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by Robbin Montero            It is said that ‘one picture is worth a thousand words’. What do you want your wedding photos to say about your special event? I’ve seen some that tell a sad story.

            Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will have to make when planning your wedding. After all, you can’t retake wedding pictures if anything goes wrong. For wedding photographs you will treasure for a lifetime, I offer two basic pieces of advice:


            • Hire a professional

            • Choose a photographer who specializes in weddings


             Many brides have cried after putting responsibility for their wedding images in the hands of an amateur photographer. Imagine the bride and groom with glowing red eyes in every photo! The loss of the opportunity to have lovely wedding photos stings for years to come. Professionals have the proper equipment to provide top quality results. They know how to properly light and frame their subjects to make the most of each shot.

            Family portrait photographers do many beautiful things and may take a great photograph of Rover, but they don’t necessarily have the expertise to successfully photograph a wedding. Query as to how many years they have been shooting weddings and how many weddings they have actually photographed. A wedding photographer understands how to capture the special moments and romance of the day by composing special groupings, taking best advantage of background scenery and assuring brides and grooms always look their best. The best photographers work quickly and with consideration for the flow of the day and the needs of the bridal couple.



            There are lots of ways to identify possible photographers. Referrals from friends and visiting bridal events are helpful. Also ask the local professional photographers’ association in your area for referrals.

            Do you prefer classic poses or casual outdoor shots? Ask to see samples of complete wedding albums. If you are looking for a photographer who will shoot candid shots and black and whites, ask to see samples so you can hire someone whose style is compatible with yours. 

            Large studios may have four or five photographers and book several weddings on the same day. To avoid last minute surprises, always speak to and meet with the photographer who will photograph your wedding. Confirm this information in your contract. Inquire if a second camera will be available on site, in the event the first one malfunctions. Many photographers work well alone, but ask if they will have an assistant or if there will be additional photographers, especially if yours is a large wedding. 

            Hire a professional who works well with you. This is a good reason to schedule an engagement photography session. It gives the photographer an opportunity to work with you as a couple and to understand how best to photograph you. It also affords you the occasion to become more comfortable around your photographer in advance of the wedding. Remember, you’re going to spend the entire day together creating your masterpiece wedding album.


Don’t scrimp

            Purchasing a photography package will secure the best pricing but it also pays to compare packages. Purchasing your pictures “a la carte” after your wedding will be more costly.

            Let me caution you that photography is likely to be the one item in your budget that will exceed your initial estimate, but I feel strongly that this is an area in which you should not cut corners. Photographs are everlasting mementoes of your wedding day and you’re sure to find it hard to narrow down your choices to just a few. Long after the gifts are opened, the cake is eaten, and the bridal gown is packed away, your photographs will be a source of joy and memories for you and generations to come.


“Stress Free, Leave the Details to Me,” is the tried and true philosophy of Robbin Montero, California Wine Country wedding planning expert and owner of A Dream Wedding.  Robbin is the premier wedding planner in the Northern California Wine Country, transforming any vision into the perfectly designed wedding creation. Robbin and her weddings have been featured in The Knot, Brides, Elite Magazine, Your Wedding Day and Vine Napa/Sonoma magazines, and ImportantOccasions.com. Travel & Leisure magazine calls Robbin, “The expert wedding planner in the California Wine Country.” www.a-dreamwedding.com

Robbin Montero is a wedding coordinator and special events planner in Northern California.

©2006 Robbin Montero

This article cannot be reprinted without Robbin Montero’s expressed written permission.