The Photographer

by Anna Jones

Real Weddings couple Ben and Alison. Photo courtesy Mark and Lisa Staff Photography

The Details

You’re engaged! You’re thrilled. You’re in love. You’re ... overwhelmed. Whether you’ve dreamed of
the big day your whole life or never thought about it until the moment you said yes, the actual process of planning your wedding is uncharted territory. Let this guide be your road map — and leave the details to us.
As one of the only things you get to keep after your wedding day (besides your spouse, of course), wedding photographs are a visual reminder of the love, laughs, dances and vows you shared.

Your wedding album holds the power to evoke poignant moments and memories from those few precious hours — from the moment you laid eyes on each other while walking down the aisle to the moment you entered your reception to celebrate with family and friends.

Research photographers based on their style of photography and find those that match most closely the vision you have for your wedding. Peruse their websites and social media feeds for recent weddings and ask for references from previous clients to better understand what it will be like working with them on your wedding day.

Like wedding venues, wedding photographers book up well in advance so it’s important to select your photographer early on in the planning process. “We book six months to a year in advance for weddings,” Mark Staff of Mark and Lisa Staff Photography says. “The spring and fall book up especially far in advance in the Lowcountry because the weather is perfect for weddings.”

After selecting a photographer, make a schedule of all the photo sessions you want, from engagement pictures to day-of bridal and family portraits. As well, many couples elect to do a “first look,” where the bride and groom arrange to meet before the ceremony. First looks can relieve some wedding day jitters by giving the bride and groom time together alone — and photos of a private moment before the vows — but other couples prefer the raw emotion of the traditional walk-down-the-aisle reveal.

And don’t forget video.

Though it’s an added expense, a highlight reel of your wedding may be worth the cost. “The day of the wedding is such a rush with so many raw emotions that at the end of the day you forget a lot of it,” sys Bert Jolley, co-owner of I Thee Film. “When you see it played on video, you remember so many more moments.”

Videographers gather footage throughout the day of the wedding, from wedding preparations to the moment the bride and groom exit the reception, and then weave together different moments to tell the couple’s own unique story. Most of the videos Jolley produces for weddings are in the 7-to-9-minute range, and while he can typically produce them within three months of the wedding, during his busiest seasons (May and October) it can take a bit longer. The good news? It’s worth the wait.

“Photography is great at capturing an instant,” Jolley says, “but videography preserves the entire action and feeling of a moment in time.”