Over the years, we’ve had the joy of receiving wedding photos from the thousands of brides we’ve worked with. Through this, we’ve learned the importance of hiring a wedding photographer who is not only incredibly talented, but also makes you feel comfortable on your wedding day. We sat down with the amazing Tamara Gruner to discuss some common questions we receive from brides about photography.
LWD: How far in advance of the wedding should brides select a photographer?
Tamara: I recommend 9-12 months in advance. Wedding photographers can only book one wedding per day. The most popular dates can be booked up to a year in advance, so if you have your heart set on someone specific or you want more options to choose from, start earlier in the planning process than later. Also, when you select your photographer 12 months in advance you will have enough time to schedule your engagement session in the season you wish to.
LWD: What should couples be looking for in a photographer during their search?
There are 3 important things:
1) The style of photography: I am putting style first because the only things left at the end of your wedding are the pictures (and maybe a video). You need to make sure you love your photographer’s style of photography. When you look back 10 years from now, you still want to love your imagery.
2) The personality of the photographer: It’s always a plus if you ‘click’ after the first few conversations. Your photographer will spend the whole day with you and you want to ensure you’ll feel comfortable around each other.
3) Pricing of the art: If you love the photography style and his or her personality, you’ll know your photographer is worth their pricing.
LWD: What kind of questions do you ask couples when you start the consultation process?
Tamara: The most important things for me to learn are your priorities. It’s my client’s big day, not mine, so I want to know what they feel is most important to capture. I also want to know where they’re at in the decision-making process. Most wedding decisions take time to make. I want to be there for them with quick and helpful information, but I also don’t want to seem too overbearing if they’re not ready to talk about certain things, yet. Lastly, I want to know more about their vision for the wedding experience. What’s the look and feel? What do they want their guests to remember? What are they most excited about for their big day?
LWD: What are your favorite types of weddings to photograph?
Tamara: Weddings are about love! I love any wedding with a couple that’s totally in love with each other. I love when the ceremonies are off-script and personalized to the couple rather than too generic. Of course, I love outdoor weddings, especially with a mountain backdrop, because it makes everything feel so wondrous with possibilities for their love.
LWD: Do you have a favorite moment to photograph during the wedding?
Tamara: I love to shoot moments right after you said ‘I do’. The recessional is the happiest and most natural moment. In addition, I love the shooting getting ready and couples photos. My couples love to hire me for that reason. They worked hard for the details and I’m there to capture every last one of them.
LWD: Do you recommend first looks? Why/why not?
Tamara: I love first looks! It gives the couple and the wedding party time to enjoy the cocktail hour and reception after the ceremony. I prefer to get all the important shots done before the ceremony, that way the couple can go right into their party and enjoy themselves. I will only pull them out one more time for sunset images when the light is soft. These images often turn out the best.
LWD: What should couples consider when choosing their venue, wedding dress, and décor when it comes to getting the best photographs of their wedding?
Tamara: The weddings I photograph are a reflection of the couple’s personal style and priorities. I want to see what they love in life represented in their choices throughout the wedding. The best wedding images reflect and interpret the story the couple chooses to tell. Like all good stories, it’s got to be consistent and cohesive in its elements.
LWD: What is your general price range?
Tamara: I do customize my photography packages to my couples’ needs since every couple is unique in their approach to wedding photography. My pricing currently starts at $4,600, and goes up to over $10,000 depending on how much time is needed, how many photographers are needed, and if there are any travel requirements. Most of my couples spend between $6,000 to $8,000.
LWD: Do you offer options to print your photos after the wedding?
Tamara: Yes, I do offer multiple print options. One of the best parts of film photography is the way it translates to a printed medium in a way that digital doesn’t. I recommend my couples print an album with their favorites. Holding the album and flipping through the images is something that can’t be replaced with a phone and thumb-swipe.
LWD: Is there anything else you’d like couples to know about wedding photography?
Tamara: Think beyond trends. Choose a wedding photographer who is timeless and classic. When you look back years later, your images will still resonate with you. You should feel joy, not regret, when you look back on your wedding.