Above photo is from Haley Photography

When you are thinking about all the things you want at your wedding, sometimes a photographer isn’t high on the list.

We believe it should be, as you are spending lots of money on your decor, dresses, food, etc. Having a professional photographer there to capture all the special moments that happen during your wedding is very important.

We know that they can be expensive depending on who you choose, but having money in your budget for a photographer early on can help you in the long run.

professionalvsamateurweddingphotographers seattlebride_2

We asked some of the photographers, who we recommend to our brides, to answer some questions so you can get a better understanding of the importance of a professional photographer.

What are the most popular styles of photography for weddings?

There are many different styles of photography, what seems to be most popular is documentary, traditional and classic. Every photographer has there own style, so you need to find out what style you are wanting for your wedding.


Photo by Hourglass Imaging

What is your style of photography for weddings?

“I love to shoot bright and airy photos. My style is a mixture of candid and posed shots. I love having a mix of photographs and I feel that covers all parts of your wedding day. I also shoot both film and digital. While I love the look of film, digital allows me to capture moments that happen in dark light and moments that happen really quickly.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“I would consider my shooting style to be natural, candid, fun, and maybe a little on the dramatic side. My editing style is crisp, matte, shadowy, and full of colour.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“My style is a mix of traditional, fine art, documentary and editorial.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I have a hard time categorising myself as one thing to be honest!” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Flashback Photo Co.

I’ve noticed that film photography seems to be becoming popular again, why is that?

“Film is timeless. Photography trends tend to come and go, but film has been used since the beginning of the camera. I think film has also become so popular lately because it has the aesthetic that the major wedding blogs like to publish.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“Old fashioned film photography is absolutely gaining popularity. It’s not an easy skill set to master and offers a look and texture that isn’t naturally found with digital photography. It can be replicated, but it isn’t the same! I think the uniqueness and nostalgia surrounding film has made it a popular choice, as well as the naturally artistic appearance of grainy film photos.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“There is a depth to film that you can see if you compare film and digital. I find there are differences in the texture and colour that are hard to replicate. There becomes a real appreciation for the film photos that took a lot of thought process, technique, and skill to create. It’s really about quality over quantity.” Jo from Haley Photography

“What stands out in my mind is that film is a very intentional and methodical, as it doesn’t give you the freedom and flexibility that comes with digital. It slows you down, makes you think twice about every shot and forces you to perfect your craft so you can take the best possible shot in camera. Even when shooting digital people apply filters and present to emulate the look of “film photography.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Haley Photography

Do you like it when Brides give you a shot list?

“It depends. Moments written down that photographers wouldn’t automatically think to capture can be very helpful.   If a bride hands me a list with 100 must have photos such as “the first kiss” “bride walking down the aisle” “ring exchange” “first dance” etc.,  it can be a little bit daunting.  Not only does it suggest you don’t totally trust in your photographer’s abilities, it can also cause your wedding day to loose its authenticity.  If your photographer has a list and one of the requests is something that would pull you away from a genuine moment of love and laughter, it would be devastating to miss the true moments to make sure you got a posed picture in front of a fountain.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“There are a couple of very important reasons that shot lists can hinder the beauty and experience of a wedding day. Firstly, it’s very hard for a couple to pick a pose based on what they see online that will guarantee them a complimentary image. Some of the best poses and photos are taken of models, were not spur of the moment, aren’t flattering to every body type, or are even possible with every dress! Secondly, having to stop and review poses selected by a couple can distract from the natural flow of the day, making the process less fun for the couple. Photographers work very hard to cultivate an understanding of posing to offer clients the very best experience and end result.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging.

“Absolutely. It allows me to better understand what they are looking for and the names of the family that are going to be formally photographed! I sit down with all my couples before the wedding day to go over and talk about their requested shot list. Although I do state in my contract that all shots requested may not be fulfilled due to unforeseen circumstances, I definitely do my best to get those requested shots.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I always tell brides to give me a shot list of “cant miss” shots, so I know which ones are most important to them and can prioritise those moments. I also like them for the family portion so I can be ready to round people up, especially if they have a large family with a lot of different groupings. You don’t want every single moment of your day to be staged; you have to trust your photographer! ”  Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Rosenlee Photography

Do you have a second shooter with you? If no, how come?

“Sometimes. Second shooters are wonderful. I love having someone to bounce ideas off of, someone who can capture different angles, and someone who is there on the off chance that your gear malfunctions during an important moment. However, I often shoot solo due to budgetary restrictions. Wedding photography is a large investment and sometimes my couples cannot budget enough to include a second shooter in their wedding collection.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“Every single wedding I have a second shooter join me. They offer an alternative perspective during key moments, capture guest reactions and candid moments while I focus on the couple, and add to the effort of never missing a moment.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“Yes, usually my lovely and talented husband. ” Jo from Haley Photography

“I do not have a second shooter that works for my business. If brides are interested I reach out to friends of mine who are also talented photographers to see if they are available.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Hourglass Imaging

When you book a wedding, is that the only event you will be capturing that day?

“Absolutely.  Weddings can often run over time and I would never want my couples to feel like I had somewhere else to be.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“Yes! My entire day is dedicated to one wedding every time. I do not have any associate photographers or staff photographers that take on weddings under the Hourglass name on my behalf. It’s just me and my second shooters.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“Yes! Weddings are unpredictable. With so many vendors working together to keep things on time you never know what could change that time flow. That is a really important question to ask your wedding vendors. ” Jo from Haley Photography

“Yes. Only one wedding a weekend is actually my preference, however, I have made exceptions!” Ashely from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Haley Photography

Do you charge for weddings out of a certain area?

“If a wedding requires me to stay overnight or a flight then yes, there is an extra charge. This occurs when an out-of-town wedding is for a full day and travel would be unwise, such as a 12-hour package and 3 hours of travel one way for myself and my second shooter. Driving after a day like that isn’t safe.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“I charge travelling fees for out of area weddings. I am located in the GTA.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I will charge a travel fee, or have them pay for accommodations depending on how far away they are.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Flashback Photo Co.

Typically what should brides budget for a photographer?

When I asked this question the general consensus was between $2,500 and $5,000.

Dawn from Hourglass Imaging recommends looking up 10 photographers in your budget, pick your top 5 to contact and then meet with at least 3 of them.

Char from Rosenlee Photography recommends investing in your memories, as photos are the only tangible item that you have after your wedding.


Photo from Rosenlee Photography

What are your thoughts on guests taking pictures at a wedding?

“I think it’s great if you bring your camera to a wedding and capture the behind the scenes moments that the couple would never see. When the bride is walking down the aisle, it is very difficult for a photographer to move around because they don’t want attention taking from the bride. If cameras are arms length into the aisle, it isn’t possible to get a beautiful first look of that bride without distracting phones, cameras, and ipads invading her space. Also, when the hired photographer is taking posed shots of the bride and groom, it can be very distracting (for many reasons) if guests are also taking photos. First, it is hard for the bride and groom to give their photographer complete attention with cameras shooting in every direction. Char from Rosenlee Photography

“I’m all for guests taking photos! At the right moments, that is. Since it’s so rare a photographer can get a shot of absolutely everyone, guests taking photos can be a wonderful addition to a wedding story. That being said – during a ceremony, I strongly believe (as a past bride, a wedding guest, and a photographer) that all guests should be present and not be taking photos. Enjoy the moment! Be present for the couple, share in their ceremony and witness their declaration. It’s the job of the photographer to make sure these key moments such as walking down the aisle, ring exchange, first kiss, grand entrance, first dances, cake cutting, etc, are all professionally documented. It’s the guest’s job to have fun!” Dawn from Hourglass Imgaing

“I think if the couple hired a wedding professional to take photos then the guest should leave it up to the professionals. Often times we find that guests with cameras, phones or ipads get in the way of a moment that I want to capture. For example when the bride is coming down the aisle I don’t want people to jump out in the aisle to take their own photos.” Jo from Haley Photography

“As long as they’re not getting in my way, doesn’t bother me! I understand that these are family and close friends and they want to capture the memories of the day…but if you step into the aisle while I’m trying to shoot the first kiss, I’m not going to be thrilled!” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Hourglass Imaging

Do you include engagement pictures in any of your packages?

Most photographers include engagment photos in there packages. They feelt hat this is a great way to get to know the bride and groom before the big day. Some do not include it in there packages but they can be added if you want them.

Make sure to ask each photographer that you are meeting with. You want to know what you are getting for the money that you are paying them!


Photo from Hourglass Imaging

How much money is required up front when booking with you? Example:50%, 60% of total?

Most photographers require a deposit of 30-50%. The rest can be done through instalments and is usually due a certain time frame before your wedding date.

Discuss this in detail with your potential photographers, know how much is required and when. This is important for you to know when working on your overall wedding budget!


Photo from Flashback Photo Co.

Do you prefer meeting with a client in person before actually being booked?

“Yes.  I love meeting with clients before booking their date.  It is so important that you and your photographer are a good fit in personality, sense of humour, and understanding. You are with your photographer more than anyone else on the day of your wedding and it is so important to feel confident and comfortable with the photographer you choose.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“Whenever possible I meet with my couples before booking. Personality can play a big part in choosing a wedding photographer!” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“Yes. However, if they live far away Facetime or Skype can work too.” Jo from Haley Photography

“Yes, I like to make sure that we vibe well together and get to know each other a little bit before the big day. This gets rid of any awkwardness or tension. I also find it much easier to talk about the schedule for the day in person instead of over email.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Haley Photography

How soon after the wedding should brides and grooms expect to have their photos from you?

The average wait time is 8-12 weeks for receiving your photos from the photographer.

What is your opinion on first looks?

“As a photographer, I love them.  They are a beautiful moment that I am able to capture and the photos always come out beautifully.  They are some of my favourite photos to deliver to clients!!  With that being said, I’m old fashioned and I didn’t do a first look.  I wanted my groom to see me for the first time as my dad was giving me away.  Either way, the moment is beautiful and I’m totally open to whatever a couple chooses.” Char from Rosenlee Photography.

“I love them! I wish all my clients did first looks.” Jo from Hayley Photography

“I LOVE them. I wish every couple would do a first look!” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Flashback Photo Co.

Do you recommend brides getting a videographer? Do you have preferred videographers who you like to work with?

“Photography cannot capture the speeches, laughter or music of your wedding day, but there is no shortage of emotion, movement and storytelling. If remembering just how your voice waivers during your vows, knowing exactly what dad said that made everyone laugh so hard, and never forgetting that first song is extremely important to you – then yes, get a videographer! I do have some recommendations I pass along to my couples but I make a point to contact videography teams far in advance so we can make a plan that works for everyone on the wedding day.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“Yes videographers are just as important, and yes, I have preferred videographers to work with. I usually call and talk to the videographer before the wedding date to figure out what their style of shooting is like so I can get a good understanding what to expect on their end.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I think this comes down to preference, as well as your budget. Photography AND videography can add up fairly quickly – but there are advantages to both. I personally love videography because it captures a different element of your day that you don’t get with stills. The things that people say, the little moments in between each photograph, your vows etc.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Rosenlee Photography

If you haven’t shot at the wedding venue or reception area before, do you like to do a site visit with the bride? Would that cost extra to the bride?


Photographers prefer going and seeing the venue before the wedding day. They find it very important to see the layout and lighting so they know what they are getting into. If it is out of a certain range that they cover they may charge for going there. Discuss this option with your photographer before booking.


Photo from Haley Photography

Do you print the photos yourself, or do you recommend places to the bride and groom?

“All of my couples have the right to print wherever they would like; however, I do recommend printing from me.  I use a professional print lab and the quality is exceptional.  I have recommended some other places to try out, but the colour and quality is less than perfect.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“I have a professional lab that I use for photos and offer them to my clients, but it is their choice if they would like to print elsewhere. I do have the odd printer I can recommend, but only items purchased through Hourglass are 100% guaranteed for quality.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“I recommend a professional print lab for the prints. I can assist with co-ordinating with the lab.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I can do either, depending on the preference of the couple. I don’t actually have a lot of couples ask for prints.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Hourglass Imaging

Do you do album design for the bride and groom?

Photographers love designing wedding albums for the happy couple. This, of course, would be an extra fee and they have packages again depending on what you need/want. Ask your photographers when you are meeting with them. They will have examples of previous work that they have done before and can show you what they are capable of.


Photo from Rosenlee Photography

Is photography your main business? If not, how much time do you dedicate to your photography business?

“Yes. Photography is my only business. I work fulltime and I wouldn’t change a thing!!” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“Photography is one of two businesses of mine, and I devote half of my working time to it. This includes shooting, editing, social media, emailing, etc.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“Yes this is my main business.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I would say yes, because I own my own business, but also work full time for a creative agency doing photography as well.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Haley Photography

How long have you been photographing weddings? If a bride would want references do you have some you can give?

“I have been photographing weddings for 5 years. I am continuously taking workshops and learning new techniques to improve my business and better my craft.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“I have been offering wedding photography for 3 full years, and have accumulated a wonderful set of public reviews on Wedding Wire. I do not offer contact information for any of my past couples for references, but can provide links to testimonials at any time.” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“I am going into my 6th season. If they wanted references I can send them reviews I have online.” Jo from Haley Photography

“I started as a second shooter 6 years ago and have been shooting on my own since 2012. Yes I have references I can give to brides!” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Hourglass Imaging

Do you have a plan in place if you are ill and cannot photograph the bride’s wedding?

“Knock on wood, but it has never happened before!!  With that being said, I have several professional photographers who I would call to take over my position if I could not make it to a wedding.  Anyone that I would use to replace me has their own successful photography business and their level of expertise is on par with my own.  After the wedding, I would still edit all of the photos so my couple would still have my style of wedding photos, they just wouldn’t have me the day of – which would be heartbreaking because I get to know my couples on a personal level and I’d hate to miss out on their date.” Char from Rosenlee Photography

“Always! Every second shooter that is hired to accompany me is an experienced and dedicated wedding photographer who can handle a full wedding in my absence. As well, I’m a part of a couple of wonderful communities that are always willing and able to step in and help a fellow wedding photographer at a moment’s notice!” Dawn from Hourglass Imaging

“Yes we cover this topic in my contract.” Jo from Haley Photography

“Yes, I have a large network of friends who are photographers that I can call if (god forbid) this situation ever happened. I haven’t experienced it yet, but if there’s even a SLIGHT chance that I’m not feeling up for the job, I will make sure I have someone lined up who is professional, capable and could take over for me.” Ashley from Flashback Photo Co.


Photo from Flashback Photo Co.

Thank you to the four fabulous photographers that took the time to answer the above questions! Below I have the links to their individula pages. Please look them up, and book your consultation with them! They are all amazing to work with!

Flashback Photo Co.

Haley Photography

Hourglass Imaging

Rosenlee Photography