You’ve already put so much effort into your wedding planning that, of course, you’ll also want to make sure every detail is snapped to perfection — including everything from the wedding backdrops you dreamed up to the DIY centerpieces you slaved over. But how on earth do you know which photographer is right for you or whether you’ll want digital versus film? With so many wedding photographer options out there, things can start to feel a bit overwhelming when it comes to narrowing down how you’ll want to document your special day. Enter Callie Davis, wedding photographer at Nancy Ray Photography, who is here to answer your top wedding photographer questions to put your mind at ease when you start your search. She covers everything from how to find your dream photographer to must-ask questions and timeline essentials for your wedding day. Grab a pen and notepad, and scroll down to ensure your day’s moments are captured in just the way you always imagined.
Tell us a bit about you. How did you get started in wedding photography?
“I’m Callie Davis, an associate wedding photographer and studio manager at Nancy Ray Photography. I am joyfully married to my husband and best friend, Jamie, and a proud dog mom to our sweet silver lab, Bokeh. I love capturing the beauty found in the details of these moments so that they may be cherished for a lifetime. What I love most about weddings is that they exemplify the start of a new life where new families are created. I believe that your most important adventure begins the moment you walk away from your wedding reception and step foot into your marriage.”
How soon after getting engaged should couples hire a photographer?
“I believe that after setting a date and choosing a venue, couples should begin their search for a photographer. I like to be a part of the whole wedding planning process, offering help in creating the timeline for the day and giving advice about where and how we can get the best moments and images. For example, we always recommend scheduling the ceremony based around the sunset time, which allows us to have enough sunlight to take all the formal pictures outside (weather permitting). If you hire your photographer after this decision has already been made, it could change the timeline and images from the day. Trust your photographer’s judgement!”
What’s the best way to find your dream photographer?
“In this day, there are thousands of wonderful resources all over the place for the soon-to-be bride, but I would most recommend talking with other brides and getting their honest recommendations. We have found that word of mouth marketing is where we get most of our brides from, so don’t be afraid to ask, and in return do the same for others once you have completed the wedding planning process. Also, check reliable wedding blogs or your venue’s preferred vendor lists.”
What should couples ask themselves when interviewing and thinking of hiring a wedding photographer?
“Honestly, you should ask yourself two things: 1) Do you like their images? and 2) Do you like them as a person? I tell all of my potential clients that the photographer is the only wedding vendor that will be by your side throughout your whole wedding day, so I believe that it is important for them to feel more like a friend and less like a stranger. Get to know them as a person! I promise, you will feel more comfortable, and you will receive more genuine images. Picture yourself in the images that you see on their website and portfolios. Can you imagine those images hanging in your house or as the images that you will one day show your grandchildren? If the answer is yes to both of these questions, then I think it’s a good fit.”
How many shots should couples include in their must-shoot list?
“Couples should be careful not to give photographers an exhaustive shot list. While I do believe that communication with your photographer is key, we also hope that our clients would trust us to do the best possible job on their wedding day. Letting that list and worry go, and trusting that your photographer will give you the best experience and pictures, will put you more at ease on your wedding day. However, as photographers, it is important for us to know about unique situations and the things that are most important to you, so please be sure to share those things with them. For example, we always ask our clients about their family dynamics and for their immediate family’s first names so that everyone doesn’t feel like a stranger around us. If you feel it is necessary to provide your photographer with a shot list, I would recommend that it should be 10 items or less.”
Is a second photographer necessary?
“While it’s not necessary to have a second photographer (I know plenty of amazing photographers who shoot alone), we include two photographers in all of our Collections. Six benefits to having a 2nd photographer at your wedding include:
1. A second photographer allows the primary photographer to perform on their highest level possible.
2. A second photographer brings a different perspective.
3. A second photographer allows us to capture more special moments.
4. A second photographer can capture more of the groom’s perspective and wedding day experience, while the primary photographer can focus on the bride.
5. A second photographer makes planning your day more effective, possibly requiring fewer total hours of coverage.
6. A second photographer acts as an insurance policy of sorts. If anything were to happen with the equipment failing, that second camera would have another set of images to rely on.”
Film or digital: Which one is better?
“While neither is better or worse, it’s more about your preference. I am a film photographer and lover of all film images, but I also shoot in digital where I see that it is appropriate. My parents’ wedding images were shot in film, and to this day I still adore those images. They are classic and timeless, the colors are true to the eye and what I believe my own eye would see if I were able to be there in person. Film requires me to slow down as a photographer, think more clearly about what exactly it is that I want to capture. It pushes me to not rely on the back of my digital camera screen, but instead trust in my experience and hope that when I receive the images that I captured what was seen in front of me. Our core purpose at Nancy Ray Photography is to create and preserve beautiful legacies, and I believe that film is the most beautiful form of photography to do just that.”
Should we hire a photographer and a videographer?
“When deciding if you would like to include videography in your wedding budget, it’s important to know that there is a major difference between the two. While photography captures beautiful still moments, videography captures moments and words in action. In a beautiful way, videography captures moments that just can’t be captured with photography. It’s two different mediums, telling the same story.
Most photographers are very comfortable working with videographers, and will do their best to accommodate for each other’s needs. We love working alongside videographers and are most of the time glued to the hip because we want to be in the same place at all times. If you’re a bride considering videography, know that you can successfully have both and the outcomes will be different! Communicate with your photographer that you will have a videographer on your wedding day, and make sure there are not any adjustments that need to be made.”
Are there any wedding photo trends we should know about? What wedding photo trends have you seen lately?
“The trend that I have most recently recognized is photographers beginning to incorporate or switching from digital to film photography. Don’t be scared of film photography! You should actually jump for joy if you hear that because I believe that shooting in film produces the most beautiful images.”
And any other tips or information you think would be helpful?
“Schedule an engagement session with your photographer! We include a complimentary engagement session in all of our collections because we believe that it really is that important. It allows you, as a couple, to get comfortable in front of the camera with your photographer, get to know them more and learn how you work best together before the main event. Spending a casual afternoon or morning with your photographer prior to your wedding day will allow you be more comfortable with them on your big day. Every single time we do this with our couples, it allows for their wedding photos to be more genuine and authentic.”
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(Photos via Callie Davis / Nancy Ray Photography)