By Lauren Kay for TheKnot.com
There are some truths you just don't find out until you're in front of the camera.
Choosing your wedding photographer will be more about a feeling than your budget or anything else.
You'll want someone you click with, since they'll be following you around on your wedding day. You may get a feeling from their pictures alone, or it may be a gut reaction when you meet them for the first time. Budget will still play a role in your decision of course, but instinct (and vibe) will totally take over when it comes down to it. It's not irrational; it's actually normal.
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Engagement photos will feel like a test run.
Unless you're a professional model, you'll probably feel a little shy in front of the camera at first, but practice makes perfect. Taking engagement photos will give you guys a chance to warm up to those cute poses (and kissing in front of strangers). Plus, your photographer will benefit too, by finding out what kind of photos you like and the best way to put you at ease and make you laugh.
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You may have to move your wedding portrait session.
Day-of schedules are essential, but the best ones are also flexible. Maybe the makeup artist is running behind schedule or an afternoon thunderstorm is threatening to ruin your romantic rose garden shots--your photographer will be less pleased than you about the change of events. But also trust them and just roll with it if you all have to rethink the time or even place to take certain shots.
Your face will actually ache. And you may see spots.
If you're not already tired of smiling (and maybe even seeing spots) from all your couple snaps, the obligatory family group shots will seal the deal. Your cheeks will get sore and you'll be begging for a break between sets of grandparents. While the photographer is rounding up your extended relatives, rest the muscles in your face and take a few sips of champagne--bubbles make everything better!
You might not get all the photos you had originally wanted...
No matter how many shot lists you draft or pre-wedding talks you have with your photographer, there may be a few photos that just never come to be on your wedding day. Maybe there isn't one of you and all your cousins, or your grandparents dancing. The day moves quickly and things happen. It stinks.
...but that won't matter because you'll end up with 10 other amazing ones that no one could have planned for.
Shot list or not, some of the best pictures--the ones that actually make it into frames--are candid moments frozen in time. You can't plan for them (think: your little flower girl planting an unexpected smooch on the ring bearer or the shocked look on your grandma's face when she catches the bouquet you accidentally tossed too far), but we guarantee they will happen. And you'll love them, possibly even more than any planned picture on your list.
You'll wonder if your photographer moonlights as a ninja.
You probably didn't even realize those aforementioned candid shots, which you're now making the centerpiece of your gallery wall and this year's holiday card, were being taken, right? A good photographer will be present but not obtrusive. Most of the time you'll be having so much fun, you won't even realize someone is snapping hundreds of pictures of you.
It takes a long time for photos to come back after the wedding.
The morning after your wedding, you'll be desperate for photos, but candid snaps from your family's and friends' smartphones will have to suffice until you get back the professional pics. You'll constantly replay the events of the day in your mind, especially of those moments you've only heard about (like how your groom was tearing up before you even walked down the aisle). Try to be patient. Although you may get to see a few proofs earlier on depending on your photographer, it can take weeks (sometimes months) between saying "I do" and getting the bulk of your pictures--but when you do, it'll be totally worth the wait.
It'll probably take you even longer to create your photo album.
You'll devour your photos a dozen times over and share them with family and friends immediately. And then days, weeks, months will go by before you finally decide to buckle down and make an album (maybe when you realize your first anniversary is fast approaching and you still don't have one!). There will be so many great options, and it will seem impossible to choose between all 4,723 of them. But you'll eventually find your favorites, and the final product, like your wedding day, will be fabulous.
Your wedding photos aren't technically yours.
Don't freak out, but when it comes to who owns the photos, don't assume it's you (even if it's your mug and your wedding). Photographers will share photos with you but usually maintain the copyright to the images. Double-check the contract and talk with your photographer about how you want to use them (Facebook, Instagram) and ideally how you'd like (or not like) him to use them (promotional images, magazine spreads and so on).