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Photography + Engagement Photos

Hello lovelies!

Like most brides, I hands-down through the FLOOR believe that wedding day photography is one of the most important vendors I'll have (ok that and like food and stuff, but you know). It's seriously jaw-dropping how photographs can encapsulate such beautiful moments, images, and emotions and preserve them forever. Every time I visit my grandma, I pull out her wedding album and fall in love over and over again with timeless images of her beautiful day–I want to be able to have that same experience with my own!

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My aunt gave me these wonderful photographs of both sets of my grandparents on their wedding days. It was my absolute favorite gift.

However, since I (and maybe like a few of you too) am quite self conscious and very very nervous in the photo-taking department, I was a bit anxious about starting my search for the perfect photographer. I am intimidated super easily, and I didn't want to feel uncomfortable with my less-than-modelesque self when taking pictures on my wedding day. I wanted to feel comfortable, confident, and pretty, and I DEFINITELY think that who you choose to take pictures on your wedding day has a tremendous impact on that!

I could NOT have been more blessed with the photographers we found–not only are they seriously the most talented people EVER, but they have the biggest hearts, beautiful personalities, and a genuine passion for what they do. Not to mention, they're engaged too!! Like how cute is that?! Seriously, our engagement picture session felt like a double date; it was SO much fun! (If you are in Michigan, seriously check out Brad and Sam of Bradley James Photography! No for real I mean it).

Anyhow, I found them on Facebook of all places (did you notice that the second you got engaged, all of the ads on the side magically changed to wedding stuff?!). I followed the link on the side and checked out their site and instantly was obsessed. Two point five seconds into meeting with them, I knew they were it!

Here are a few things I think are important to keep in mind when picking the perfect photographer:

1.) Chemistry. Seriously, the second I met with Brad and Sam I KNEW I needed to book them. Aside from the fact that they had a stunning portfolio, we really clicked and ended up having quite a bit in common. They're the same age as Justin and me, too, which is super fun! Since these guys are pretty much spending more time with me on my wedding day than any other vendor, it's so important to choose someone I felt completely comfortable with!

2.) Style. Most photographers have a website and/or blog that they regularly update with recent shoots. Feel free to creepily stalk all the way until their site was first created. When you meet with them, check out their printed portfolio, too. Styles range from traditional and posed to super photojournalistic and organic–find someone whose style meshes with yours! You're going to be looking at these pictures for a long time!

3.) Flexible Package Deals. This can save you lots of $$$. Look to see if you can work with the photographer to customize photo packages–Justin and I were able to opt out of an engagement picture album which was originally included in the package we chose, and we also took off some photo credits to save money and print elsewhere (read: Costco). We knocked quite a bit off of the total price! It never hurts to ask (:

4.) Engagement Session. Ours was included in our package deal, and it's not only a perfect opportunity to get some way cute pictures of you and your fiance pre-wedding, but it's also a perfect way to get comfortable with your photographer and the camera and everything else. You'll be a pro by the end of your session and come wedding day you won't be sweating the pics at all!

5.) Don't be afraid to ask questions. Chances are, the photographer wants you to LOVE his/her work; if you have any questions, ask! Ask about coverage times, the cost of extra prints, back up plans in case of WHATEVER, his/her philosophy of shooting weddings, guarantees offered, etc. Justin even called up Brad and Sam one night when we were trying to figure out how long we should book our party bus for! And they graciously answered every question (:

Anyway, want to see a few from our engagement session? We actually took these the night before Justin moved to DC. Like, we cleared out his apartment, loaded up the moving van, showered, and took pictures.

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And that's that! Do you have any other “must haves” for a photographer list?  Or did you find a fantastic one or are you still searching? Believe me, if I could do it, you can too!

Have flawless weeks!

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Katie Cross

is a bride blogger who got married in 2011. You can read her wedding planning posts here.