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Ultimate Wedding Photography Guide

Choosing the Best NC Wedding Photographer for You!

What to Expect Working With a Professional Wedding Photographer

A talented wedding photographer has the ability to tell your love story over and over. That’s just one of the reasons why you’ll never regret hiring a professional. Finding the person who’s going to be responsible for capturing all of the memories on your special day can be stressful. Consider this your ultimate guide for what to expect! We’ll also share how to prepare to work with your photographer. Keep reading for our top tips on choosing your NC wedding photographer!

Choosing Your NC Wedding Photographer

With so many talented photographers out there, how do you pick the right one for you? You’ll need to book a photographer or videographer at least a year in advance, or as soon as you set a date. The first questions you’ll want to knock out are ones concerning availability and pricing. Is your wedding date available for the photographer of your choice? Does your wedding budget match their prices?

Average wedding photography and videography packages range from $3,500 to $7,000 for full-day coverage. Rates for luxury photographers begin at $10,000. Elopement packages are based on shorter time frames and cost less.

Many photographers and videographers offer packages that include engagement sessions, photo albums, bridal portraits, trailers and more. Don’t forget to budget for these add-ons. Ask about contract policies, second-shooter packages and how quickly images or film will be turned around after the wedding.

Once you’ve answered these essential questions, you can start to get a feel for the photographer’s style and personality and if they will be a good fit for you. Take a look at their portfolio and chat with them about their style so that you know what to expect from the end result. Danielle Flake, a North Carolina wedding photographer and founder of Danielle Flake Photography, will tell you that she uses an authentic approach and captures images as naturally as possible so your photos remain classically beautiful even years down the road.

Tips on Choosing the Perfect NC Wedding Photographer

Next, consider if you’ll get along with your photographer since you will both be spending a considerable amount of time together. Your wedding photographer might even be one of the people you spend the most time with on your actual wedding day! Therefore, comparability is an important factor. Getting to know your wedding photographer can also help you feel comfortable and confident in front of the lens. An initial consolation is a wonderful way to do this and get a feel for their personality.

“You also aren’t going to invite a guest to the wedding if you don’t vibe with them, so treat your photographer the same,” says Morgan Caddell, a Raleigh-based photographer and founder of Morgan Caddell Photography. “Meet them or at least chat with them on the phone or a Zoom call. The happier you feel with your photographer, the better your photos will be because you trust them to get what you want.”

A Detailed Planning Process

Durham-based wedding photographer Nikki Whitt Belch of Fancy This Photography gives a lot of thought to timing when planning a shoot. If you’re getting married outside, Nikki recommends that your ceremony starts right before the golden hour – the last hour and a half before sunset.

For example, the sun sets at about 7 p.m. in September, and so she suggests a 5 p.m. ceremony start time so that she and her team can photograph everyone during these pivotal moments when the sun casts a beautiful glow across every scene. But it is still perfectly okay if your ceremony is not in the evening. When you’re working with a great photographer, they can make any lighting conditions work.

Nikki also schedules a phone call with the couples she works with to go over the list of family formal photos so that she can plan out all of the necessary shots, including the large group photographs as well as smaller groupings with parents, siblings, grandparents and more. She says that unless you have a rather large family, family formals typically take around 20 to 30 minutes.

The Power of Precious and Subtle Moments

On the wedding day, a professional photographer will capture all of the shots that you communicate are important to you, and they will also use their creative eye to capture unique precious moments. Danielle Flake likes to start the day with the bride and the people who mean the most to her when she’s getting ready and anticipating the day ahead. She also spends time with the welcome party, photographing the couple mingling with their guests. She feels honored to hear kind words and stories that guests tell about the couple’s accomplishments during this time. Danielle and Morgan also share a love for the sweet looks on the faces of parents as they watch their child get married. Morgan also tries to capture the emotions of guests during the ceremony, such as a bridesmaid wiping a tear away.

Creative Chapel Hill Wedding Photography

Heba Salama, an experienced wedding photographer based her business, Heba Salama Photography, in the heart of North Carolina. Heba photographs Chapel Hill weddings (and events across the state) with a focus on unique portraits. Her creative wedding portraits are the perfect way to capture the special moments between loved ones on a wedding day.

Peruse real wedding galleries or films (the more, the better!) on the vendor’s website or via gallery links so that you can see how they capture the day from start to finish. It can also be helpful to see how they’ve shot your venue or weddings in the season when you’re getting married. Heba makes a point to get to know clients well so that she can ensure the final gallery covers the moments of the day that are most meaningful to them.

One-of-a-Kind Durham NC Wedding Photographer

Durham-based wedding photographer and videographer Mark Maya’s can’t-miss photos are centered on the emotional reactions of the couple during the first look, ceremony, toasts and dances.

“I am obsessed with capturing the climax of those moments in the most beautiful way for the couple so they can go back in time and re-experience their day through photos and video,” says Mark, the founder of Mark Maya Photography. He also takes pride in capturing the little moments that happen right after the big ones, like at the conclusion of the ceremony or after a dance ends.

Nikki’s favorite moments are the interactions among guests and family members during toasts. “The subtle and boastful laughs from the couple are some of our dearest moments,” she adds. “Having the couple look at each other in awe as they hear from their closest friends of memories made together [is] definitely a fan favorite of ours to photograph.”

Find our full guide of NC wedding photographers here! Browse through these trusted professionals to choose the NC wedding photographer that fits your style and budget.

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