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Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer

With engagement season in full swing, many brides and grooms are busy making their way through that big wedding checklist. Between setting the date and choosing a venue, one of the most important decisions they will also make is selecting a wedding photographer. With that in mind, we caught up with one of Houston’s top wedding photographers, Jonathan Ivy Photography, to get a veteran’s view on making the most of your wedding day images.

Where should couples begin when searching for a wedding photographer?

Try to get a referral from a friend. These are typically the most reliable. If you’re searching from out of town and don’t have access to locals, I recommend first finding a style you like, then check for a budget match and then pursue reviews. Reviews from websites like WeddingWire.com, TheKnot.com and others will help you find quality Houston wedding photographers. Do note that a lot of websites allow you to buy your way to the top and/or hide bad reviews so make sure you check multiple websites for reviews.

What's the biggest mistake couples make when selecting a wedding photographer?

Letting Pinterest get in the way! Pinterest is our friend, it does help us see and create beautiful things, however if you take one or two of the best photos from every wedding and place them all together in hopes of having them all recreated, you will be disappointed. This is your wedding! Don’t stress yourself (and your photographer) out attempting to recreate all these events when you could be making your own. Our advice is to create a Pinterest board, share it so that your photographer will be able to get inside your head and understand what you love, but then delete it the day after the wedding and spend your time enjoying your photos, your memories and your creativity that you captured!

What tips would you give a couple to really get the best photos from their wedding day?

If the sun is setting early, do a first look. If you have more than 100 guests, splurge on a second photographer. Don’t create a look for yourself on wedding day that isn’t normally you. Allow for time buffers because if something goes wrong, your photos are typically the first thing to get cut and they are the only thing that last for forever. Hire a wedding planner because if we, as photographers, have to spend our time gathering people, ensuring a schedule is being met, calling the shots at the reception, we are not focusing exclusively on what you hired us to do. One hundred percent of the time our brides with wedding planners get better, more beautiful images and more of them.

It's hard to know what you don't know until it's too late. What questions should couples ask that most forget to broach with their photographer?

If you have any friends who have recently been married, sit them down and ask them this question. They will save you some time and heartache! Also to note, here is another place a wedding planner is gold. Their full time job is to make sure in hindsight you have zero regrets. We recommend that couples ask to see full engagements, bridals and weddings, not just the best of images. Request to see all three from two to three couples. I know a lot of photographers who can capture stunning portraits, but your wedding photos will suffer, they are good when they can control everything but when they have to shoot on the fly, they can’t pull it off.

So often couples try and cut wedding costs by having a relative or inexpensive photographer do the work, why is this a bad idea?

Your photos last forever. They will out last you! So although photos in that moment might not be on your priority list, I can guarantee you someone down the line, your kids or your kid’s kids will see them as important and, if you haven’t done your due diligence to find a good photographer, you all will feel the effects of this. This is your wedding, one of the biggest moments in your life. It’s an awesome time to preserve memories for yourself and others. Once the cake is eaten and the flowers have died and the dress is in the box, you will be left with nothing but your photos and video to remind you of your big day.  So please, allocate accordingly.

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