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Once you begin planning your dream wedding you’ll start reaching out to various vendors. The vendor most couples are looking forward to hiring the most is their photographer. You want to make sure your day is documented from start to finish and captured authentically. These images will be your looking glass back to your wedding day, photos you’ll share with generations (no pressure) but how do you know how to choose your wedding photographer?

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Here are the top 3 things to look for when hiring your wedding photographer:

Style

Does their style of work align with what you’re looking for?

Look through their portfolio and take note of how they use light throughout different times of day and different types of weather. Light can not be fully controlled during an entire wedding day so it’s important your photographer knows how to get the best images possible with what they have to work with! Request to see full wedding galleries not just the favorite instagram worthy pics.

Do you like how they edit the images? I suggest imagine you’re looking back on your photos 20 years from now, will they still look amazing because they are natural and timeless? or will it be like when your mom shows you clothes from the 80’s – trendy then but outdated now.

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Professionalism

I can not stress this enough- make sure you hire a professional photographer for your wedding. There are no re-dos for wedding day photos. I have heard so many horror stories of couples wanting to save money so they hire a cheap photographer or someone that’s never photographed a wedding before then sure enough the photos don’t turn out well or worse…. the photographer bails at the last minute with no solution or replacement.

I would hate for that to happen to anyone. Stay on the safe side and hire a professional. Someone that has a portfolio of work, experience with weddings, and knows how to run their business. A true professional will have a contract, back up gear, and will be prepared for any sort of situation that could happen on your day.

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Personality

This may be the most important element when searching through photographers. Choose a photographer that you genuinely get along with. You will be spending so much time with them during the planning process and even more time with them on the day of. Depending on the schedule of your day you might even spend more time with your photographer than your partner! Pick someone that makes you feel comfortable, understand your vision, and has your back on your wedding day.

Once you’ve read these tips on how to choose your wedding photographer check out what questions to ask your wedding photographer.

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How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

questions to ask your wedding photographer

There are tons of things to consider when you start looking for your wedding photographer. As a Kansas City wedding photographer here are the essential questions to ask your wedding photographer.

questions to ask your wedding photographer

How would you describe your photography style?

I personally describe my editing style as “true to color”. I want your images to be a reflection of what your wedding day actually looked like. When you open up your gallery the photos should inspire you to relive your day all over again.

My shooting style is a mix between poses, promts, and candids. I love to be a fly on the wall during intimate moments to capture your emotions without even noticing I’m there, but I also know how important traditional posed photographs are (everyones Grandma cherishes a pic of their grandkids facing the camera and smiling for their refrigerator!) Let’s get the best of both worlds and mix it all together. This will give you a wide range of photos to choose from and a variety throughout your wedding gallery.

How long have you been working as a professional photographer?

This year (2020) will be my second official year as a professional wedding photographer. I’ve started taking pictures and learning how to use a camera back in high school. Right before college I realized how big of a passion it was for me so I decided to study the art of photography at Missouri State University. In 2019 I graduated from Missouri State with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography and a minor in art history. Throughout all those years I had been photographing all sorts of things until my heart found weddings early on in 2019.

What type of equipment do you use?

Currently I’m using two canon 5D Mark IV bodies.

What if you have an issue with your gear?

This is the advantage of shooting with two camera bodies because I already have a backup on hand ready to go!

If both my cameras are having issues I typically bring my older camera a canon 70D as an additional backup.

What’s your backup system?

Right when I leave a wedding, (sometimes at the reception before I leave a wedding) I immediately upload all my images to an external hard drive. Then as I’m edited the images are constantly backed up to my cloud storage system, I use Backblaze. The final images are then kept on the external drives, backed up to cloud storage, and stored on your personal online gallery.

  1. Original files on SD/CF cards
  2. Original files backed up on external drive
  3. Original files backed up to cloud storage
  4. Final images on external drive
  5. Final images backed up to cloud storage
  6. Final images uploaded to online gallery

Have you ever shot at our wedding venue?

If I haven’t shot at your venue before I will gladly go on a tour with you for any venues in the Kansas City area! If your venue is further away and we aren’t able to tour ahead of time, I can assure you that I am fully capable of all lighting situations and will come fully prepared! I’ll also arrive early the day of and explore all our options and locations within the venue.

How do you handle difficult lighting situations?

There are so many ways to work around difficult light! Between school and my education from additional lighting courses I have learned many tips to work with light. I have an understanding of how light works and how to work with what we have! Sometimes it’s as simple as twisting one way or another to find the most flattering light. Trust me! -I got your back. You’ll look good I promise.

Do you have a portfolio we can review?

YES!! There are images on my website and my blog. I would also love to send you some full wedding galleries so you can get an idea of a full day! -Just send me a quick email and I’ll get those galleries to your inbox ASAP.

Do you offer different packages?

Absolutely. Every wedding day is unique which means your photography needs will be different. To take care of each of my couples I create custom packages for them. You guys will get to enjoy your day stress-free, knowing that I have the photography part covered!

How long until I get my final images back? How many images will be included?

First thing you’ll receive from me after your wedding day will be a sneak peek of images within 48 hours! A little taste of the day. Then you’ll receive your final gallery within 3-6 weeks after your wedding. The size of your gallery will depend on the amount of coverage you booked- typically it averages about 100 images an hour. BUT! I never withhold amazing images. You’ll receive edits of everything besides blinks, blurrys, and duplicates.

Do I get a print release? How can I order prints/albums?

Yes you have printing rights for personal use! You’ll also be able to order professional quality prints directly through your personal online gallery. If you are interested in an album please let me know, I will help you with choosing your album and designing it.

If our event lasts longer than expected, will you stay? Is there an additional charge?

If the event goes longer than expected I can definitely stay! I won’t leave before all the magic is over. If we need to add on additional coverage time it will be an additional $200 an hour for just me to stay or $250 for me and a second photographer to stay. You will be invoiced a few days after your wedding, you will not receive your final gallery until it has been paid.

Will you be photographing other events on the same day as our wedding?

Nope! Your wedding will be the only event that day!

What happens if you are ill, or there is an emergency?

Ugghh hopefully this never never ever happens… but if something happens and I can not cover your wedding my second photographer will take over as the lead or I will find another trusted photographer in the Kansas City area (I have a lovely network of amazing photographers that I trust completely!) They will cover your day, deliver the images to me and I will edit them and deliver your final gallery as planned.

Do you have liability insurance?

Yes! My business is insured by State Farm. I have up to 1,000,000 in liability insurance.

Can you share some recent testimonials?

Of course! Please check out My google business page for the most current reviews.

If you have any other questions I am happy to answer! Contact me here

questions to ask your wedding photographer

Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

Courthouse wedding

If you opt in for a elopement at the courthouse this blog post is for you! Plan with these Kansas City courthouse wedding pro-tips in mind.

Courthouse wedding

Make Your Appointment

Be sure to call your local courthouse to make your appointment. My KC people; I went ahead and found the phone numbers for you for both sides of the state line – Jackson County (MO) (816-881-3191) and Johnson County (KS) (913-715-3428).

courthouse wedding pro-tips

Get Your Marriage License

Depending on which courthouse you go to you might need to apply for your marriage license ahead of time. Double check all the requirments on the county government websites – Jackson County (MO) and Johnson County (KS)

couple on green couch

Decide Who Will Officiate

When getting married at a courthouse you have the option of having a Justice of the Peace or a Judge preform the ceremony, but you also have the option of bringing in your own private officiant.

Pro-Tip: If you bring in your own private officiant choose someone that is special to you and your soon to be spouse. Possibly an official from your church or a close friend that can become an officiant for the day.

unique wedding ring

Hire Your Photographer

Even if your wedding will be on the more simple side your photos can still be EPIC.

PRO-TIP: You don’t have to only stick around the courthouse for your photos! There might be some hidden gems a couple blocks away or hire your photographer for some additional hours and somewhere with a breathtaking view.

courthouse wedding

to hire Natalie Nichole Photography please fill out my contact form here or at the bottom of this page.

Week Day ceremonies = $500
-an hour of coverage
-sneak peek photos the same day
-50+ final images delivered 3-5 weeks after your wedding

Weekend ceremonies (Nov-Feb) =$700
-two hours of coverage
-sneak peek photos the same day
-50+ final images delivered 3-5 weeks after your wedding

additional hours can be added on to any package.

courthouse wedding pro-tips
courthouse wedding pro-tips

Hire Professional Hair and Make Up

Hiring professional hair and makeup is a great way to pamper yourself before your ceremony. You’ll be able to look your best without all the stress of having to do it yourself.

Pro-Tip: Make sure you have a hair and make up trial with your beauty team, you want to make sure the look still feels like you and sometimes the best way to know is to take it for a test run!

courthouse wedding pro-tips
courthouse wedding pro-tips

Flowers are Always a Good Idea

If you love flowers don’t forget to bring some for your special day! You can get a gorgeous bouquet from a local florist with all your favorites.

Pro-Tip: If you don’t feel like carrying around a bouquet as a florist for some little blooms to add to your hair. All the flowers with less hassle.

boho couple

Add a Personal Touch to the Day

Add a little something that truly reflects you two as a couple. Some ideas; bring a special getaway car or motorcycle for after the ceremony, grab something to eat afterwards at your favorite restaurant, or have your closest friends and family waiting at the next location ready to celebrate your new marriage with you!

bride and groom on motorcycle
boho bride and groom on motorcycle

Pro-Tip: Keep your photographer around for the special events- you’ll want to look back on those memories.

Keep these Kansas City courthouse wedding pro-tips in the back of your mind while you plan your special day.

Not wanting to elope at the courthouse but still want to keep it low key? – here’s how to plan a simple wedding

Kansas City Courthouse Wedding Pro-Tips

You can choose any music genre for your first dance song. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old school classic, a new pop song, some homegrown country, or a little alternative. What matters most is that you feel a special connection to the song. If you close your eyes while the song is playing you immediately see your partner. The rhythm should bind your hearts together, the lyrics should remind you of each other.

Here are my top picks of perfect songs from every genre for your first dance

couple dances their first dance at wedding

Classic

  1. Can’t Help Falling In Love With You – Elvis Presley (sooooo many good remakes of this song as well!)
  2. This Will Be [An Everlasting Love] – Natalie Cole
  3. At Last – Etta James
  4. My Girl – The Temptations
  5. This Magic Moment – The Drifters

Pop

  1. Perfect – Ed Sheeran
  2. All of Me – John Legend
  3. How Long Will I Love You – Ellie Goulding
  4. Give Me All Your Love – Brighton
  5. I Am Yours – Andy Grammer

Country

  1. Holding On to You – Miranda Lambert
  2. You Had Me at Hello – A Day To Remember
  3. Amazed – Lonestar
  4. My Best Friend – Tim McGraw
  5. I Want to Dance with You – George Strait

Indie/Alternative

  1. Love You For A Long Time – Maggie Roger
  2. Nothing Matters When We Dance – The Magnetic Fields
  3. All My Love – George Ezra
  4. I’m With You – Vance Joy
  5. Someone To You – BANNERS
choose any genre for your first dance at your wedding

Honorable Mentions

  1. Aquaman – Walk The Moon
  2. Overwhelmed – Tim McMorris
  3. Dreams – The Cranberries
  4. Yours to Keep – Jordan Mackampa
  5. Incredible – James TW
  6. Hooked On A Feeling – Blue Swede

For my fellow How I Met Your Mother fans: I’m Gonna Be (500 miles) – The Proclaimers

check out my full playlist of first dance songs here I’ll be adding to it constantly so go ahead and “follow” if you’d like.

genre for first dance
outdoors first dance at wedding

Before you pick your first dance, make sure your wedding day timeline is set- here’s how to plan the perfect wedding day timeline

The Perfect Songs from Every Genre for your First Dance

There are many benefits of a first look on your wedding day. If you’re planning your wedding, having a first look is definitely something to consider. But really, what are the benefits of a first look?!

More Time with Your Fiancé

One benefit of a first look is of course -more time with your fiancé. If you are having an evening ceremony but not a first look, you won’t be able to see your partner for the entire day before you walk down the aisle. This isn’t just a regular day…. this is your wedding day. This day is one of the most important days of your relationship. Let’s fill your entire day with love instead of just a couple of hours.

Cure any butterflies

Wedding days are notorious for being a little chaotic. Wether you’re feeling nervous, excited, or overwhelmed there are a lot of emotions happening at once, but the best way to calm any butterflies is to look into your partner’s eyes. The minute you see the love of your life on your wedding day, your jitters float away. It’s a minute of calmness before the natural chaos of the day. Sometimes the first look is one of the only moments you’ll have alone throughout the entire day. A quiet moment all to yourselves to just be together.

Flexibility in Your Timeline

First looks give you the opportunity to slow the day down a little, you don’t have to rush everything in the short little window of time between the end of the ceremony and the beginning of the reception. First looks early on in the day allow most of your photos to be taken before the ceremony even starts. Then after the ceremony you’ll only need time for a few more family photos and a couple portraits of the two of you as the newly married couple but then it’s time for the reception! You’ll actually get to go to your cocktail hour and enjoy it. You’ll be excited to welcome guests and celebrate with everyone because you’ve been able to relax throughout the entire day and have had your love by your side.

Overall first looks benefit the day by taking a way some of the stress. They save a little time in the timeline because you can get so much done early on in the day without having to stay hidden from each other. They also give you an intimate moment alone to be yourselves without the feeling of being in front of a crowd.

garden, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bridal details, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
garden, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
groom details, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
Courtney and Mason’s intimate garden first look
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography
bride and groom garden first look, kansas city wedding, natalie nichole photography

regardless of if you choose to have a first look or not your wedding day is going to take your breath away. You’ll marry the love of your life and celebrate with allllllll of your friends and family that support you.

learn how to plan the perfect wedding day timeline (with or without a first look) here

Benefits of a First Look