Three photographers dish on what you need to know before your first meeting.
amelia justin wedding couple in front of fountain

Once you've selected a wedding date and venue, the next to-do on your list will be booking your big-day vendors. Your photographer will likely be one of the first pros you lock in. To help you prepare for your first meetings with prospective photographers, we asked the professionals what they think all couples should know. Armed with their advice, you'll feel confident as you dive into these important conversations. To make things even easier, they're sharing the lingo you need to know, too.

Mary Angelini, a destination wedding filmmaker with Key Moment Films, says the most important thing to know before that first meeting is the wedding date. "We are not able to check availability until you have your venue selected and reserved for a specific date. We see some couples inquire with a few tentative dates, asking us which dates we are available for. This can be a great way to make sure you get your first choice of photographer, as popular dates book up quickly," she says. As for the lingo she suggests all couples understand? Photography styles. A natural light photographer means that your photographer does their best work outdoors. This will be best for couples who are having an outdoor ceremony. A film photographer means the photographer shoots on film for all or part of the day. Some photographers shoot a hybrid with both a digital and film camera. It creates a nostalgic type ascetic for some. This type of photography has more costs associated with the film and developing process.

Amy Kolodziej, owner of Sunshower Photography, says you should have a rough idea of the number of guests you will be inviting. "It is always helpful to know an approximate guest count and logistics of the day to ensure that you and the photographer are on the same page when discussing how much coverage they need to quote you for on the wedding day," she explains. The one term her couples get most confused by? Coverage. "It means the hours of photography services needed to fully document the day's events," she says.

Wedding photographer Kaysha Weiner says you should go into every meeting with a clear vision for your wedding day. "You may be planning a formal black-tie affair, casual backyard BBQ, or intimate mountainside elopement. These are all very different events, so knowing this info will help guide your decision making when it comes to choosing the right photographer for your celebration," she says. As for the lingo you need to get comfortable with, Weiner says it's "lead photographer" and "second shooter"—specifically, the differences between each. "A main or lead photographer is the one you hired to photograph your wedding day, where a second shooter is the one the photographer hired to help them—and differs from an assistant, who is there to carry bags and light stands," she explains.


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