Congratulations on your recent engagement! What an exciting time for you to be planning a wedding. One of the most important wedding planning decisions you will make is hiring your wedding photographer. Here are three tips for hiring your perfect photographer! 

1) Hire someone with real wedding experience. There is a difference between styled shoots, workshops and real weddings. Styled shoots and workshops are beautiful and believe me, I love to photograph a beautiful shoot. However, those types of shoots are not always a good representation of what it's like to shoot a real wedding. The pace, the emotion, the timing are all different on real wedding days (in fact all of these things can vary from wedding to wedding as well). A good question to ask: Is your potential photographer's portfolio full of only images from styled shoots or does it include real weddings too? Don't be afraid to ask potential photographers how many real weddings they've shot and how long they have been shooting weddings. 

2) Ask to see full wedding galleries. This goes along with tip 1. Don't be afraid to ask this. After all, you are investing thousands of dollars into wedding photography, you want a realistic idea of the final product you will receive but it will also show you how your photographer handles differing lighting situations. Almost every wedding requires your photographer to shoot in low-light at some point (hello night time reception photos), so make sure they are well-equipped to shoot in a variety of lighting conditions. Some questions to ask yourself: Is there consistency in editing from image to image in the gallery (i.e. consistency in skin tones, warmth, and contrast)? Does the photographer pay attention to detail (i.e. all bridesmaids' eyes open in group shots, all images in focus, etc).

3) Hire a photographer who you like and whose work you love. Even though this is tip 3, it may be the most important. Photography is an intimate and emotional experience, you want to work with a photographer who you genuinely like, after all this person is beside you on your wedding day as much as your groom and maid of honor. If you are out of state or planning from a distance, a phone call or Skype call are great ways to connect. Secondly, know what kind of photography you love. Are you drawn to dark and moody images or do you like fresh and light film photography? Do you like the emotion and spontaneity of photojournalism, or a highly styled fine art approach? I'm a firm believer that photography is a niche service and not every photography style fits every wedding. So, determine your preferred style and book someone who fits that style. 

Thanks for checking out these tips. If you have any more questions about wedding photography or would like to talk more about your wedding day, I would love to chat. My name is Samantha, I'm a Michigan-based film photographer and available worldwide. I am currently booking 2019 and 2020 weddings, feel free to inquire today about my availability and offerings. Happy planning! 

Floral // A.R. Pontius