Congratulations! You're getting married.

What's next?

The way I see it, there are many decisions to make when planning a wedding. From venues, the dress, color scheme, flowers, food, and everything else, you are going to be making a lot of choices between now and up until you say, “I do.” Hey… at least you already agreed to that, right? Check it off your list! Taking on these decisions may seem daunting (it is) and you’ll most likely discover things about a wedding that you have never thought of before.

Engagement couple stands on rock in front of Columbia River in Oregon

1: How Far In Advance Should I Book My Wedding?

The majority of weddings are booked by the bride and groom around 10-12 months out from their wedding date. In the Northwest, the most popular months for weddings are May through September; the most common day of the week being Saturday. Dates during the these summer months are typically booked 12 months in advance. Inquiring about wedding photography and mentioning the date you’re getting married does not guarantee the date for you. It is quite common to receive multiple inquiries for the same date by multiple people. As a general rule, I will not book weddings further than 18 months in the future.

Wedding details set atop an oak barrel

2: When Should I Book MY Wedding Photographer?

The general rule is to book your wedding photographer soon after securing the wedding / receptions venues and wedding date. These are typically the first two things booked. Once you have those taken care of, you and I can book the wedding photography together.

jewish groom kisses bride on cheek after wedding ceremony

3: How Many Hours of Coverage Do I Need For My Wedding?

Before deciding on what length of coverage you would like for your wedding, consider these things:

  • Where are you getting ready vs. where is the ceremony and reception?
  • Is the groom getting ready in the same location or somewhere else?
  • How large is the wedding ceremony and reception properties?
  • What is the size of your bridal party?
  • How many wedding guests will you have?
  • How large are your families?
  • What style and how many family portraits would you like?
  • What is the length of the ceremony going to be?
  • Are you okay risking NOT having something photographed (getting ready, wedding venue, reception, etc.)?

The amount of coverage you need for your wedding depends on quite a few variables. My experiences are designed to capture the story of your wedding day depending on how large it is. It typically begins with you getting ready and draws to a finish with your Grand Exit from the reception (or after party anyone???). Though I offer smaller experiences designed for elopements or an intimate wedding at one location, I always recommend at least 7 hours (at minimum) for wedding photography.

a videographer holds their camera during a wedding

4: How Does Hiring a Videographer Impact Photography?

Wedding films are incredible. I used to offer film services myself, but have now chosen to dedicate my profession to still photography. There is something so beautiful in having your wedding day preserved in both still photography as well as video. 

If you do plan on adding a videographer to be part of your wedding day, I highly recommend budgeting more time in your photography timeline to ensure you don’t feel rushed. The reality is that both are stunning ways to remember your wedding, but each requires time to get the necessary shots.  

Throughout the day, both the videographer and myself will be able to shoot together in tandem (examples: candid photography, ceremony, etc). However, there are going to be times where we will need to independently capture our own shots. Sometimes it is necessary to split the photographer and videographer up to “divide and conquor” - I’ll work with the bridal group while the videographer works with the groom and his best men. Then we’ll flip. Though this is an efficient use of time, it always takes longer when we add more people. It’s not impossible. It’s always worth it. But it’s important to stress that we need to make sure more time is budgeted for a videographer.

You’ll also want to make sure that the videographer’s style is compatible with your photographer. This is a great thing to discuss with both of them pre-booking. There are several incredible videographers I love working with and am more than happy to provide recommendations if you’d like.

a bride walks hand-in-hand with her bridesmaids as they all smile

5: Are Digital Images Included?

All of my wedding experiences include high resolution digital images along with a print release form. The digital images will be delivered via an online gallery and available for download. I host the photographs online for at least 6 months, but may be removed after that so you’ll want to ensure they are downloaded before the time expires. 

The online gallery will include two options for downloading:

  • High resolution which are perfect for large format printing (ie. big canvases, metal, etc.) Consider these your master files… the most important ones. They’re perfect for printing since the files have so much data, but they are not good for sharing via email on posting online.
  • Web Size which are reformatted to share on your social media. These files take up much less space, look good on a screen, but are not to be used for printing since. Though it isn’t required, I am always thankful for a photographer credit / tag whenever you share via social media.
  • Instagram: @MOTphotography
  • Facebook: @MOTphotos

All of the images taken during your wedding will be professionally edited so they’re ready to print / share. Because every wedding is different, I don’t guarantee a minimum number images. Most galleries include somewhere around 500-1000 images, including some images being edited in black and white as well.

gallery view example of wedding photography

6: How Long After My Wedding Will I Receive My Online Gallery?

I’ll do my best do deliver your finalized wedding photography approximately six weeks after your wedding. Though never guaranteed, I will do my best to deliver the photography earlier if possible. There are many factors that impact the timeline so keep in mind weddings that occur during peak wedding season will take a longer time to deliver.

a man kisses his fiancé on the cheek as she happily laughs

7: Can I Add an Engagement Session to My Wedding Experience?

I’ve got a surprise - an engagement sessions is included with all of my wedding experiences! It is my gift to all couples who book with me! Gifting this to you gives us an opportunity to work together before your wedding and helps us build our relationship. Taking advantage of the complimentary engagement session makes a big difference: you’ll have experience being photographed by me and I’ll get to know you both better. The better I know you two, the more authentic and timeless the wedding photography will feel.

The engagement session is a gift and may not be substituted for another session or extra hour of coverage on your wedding day. I choose to gift this to you for one very important reason: engagement sessions are a way for us to get to know one another before the big day. You’ll see my personality shine as I will yours. The more we know each other, the better I’ll be able to deliver you the absolute best wedding day photography… and it will truly shine.

But what if you’ve already had an engagement session? No problem. I still recommend we get together and you take advantage of this complimentary engagement session. It still includes all the same perks mentioned above PLUS who doesn’t love having more portraits to choose from?

a bride smiles looking over her shoulder during her first look

8: Do You Recommend Sharing a First Look on The Wedding Day?

Just like with most decisions in life, there are strengths and drawbacks to doing a first look on your wedding day. There are many things to consider when making this decision and it can only be made by you two. Below are some of the things to take into account before deciding on a first look.

On one hand, enjoying a first look will immediately settle the nerves - it gets the jitters out of the way before you walk down the aisle in front of all your guests. Enjoying a first look provides you both a private moment together which can be a wonderful experience especially on your wedding day… a day where you’ll be surrounded by adoring family and friends. Doing a first look also helps get you to your reception sooner where you can enjoy time with guests. Doing a first look also ensures more photographs of just the two of you. On average, you’ll receive around 40% more portraits of the bride and groom than if there is no first look.

On the other hand, not doing a first look can build up the excitement (and it shows) until the very moment the bride walks down the aisle and the groom sees her for the first time. Going this route provides an opportunity for everyone (guests, wedding party, and of course the bride) to eye the groom and see his face as the bride walks towards him. Just because you chose not to do a first look doesn’t mean we can’t get terrific couples photography: I always recommend a private session after the ceremony (typically around sunset) where I pull the bride and groom aside for an intimate session. This can give you an opportunity to breathe and enjoy one another away from your guests.

cameras hang at the side of a photographer's hips

9: What Is a Second Photographer? What is Their Role?

A second photographer is a valuable addition to your wedding photography team, enhancing the storytelling and ensuring no moment is missed. Their role is to capture still images from different angles and perspectives, providing a richer, more immersive narrative of your special day.

One significant advantage of having a second photographer is during the Getting Ready portion of the day. While I focus on the bridal party, the second shooter can be with the groom and groomsmen, capturing their preparations. This ensures we document the excitement and emotions in both locations.

Another critical moment is the setup of the ceremony site before guests arrive. While I’m busy capturing the final moments with the wedding party, the second photographer can document the beautifully arranged venue in its pristine state.

As the bride walks down the aisle, I will be focused on her. Meanwhile, the second shooter can capture the groom’s reaction, a moment that adds depth to your wedding story and is difficult to capture with just one photographer.

Additional instances where a second photographer proves invaluable include:

  • Wedding party and family portraits, capturing candid moments and assisting with organizing groups.
  • The cocktail party, where more spontaneous and relaxed moments happen.
  • Private portrait sessions of the bride and groom, offering diverse angles and styles.
  • Capturing both the bride and groom’s reactions during the First Look.

Moreover, having a second photographer acts as an extra layer of security. Typically, they travel separately to the wedding venue. In the unlikely event that something happens to the main photographer, the second shooter ensures that photography coverage continues uninterrupted.

Each photographer brings a unique style and perspective, enriching your wedding album with varied lighting, angles, and artistic interpretations. The second photographer might be an aspiring professional building their portfolio or a seasoned photographer adding new experiences. I collaborate with a network of reliable professionals, selecting the best available talent for your wedding.

By including a second photographer, you’re investing in a comprehensive and dynamic visual story of your wedding day, ensuring every precious moment is beautifully captured.

wedding guests celebrate while dancing on the dance floor

10: How Does The Photographer Help Me Prepare For The Wedding?

Your wedding photographer can be an invaluable resource in planning the day’s timeline, suggesting photo opportunities, and helping to coordinate the day's flow. I'm here to offer tips and recommendations that will ensure we capture every heartfelt moment. And beyond this, I'm here to support you throughout your wedding journey. I've worked with hundreds of clients who have all gone through what you're experiencing and I can draw upon years of experience. I'm not only here to be your photographer, but also act a sounding board, listen to your trials and tribulations, develop backup plans, be your hype-man, and so much more.

a wedding groom kisses his bride on her cheek as she smiles

Frequently Asked Questions About Wedding Photography

Q: Should I provide a shot list to my wedding photographer?

A: I highly recommend it and in fact this is part of what we will work on leading up to your wedding date. A shot list can be very helpful, especially for key family photos or specific moments you want captured. However, trust my expertise to capture the essence of the day without needing to micromanage each shot. 'Cause come on... you'll have better things to do on your big day! :)

Q: What happens if my wedding photographer is ill on my wedding day?

A: Professional photographers typically have contingency plans for such scenarios, which include qualified replacements ready to step in should the unexpected happen.

Q: Can I request certain styles of post-processing for my wedding photos?

A: Many photographers are flexible and can adjust their post-processing style to suit your preferences within reason. I highly recommend you look over my portfolio (and any other photographer you're considering) to see if my general photography style is what you love. Feel free to chat with me in advance to ensure I can accommodate your aesthetic wishes. By understanding these key aspects of wedding photography, you can ensure that your wedding memories are captured perfectly, reflecting the beauty and uniqueness of your special day.

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