Engaged couples, magazines, corporations, professionals seeking headshots, and parents of newborns all rave about Connecticut photographer Carrie Patterson of Carrie Draghi Photography. I interviewed Carrie on a recent episode of Weddings with Zita. You can watch it on Youtube.com/ZitaTVNetwork. It's episode 27. Here are a few take-aways.
There's a certain intimacy that is created when you work with your wedding photographer. He or she will spend a lot of time with you in various stages of undress and, equally important, various expressions of emotion. You need to trust your photographer.
You need to feel comfortable with your photographer's personality. She might have a great reputation for her work but if she talks to you like a drill sergeant to a new recruit, you could have a problem. A good way to find out is to book an engagement session.
The hallmark of a professional photographer is her ability to work with light. Look at her portfolio. Can she capture beautiful shots at all times of the day or night? Is there a notable creative element to her shots? Do you look at her work and ask: How did she do that? (Be sure to see the black and white shot of the groom and his groomsmen outside smoking cigars!)
Has she worked at your venue? Does she know their best photo op locations? And does she understand their timeline?
Does she offer the option of a second shooter? Think about it. Not even the best of the best can be in two places at one time. If she's with you on the morning of the wedding, capturing those tender moments with you and your mom, who is capturing those mirrored moments with your fiance? At the ceremony, if her camera is focused on you when you make your vows, who is getting shots of your guests when they wipe a tear?
Every photographer has a style. Most of today's couples say they want candid shots, not formal shots. Carrie understands the value of both. Carrie said, “We love to spend time on the candids, the creative, the fun. But it's important to have those ‘formal' family portrait shots, too. A wedding is the documentation of two families joining together. And sometimes it's the last time this group will be in the same place. We often get calls years after the wedding: ‘Do you still have that shot of me with my grandma?' Yes, we usually do.”
When should you book your wedding photographer? Well, if you want an award-winning pro like Carrie, plan on at least a year in advance. For prime dates in wedding season, plan on 18 months to 2 years in advance.
What about after the wedding? There are advantages to having a family photographer. You'll feel comfortable with having her photograph your new baby and take more shots as your family grows.
Above all, as you calculate your wedding budget, remember that wedding photos aren't just for you. They're a legacy of love for your parents, your children and your grandchildren. Yes, you can save money by asking a friend to take some shots for you but unless that friend is a professional photographer, you won't get the shots you really want. I say that from personal experience. Remember: There's no do-over.
Carrie and I talked about a lot of other aspects of wedding photography so be sure to watch the interview on YouTube: Weddings with Zita.
You can find Carrie at CDraghiPhoto.com
What advice would you give to engaged couples who haven't yet booked their photographer? I'd love to share it on a future blog post. You can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
In the meantime, remember that happiness in a marriage is co-created. Remember to do your part!