steele Photography » Wedding Photography, Chicago, Illinois

How To Choose The Right Wedding Photographer

There are so many things that come into play when planning a Wedding.  Not just any wedding, but yours.  The one that you only plan on planning once, the one that you have dreamed about since you met the one, and the one that is supposed to be a celebration and true reflection of you and the love you have for each other.  Some how you are supposed to plan an event with vendors that are supposed to match your style and dare I say… budget.  Getting started maybe the most exciting and stressful, but I can assure you, everything will fall in to place if you prioritize and go in the order of importance when planning.

Recently, I met with a Bride who did just that.  She and her fiancé looked for venues that combined both of their personalities.  She described herself as very social and lover of all things industrial and rustic; and he just the opposite, being more reserved and traditional.  They spent months looking for venues that combined their styles, fit their budget, and offered exactly what they were looking for.  Mission accomplished, and that is when they moved to the next important aspect in planning the Wedding: Photography.

This first Blog post in the series of PLANNING YOUR WEDDING, is geared towards anyone who will be or is looking for a Wedding Photographer.  First off, I don’t believe I am the right Photographer for everyone.  And, perhaps, every couple getting married is not the right couple for me to photograph.  But, photographing dozens and dozens of Weddings over the past several years, I can give you some insight on how to choose the right Wedding Photographer for YOU.

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(The lovely, Jen + Jimmy at Salvage One, Chicago)

1. STYLE.  The best way to familiarize yourself with what you want in your Wedding Day Photography, is to pay close attention to what pictures you are drawn to.  As a Photographer, I tell my clients not to pay attention to the exact poses they find, but rather the style.  Are they more traditional, are they the ones that look like they are straight out of a magazine (editorial), and/or does the entire collection you are viewing, tell a story (photojournalism)?  It could be one, a combination of two, or all three of these styles.  Professionally and personally, I believe all three styles are important in telling your Wedding Day story, and ultimately love.  Once you recognize which style is yours, start looking for the Photographer who illustrates this consistently through their pictures.  I believe your Wedding Day photography should capture the true essence of who you are as individuals and as a couple, and be able to tell your story timelessly for generations to cherish.

2.  MEET FOR COFFEE.  While everyone doesn’t like coffee (sadly, insert my husband); it is important to meet the Photographer.  A Photographer that took beautiful pictures of your best friends Wedding, may not be the right Photographer for you.  Meet over hot drinks or cold drinks to talk about your day (trust me, we as Photographers want to hear all about the beautiful day you envision because we like photographing beautiful things).  This is also a great opportunity to ask the Photographer any questions you have.  Pay close attention to their answers, their experience, the information they give you, and even don’t give you.  Ask about changes in venue policies, cancellations, insurance, gear they use and if they have back-up equipment, and how many photographers will be capturing your day.  Make sure the conversation is comfortable, because this person will be among all your family and closest friends on one of the most important days of your life.

3.  IT IS ALL IN THE DETAILS.  As a creative, I thrive off of all the details that make a Wedding Day unique.  Some of my favorite things to photograph are the interactions, the candids, the unexpected tears, the emotions and all the details.  Last year, a past Bride was given her grandmother’s diamond earrings on her Wedding Day just before getting into her gown.  For a good five minutes, I spent every second ensuring I captured the perfect picture of these symbolic earrings that were going to be worn by the Bride walking down the aisle.  My hope was for the Bride to love the picture then, and cherish this sacred gift for the rest of her life.  If details are something important to you, make sure it is important for your Photographer, too.  On the Wedding Day, you should never have to worry if your Photographer is capturing the things that matter most to you.  Hire the right one, and trust it will be captured.

4.  WHAT IS INCLUDED.  When you meet with your Photographer, always make sure you know what is included in the collection pricing.  Never assume something is included, because it could turn out to be a very expensive assumption.  Taxes, how many pictures will you receive, how long will it take to receive your images, what if you need more coverage, etc.  It is alright to ask to see options, albums, examples of galleries, reviews.  From my experience, the more things they can show you, the more experience and consistency they have.

5.  AFTER THE LAST PIECE OF CAKE HAS BEEN EATEN.  After the last dance has been danced, and the day that has consumed your life for the past year is over; ask yourself how you want to remember your Wedding.  Besides the wonderful memories you will always have, what tangible memory do you have?   

We live in a digital age, and that is a wonderful thing.  Sort of.  You most likely you will have a USB or a DVD of all your pictures, but in ten years, we have no idea what technology will look like.  For this reason, the best way to ensure you have your images is to have them printed professionally (looking their best and what you paid for) and in professional Albums.  As Photographers, our goal is document your day, your style, and ultimately the love you share for each other.  We want you to look back and be able to relive this joyous day forever.

If you (or someone you know) are looking for a Wedding Photographer and interested in finding out more information about ASP Collections, please CONTACT Annie to receive 2014 pricing (for only a few more short weeks)!  For a limited time, Collections begin at $2,900 and include complete Wedding Day Coverage, 2 Photographers, all of the very best images saved as high resolution files, a storefront gallery, and a complimentary engagement session in the great city of Chicago.  

Annie Steele is a Chicago based Wedding and Destination Photographer. 

Thank you to the following Creative Team for allowing this amazing picture come together at a recent workshop with the wonderfully, fabulous Jasmine Star

VENUE | Salvage One

HAIR | Nicci Loiacono
MAKEUP | Megan Hauser
ACCESSORIES | Left Bank Jewelry
GOWN | Valentino from Belle Vie Bridal
TUXEDOS | Formally Modern Tuxedo
FLOWERS | A Stem Above

PHOTOGRAPHY | Annie Steele

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