Wedding Photography Tips // How many hours of photography do we need?

Wedding Photography Tips // How many hours of photography do we need?

The much anticipated cake cutting ritual..

How many hours of photography do we need?

How long will you need your wedding photographer with you on wedding day? I get asked this question quite a bit. Makes sense, right? I mean chances are you’ve never planned a wedding before so naturally this question is on your mind.

The best way to answer this is to consider the following 3 questions …

  1. What time is your ceremony?
  2. Do you want photos of your getting ready preparation?
  3. Do you want photos of your entire reception?

What Time is Your Ceremony?

Your ceremony time is the #1 driving factor for how long you will need your wedding photographer with you on wedding day because once we start, we shoot continuously until we go home for the day. My couples almost always have me arrive to photograph their getting ready preparation and have me stay through to the end of the reception. I like to arrive about 3 to 3 1/2 hours before the bride has to leave for the ceremony. During that time, I photograph both the bride’s details (dress, flowers, shoes, etc.), the candid moments between her and her bridesmaids, a few bridal portraits, and your first look (if you are doing one). If your ceremony is at 5:00pm and you need to leave at 4:30pm for the ceremony, then I’ll arrive about 1:00pm.  If your reception goes until 11:00pm then that’s 10 hours of wedding day coverage. Check out the timeline below.

Timeline schedule for 5:00pm Ceremony:

1:00pm – 4:30pm Getting Ready (& First Look, if applicable)

5:00pm – 5:30pm Ceremony

5:30pm – 6:30pm Cocktail Hour/Photographs

6:30pm – 11:00pm Reception

Now if your ceremony is earlier, like say 2:00pm, then you will need me to start earlier. Let’s assume (again) you want me through to the end of the evening, 11:00pm, like the timeline above. That would be about 13 hours of photography on your wedding day. Adds up quickly, doesn’t it!

Timeline schedule for 2:00pm Ceremony:

10:00am – 1:30pm Getting Ready (& First Look, if applicable)

2:00pm – 2:30pm Ceremony

2:30pm – 5:00pm Photographs (maybe even a well-deserved break for the bride and groom!)

5:30pm – 6:30pm Cocktail Hour

6:30pm – 11:00pm Reception

Do we want ‘All Day’ Coverage?

So, as you can see, your ceremony time will largely dictate how much coverage you will need on your wedding day. There are, however, two more considerations that will impact the number of hours you need. Do you want all your getting ready prep photographed ? And do you want all of your reception photographed ? If you only want your getting ready photographed from the time you are done with your hair and makeup and ready to get your dress on then that can cut out about 2 hours of photography. So, using the timelines above, I would arrive about 1 1/2 before you need to leave for your ceremony, 3:00pm for the 5:00pm ceremony start which would be a total of 8 hours and 12:00pm for the 2:00pm ceremony start which would be a total of 11 hours.

You could also choose to not photograph the entire reception. Personally, this is the best place to cut hours. Why? Because dancing photos tend to be repetitive whereas if you cut some of your getting ready you’d miss out on photos of your details and those great candid moments between you and your bridesmaids. With that said, I would recommend that you keep me at least through your cake cutting.

Let’s assume that cake cutting is at 8:30pm for both schedules above. That is the same two hours that we shaved off from your getting ready prep in the above example, so my arrival time would be 1:00pm and 10:00am respectively, but with a 9:00pm departure (I suggest a 30min buffer in the event things run late). So that would be 8 hours for the 5:00pm ceremony timeline (1:00pm to 9:00pm) and 11 hours for the 2:00pm ceremony timeline (10:00am to 9:00pm).

So, How much time do we need?

Based on these schedules, you are looking at a range of 8 to 13 hours of wedding photography depending on your ceremony start time and depending on how long you want your photographer with you on wedding day. Some couples want ‘all day’ coverage from getting ready to the end of the reception. Some couples prefer to send the photographer home in the middle of the reception after cake cutting.

There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on what you want for your wedding day. Your timeline may even be shorter than the examples I used above. I have photographed smaller, more intimate weddings that required only about 6 hours of coverage. There are plenty of options at your disposal.

That’s the advantage of a photographer that has an A La Carte pricing system (like I use) as opposed to a Package system. I believe flexibility is important and you should be able to choose the products and services you want and not be forced into a one-size-fits-all package. You can visit my Pricing Page here.

I hope I was able to shed some light on the number of hours of wedding photography that you will need. If you have any questions for me, sound off in the comments and/or send me an email – If you think this post would be helpful for a bride and groom that you know, then please click SHARE ON FACEBOOK to spread the love or just email them the link.




Unique Wedding Venues in CT | CT Wedding Photographer

Unique Wedding Venues in CT | CT Wedding Photographer

Photo of outdoor wedding in Jamaica Jeff Lundstrom PhotographyIn this series, I’ve featured rustic venues, barn venues, and venues on the water. This post features a few of my all time favorite venues in CT. These venues don’t fit neatly into a traditional category. I just call them unique. They aren’t country. They aren’t coastal. And they certainly aren’t traditional. But they sure are one of a kind!

I love when couples think outside the box. That may be a trite expression, but it really is true. Anyone can get married in a traditional wedding hall. It takes a really adventurous soul to strike out on their own and choose a non-traditional venue. I admire that spirit. That boldness. That’s what inspired me to write this series of posts. To celebrate couples that break from the norm and follow their own path. And to celebrate the places that they choose to marry in.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at my favorite unique wedding venues in Connecticut.

Photo of Rock Hall. A unique wedding venue located in Colebrook, CT

Rock Hall

The brain child of famed architect Addison Mizner, Rock Hall is hands down the coolest wedding venue I’ve ever been inside of. It’s also the coolest hotel I’ve been inside of (yes, you can actually stay here!). Built in 1912, Rock Hall has seen plenty of history. So much so it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The 23 acre estate is quietly nestled in the town of Colebrook, CT in the beautiful Litchfield Hills in northwest Connecticut. As you can probably guess, the interior is as stunning as its exterior with gorgeous wood paneling, soaring ceilings, and a fireplace that you can stand inside of. And if you over did it a little at your reception, you can recuperate poolside surrounded by nothing but blue skies and leafy green foliage. If you are looking for a one of kind wedding venue, then Rock Hall is it.

Photo of Gallaher Mansion. A unique wedding venue in Norwalk, CT

Gallaher Mansion

Like Rock Hall, Gallaher Mansion has also seen its share of history. Built in 1930 by Edward Gallaher, Gallaher Mansion was designed in a Tudor Revival style complete with carvings, stained-glass windows and walnut paneled rooms.  A huge flagstone terrace and adjacent gardens make it the perfect venue for an outdoor ceremony and reception. And not to be outdone, the property features a great lawn that makes for a uniquely dramatic backdrop for your wedding.

Photo of Keller Tavern. A unique wedding venue in Ridgefield, CT

Keeler Tavern

In keeping with the history theme, Keeler Tavern is another unique and historic venue in Ridgefield, CT. Like Rock Hall and Gallaher, Keeler Tavern has quite the history. It’s been a farmhouse, a tavern, a stagecoach stop, a post office, a hotel, a home to noted architect Cass Gilbert, and now a museum and wedding venue. It’s no surprise that Keeler is listed on the National Register of Historic Places too! Keeler Tavern is truly one of my favorite venues. I love it’s history and charm and I especially love it’s gorgeous garden. Arguably the best wedding ceremony location in the state!

Photo of Fox Hill Inn. A unique wedding venue in Brookfield, CT

Fox Hill Inn

Some may argue putting Fox Hill Inn on a list of unique wedding venues in CT, but I couldn’t disagree more! Fox Hill is truly unique in my mind. You feel like you are in someone’s home at Fox Hill. It’s a beautiful old southern mansion style home that’s full of character and charm. The foyer boasts a dramatic sweeping staircase, the sunken bar room features a cozy fireplace, the main ball room intimately accommodates your guests, and the back garden is ideal for an outdoor ceremony. I would recommend Fox Hill Inn to anyone looking for a unique experience.

A photo of a tented wedding reception in Essex, CTYour Home

Shhh, I’ve got a secret for ya. Wanna know the only venue SO unique that it’s literally impossible to duplicate anywhere!? You guessed it … Your Home! I love home weddings (aka backyard, private estate, private residence weddings). Whatever you want to call it, a wedding at your home is simply a joy to experience. Surrounded by family and friends and your own history, a home wedding is as intimate and sentimental as you can get. I applaud couples for hosting their own weddings. It may require a little more planning and effort, but it’s SO worth it!


Know anyone who could use a little wedding inspiration? Just click SHARE ON FACEBOOK to share the love!

CT Wedding Venues on the Water

CT Wedding Venues on the Water

A bride and groom enter their water side wedding reception from their boat in Essex, CT

CT Wedding Venues on the Water

Connecticut has a wonderfully diverse landscape. From its historic cities to its rolling country hills to its vast and furtive farmland to its glistening shores, Connecticut has something for everyone. Especially when it comes to planning a wedding!

In my last two posts, I focused on country themed wedding venues. In this post, I am highlighting a number of water-side wedding venues from the banks of the Connecticut River to the shores of the Long Island Sound to the historic Mystic Seaport. If you are a water lover, your are going to love these venues.

*Bonus: If you’d like for me to help you find the best wedding venue in CT for your style and vision, click here to book a complimentary venue discovery session with me! 

Let’s get to the venues shall we!

Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial

The Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial is one of the top Waterford, CT wedding venues.

Eolia Mansion weddings are something special. Built in 1906, the mansion sits on a 200+ acre property along the Connecticut shoreline. In keeping with the architectural trends of the Gilded Age era, Eolia Mansion is  reminiscent of the famed Breakers mansion in Newport, RI. The famous H-patterned floor plan features a central living foyer with two separate wings on either side. The back patio of the mansion opens out onto a perfectly manicured lawn that expands right to the shore of the Long Island Sound. The gardens of the estate, though, arguably steal the show and make for lots of romantic, outdoor photo opportunities. You’ll think you’ve stepped back in time celebrating your wedding at Eolia Mansion.

Inn at Longshore wedding ceremony photo of a bride and groom with the water in the background taken by jeff lundstrom photography

The Inn at Longshore

The Inn at Longshore is a Westport, CT wedding venue.

For an outdoor wedding on the water in Connecticut, it doesn’t get much better than The Inn at Longshore. Situated right on the shores of the Long Island Sound, the Inn is wildly popular with today’s brides and grooms, but it’s history is what makes it a Connecticut icon. Since 1890, the Inn has hosted the likes of the Roosevelts, the Rockefellers, F. Scott and Zelda Fitgerald, Frank Sinatra, and even Marilyn Monroe. So, if you decide to have your wedding at The Inn at Longshore, you’ll be in some pretty good company.

Want to see a real Inn at Longshore Wedding? Click the link to see Lisa and Josh’s Inn at Longshore Wedding

Photo of CT wedding venue on the beach in CT Jacky Durell Pavilion Fairfield, CT

Jacky Durrell Pavilion

Jacky Durrell Pavilion is a wedding venue in Fairfield, CT.

If a beach wedding is your thing, Jacky Durrell Pavilion just may be your perfect venue. Personally, I love Jacky Durrell. I love it for it’s laid-back, casual vibe. I love it for its family friendly feel. And I love it for it’s beach front. It feels like a summer share house in the Hamptons. The kind of place where everyone is welcome and there’s always a party! Not a bad place for wedding either!

Want to see a real Inn at Longshore Wedding? Click the link to see Amanda and Mike’s Jacky Durrell Pavilion Wedding


Penfield Pavilion

Penfield Pavilion is a wedding venue in Fairfield, CT.

Penfield Pavilion is another beach front wedding venue option that is just down the Fairfield Beach from Jacky Durrell. It’s a newer, larger venue that was completely renovated after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It features an updated, more modern interior that is a blank canvas for you to design your wedding reception. Since it’s just down the beach from Jacky Durrell, Penfield enjoys the same expansive beach front which is perfect for sunset photos on the beach!

Madison Beach Hotel photo of a wedding ceremony on the beach in madison ct taken by jeff lundstrom photography

Madison Beach Hotel

Madison Beach Hotel is one of the best Madison, CT wedding venues.

Looking for ocean-side luxury for your wedding? Madison Beach Hotel is that resort-like spot you’ve been longing to getaway to. Located in Madison, CT (hence the name), the hotel is tucked away off the main road and only steps away from the waves of the Long Island Sound. It’s such a pristine beach front location that you’ll feel like you packed your bags and flew off to a destination wedding. A local destination wedding!


photo of an outdoor ceremony on the CT River at Saint Clements Castle in Portland, CT

Saint Clements Castle

Saint Clements Castle is one of the best Portland, CT wedding venues.

It may not be on the coast, but Saint Clements Castle has some of the most breathtaking views of the Connecticut River. You have your choice of saying “I Do” in a gorgeous replica English garden or on a dramatic hillside overlooking the Connecticut River. Built in 1898, the architecture of Saint Clements was influenced by the French Tudor style and borrows some of its features from the most famous of French Chateaux (Château de Langeais was the inspiration for its medieval style Art Gallery). You will literally feel like a princess on the grounds of Saint Clements Castle.

ct vineyard wedding salt water farm vineyard

Saltwater Farms Vineyard

Saltwater Farms Vineyard is among the best Stonington, CT wedding venues and one of the few vineyards in CT that sits on the shores of the Long Island Sound.

Love the water? Love wine? Then Saltwater Farms just may be your ideal wedding venue. At Saltwater Farms you get the romance of a vineyard coupled with some of Connecticut’s freshest sea breezes. What bride and groom wouldn’t love that!? Located on the tidal marshes of the Wequetequock Cove at the mouth of Little Narragannsett Bay, Saltwater Farms is a truly unique venue. Originally an airplane hangar back in 1930, Saltwater Farms Vineyard was masterfully (and lovingly) transformed into a sleek, modern structure that you see today. But it still maintains it’s iconic hangar-like facade. A symbol that lives on to this day on the label of each bottle of wine that Saltwater Farms produces. A wedding at Saltwater Farms is truly something special.

So, if you are looking to say I Do with a water view, then look no further than the venues listed above.

Want help figuring out which CT Wedding Venues on the Water might be the best fit for your style and vision? click here to book a complimentary venue discovery session with me! 



My Favorite Barn Wedding Venues in CT

My Favorite Barn Wedding Venues in CT

Photo of a bride and grom outside on the ground of the Golden Lamb Buttery wedding venue in Brooklyn, CTMy Favorite Barn Wedding Venues in CT. This post will help all you barn lovin’ brides and grooms find the barn wedding venue that’s perfect for your wedding.

Barn Weddings

In my last post, I featured a few rustic wedding venues in both Connecticut and New York. Taking the rustic theme up a notch, I am focusing this post on three of my favorite barn wedding venues in Connecticut. Barns are a great choice for your wedding. They are wide-open, blank canvases that you can custom tailor to your liking making for a one of a kind experience. I think barns are incredibly romantic too. So much so, I proposed to my wife in a barn!

I love barns for their social significance. They remind me of a time when entire communities would gather together to pitch in and help each other out. Not too dis-similar to loved ones gathering together for a wedding. I also love their simplicity and their utility. Barns are built for a purpose. They are built strong because they are meant to last. Barns remind me of a good relationship – strong, purposeful, and permanent. They also look really good all lit up with garden lights!

If you are looking for a truly unique place to have your wedding, and you fancy a rustic, country style, then consider these Connecticut barn wedding venues. I think ya’ll are gonna like ’em!


The Webb Barn

Photo of the Webb Barn wedding venue in Wethersfield, CT

The Webb Barn is a wonderfully intimate barn wedding venue in Wethersfield, CT. Built in 1821, the barn was actually burned to the ground – thought to be the work of some rather unsavory locals. Thankfully, it was rebuilt by its owner, Martin Wells, in 1840 and retains much of its original historic ambiance and rustic charm. The grounds of the Webb Barn feature a large tree-lined lawn and an immaculately maintained garden. It’s the perfect setting for an outdoor ceremony. The barn accommodates up to 130 guests and makes for a cozy reception dinner. The barn can also accommodate an indoor or outdoor dance party. So, if its rustic charm and versatility you are looking for, Webb Barn just may be your perfect barn wedding venue.

 The Barns at Wesleyan Hills

Photo of the Barns at Wesleyan Hills barn wedding venue in Middletown, CT

The Barns at Wesleyan Hills is an innovation in the Connecticut wedding venue landscape. Run by The CT Wedding Group, The Barns (as its often referred to) is a renovated barn that features modern amenities, like heat and air conditioning 🙂 As such, it’s a facility that can hold weddings year round. While set in a suburban area, once you step inside the main barn reception area you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to the country. It’s THAT authentic. The grounds of The Barns are great for photos with its’ gorgeous lawns, ponds, trees, and bridges. It’s a photographer’s paradise. Couples can also put their own stamp on their reception with one of the available lighting and decor packages making The Barns a custom country dream!

 Golden Lamb Buttery

Photo of the Golden Lamb Buttery barn wedding venue in Brooklyn, CT

Most people probably know The Golden Lamb for its food. Every year, The Golden Lamb is recognized by food critics and publications as one of the best restaurants in the state. So, if you decide to have your wedding at The Golden Lamb, you will be guaranteed an amazing meal! You will also get a one of a kind experience. Their property is HUGE! The Golden Lamb is quietly secluded off the main road in Brooklyn, CT and surrounded by acres and acres of open pastures. You won’t have to worry about waking the neighbors! Complete with stonewalls and grazing farm animals, It’s an idyllic country setting that will charm the pants off any bride and groom looking for a rustic barn venue.










My Favorite Rustic Wedding Venues in CT and NY

My Favorite Rustic Wedding Venues in CT and NY

 Photos of a rustic wedding ceremony at Maplestone Inn in New Paltz, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

My favorite rustic wedding venues in CT & NY will help you select the perfect venue for your wedding.

It’s that time of year! Engagement rings were dropping like Eli Manning passes over the holiday season. And all those Yes’s can mean only one thing – It’s wedding planning season! Every year at this time, couples begin the exciting challenge of planning their wedding. I’ll admit, planning a wedding is not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot to do! So, I wanted to offer my advice on THE single most important wedding planning decision you have to make – the venue! There are a myriad of wedding venues to have your nuptials, but what venue is the ideal venue for you?

This post is the first in a series of posts about my favorite venues in Connecticut and New York. I will be highlighted venues I’ve actually had the pleasure of photographing so you will get my bonafide, real world opinion. And you’ll notice, right off the bat, that I focus my ten plus years in the wedding photography world on venues that appeal to adventurous couples, couples that want something a little different for their wedding. Whether it’s the country or the coast or a barn or even something completely unique, the venues that I will feature are not your traditional wedding halls. No, they are what I consider to be ‘hidden gems’ that can only be found ‘off the beaten path’.

Why? Because I am passionate about being true to your personality and interests. No excuses! That’s just the type of couple that I love to work with. My ideal clients want an experience for their quests (and themselves) that’s truly unique and that just doesn’t fit into a traditional little box.

Sooo, here goes!

Candlelight Farms Inn | New Milford, CT

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at Candlelight Farms Inn in New Milford, CT by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

Arguably my favorite rustic wedding venue in the entire state of Connecticut, Candlelight Farms Inn is truly a country lover’s paradise. Set atop Candlewood Mountain Road, Candlelight Farms, has the most beautiful sweeping views of any venue I’ve photographed. The whole setting is as traditional New England country as you can get. The 640 property features a colonial era inn that houses 5 guest rooms, perfect for your bridal party preparations, immaculately maintained terraced lawns and gardens, working horse stables, and it’s own airport! If you want country for your wedding, Candlelight Farms just might be your venue.

Village at Boulder Ridge | Barkhamsted, CT

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at The Village at Boulder Ridge Barkhamsted, CT by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

Perhaps the best kept secret in rustic venues in the state of Connecticut is The Village at Boulder Ridge. Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, The Village at Boulder Ridge is as charming and country as it gets. The grounds are spacious and everywhere you turn there is a gorgeous view of the Litchfield Hills. Outdoor wedding ceremonies are held down on the edge of a pond with the rolling hills in the background. You can’t help but feel wrapped in nature at Boulder Ridge. I love Boulder Ridge for it’s rustic simplicity. It’s truly a breathtaking experience.

Maplestone Inn | New Paltz, NY

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at Maplestone Inn in New Paltz, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

If you’ve ever lived in New York City, then you know that weekends are for getting out of the city. And there is no better destination for a Manhattan escape than the Maplestone Inn in New Paltz, NY. Maplestone Inn is that inn you dream about when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. The inn is a lovingly restored 1700’s farm house. The restoration was undertaken by Sean and Patty Roche to breathe life back into one of the area’s most historic icons. They did a remarkable job staying true to its warm and cozy farmhouse roots. It may just be the perfect setting for a rustic wedding.

Highlands Country Club | Garrison, NY

Photo of a rustic outdoor wedding at Highlands Country Club in Garrison, NY by Jeff Lundstrom Photography

A country club on a list of rustic wedding venues? Yep. Not a typo. Highlands Country Club is unique in that it is a working country club but has the setting of a country destination resort. Located in Garrison, NY, Highlands offers everything you could want in a rustic wedding venue. The Grand Ballroom is truly grand with it’s soaring ceilings and it’s massive windows overlooking the property’s garden. You’ll sip your cocktails outside in the garden with views of the nearby Highlands Hills. And, depending on the time of year, a cozy, outdoor fire pit is the perfect end to an amazing wedding day in the country.

If you, or anyone you know, are planning a rustic wedding, then please spread the love by clicking ‘SHARE ON FACEBOOK’ below.





5 Steps to Find Your Ideal Wedding Photographer

5 Steps to Find Your Ideal Wedding Photographer

I love photographing brides and grooms outside in wide open spaces!

5 Steps to Finding  Your Ideal Wedding Photographer


Finding a photographer for your wedding isn’t hard. In fact, it’s quite easy. The tools for finding your wedding photographer are quite literally right at your fingertips!

From online wedding vendor sites, to wedding blogs, to magazine ads, to bridal shows, to word of mouth, to search engines, even social media. It’s actually never been easier to find a wedding photographer for your wedding.

The challenge is finding the right wedding photographer for your wedding.

I’ll pause there.

You’re probably asking yourself “Well, why does it matter that I find the right photographer for my wedding? I mean aren’t they all basically the same? Point, shoot, edit, deliver?”

Oh, friend! There is SO much more to photography than that.

Let me ask you a question – What’s your first reaction when someone points a camera at you? Unless you’re related to Gisele Bundchen, your first reaction is probably to duck, dodge, swerve, or juke out of the way of that thing!

Cameras are intimidating. Being photographed is a vulnerable experience. You are having an image taken of you that will be freely judged by the entire world.

Yeah, no pressure there!

That, my friends, is exactly why it is SO very important – vital really – for you to find your ideal wedding photographer to photograph your wedding.

Because photography, especially wedding photography, is all about feeling comfortable in front of the camera, not being intimidated by it. And the single most important factor to feeling 100% relaxed in front of the camera is the guy or girl who’s holding it.

Rapport is EVERYTHING in photography, especially when it comes to wedding photography. Why? Because, like the example above, most everyday people don’t like having their picture taken. They feel nervous, awkward, apprehensive, self-conscious. All that and more.

It’s the job of your photographer to make you feel relaxed and natural. 100% your authentic self. Why? Because that’s what will show in your photos. You have to live with your photos for the rest of your life, don’t you want to see your real self in them?

True story. I had a couple hire me to do an engagement session despite the fact that they already had their wedding photographer booked. They did their engagement session with their photographer and, while they liked their photos, they felt like something was missing. That feeling drove them to want to do another engagement session. A referral from a former client lead them to me.

We ended up having a blast together! We did a fall session. The colors were gorgeous, the light was perfect, and the vibe was just relaxed and chill. We basically laughed straight for almost two hours until it was too dark to shoot.

In the parking lot as we were leaving, they showed me a photo from their other engagement session. It was a really dramatic photo of the two of them on the beach at sunset with the deep vibrant colors in the background and a big shiny model light on the two of them.

It was a really cool shot, but it just didn’t suit them. It’s more suited for a bikini model. As we were saying our goodbyes, the bride to be said something that I’ll never forget. She said, “Yeah, we really wanted to do another engagement session because we wanted photos that were just, I don’t know, more normal.”

Well, she got exactly what she wanted because when she saw the photos from our session she was ecstatic! She was ecstatic because she could see her and her fiance as their natural, normal selves.

5 Steps

So now that you know the importance of finding your ideal photographer, I am going to show you how to do it.

In the next few sections, we are going to cover a ton of valuable tips and tricks for finding, choosing, and hiring your ideal photographer.

  1. I’ll talk you through the various lead sources for your search and give you industry-insider advice on what I feel are the best sources to use.
  2. I’ll explain how to breakdown a photographer’s website so you can tell if that photographer would be a good fit for you even before you meet them.
  3. I’ll teach you how to email a photographer that you’re interested in to guarantee that you get a response, even if they are booked for your date!
  4. I’ll give you a set of questions to ask photographers in your consultations that will give you insight into what they are really like to work with
  5. And, lastly, I’ll give you a bullet-proof method for choosing ‘the one’.

1. Lead Sources

I will show you how whittle down your list so you don’t have to meet with 20 different photographers, but first let’s talk through the best ways to get your list going. There’s lots of ways to find your photographer. Some better than others. I personally recommend 5 different lead sources for your photographer search.

Referrals from your friends (or friends of friends)

A referral from your married friends is hands-down, the best place to start your photographer search. Why? Because it’s already a specific, targeted search based on you and your friend’s shared interests. If your BFF loved her photographer, chances are, you will too and that will save you tons of time in your search.

“What if I don’t have any married friends?” If this is the case, then try a friend of a friend who recently got married. Know anyone who was a bridesmaid recently? Ask her for the bride’s contact information. People are always willing to help so reach out to your network and ask recent brides about their photographer.

Social Media

Wedding photos are all over Facebook and Instagram so keep a close eye on your feeds for wedding photography related posts. Photographers also utilize ads to target customers so you may start seeing wedding photography ads in your feeds. If an ad catches your eye, click to learn more. They may just be the one!

Your Wedding Venue

Your venue is a great source of referrals, so ask them for the Preferred Vendor List. In it you’ll find a list of photographers who have experience photographing your venue. But don’t stop there! Another good source of leads is the work that is on display at your venue. It can be hard for a photographer to break onto a venue’s preferred list. So instead, photographers provide the venue with samples of their work from weddings they have shot there. So, check out the work on display in the waiting area (albums, wall art, etc.) and jot down the photographer’s name and contact information.

Search Engines – Google and Pinterest

Google is a great resource (obviously), but there are certain keyword searches that are better than others for finding the right photographer for you . I do not recommend the keyword search “CT Wedding Photographer”. Too many hits. Too generic. Too broad. Your goal should be to get targeted and specific to your personality and style. Instead, try the type of wedding you are having like “Rustic Barn Wedding CT” or “Beach Weddings in CT” or “Outdoor Weddings CT” or “Vineyard Weddings CT”. This will give you a list of photographers that prefer to photograph these types of weddings which is a great commonality to have.

I would also recommend “Your venue + Wedding” like “Saint Clements Castle Wedding”. That will yield results full of photographers who have shot your venue. Again, like interests!

You could also try “Style of photography + wedding photographer” like “Documentary Wedding Photographer CT”. This works well if you know you want a certain style of photography for your wedding. Again, it’s targeted and will yield photographers that specialize in a style that fits your needs.

I would definitely recommend Pinterest too. Pinterest is its own search engine so you could use the same search keywords that you would use in google.

Online Vendor Listing Sites

Websites like Wedding Wire and The Knot are chock full of wedding photographers. I’ll warn you though these sites can be a little tricky to navigate because there are a TON of photographers listed. The best way to narrow your search is by your venue city. From there note any profiles that grab your attention so you can visit their main website to get more information.

2. Breaking Down a Photographer’s Website

Okay, so you’ve got like 12 photographers (give or take) on a list. Your goal should be to whittle this down to like 3 to meet with. I call it, the ‘A List’. So, how do you that? Well, you’ve got to know how to break down a photographer’s website to see if he or she is a good match for you.

Here’s how to do it –

Look beyond ‘pretty pictures’

Don’t be blinded by pretty photos. Really look at them. Ask yourself – Do the people in the photos look natural and relaxed? Or do they look posed and stiff? Does the style of photography match my personality? Is the style glamorous and fashion-y but you are more down-to-earth and natural? Actually try to picture yourselves in the photos. If you can’t picture yourself in the photos then that’s a sign that their style may not be for you.

Find their strengths

We wedding photographers are good at a variety of photography genres – portraiture, details, candids, group photos, pets, kids, even landscapes! We are a jack-of-all-trades, but every photographer has a speciality. An area of photography that they naturally gravitate towards. You’ll be able to tell from their website what their strengths are. Do you see a lot of portraits of the bride? Lots of candid moments? Lots of detail shots? What you see the most of is likely their strength and if that strength matches your vision then he/she may be a good fit.

The About Page

The About page is a must read. It’s a window into your photographer’s personality. If you find yourself laughing out loud, hanging on every word, and saying “Oh, my god, me too!” Then chances are pretty good that that photographer just may be ‘the one’.  If, on the other hand, you fall asleep, move on.

The Blog

If the About page is a window into their personality, then a photographer’s blog is like a front door to their life and their work. On the blog you will not only see full weddings and engagement sessions , but you will also get an idea of who they are as a person. While the About page may list some fun facts and quirks about the photographer, the blog usually dives deeper.  What a photographer chooses to talk about on their blog will give you great insight into what they are like as a person and what they will be like to work with.

The Pricing Page

You’re busy – career, social life, travel, family events, binge watching Game of Thrones, etc. Add in wedding planning and life is downright crazy! Shouldn’t you be able to know if your photographer is in your budget without having to email them? I think so. Back when my wife and I got married, my #1 pet peeve was vendors not listing their prices on their websites. Not even a starting point! If a photographer doesn’t provide you with this convenience from the start then what’s that say about them? Perhaps they don’t have your best interest at heart.

3. The Email

Yep – this one gets an entire step devoted to it. It’s THAT important. Like really, REALLY important. Your email to the guy or girl that is going to make it possible for your wedding day to live on forever should NOT just be “Hi! Packages and prices please.” There is no faster way to my Recycle Bin than an email like that. Why? Because I have no idea how serious you are. Do you like my work? My style? Something I wrote on my site? There’s no connection whatsoever!

If you actually want to get a response from a photographer that you are interested in then try something like ….

“Hey Jeff, my fiance and I were just on your site and really liked your photos. We especially love the fact that you appreciate Amy Schumer’s sense of humor! So do we! Trainwreck was such a good movie! Anyway, we’d love to get some more information from you. Our wedding is July 15, 2018. Hope you are available! Thanks!”

Now THAT’s an email I’m responding to! Look, I get it, wedding planning is a lot of work and it’s tempting to blast out a bunch of emails to try to save time. Trust me, it will backfire because you won’t get responses to generic emails.

Bonus: With a good opening email, you dramatically increase your chances of getting a response from the photographer even if they are already booked! Great emails that show you actually took the time to look at our work and read our website score huge points with us. HUGE! So, even if we are booked for your date, we will do you the courtesy of responding to you and offering to refer you to a colleague. We are all firm believers in good karma.

4. The Consultation

Okay, this is where the rubber meets the road. The in-person sit down. Here are few recommendations for making the most of your consultation with your photographer. You can even print out the list of questions to take with you!

Bring your fiance

Please bring your fiance with you. We want to meet you both as a couple because, you know, we’ll be photographing you both! Having both of you there gives us the complete picture of what you guys are like and helps us get a feel for what it will be like working with you.


Parents are optional. I am a very family oriented guy so I’m totally cool if you want to bring your parents along. I can’t speak for other photographers, but if family is important to you then by all means bring ‘em! Just FYI – Don’t expect to have your parents sign our contracts, even if they are paying for our services. Photography contracts are between the photographer and the bride and groom (period).

Questions to ask your (potential) photographer

The relationship you are about to enter into with your photographer seems pretty straight-forward, they provide their photography talent and you get the pictures.

Easy right?

Remember when I said that rapport is everything in photography? Well your photographer’s professionalism and experience is just as important.

You want to ensure that your photographer is prepared for your wedding day and is well-versed in business management skills like communication, organization, planning, time-management, customer relations, even crisis management.

A wedding is living, breathing event that can sometimes have a life of its own! It’s not enough for your photographer to rely on his or her ‘art’ alone. They need to be able to prepare for wedding day and manage the actual day effectively.

So how do you gauge their level of professionalism? Their amount of experience? Heck, what are they really like on wedding day? Are they going to be like a brat-y little French chef and throw a temper tantrum if they don’t get the perfect light?

Here are a few questions that I would recommend asking your photographers in your consultations to try to get a feel for the professional acumen:

  1. Do you prepare a timeline/schedule/itinerary for wedding day?
  2. How do you handle the family group photographs?
  3. Can you tell me about a time when it rained at one of your weddings and you had to put your Plan B into action? How did you handle that?
  4. What if the day runs late and shortens our bride/groom portrait time?
  5. What do you do if your equipment breaks on wedding day?
  6. It’s 90 degrees outside and we’re just about to wrap up our hour-long family photos when my Aunt Sally, who wasn’t planned to be in the photos, asks if she can get a quick photo with the bride and groom. How do you respond?
  7. Are you comfortable taking charge and making decisions? Even if it involves a large group of people?

Ask these questions (or some derivative) and sit back and listen. Does he or she come up with examples of how they’ve successfully navigated the ins and outs of wedding day? Do they sound confident and strong with their responses? Or do they kind of stammer and seem a little nervous in their responses?

Weddings can be rather chaotic and your wedding photographer is an integral part of your wedding day. He/she will need to step up and take charge at certain points throughout the day. You are going to want someone who is comfortable taking the lead when necessary.

Trust me – you don’t want a sheepish personality or a flake-y artist type who isn’t comfortable setting direction, especially when it comes to groups of people.

Because if they can’t, then it will likely end up being you who has to.

5. The Decision

If you’ve found a clear-cut winner, then go ahead and book em! You’ll feel elated to cross another vendor off your wedding planning ‘to do’ list. Yay for that!

If, however, you have a couple of strong contenders and aren’t 100% sure which one to go with, then focus on fit, professionalism, and experience.

Ask yourself, “Can I comfortably sit at a bar and have a drink with this person?” “Would I look forward to doing another photo session with them in the future (like an anniversary or family session)?” “Would I be proud of their behavior on my wedding day?” “Would my friends and family come up to me on wedding day and say “OMG! Your photographer is AWESOME!”

If the answer to these questions are a resounding yes, then that’s the one.