So, your significant other has popped the question, or maybe it was you that did the honours. Either way, you’re getting hitched and it’s time to begin planning – Yay! At the top of most brides’ to-do list is snagging their perfect photographer. Now I know, not all brides are all about the photos, and hey, a lot of you feel a wee bit daunted at the thought of someone following you around with a big lens all day, but I can guarantee that most of you want to create timeless memories of your day to look back on. This is where your photographer comes in.

Picking the right photographer can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some quick tips on narrowing down your choice and making the most of your photographer on the big day.

Pick your style. One thing you will be blessed with is choice; wedding photographers are not something our fine city is lacking in. Pinterest, Facebook and local online wedding directories are a great place to start, and you’ll soon figure out what kind of photos you’re into (and those you’re not). Browse portfolios in detail, don’t just make a decision on the ‘money shot’ images on the home page. Also, don’t expect a photographer to change up their style to suit you. If you’ve been recommended a photographer whose portfolio boasts bold, glamourously posed images, but you really just want some candid, natural shots, you may be left feeling disappointed. Choose someone that excels in the style you love.

Pick your budget. What value do you put in your images? This is going to be different for everyone, and my only advice here would be spend as much as you can afford. Don’t scrimp and go with someone just because they are cheap. You might save yourself a thousand dollars but be left underwhelmed when your completed album is delivered.

What’s included? Once you’ve narrowed down some of your fave photographers, it’s important to be well informed and know exactly what’s included in the packages on offer. Are you after a digital only package? Do you want prints or a canvas thrown in? Are you only paying for the photographer’s time, but will have to pay extra to get your images? What about a studio-quality album to display your images? One thing to keep in mind is that a good photographer will not offer the kind of albums you can go down to your local department store and make yourselves. Good quality albums will be expensive, and rightly so. They are made to last a lot longer than you or I.

Go with your gut. Meet with your short-listed photographers and get to know them over a coffee (or a G&T like I prefer) and take a list of questions along so you get all the info you need. It’s important you ‘click’ with your photographer (pardon the pun), he/she is going to be hanging around on one of the most important days of your life, so you want to really like them! Once you’ve made your decision and viewed the contract, lock them in! Good photographers don’t last long and are often booked a year or two in advance, so don’t muck around.

My parting word of advice: An engagement shoot will give you the best opportunity to practice being in front of the camera and build up a rapport with your photographer, so when it comes to the day, you can absolutely nail those effortless shots. If you hate this idea because you feel super awkward and uncomfortable in front of the camera, this is even more of a reason to do it! You want your wedding photos to be a true representation of your most joyous day. Try not to over-pose, and leave your default cheesy grin at home. Hold your loved one close and get caught up in the moment. It’s the real moments of the day that make the best photographs; the ones you will hang on the wall and smile at each morning. Relax, and enjoy yourself!

Jaime is a Brisbane wedding photographer  who loves taking photos of things. In particular, happy and momentous things. People sharing laughter, tears of joy, things that only happen once in your lifetime. Visit her This is Life Photography website here.

Find out more about weddings at Hotel Urban Brisbane here.