Photography and advice courtesy of Carissa Leveille, owner of Ella Grace Photography.
When should couples book?
One year in advance. With me, a non-refundable deposit holds your date and I only book one wedding per day, so couples know that they will have my undivided attention. I also offer a free engagement session to all clients that book eight hours of wedding day coverage — I find that eight hours is the perfect amount of time to capture everything from getting ready to up until when the dance floor opens for the night.
What should couples consider when looking for a photographer?
The most important thing you can do is meet with potential photographers in person. Before you schedule these meetings, you should have your ceremony site and venue officially booked. Then you need to do some homework and check out potential photographer websites and reviews. What are past clients saying about them? The next step would be to schedule an in-person consult. Meeting up for a cup of coffee and having them bring along their printed portfolio and some sample albums is an excellent way to get to know their personality. You want to make sure that you not only love their work but love them too!
What kind of questions should couples ask during their consultation?
I have shot weddings for ten years now and can almost recite word for word the generic questions that some clients bring to consults. It’s not going to matter one bit what I wear to your wedding, but what will matter is that I have backup equipment and that I back up your photographs every hour on my tablet. Instead, ask a potential photographer how they would deal with a flat tire or a blizzard. It’s a good way to get some insight into how they deal with stressful situations. It’s invaluable to have a wedding photographer that can handle fast-moving and often unexpected circumstances and still capture them with ease. Being a photographer sometimes means pinning on boutonnieres, sewing up a loose button, and being there to remind the bride to use the bathroom before she puts that gorgeous dress on.
How important is it for the couple to put a list together of shots that they want?
It is critical to have a plan for your posed portraits. I am able to anticipate and prepare for moments like when someone is about to cry, split their pants on the dance floor or have a little taste of the cake before it’s cut, but what I don’t know is your family dynamic. There can sometimes be sensitive family matters and by communicating with your photographer ahead of time you can make the day enjoyable and stress-free. I always have my clients fill out a final day timeline about a month before their wedding day to re-confirm all final details and go over the posed shots that they want.
Have you noticed any new trends?
I have loved seeing four-legged friends at weddings this past year. Between dogs walking down the aisle, being part of the getting ready process or making an appearance during the posed session, there are so many ways you can include your best friend. And if your venue doesn’t allow dogs, you can always bring them to your engagement session instead.