Capturing Moments

Factors to Consider When Hiring a Photographer

Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
Photography Provided 

Carly Eads PhotographyWhen it comes to planning a wedding, one of the most important elements is choosing the right photographer who can beautifully capture the memories. Carly Eads of Carly Eads Photography suggests checking out potential photographers’ work on social media prior to reaching out for a consult, because the pictures will reflect their particular style. 

“I had a client once ask if I could edit her photos to give them a dark-brown, grainy look, and while I can certainly edit photos, my style is my stamp,” Eads says. “My style is bright, colorful and airy. The key is to hire a photographer who has the style that is in line with yours.” 

Once you’ve hired a photographer, create a shot list of all the photos you want, to be sure certain moments are captured on your special day. 

“I might be running around shooting the venue and the ceremony,” Eads says. “If I’m unaware that the bride wants me to get pictures of her perfume bottle, that might get overlooked. Plus, I don’t want to bother the bride while she’s getting ready, to ask what pics she wants me to get. It’s best to make that list beforehand.” 

In addition to the shot list, Eads recommends that people jot down a timeline for the day so the photographer knows what to expect and when. Doing so makes the day less stressful for all involved. 

“When I don’t have a timeline it’s complete chaos,” Eads says. “Guests don’t know where to be when. If the reception is at a different place than the ceremony and there is no timeline, everyone is confused. I like to have a time for getting ready for pictures, a time for the start of ceremony, a time for the reception – everything down to the time for the sparkler send-off.”

Eads takes first-look photos (shots of the bride and groom prior to the ceremony) for roughly half of her weddings. Doing so can make the day move along more quickly following the ceremony, plus it takes the pressure off the newlyweds so their pictures appear more natural.

“They’re more excited to see each other when it’s just the two of them, rather than a roomful of people staring at them,” Eads says. “The moment feels more private and sentimental.”

For brides and grooms who are on the fence about whether to take those photos pre-ceremony, Eads always encourages them to do so.

Carly Eads Photography“I’ve had so many brides and grooms tell me that it was the best decision they ever made because it allowed them to go immediately to the reception and begin having fun,” Eads says. 

She notes that the best time of day for snapping gorgeous photos is the “golden hour” – right around sunset. That time varies depending on the season. In the winter it falls around 4 or 5 p.m., whereas in the summer it’s between 7 and 8 p.m. The harshest light is between 1 and 3 p.m. Therefore, when planning the details of the day, schedule your photos at sunset and that will determine the time of the ceremony. 

Eads likes to get creative with her shots. For instance, she’ll grab one of the bride’s flowers from a table and place it in front of the camera to create a blur. She also places veils in front of pictures for decoration. 

“I like to incorporate a lot of different things into pictures rather than just doing the basic poses because those are the shots that people remember,” Eads says. 

She once shot a “Star Wars”-themed wedding with pictures that incorporated lightsabers. She’s had couples spraying champagne up into the air. She’s seen brides and grooms train their pups to walk down the aisle to deliver the rings. She even recalls a reception in which a grandmother crowd-surfed across the stage.

“She’d had a few drinks,” Eads says with a chuckle. 

One of Eads’ favorite weddings was a beach ceremony where she got to take some trash-the-dress shots. The bride and groom ran hand-in-hand into a lake to splash around. 

Though Eads typically does not get emotionally involved at the weddings she shoots, she does recall one during which tears started flowing. The couple had their first dance in front of everyone, and then, after all the guests departed, the deejay played a song just for the newlyweds. 

“Watching them dance together for the first time, just the two of them, was so touching,” Eads says. “I like the one-on-one moments when you can see that they aren’t stressed out anymore. They’re just in love.”

Find Carly Eads Photography on social media, including She shoots weddings, engagements, senior photos and more.

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