Oh, Pinterest. Ask any ten wedding photographers what they think of the digital cork-board and you'll get ten different answers. It's an excellent resource for planning, no doubt. And provides exposure for talented photographers like no other platform. Is it possible, though that this highly curated pool of imagery is setting up a skewed expectation for your wedding day? Let's explore a few suggestions for utilizing the digital media to find your ideal wedding photographer.
1. Go pin-crazy. Take a couple afternoons or a week and collect any image that you're immediately drawn to. (What's that? You did that before you were even engaged?) Don't analyze yet, just pin. After a few pin-crazy sessions, take some time to find your top 15-20 photos and articulate what is it that you love about the image. The detail? The color palette? The emotion? The composition or dramatic lighting? The candid nature of the subjects? This will give you insight as to what kind of photographer to pursue (i.e. photojournalistic, fine art, etc.), and what kind of style you prefer (light and candid, heavily posed and dramatic).
2. Find the image source. If you love the image and want to learn more about that specific photographer, follow the digital breadcrumbs back to their portfolio. Congratulations, you've found your ideal wedding photographer - book them and check that off the list (and report back to me immediately). Sigh, if only it were that easy… Thankfully, the majority of wedding related pins come from wedding inspiration blogs so with just a few clicks you can easily find an endless amount of highly curated imagery for your planning delight. Most wedding resources now offer a list of selected vendors by state which is quite helpful if you want to stay local and don't have time to sift through 2,000 google results or are planning a destination affair.
3. After a few inquiries you've booked a meeting with an experienced photographer or two with a portfolio full of lovely imagery. Go ahead, share your favorite 5-10 with them. But remember : there are literally thousands of variables that make up one photograph. The light, the location, the wind, the season, the color palette, the time of day, the equipment, the height of the bride and groom… Keep in mind that you're paying a professional to document YOUR wedding day, not recreate someone else's (which given all the variables above, you'd likely be disappointed if that's your goal). Sharing the images with an experienced photographer can begin a conversation about your priorities for the wedding day and perhaps achieving something similar. It could be as simple as sneaking away during the reception to snap a few romantic images at dusk. Or, scheduling a day-after session to grab a few portraits on the cliffs on the PCH.
4. Be realistic. A good majority of the wedding images populating your pinterest feed are plucked from gorgeous inspirations shoots. These sessions are meant to be just that : inspiration. Don't be so quick to forget that typically these shoots afford the luxury of an extended timeline, a hair and makeup stylist at the ready and oftentimes utilize professional models. That's not to say these stunning images aren't attainable for real brides, but allow them to realistically influence the way you plan your wedding. Talk to your photographer and planner to ensure you have plenty of time for photographs and take lighting into consideration as you organize your schedule. Getting married in the South in June? Maybe it'd beneficial to keep that makeup artist around for a while (we all sweat, no judgement here). Do you want to make sure you have countless images of the reception decor you spend the last four months creating? Perhaps you schedule a first-look for your wedding day so there's ample time to photograph details after the ceremony.
5. Hand over the reigns. You've done your research and spent months preparing for this one day. Enjoy it. You can do this because you trust all the professionals you've brought together to curate this beautiful celebration and you've had helpful conversations to minimize potential stress due to miscommunication or scheduling issues. Congratulations. Now let's get to work on that nursery Pinboard...