Choosing a Wedding Photographer

by | Jan 10, 2024 | Information, Wedding

How can I not begin this post about choosing a wedding photographer without a huge CONGRATULATIONS?!?!  What an amazing journey you have ahead of you!  I hope you have had a chance to celebrate before you’ve jumped into the wedding planning!  But now that you’re here, I’m excited to share with you some things to consider in choosing a wedding photographer for your beautiful day.  First, I’d love to highlight some general things to think about.  Then, of course, I’d love to tell you a little more about what you would get if you decided to choose me to capture the big day and why I include what I do in my wedding packages.

A wedding is such a profound day, a day you’ll remember for everyday of the rest of your lives.  And there are SO MANY decisions that have to be made leading up that one glorious day.  And if we’re honest, SO MANY expenses!!  But I do want to talk about why I think a photographer is one of the most important wedding day investments you’ll make.

A wedding photographer who knows what they are doing can make ANY wedding day look stunning..regardless of location, regardless of couple, regardless of budget spent on any other items for the wedding.  And a photographer that really doesn’t know what they are doing can take the most extravagant wedding and most Ken & Barbie-looking couple and make it all look much less beautiful than it really was.  Before you call me harsh, please give me a minute to share my heart and my experience…

I have heard too many stories of wedding pictures coming back not looking anything like what the couple had hoped.  I’ve had a mother of the bride sit in my office five years after her daughter’s wedding, crying about the quality of images from her daughter’s wedding when they went with a “friend of a friend” who had a nice camera.  I’ve read too many posts about photographers who lack of professionalism and follow-through, even to the point of couples getting ghosted after their weddings with no pictures at all.  I have even had people reach out after their wedding asking if I could fix the images another photographer took.

Wedding pictures should be beautiful and enjoyed for generations.  It is the one thing that will last–along with your spouse and your ring, of course–long after the wedding day is done.  I hope that whether or not you decide if I’m the best fit to photograph your wedding, this guide will help you in choosing who IS the best photographer for your big day.  So let’s get started!!


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Things to Consider

Style:  Oh, the number of photography styles out there seems to be endless!  But not all styles are timeless.  Light and airy, dark and moody, and true to color are just of the few styles around.  While you may or may not know these terms, my guess is there are some photographers whose work you are drawn to.  Take some time to think through what style you love, and whether or not that style will be timeless or a fad you may not love two decades from now.

As a wedding photographer, I lean more towards true to color, with boldness and vibrance where appropriate.  If a bride is getting ready in a beautiful, light-colored wedding suite, I want to capture the feel of that room.  If instead she is getting ready in a room with darker colors and woodwork, I go with the feel of that room.  So dreamy and airy?  Yes…if the environment calls for it.  Dark and dramatic?  Also yes…if the environment calls for it.  (And something to consider when choosing your venues as well!)

Pine Hollow Farms Wedding St. Louis Photographer

choosing a wedding photographer


Personality:  Your photographer will be with you a large chunk of your wedding day, so it’s important that he or she has a personality that can mesh with yours.  Add in, photographers also will be interacting quite a bit with your vendors, your wedding party, your family…and your grandma.  He or she will be with you while you’re getting ready and will be in all the behind-the-scenes activities throughout the day.  Photographers really see it all–the good, the bad, the ugly.  You’re going to want someone who not only rolls with it, but someone who knows how to flex, be trustworthy, and kind through it all.

As a mom of 7 kids…rolling with personalities is my jam!  I love to laugh and help and encourage my couples along the way.  I come prepared with everything we’ve worked out beforehand–timelines, equipment, and a suitcase of details that help in a pinch.  I am kindly directive when needed–can anyone say large group family pictures?  I know how to adjust timelines on the fly when hiccups arise, and you’ll probably think of my team as dear friends when we leave.  My heart is that you will look radiant in your images LONG after the wedding, and I will do everything I can to make that happen on your special day.

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choosing a wedding photographer

Professionalism:  In a time where just about everyone can get a “nice” camera, professionalism is KEY to wedding photography.  This is a day that no one can go back for a do-over.  Wedding photographers should not be the new kid on the block.  They should have proven systems and processes in place, consistent wedding galleries for you to see, and the equipment and knowledge to show up and follow through on a gorgeous gallery.

Professionalism is an integrity thing for me.  If I couldn’t pull this off, I wouldn’t want to photograph your wedding.

choosing a wedding photographer

Wedding Packages:  What packages or collections does the wedding photographer offer?  What is in the base pricing and what is additional?  Do they offer second photographers (and do they use consistent second photographers)? Do they include the full resolution images in their base packages?  Do they include editing?  Does the photographer offer professionally finished products?  Do they offer an engagement session?  Do they help with timelines?

All of those are yes for me.  I won’t go into it here, as I’d like to explain more what I offer and why below.

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Equipment:  Because wedding days can’t be repeated, having excellent equipment AND backup equipment is crucial.  I believe wedding photographers should not only have a camera and lens, but also have a backup camera with more than one lens.  They also need to have whatever lighting equipment is appropriate for all kinds of lighting scenarios.

As for my equipment, you might think I’m moving in when I show up to a wedding!  I always bring two camera bodies with me, if not three.  I have a camera suitcase full of lenses, on-camera flashes, and external flashes.  Add to that, I bring another suitcase full of things we use for detail images and mishaps and just about anything else you can think of!

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Education and Experience:  A wedding should not be a photographer’s first rodeo.  To capture weddings well, a photographer not only needs to be well equipped with the right gear, he or she should also be well-versed in posing, lighting, editing…just to name a few.  If you’re not very familiar with a photographer’s work, don’t hesitate to ask to see a couple of their full wedding galleries to get a sense of their consistency.  Often wedding photographers narrow down a few images from each wedding to showcase on their websites and social media, as they should.  Every wedding should have WOW images for the world to see!  But there is so much more in wedding galleries that people other than the bride and groom don’t see.  The family pictures, the candid getting ready pictures, the endless reception dancing pictures.  You’ll be able to get a better feel for what a photographer can deliver by seeing a full gallery.

choosing a wedding photographer

Budget:  This is a big one, isn’t it?   Believe me, I know that can feel very limiting for some couples and I really respect that.  If you have room in your budget to hire your dream photographer, do it in a heartbeat!  If you can make adjustments to your budget by spending less on other items and more on photography, I would strongly suggest that.  There are some items that are worth a little more expense, and there are some items that aren’t.  (I have some ideas for this in the wedding guide my couples receive.)   A good wedding photographer is worth the investment.

For me, I land in the middle of photographers on wedding photography pricing.  With the time and equipment, education and experience, quality assistant photographers and all the extras, I don’t land in the “budget pricing” category.  There are also photographers out there who are considerably more expensive than me as well.  At the end of the day, I want to deliver a stunning wedding gallery.  I want you to gush over your pictures now and have your children and grandchildren gushing over them in the years to come.  When I decided to start photographing weddings, I decided I would only photograph weddings if I could accomplish that–so I have developed a system and pricing to accomplish exactly that.

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choosing a wedding photographer

A Few More Things Specifically About My Wedding Packages

choosing a wedding photographer


Second Photographers–This is a BIG one for me.

Better Coverage:  A second photographer is a must in my book. It’s wonderful having another set of eyes to capture the creative images, the candid moments, and ALWAYS different angles of the biggest moments.  Having a second photographer gives me an immediate feedback loop, helps with all the gorgeous details, and can catch extra moments that are always a treasure to have in the gallery.

Knowing my second photographers:  The one way I might be different than a number of photographers is that I know my second photographers well, and I use the same people every time. I have an immediate pool of photographers 3 deep, with an extra 2 in my back pocket.  These gals have all worked with me since day ONE of my wedding photography business and know exactly what I want, have followed the education and training I value, and easily do a predictable dance with me on the wedding day.  They each bring their own strengths and perspectives, and I know what those strengths are so I can put them to maximum use.

It is not uncommon for wedding photographers to reach out in photography groups looking for second photographers for wedding days, which can mean not always knowing exactly what they are getting when another photographer responds.  I have seen enough posts in photography groups where main photographers are frustrated with the images their seconds end up producing.  The problem is, the wedding is over and they can’t go back to correct it.  I’m just not willing to take that risk.  I know when I go to upload my second photographer’s images from the day that I will always be thrilled with the results, their usable images always exceed my expectations.

My second photographers have become the sweetest friends.  I love having a wedding day pal that understands my heart for my couples, values what I value, has the BEST personality, and rolls with whatever the day throws our way.  You will love them as much as I do, I promise.  (And so will your grandma!)

Backup:  There is always the chance that equipment will malfunction, a moment will be missed, or the timeline gets thrown off.  Because there are two of us, we can back each other up when those things happen.  And they do happen.  But you probably will never know it when you have two photographers who work well together.

St. Louis Wedding Pictures

choosing a wedding photographer St. Louis

Limited Number of Weddings Each Year

There are a number of reasons why I take a limited number of weddings each year, probably fewer weddings than most other wedding photographers.

My personality:  I am a feeler.  I actually come to really adore each of my couples and their families.  I want to put the time and effort into each wedding that I would want for myself.  I am an unapologetic “overshooter” so I can spend the time looking for just the right expression, catch just the right emotion, and show everyone not only how your day looked, but also how it FELT.   I want to go the extra mile and have the time to edit each wedding gallery myself rather than outsource it.  I want to take those sunset “just married” images and then spend the time I need to artistically edit them so they can become artwork hanging in your home.  I don’t want to have my couples become just a number or their images to feel like just a copy and paste edit.  I could tell you about each of my couples and all the uniqueness and joy in each wedding, and I have gone on to photograph some of them as they have begun to have children of their own. Nothing makes me happier.

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More than weddings:  Some photographers only photograph one niche, some photographers photograph everything, and others fall anywhere in-between.   I absolutely LOVE everything about love and connection–which means weddings, families, seniors, and newborns for me!  It’s what I have been drawn to in my own life, and it’s what I love to capture with others.

choosing a wedding photographer St. Louis

choosing a wedding photographer

Image Quality and Number

Quality:  When you get into the fine print of wedding photographers, there can be a few differences.  One of the big ones is the image size/quality you are purchasing with your package.  Some photographers don’t include the full resolution edited images in their base packages, but allow you to purchase the full resolution images at an additional cost.  For my packages, you get the full resolution images in your gallery and don’t have to pay extra to have them that way.  Want to print that epic sunset shot on a billboard???  Go for it!!

Number:  Remember that whole chronic over shooter thing I mentioned earlier?  Yeah, let’s just say my wedding galleries are always HUGE.  Believe me, you’ll have PLENTY of images you’ll love!!  I’ve yet to have a bride come back to me and say she wished she had more!

choosing a wedding photographer

choosing a wedding photographer St. Louis

Complimentary Engagement Session

Many wedding photographers include this in their packages, and I am no different.  Here is the reason why:  Engagement sessions give us a chance to know each other so that taking pictures at your wedding feels easy-peasy.  Every couple is unique, and it makes it much better if I have a chance to get to know you and work with you before the big day.  Chances are, one or both of you may be a little nervous about being in front of the camera.  That is completely normal.  And it has also been my experience that couples leave their engagement sessions saying, “That actually was a lot of fun!”  During your engagement session, I not only get to know you, but I also get to see how you relate to each other, the poses that work wonderfully, and the ones that don’t.  Then when we go over your engagement pictures together, I learn what you love AND what you don’t.  All of this makes me a MUCH better photographer on your wedding day.

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Printed products is a big deal to me.  It doesn’t have to be to you, but it is important to know that I photograph every wedding, every family session, every EVERYTHING with artwork in mind.  I want your wedding day to actually be remembered in as beautiful of a way as possible, so I make sure I photograph epic images that could later be a stunning display in your home. When I got married, this was the only way we could enjoy our wedding pictures, as we didn’t have the digital capabilities that we do now.  I love that we now can scroll through pictures on our phones.  But I’m also a big believer in hanging those important pictures on your walls and putting them in albums so that you and the generations that follow you can enjoy them always.  Again, you don’t actually have to do all this, but your wedding gallery will be full of possibilities if you want to.

To do this well, to actually go from taking a digital image to printing it beautifully, does take some knowledge and access to the best print labs.  I’ve taken the time to get educated on this, and I’m EXTREMELY picky about the professional labs I use.  I have a number of stunning ways to display your wedding day portraits…albums, canvases, metals, and prints.  I have samples of all of them for you to see so you can choose what would display beautifully in your home.

choosing a wedding photographer St. Louis

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Save the Dates & Guest Books

Speaking of artwork, I include custom save-the-date cards in each of my wedding collections.  They look spectacular every time, and we will tailor your save-the-date cards just for you.  I love this part, and I think you will, too!   I also offer wedding guest books full of your engagement pictures with room for guests to sign their names with notes of encouragement.  This is extra, as not all brides want to go this route.  But it is a beautiful way to enjoy your guest book for years to come.

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choosing a wedding photographer St. Louis

Wedding Guide

When you book with me, I send you my custom wedding guide magazine to help you in your wedding planning.  Of course, I designed this guide to help you plan your day in such a way to get the stunning and emotive images you’re looking for.  It’s a fun and beautiful way to decrease your stress during the planning, and I can’t wait to get this gorgeous guide into each of my bride’s hands.

choosing a wedding photographer


You will notice in my packages a set number of hours of photography coverage with the option to add additional coverage if needed.  But here is a hint–you almost NEVER need additional coverage.  I am efficient with my time and yours, and I have reasons why most brides don’t usually need more coverage than eight or nine hours.  There are tips and tricks to keeping it within that eight to nine hour timeframe, and we’ll work together to get the perfect timeline for your day.

Aquila Barn Wedding Missouri Photographer

choosing a wedding photographer

That’s a Wrap!

And that should cover it!  If you’ve received this post because you’re interested in my team covering your wedding, I am excited to have my assistant, Erin, get in touch with you soon.  We can’t wait to learn more about the two of you and what you are envisioning for your wedding day!  Once Erin has had a chance to hear more details, she can go over our different wedding collections to see what might be the best fit for your day.  Erin has been an AMAZING assistant for me, as she has the perfect combination of organization, attention to detail, and beauty.  I can’t wait for you to chat with her!

On that note, I’ll sign off here.  Again, congratulations!!  And many blessings to you as you plan your beautiful wedding, and even more blessings to you in the years that follow.




choosing a wedding photographer


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