How to Pick the Perfect Professional Photographer

What you need to consider before you pay that photography deposit.

If you’ve started the search for a photographer then you’ll know just how many options there are.  Before you go ahead and book a professional photographer for a shoot though, there are a couple important things to consider.

What style are you looking for?

Photographers have different styles so you need to decide on someone who can help you achieve the end result you are looking for.  This applies to everything from wedding and maternity shoots to family and corporate shoots.  Ask the photographer for some examples of their latest work to evaluate whether they can cater to your needs.
Research and review.

Before you invest in a professional photographer you need to do your homework.  Get online to find a few customer reviews, browse around their website to view their latest work and have a look around their social media pages to find out what others are saying about them.  These platforms will also give you a good idea of their personality and style.  Some other important points to consider when researching photographers are:

  1. Budget.  Do their services fall within your price range?
  2. Expertise.  Are they experienced enough to give you the results you are looking for?
  3. Location.  Are they based in your area and are they willing to travel to a specific location if need be?
  4. Quality.  Is the quality of their photos good enough? Look at aspects such as sharpness, exposure and saturation.

Create a short list.

Once you have done your research, create a short list of professional photographers that stand out for you.  Get in touch with each of them to discuss your needs and to ask any questions that you might have.  It’s important that you chat with the photographer over the phone if not in person as this is the best way to get to know them and find out whether you’ll be able to work with them.  Feeling uncomfortable or stressed out around your photographer makes for bad photos.

It’s important that you pick a photographer that you have confidence in.  Your photos are there to last you a lifetime so while there is nothing wrong with helping out your photographer friend who has just started out, it’s best to choose an experienced photographer for important events and occasions that you can’t relive.

A Not-So-Scary Deal

In celebration of one of my favorite “holidays,” if you book an engagement session during the month of October to take place anytime during the remainder of 2018 or throughout 2019, you will receive a super cool custom guestbook for your wedding!

 

The Engagement Session – Is It Really Necessary?

I am often asked when meeting with potential wedding clients, “What if we don’t do the engagement session?”  I smile and politely let them know, “The engagement session is for me!”  Just kidding – well not really . . . well sort of . . .  Of course, the engagement session is about you – the happy couple, BUT it is really for US as a team.  That is why my engagement sessions are complimentary.  I want to have the opportunity to get to know my clients and for them to get to know me; what it’s like to work with me as well as an opportunity for you to preview my work on a personal level.

If you are newly engaged and wondering if you should really go through the time and possible expense of an engagement session – my answer is YES!  It is an important part of your engagement.

WHY?  Glad you asked!

This is absolutely, hands-down, the best way to get to know your photographer and see if you really want to take that next step with them – The Wedding Day.

You are not just hiring some nice (seemingly nice) person with a good camera and website – you are hiring someone for their vision – a unique vision for the two of you – who doesn’t just show up and do some cookie cutter poses and call it day.  You want someone you are comfortable working with and can trust.  After the engagement session, you get to see their work and if they really are a good fit for you.  Remember, this is the person who will be with you for HOURS on your wedding day, capturing intimate moments and special details – recording one of the most significant and emotional days of your life.  If you don’t really care for your photographer, it will be awkward for you on the day of your wedding.  Your photographer is pretty much your shadow the entire day.  By the end of the day, you will either want to go out for a drink with them, or drink because you spent the day with them!  An engagement session provides the opportunity to get to know your photographer.

Get Camera Ready

I personally know how awkward it is to be in front of a camera, not knowing what you look like and hoping you are taking direction correctly from your photographer.  People often overthink it and then actually look and feel stiff and uncomfortable.  Your photographer will work with you and make you more comfortable in front of the camera.  Once you have a chance to get used to being photographed and relax into the process, you will be amazed at how comfortable and natural you will feel!  Having an engagement session gives you a chance to develop that comfort before your wedding day.

Confirm the Photographer’s Style Is What You Want

Wedding photography is a major investment – for good reason.  Even if you have viewed the photographer’s previous work, you should still get a taste of how your photos will turn out – it’s like a test drive!  Having an engagement session eases your mind.  After you see your beautiful portraits, you will have a much clearer sense of what kind of images your photographer can create for you.  Not to mention the really great portraits you will have in the clothes and environment that most speaks to you and represents who you are individually and as a couple.

You Are Engaged!  Own It!

Being engaged is so exciting!  An excitement that you will never have again.  You are only going to do this once in your life!  You’re excited to have committed to your best friend, making plans for the wedding, and making plans for your future.  Doing an engagement session is a wonderful way to preserve memories of this brief period, so that you can look back on them for years to come.

Who Are You?

An engagement session captures pieces of who you are and the connection between you in a most natural way.  There are no people standing around watching or waiting for you to be done like they will at your wedding.  We can spend as much time as we like to create a beautiful and meaningful portfolio of your love.  We will stylize your engagement session.  We will pick a location that best represents you, maybe have props and/or wardrobe that shows your combined interests.  For example, I did an engagement session for a cute couple – he played hockey – she was an ice skater – so we did the entire session on the ice!

Engagement Sessions Are Really Fun

We just goof off and relax.  It’s a day out, just the two of you – well, and me . . . you get a few hours of just focusing on each other and playing.  During your engagement session there will be some light posing, but it will mostly be me taking beautiful photos of the two of you just being together.  And more than likely, you or I will come up with a really fun and/or crazy idea unique to you!

Details to Add to Your Wedding

You can use your engagement photos for:

  • Save the date cards
  • Thank you cards
  • Incorporated in your wedding décor
  • Create party favors with your photo on them
  • I can create a unique guest book full of images from the session
  • Wedding website

Legacy

And finally – beautiful photographs you will want to include in your wedding album and hang on your walls!  Your family for generations will cherish them!

Hopefully, you are now actually excited about doing an engagement session!  Engagement sessions are one of my favorite things!

Imahny and Taurrean

One of my favorite things about wedding photography is the engagement session.  It is the time that the couple and I get to know each other.  We connect during the session, they get comfortable being in front of the camera – we goof off and be silly – maybe dance, which makes the wedding day so much easier on all of us!

We also see how well we work together.  You certainly wouldn’t want to hire a photographer that you didn’t connect with – or you don’t like their style.

Imahny and Taurrie are so much fun!  I cannot wait for the wedding!   (Click image for video!)

A Wedding is a Circus . . .

Years of preparation – horse drawn carriage – stilt-walker – ringmaster – they said it couldn’t be done . . .

Angela and Gary said, “Yes it can.”  I know there are a lot of images here, but there was a lot going on.

When Angela asked me to photograph their wedding and told me it was a circus theme, I was so excited!  I knew it was going to be spectacular!

The creativity and can-do attitude of Angela, Gary and Angela’s family is limitless.  Angela and her family created, designed and built all the details of this wedding.

We started our journey at the hotel.

Hair and makeup by:

Hair – (David Douglas Salon) Nikki – 714-848-8186

Makeup by Pearl – 816-419-8931

We are on our way . . . surprise for the bride!  She had no idea that her father was going to dress like the ringmaster – he was also the officiant!

 

The first look.  I love the first look.  Not only can I have the couple selfishly to myself right after they just finished getting ready, but this is the perfect time for them to see each other and have the last quiet moment they are going to have together until the honeymoon!

 

All aboard!  The venue has such a cute little train depot along with an engine and car.  Great photo venue!

 

Let the show begin . . .

 

And the details . . . . The flowers were designed by the bride and arranged by Jen K Floral Design

In closing . . .

 

Credits:

Photography:  Cathleen McGrath Photography

Videography:  Thai Huynh – 805 813-7587 – thaihuynhstudio@gmail.com

Photobooth:  Jay – 657-888-3757 – booking@evolovphotography.com – www.evolovphotography.com

Caterer:  Café’n’Stuff – Roberta – cell 562-254-8216/office 562-940-4494

Deejay – Jonathan – 310-753-6590 info@djandpartyrentals.com OR djandpartyrentals.com

Raj Tents…. Maurice Walsh…510 418-2576 cell…
310-329-8222 office ext 25…. events@rajtents.com or Maurice@rajtents.com

Orbit Rentals – Nori – 562-696-8875 – crystal@orbiteventrentals.com
Cindy Cinderella (Horse) – Cindy – 951-201-5269 – mustang1998fury@yahoo.com

2Create designs (Chair rentals) – Ali – (949) 735-4909 – ali@2createdesigns.com
or Erika (562) 712-2154 erika@2createdesigns.com

Cake – Katella Deli – (562) 594-8611 – info@katellabakery.com

Bartenders Caitlin…562-388-3838
Victoria…310-480-7662
Katie…..562-552-5987

Dog Trainer Anthony…..562-413-5799

Coordinator:  Arielle – 949-632-9041 – arielle@lvlevents.com

 

 

 

 

 

Caitlin & Bram

 

Young love . . .  Caitlin and Bram had English together their senior year of high school.  One day Caitlin roped Bram into a conversation which led to them walking and talking for awhile after school.  During the rest of the year, they talked before class, but that was it.  Neither was the wiser that the other was interested.  Later, Bram confessed he tried to talk to her more, but it was difficult for him.

Graduation Day arrives – yes GRADUATION!  Caitlin and Bram were picking up their diplomas as the same time.  They talked and he asked for her number.  PHEW!  Talk about waiting until the 11th hour!  After that they had a summer full of long walks and conversation.  But it still wasn’t a done deal – they just hung out – they kept quiet not sharing their feelings.  So finally the truth came out and they became boyfriend and girlfriend – just before he was set to leave for his service.  They corresponded while he was gone and when he returned, they decided to get married!

The location was amazing – Los Angeles River Center & Gardens.  Caitlin is a trained naturalist and works there teaching people about the California ecosystems.  LA River Center is a little oasis tucked away in the City of Los Angeles.  Gorgeous front gates, lovely garden, fountain, old Spanish style architecture . . . perfect photo spot.

Enjoy some of the highlights – set to Expression from Helen Jane Long from the album Porcelain.