As a boudoir photographer, I get to work with a lot of brides! And because I recently was a bride myself, I now have a better understanding of all that they are going through.

A lot…they are going through a lot!!!

I often get asked if I had a friend photograph our wedding or if I found it difficult to hire a photographer. So, I thought I would answer that in print. No. I did not have a friend photograph our wedding nor do I ever think that is a good idea. I had some of the most amazing photographer friends at my wedding, including Jaclyn Lombardo out of Newport, RI and Ming Han Chung out of Atlanta, GA but I still hired a professional wedding photographer. Here are two of the biggest reasons why:

Virginia Wedding Boston Bride

1] My friends are my friends. I wanted them to enjoy my wedding as guests and not feel obligated to work by taking thousands of photographs, leaving their own spouses to fend for themselves. They were more than welcome to take photos if they wanted to [because I knew they would know how to do it without getting in the way of the hired professionals], but it was certainly not required or expected.

2] To date, my wedding day has been the most important day of my life. I wanted to hold someone accountable and make sure that we had the entire day captured beautifully. Without a contract and money exchanged, there really is no guarantee of that. After all, once the music ended, the wine finished and in our case, the cops had left (I think I’ll leave that for another blog posting), the photographs are the only thing you have. And when it’s time to reminisce with the grand-kids, you don’t go pull your wedding dress out and tell stories, you pull out your wedding album so they can see the stories for themselves. Hiring a photographer made sure that we would have the most perfect story to share.

I should stop right there.

Hiring the right photographer made sure that we would have the most perfect story to share. So what were some of the things that went through my head as a photographer hiring another photographer? There were only three…


VA Wedding Boston Bride


I’ll just get that out of the way because it’s probably top of your mind too. When planning our day, we decided what 2 or 3 things were really of utmost importance to us and we put our money there. I think it goes without saying that the photographs were top of that list. Because I had been in the wedding industry myself, I have a pretty good idea of what things cost [if you don’t, do your research] but I still had to be respectful of what our budget was.

Decide ahead of time what you want. Do you want an album? Wall portraits? Digital files? All of the above? Great! Consider what you can afford right now. If the two don’t match [what you want and what you can afford], is there another way? Can you hire your dream photographer for the coverage only and purchase the album after the wedding [once you’ve caught up from paying your other vendors or have some wedding money in your pocket]? By deciding ahead of time what’s important to you, it’s easier to keep things straight when you start to get overwhelmed.

And if it really is important to you, figure it out and make it work. You won’t regret it!!


Because I’m a photographer it might have been easier for me to decide who to book. Or made it really difficult!! But here’s how I shopped for a photographer that might be a little different from non-photographers. I looked for, CONSISTENCY. I think as a bride it’s fairly easy to find the style of photography you like. You don’t even need a name for it [photo journalistic, documentary, modern, fashion etc.] you’ll just enjoy the photographs. Once you’ve narrowed down your style, start to look for consistency.  Throughout your wedding day, the light is ALWAYS changing. If your photographer can show you consistency in a variety of locations, a variety of venues and a variety of times of day, he/she knows what the hell they are doing!

Wedding days come in many shades and sizes. If I came across an image I didn’t like, I just asked myself…”Self, do you not like this photo because it’s a bad photograph? Or do you not like that there are tons of children in the photo, do you not like the location choice or do you not like the shoes?” Similarly, if I came across a photo that I loved…did I love the photo? Or is the bride really pretty and her dress is amazing?!

Don’t just look at your photographer’s style, consider your own style. Because you are styling your wedding, will be your wedding. It will have you written all over it [you don’t have to worry about that]. But your style doesn’t have to agree with another bride’s style for you to decide if you like a photographer’s work or not.

If you’re shopping for a photographer, make sure you’re shopping for a photographer.


Last but not least, personality.

When I met my wedding photographer, I sure as hell wasn’t looking for a wedding photographer! My husband and I dated long distance for the first 10 months and as time went on, either he was going to have to move to Boston or I was going to have to be spending a lot more time in VA. So I decided to go to a bridal show to check out the local market as I started to consider marketing myself there. My hubby did end up moving to Boson [thank God] but I actually met my photographer the day of the bridal show [a whopping 2 years before my wedding]. I introduced myself to many vendors as I walked around and did my research about the bridal market in that area. I let them know that I didn’t photograph weddings but specialized in boudoir and that I was looking to network with some other local vendors. It’s funny how many of them weren’t very polite and didn’t want to give me the time of day because I wasn’t a bride. [I wasn’t even engaged at the time]. But not Melissa. Melissa not only went out of her way to get to say hi and actually chat a bit, but then continued to hunt down the editor of a local bridal magazine and initiated an introduction. There was absolutely nothing in it for her at the time. It’s not why I  booked Melissa but when I did a Google search of local photographers and her site came up, I remembered her instantly. I liked her work but I also knew I had already liked her as a person. Working with someone you get along with is super important! You are working with them for well over a year [before, during and after the wedding day], and they are with you on the most emotionally charged day of your life. If I know anything from working with professional models, it’s that being comfortable in front of the camera is one of the most important factors. You want to hire someone you’re comfortable with if you want good pictures.

[Note to professionals….Be kind, you never know where your next client will come from!]

So to quickly wrap this up…

1.] Figure out what it is you want, how much it will cost you to get it and be honest with yourself about what you can really afford. 2.] Narrow your search down to only 2 or 3 of your favorites who show consistency in their work. 3.] Then meet with them in person!

It’s just that easy.

Who did we hire?! The drum roll please…..Melissa Arleana!
Click HERE for a peak at our wedding album!
If you’re a Virginia bride, we also loved Tamara Riley of No Ordinary Ordained and Kristin Kirkpatrick of Fat Girl Cakes.


Virginia Wedding Boston BrideVirginia Wedding Boston Bride



Virginia Wedding Boston Bride

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap