Given that one’s wedding is the biggest hostessing event of one’s life, it’s important to have photos that capture the very best of the wedding day. When I began my wedding blog, Bustle & Flow, I scoured hundreds of photographers’ websites before finding a handful of photographers who consistently deliver interesting, beautiful photographs. As soon as I found Lilia Ahner’s site, she and her partner (and husband!) Ray’s photography became some of my favorite. Lilia and Ray have an amazing ability to set up cool shots without ever seeming like they’re trying too hard. Their work has been featured in publications ranging from San Francisco Brides Magazine to The Wall Street Journal (read: they’re kind of a big deal). Here’s some advice from Lilia on finding a great photographer:
Most brides sort through a dizzying array of photos before they narrow down their list of photographers. What should they be looking for as they cull through photographers’ websites?
Style: Wedding blogs are an amazing inspiration resource. Take a look at a number of blogs, and bookmark the weddings which featured photography that you liked. You’ll start to notice that there is a common thread with the photography that resonates with you, and you’ll discover that you are drawn to a particular style of photography: fashion driven, formal/traditional, photojournalistic, fine art, or modern and edgy to name a few different styles. You can find local photographers in your area that match the style you like.
Consistency: Look to see if the photos on the photographer’s website and/or blog have a consistent style and level of quality.
Budget: Are they in your budget range?
What are the five most important questions a couple should ask in their preliminary conversation with a photographer?
- How long have you been in business photographing weddings?
- Are you able to customize a package for us based on our needs?
What will we receive with our package? A DVD with high-res photos? An album if it fits our budget?
- Can I see sample albums of complete weddings? If you’re not able to meet with the photographer in person, can you view a wedding proof gallery online?
- Do you have insurance?
As brides choose their dresses and flowers – any things that look good in person but don’t photograph well?
It’s our job to photograph everything and make it look good. Personally I don’t like to stifle a bride’s creativity by telling her that her choices wouldn’t photograph well. In terms of her dress, making sure that it fits her body type is essential. Also, having it tailored properly and making sure that it fits properly well in advance of her wedding is important. I have seen many dresses that do not flatter, or were too big or too small on the wedding day, despite being tailored.
There is lots of conversation on message boards and blogs about cutting corners and saving costs. If a bride needs to trim one element of her photography what should it be? What should she never compromise on?
If a couple is looking to trim their budget, they can ask their photographer to work with them in terms of the number of hours of coverage. Some photographers require a minimum of eight hours of coverage. We work with our clients budget to customize packages that fit their needs.
Be sure to check out Lilia and Ray’s full portfolio at