The old saying “Take a picture, it’ll last longer” will never ring more true than on your wedding day. After months of fittings, tastings, and detailed planning, your special day will seem to come and go in the blink of an eye. But you can remember, relive, and cherish each moment through the magic of photography. Determine Your Style Wedding photography is more than just documenting the event – it’s about capturing the spirit of the couple and their day. Choose a photographer whose style matches you as a couple… Formal or traditional: Posed, color photos of you, the groom, your respective families, and the wedding party; classic moments (“Kiss the bride,” cake-cutting, first dance, etc.) will be captured. Photojournalistic: Shot like a news event, capturing hundreds of candid moments and real emotions; more black and white photos for a timeless feel. Artistic: Special effects (double exposures, hand tinting, borders, etc.) used to create dramatic, one-of-a-kind pieces of art. So which style is right for you? Think about what you want in the end: Frame-worthy shots of you and the groom? Oodles of heartfelt moments? An artistic piece to hang on the wall? Many photographers offer a mix of these styles, so browse friends’ wedding albums, surf professionals’ websites and blogs, and clip photos from magazines to find what speaks to you. Research photographers Once you’ve established your style, it’s time to shop around. Start by collecting referrals from friends, reviewing wedding resources like Premier Bride, attending bridal shows, and scoping out local photographers’ websites and blogs – and don’t forget to consider pricing. Make a short list of potential photographers that specialize in the style you desire and suit your budget. Then set up a phone or in-person consultation. Evaluate your options When at a photography consultation, ask yourself: Do you like their work? Make sure you see examples of individual photos and complete wedding albums so you know what to expect in the end. Some larger studios employ more than one photographer; find out exactly who will be shooting your wedding, and view their work, specifically. Do your personalities mesh? Of all your wedding vendors, the photographer is the one you’ll be working with most closely on your big day; it’s important that your personalities click. Can you talk freely about your vision and ideas for your pictures? Do you get a sense that this person will fit in nicely with you, your fiancé, and your wedding party? Are you staying within your budget? It’s extremely critical to have a price-point in mind before searching for and committing to a photographer. It’s disappointing to fall in love with a photographer’s work only to later discover their rates exceed your spending allowance. Do your best to meet only with photographers you can afford. Know what’s included in the package As you chat with photographers, it will help to know what’s usually included in wedding photography packages. Most photographers offer these elements “a la carte” or can create a custom package that meets your specific needs – don’t hesitate to ask. Generally, these items are included: Bride & Groom’s Album: These vary in size, color, construction quality, and price; be sure to compare the size and photo quantity that various photographers offer – and make sure you’re comparing apples-to-apples. Parents’ Albums: These are smaller versions of the bride & groom albums and will include prints that have been specially selected to create a custom photo book for each family. Prints: You will probably want to order more photos for framing and gifting than what would be given to you in the bride & groom and family albums. Don’t underestimate how many extra prints you might want, as this will definitely impact your budget. Proofs: Ask your photographer how many proofs you will get and in what format (small photos, digital disc, online gallery, etc.). Get the specifics At your consultations, learn the nitty gritty details. When is a deposit required? Do they shoot digitally or with film? Do they use a backup camera? What if your photographer falls ill or has a family emergency on the day of your wedding? When will proofs be ready to view? Will online ordering be available for your guests? Get a full list of questions to ask potential photographers in the Photography Planner at premierbride.com. Ask about the extras Proposal photos: If you’re the groom-to-be, hire a photographer to shoot the first step in your marriage – the proposal! Your bride will thank you later for capturing this magical moment. Engagement photos: Many photographers offer engagement shoots as part of the package. These photos are more laid-back and candid, so play up your personalities. Photobooth: These are one of the most popular trends in wedding photography. Opt for color or black and white prints and play with props like feather boas, hats, and mustaches – your family and friends will love it! Added bonus: Most photobooths print two sets of pictures. Guests can keep one as a souvenir and add the other to your guest book – you’ll end up with a collection of photos and scribbled well-wishes to enjoy for years to come! Fun photos: Wedding pictures don’t have to be just you and your bridesmaids all in a row – have some fun with it! Let your personality shine through. Do you and your fiancé love ice cream? Take pictures at your local creamery (just don’t spill on the dress!). Do you love board games? Spell out “LOVE” with scrabble pieces, using your engagement ring for the “O.” The bottom line: infuse your personalities wherever possible. Have family and friends who you definitely want photos with? Make a list; with the craziness of the day, it’s the only way you’ll remember to ask for a picture with Great Aunt Martha. All extras aside, we’ve rounded up some must-capture moments. Download our photography planner inside the Premier Bride Ultimate Planner for a great checklist of must-have photos. Share and add to this list with your photographer to ensure that no memorable moments are missing from your once-in-a-lifetime photos.