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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 or will it be like when your mom shows you clothes from the 80’s – trendy then but outdated now.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

a simple wedding in kansas city

If a big wedding ceremony isn’t your thing, you might consider having a smaller ceremony or an intimate elopement. Here is how to have a simple wedding in Kansas City.

a simple wedding in kansas city

The key to making your marriage legal – Your Marriage License

In the state of Kansas (Johnson County)

You’ll have to go to the County Clerk’s office twice. Remember your IDs

Clerk of the District Court:
100 N Kansas Ave
Olathe, KS 66061
Hours: Monday- Friday 8am-5pm

-Apply for your marriage license

The application portion is a sworn affidavit. You’ll give basic info about both of you; name, age, city you live in. Then you’ll go under oath that you’re not related to each other, neither of you are currently already married, and that you don’t know of any other reason you shouldn’t get married.

-Wait three days

The state of Kansas requires applicants to wait three days for their marriage license to be processed.

-Return to pick up your license

Hot Tip: Technically only one of you needs to go to the Clerk’s office to apply, but going to get your marriage license together is a memorable moment I recommend you share together.

In the state of Missouri (Jackson County)

You can go to the Jackson County Courthouse, Historic Truman Courthouse, or you can apply online. If you go in person be sure to remember your IDs.

Jackson County Courthouse- Recorder of Deeds Department
415 East 12th Street
Room 104
Kansas City, Missouri 64106

Historic Truman Courthouse
112 W Lexington
Suite 30
Independence, Missouri 64050

apply for your marriage license

You’ll give basic info about both of you; name, age, city you live in.

-Pick up your marriage license

If you apply in person you can get it right then but if you apply online you’ll need to both go to pick it up.

a simple wedding in kansas city

The Fun Part -Your Ceremony

Both Johnson County and Jackson County will happily give you a list of judges that can perform your ceremony, you will need to reach out them and decide on a location. Your officiant can also be a religious official; a minister, a priest, a rabbi, etc. Nowadays you can have a friend or relative become a temporary officiant or become ordained which can add a personal touch to your ceremony.

Location Ideas:
Possibly in the court house (they don’t seem to be offering this very much)
Your backyard
A local park (check with each park about their fees and required permits)

Kansas (Johnson County)

Your ceremony will have to take place within 6 months after you receive your marriage license. All you will need for a ceremony is someone to officiant and two witnesses. Your officiant must turn in the license within 10 days of the ceremony.

Missouri (Jackson County)

Your ceremony will have to take place within 30 days. You’ll need an officiant and two witnesses. Your officiant must turn in the license to the Jackson County Recorder of Deeds Department within 15 days of the ceremony.

Hot Tip: Your wedding ceremony must take place in the State that you got your marriage license.

courthouse wedding

How much will it cost to have a simple wedding in Kansas City?

-License
Kansas $85.50 (additional $4.95 if you pay with a card)
Missouri $50.00

-officiant most likely between $100-200 (maybe free if your friend or relative is offering!)

-Venue will depend on where you choose! There are plenty of free options

courthouse wedding
backyard wedding in kansas city

How much will it cost to have a photographer at our simple wedding?

*quotes for Natalie Nichole Photography for a simple ceremony within 20 miles of Kansas City*

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 to packages

a simple wedding in kansas city

Love KC? Have a simple wedding in Kansas City on a rooftop. The skyline makes for the perfect backdrop.

How To Have A Simple Wedding In Kansas City

If you’re like a majority of the country right now, or let’s get real – if you’re like a majority of the world right now, you’re probably somewhere between slightly nervous to full blown panic. If amidst all of the coronavirus drama you’re also engaged, you’re probably wondering “will the coronavirus affect your wedding”?

Regardless if the media is just trying to create hysteria, there still is a lot of panic going around.

If your wedding is coming up within the next few months it is important to think about your options.

As of right now in the midst of every major sport cancelling their seasons, schools closing for the rest of the semester, and large companies encouraging employees to work from home…. I think the main risk you’d face for your wedding would be creating too much of a “crowd”. Italy has officially banned people from gathering. The governor of Kansas has declared no groups larger than 100 people. BUT there are solutions to this problem.

Condense your Guest List

I know, I know easier said then done. Your family and friends will completely understand if you change your huge party into an intimate gathering. You can does this easily by only inviting your immediate family. If you’re immediate families still make a group larger than the size restrictions consider eloping! Just you, your partner, your officiant, and your photographer. Keep the ceremony incredibly small and host a large party for everyone once the world is healthy again.

Live Stream your Wedding Day

Hold your wedding exactly as you planned but have your guests celebrate with you from the comfort of their own homes. With todays technology you can live stream any event just at your finger tips. You can set up a Zoom call or Facebook Live right into a fb group. Everyone will get to share in the day in real time.

Reschedule

Now to everyone’s least favorite option. If your wedding is scheduled in an area that’s high risk the best option might be to push back your date. (I truly think this is only a worst case scenario option). BUT we never know so let’s prepare ourselves just incase. If none of the other options work for you, consider choosing a date that falls on a weekday. That will be the easiest way for you to reschedule with all of your vendors at an earlier date instead of having to wait until 2021 or even 2022.

Hopefully in a couple weeks the coronavirus and all it’s drama will blow over. Once the world can start turning again everything will go back to normal. For most couples the coronavirus won’t affect your wedding but it’s never a bad idea to be prepared.

the coronavirus affect your wedding

A Note to my 2020 Couples

I have to admit, I was one of the people at the grocery stores buying an extra pack of toilet paper (only 1 though!), some more hand soap, and a couple cans of soup. I might have let the panic get to me ever so slightly. Even though I took a little precaution I am still 110% prepared to cover your wedding day. Even if plans have to be adjusted I am here to help. Wether we keep the big party or switch to an intimate ceremony I will be there. I can even help set up a live stream for you and your guests! I am here for you, to serve you, and to help alleviate some stress – let me know what you need.

The most important thing to remember is – virus or no virus the wedding will still happen one way or another! You two will get married and spend the rest of your lives together. We won’t let the coronavirus affect your wedding day.

What a crazy story to tell in the future though, right?!

p.s. please wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds (happy birthday 2x – that’s all it takes!)

Interested in having an intimate ceremony – here’s how to plan a simple wedding in Kansas City

Will the Coronavirus Affect Your Wedding?

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.

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Courtney and Mason’s intimate garden first look
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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