With all your energy being spent on planning the wedding (like finding “the” dress or nailing down flowers), trust me, choosing a wedding photographer can also seem daunting. But it doesn’t have to be. Since photography is and has always been a top priority for me, I’m breaking down 7 things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer that will make your decision easier and worthwhile (not just for the big day, but long after). But first, let me officially introduce my incredible wedding photographer, KT Merry. Named one of the Top Wedding Photographers by Martha Stewart and one of the Top 19 Wedding Photographers in the US by Harper’s Bazaar -- I’m beyond lucky we’re working together! With over 10 years of experience, KT has developed an artful and film-based approach when she captures weddings and its special moments (along with editorial and lifestyle scenes). She has a natural way of telling a story through her imagery that creates a timeless and romantic feeling (that I absolutely love!). It’s evident that in her use of natural light, shooting in beautiful locations, and documenting love on film has become her signature style -- which are a few of the many reasons she was the perfect match for us! As KT reminded me, “You will toss out flowers the day of. You will put away your wedding dress. Photographs are the only thing you're left with…”. I couldn’t agree more. 1. Where to start? Research. Go through wedding content online, dig through portfolios, see what catches your eye and read the reviews. You’ll have a better idea of the talent that’s out there and discover options you love. Then, see how these photographers capture “special” moments that are important to you, which will give you a sense of their style. I’d also recommend checking with your wedding planner as they’ll most likely have some great recommendations. But if you’re planning it yourself (props to you!), check web pages or social accounts of famous wedding planners to see who they’ve worked with, too (i.e. Lisa Vorce). 2. Identify their speciality. One of KT’s specialities is that she documents a lot of destination weddings. Because of this, she’ll plan the day with you, know the best time(s) for lighting and thoroughly review a shot list in order to maximize on time, which allows her to shoot the moment she arrives. However, a standard photographer may not view this as a crucial element and opt to work only within their allotted time. If you’re having a destination wedding and/or are quite the planner then these are important qualities to note. 3.) What is the difference between film and digital? There’s a difference in how the two look and feel. Film has a certain softness and unique quality of light that is seen when captured properly and there’s generally an innate sense of romance attached to it. It’s truly timeless. When it comes to digital, you can capture a lot of movement, snap a ton at once and manipulate the edit after the image is shot (not before like film) and it costs a lot less. It’s important to consider which one you’re more drawn toward. I personally love film! 4.) Editing style. Dive deeper through images you love (i.e. via Instagram, Pinterest, Magazines, etc.) until you’ve formed a decent collection. Then, understand what key factors (composition, editing, emotions captured, etc.) have drawn you to these images and see what complements you and your fiancé best. Perhaps it’s soft light vs. sharp with contrast or fine art vs. traditional. Something I definitely suggest is to look beyond what’s trendy and find your true taste. When you understand this, selecting your photographer will be easier and you’ll be happy knowing their edits won't upset you down the line. Another element is if you’re working with a videographer, choose to work with one who has a similar understanding and type of caliber to ensure that both film and imagery blend well together. 5.) Rapport. It’s so important to bond with your photographer. Try to meet in person if they're local; if not, schedule a video chat. Do they understand your vision? How do they communicate with you? You need to feel comfortable and at ease while trusting in their assertiveness to seek out beautiful moments without being obtrusive. Some brides lean on their photographers for creative direction while others want to collaborate (what I'm doing with KT); ensure your photographer is open to this. Additionally, experience is everything. Not only the experience the photographer has, but the one they can provide for you. (The last thing you want is someone directing you to redo a special moment or “say ‘I do’ three times for a video.”) 6.) Budget. Get the best you can afford. This means knowing what you want, understanding what a package(s) includes and the cost for any extras that you might like to add. If you need to exclude albums or prints (aka the bells and whistles), that's ok. You can usually buy those down the line. But, you can never go back and capture those moments again. 7.) Prep + Additional Questions. Has the photographer shot similar weddings in your budget range? If so, are they available to lend their advice on visual elements? What will the timeline (shot list) of the wedding day look like? Wedding photographers attend a significant amount of weddings each year and know what resonates in a photo and what doesn't -- it’s great to learn what tips they have. Also, fill them in on any necessary details regarding family and friends (i.e. you want a portrait with grandma or have divorced parents) to best capture as many moments beautifully and naturally -- with the aesthetic you’ve envisioned. “Your experience on your wedding day is just as important as the final images you’ll receive.” Xo, Stephanie P.S. Thank you Casa Lecanda, our home away from home in Merida, for hosting us during our engagement shoot...to Andres Otalora for dressing me in the most gorgeous looks, Nova Octo for your much-needed services and Black Iris for your continued support and to KT Merry for your love for photography.