Angel’s Wedding Planning Diary: Finding the Perfect Photographer [Week 3]

In Angel's Corner

Using mood, drama, and light

I know, I know – we are supposed to look for a venue first, set our wedding date, and then take care of the rest. Since we’re still finalizing our guest list, I thought I could at least secure a few things in the mean time, like our photographer. Call me an anxious bride, but I just need to make some progress and move this wedding planning along! In order to find our perfect photographer, I will use Weddingful as our resource. There I will be able to research prices, packages, reviews, and photos.

Researching Vancouver Wedding Photographers
I started off going through our Vancouver wedding photographer list, along with each photographer’s photos, price ranges and popularity ranking based on their followers and how many brides booked them online. After viewing each profile, I found my five favourite photographers, based on style and prices. I quickly saved them to my favourites so I could later go back and narrow down the list.

Photo by James Looker Photography
Romantic engagement shoot

Narrowing Down The Options
After sharing the options with my fiance, we narrowed down to two of our favourites. I then messaged them both using Weddingful to communicate and ultimately narrow down to the final pick. In narrowing down to the two finalists, there were a few things we were looking for:

Style: A National Geographic’ style, meaning very visually stunning shots. For our engagement shots, I would love to use nature as the main backdrop. For my wedding shots, I kind of want Darren and I to just be a small focus in the photos. I am a bit camera shy, so I’m avoiding any type of close-up shots, can you tell? 🙂 Since Darren is an adrenaline junkie with a love of dirt-bikes, he also wants action-packed shot. Let’s see if we can find a photographer who can make both of us happy!

Lighting: Since we are planning to have an outdoor wedding, we look for photo samples that are taken at night. That probably means minimal lighting, and candle-lit lighting for the evening reception. We want to make sure the photographer can create light source on his/her own and on a whim, and is able to capture a stunning moment without worrying about lighting. We also looked for how they use light – whether it looks bright, light, and airy, or if they used light creatively to evoke mood and emotion.

Photo by James Looker Photography
Photography that evokes mood and emotion

Connecting With The Top Photographers
After sending out our initial messages to the photographers, now the “Connection Test” begins. Our first photographer didn’t quite get what we meant above, ‘what National Geography look? Your wedding is going to be at a Safari?’ Okay, maybe not. I definitely wanted a photographer who resonates with our vision. It did cause doubt in my mind though – are we wanting something exceptionally difficult?

Second photographer, James Looker, got back to us quickly and was really excited about our vision. I have worked with him before on Weddingful for other brides so I also knew he’s easy going, great to work with, and has exceptional attention to detail – all critical things for our perfect photographer. He fully understood our vision, and was totally onboard with our ideas and contributing his own. Fantastic!

Meet & Greet with the Photographer
Next, we had a quick weekend coffee meeting to see if we would be a “fit.” James brought along this big bag of albums, photos samples, and a very cute wooden box. After going through his albums and learning about him, we knew we loved him. Our style is rustic and simple, and he does that very well. His photos looked great in both daylight and at night. There weren’t too many camera filters or tricks, which I also really liked. I am fan of film photography – I love the feel for simple shots that evoke emotions and storytelling.

Photo by James Looker Photography
Photography that tells a story

We looked for composition in his portfolio and we made sure to look at a full wedding album as a whole instead of just best shots from each wedding. It’s the whole wedding that tells you how the photographer told the couples story from start to finish. He set up the shots well, whether it was a ring on a wooden floor, or a bridesmaid holding a bouquet standing on the grass. Not only were his shots set up nicely, he captured fun and special moments as they happened. The most impressive thing we noticed was that he not only told a great story from the photos but the photo albums as well. I just adore that type of attention to detail. At that moment, we knew we found our perfect photographer.

Photo by James Looker Photography
This photo album tells the couples story from beginning to end

The Wooden Box
His wooden box was phenomenal. He was passionate about photos, woodworking and so he combined the two loves and began creating handmade wooden boxes to gift to couples after their weddings. Each contains the couples finished mini album and a wooden USB key with edited shots. Given Darren’s love of woodworking, he fell in love right there. Wood accents are going to play a huge part in our wedding and this guy is talking about making wooden boxes by hand?! Match made in heaven!

Photo by James Looker Photography
James Looker creates hand-crafted wooden boxes to gift to couples with their photos

Next Steps
Our next step is to scout some locations that will work for our engagement photos and start a couple shots to kickstart it all. I am thinking Iona Beach or Lighthouse Park, both with stunning visuals. Can’t wait to see how that turns out!

Take-Aways
Here are a few questions you may want to consider when looking for your perfect wedding photographer:

1. How is his/her communication like with you? Is he/she on top of things?
2. What is the style that you are after, what are your must-haves, and can he/she share your vision and better yet, has she/he done something similar in the past?
3. Are you interested in telling a compelling story in your photos, and if so, can he/she deliver?
4. Do you like how he/she positions the shot?
5. Will your reception have low light ie. darker venue, no windows? If so, can he/she handle low light? Can he/she create lighting well?
6. Does the photographer pick the same moments that you would pick?

At the end, what you’re really looking for is a person who connects with you, is passionate about photography, and has a storytelling technique that matches yours!

 Photos by James Looker

Are you ready to look for your wedding photographer? Tell us what you need and we will send you matching photographers — all you have to do is relax and choose the best fit.

blog-button2