I'm a coffee loving, travel-obsessed, twenty-something based out of Central Illinois. I'm lucky enough to make a living doing what I love - photographing people! I specialize in weddings (destination + local), senior portraits, + boudoir.
I often get asked a handful of the same questions time and time again. As a wedding photographer, there are many stories to tell, much advice to give, plenty of questions to answer. I thought I’d spend a little time today to do just that! If you have any further questions, I will answer them! Just let me know in the comments!
You’ve said YES, congrats! Now starts the planning! Some wonder how long they should wait to book the bigger vendors but first, it’s down to your date! What that really comes down to is priorities! Have you been dreaming of the perfect venue? Are photos your #1? Do you have a farming family to plan around? Figure out what means most to you, and reach out to them first! Traditionally, I’d say venue is first. Without a venue locked in, you have no place to actually hold your event. But if having a certain vendor is crucial, reach out to them! Most would be happy to share their open dates within a range, if you give them a month or two to look at. Then you can go to your venue and see what dates line up with your most crucial vendors. I have had brides change their dates for me, and it’s the ultimate compliment, but not all are willing to deal with the headache!
This is probably the first question I get, every time. This is perhaps one of the first things you’re forced to think about before you’re even ready to book your photographer. Hell, photographers, videographers, venues, even DJ’s tend to build their pricing based on the number of hours you want to hire them for. Don’t worry. That’s what I’m here for. I have created almost every. single. timeline for my brides, and a couple ladies who weren’t! After spending every Saturday photographing weddings, I can create your timeline practically in my sleep. With a few questions answered (like sunset time, locations, and travel time) we’ll get you up and running. Each one is different, so as for “where to start” – start with your photographer! I’ll know how much time we need per event, and things (like hanging the dress or getting those bloody rings to stack oh-so-nicely) takes TIME. More time than you’d think. When it comes to booking those hourly services, be sure to ask them about an hourly rate! If you’ve booked a professional for an hour less than you find you need (once your timeline is made) then knowing that the option to add hours can be essential. I can make a timeline based on ceremony time, dinner time, or nothing at all! The choice is yours.
One of the best things about being part of the Mager Image Family – engagement photos! I’ve talked before about why this session is crucial, and also why I always include your engagement session complimentary – but timing can be tricky! If you’re planning to use photos for your save-the-dates, then I’d suggest about six months before your wedding. It gives you about two months for editing, design, and mailing the cards to comply with the standard “four months before” rule. Of course, if you’re doing a destination wedding, you’ll want to give your guests 8-12 months to prepare so save-the-date accordingly. If save the dates are already covered, then you have more freedom with timing to pick your favorite season from now until the date. The latest time to do engagement sessions (in my opinion) would be about 2 months before though, any closer and they’ll be overwhelmed by wedding festivities and photos!
This kind of falls in line with the timeline, and every wedding is different! This is why if you’re wondering this question – let’s go ahead and make your timeline now! Keep in mind that things like travel, size (and alcohol tolerance) of bridal party, weather, etc. will make every timeline different. But there is kind of a hard rule I like to follow. I like to have a total of 1.5 hours with you in front of my lens. This includes photos of you with your bridal party, you with your newly married spouse, and family photos. This can also be broken down! We can use 30 minutes in the morning, 60 minutes in the afternoon, and 30 minutes at sunset if your timeline allows!
Destination weddings can be tricky, especially when it comes to pricing. Most destination weddings require custom pricing but before we can create that it’s helpful to know a few things. Whether you’re planning an adventure elopement or larger long-distance event, you’ll need your date set! Now, with smaller affairs and elopements the date can be flexible but it’s always helpful to know when to be where. Even if it’s “the week of June 22nd” it’ll help to be able to estimate travel costs. Which brings me to my next point: travel! I’ll need to know what the price of a plane ticket is plus the resort or area hotel per night costs. It can all be an estimate but once we have a ballpark date, flights, and stay pricing I can work on creating you a custom quote to capture it all! Trust me – it’s going to be a date you’ll want to have plenty of photos from!
I don’t have an exclusive list (yet) but I do have vendors that I’ve worked many times with! I will give my honest opinions and won’t give out a name I’ve never worked with before. There are certain vendors that I LOVE working with, others that are so-so, and some that have been complete assholes that I’d happily help you avoid. 😉If you’re needing help with a specific vendor, feel free to reach out, I’d love to help!
Uh, no. I’m happy to share full galleries of ANY wedding (as you should also ask for) to show you what I deliver on a consistent basis, and I’m ready for most everything if you’ll give me a heads up! Planning a secret choreographed first dance with dad? Got it. Want to have your bridesmaids captured as they see you for the first time? Done. Ready for the toasts? I’m on it. I don’t need a list of “bride walking down the aisle, groom seeing bride for first time, etc.” – I’ve got all the standards. What I do need from you is a family shot list! You’ll receive a questionnaire to fill out before your big day. This is your homework. It’ll tell me who your vendors are to tag on Instagram, a little about you, and who you want included in your family photos after the ceremony. It even has an example family list in the questionnaire for you to follow!
Weddings take tiiiiiimmmeee! They’re by far the most time suck of the editing world. I photograph your day, go home, put THOUSANDS of photos on my computer, and back them up. Then I spend HOURS going through each photo choosing the best from the best, and then doing it all over again to pick out photos for the blog. Then I import, edit, blog, edit, share to social media, edit, and, oh wait, edit! Then, a handful of weeks later (no more than 6 weeks) you’ll get THE email. It’ll have the link to your online gallery for viewing, sharing, and even printing!