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Hi belles! Our friend and former Southern Weddings intern Jessica Clinch is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Jessica will be blogging for us once a month until her wedding next May. In case you missed her introductory post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

There are about a million and one things to decide when planning a wedding. There are details and vendors that will enhance our wedding day, from music to food to flowers. And, there are vendors who will absolutely enhance our wedding day, but will also provide us with something to cherish days and years after our wedding, including our videographer and photographer.

Choosing a wedding photographer is a challenging task! There are so many incredibly talented photographers in the wedding industry, especially here in the South. Zack and I had to think long and hard about the qualities we want in our photographer. Hopefully the questions we considered below will be helpful to you if you are deciding between photographers, as well!

What style are we most drawn to, and what details stand out to us? The detail in a photographer that helped us narrow down our search dramatically was their photography style. There are a variety of photography styles, including classic portraiture style, documentary style, fine art photography style, and more. I have always been most drawn to the fine art style, and photographers who are able to capture all of the important and beautiful details of a wedding, but told from their unique creative eye. I adore the beauty and the process of film photography, and knew that was something special I wanted for our big day.

While looking through pictures from some of our favorite photographers, there were certain details that we looked for style-wise. One of the factors that was extremely important to us was the photographer’s ability to capture the details in white items clearly and crisply. I absolutely adore my wedding gown, and we wanted to know that our photographer would be able to truly showcase all of the gorgeous and intricate parts of the dress. We also knew we were more drawn to photography that has a light and airy quality, while still capturing the crisp details — a fine balance. And, we knew we preferred photos that have more of a blue undertone to them as opposed to really golden-toned photography. All of these style factors really helped us to narrow down our photographer options!

How comfortable will we be with our photographer? This question was a big one for us! We couldn’t determine this until actually meeting with a few photographers in person or over the phone, but feeling comfortable with our photographer is crucial! They will be the person who is with us during the most intimate moments of the best day of our lives. Being photographed can be awkward, so having someone who is really able to make us relax and enjoy ourselves will be very important!

How do they interact with our other vendors and guests? In the same sense, we really want a photographer who will be a joy to the other vendors on our wedding day: someone who will be respectful of our venue, who will work side-by-side with our planners, and who will get along wonderfully with our videographers. And, a photographer who will also know how to manage our bridal party and family members in a professional yet fun way!

So, which photographer did we choose? We are over the moon excited to say that we are working with the lovely Perry Vaile!! Perry fits all of the stylistic and personal details we desired. Her ability to capture images in a truly creative, artistic, unique manner is breathtaking. Each time she shares a new photo, I get so giddy to know that she will be bringing that same beauty to our wedding day! Her incredibly fun and bubbly personality was the icing on top of the cake. When we had our initial phone call with her, it felt like talking to a new best friend. You can tell how much she really values each of her clients, which is oh so special.

The funniest thing? I had seen Perry’s work previously, but hadn’t considered her originally as an option for our photographer since she lives in North Carolina. When Becca reached out to us recommending her, and saying that she would love to work with us, we were overjoyed! I would highly recommend not only looking in your city for a photographer, but also surrounding cities and possibly even surrounding states. We couldn’t be happier, and can’t wait for our engagement session with her that we are currently planning!

In case you missed a post…
The proposal
Choosing a wedding planner

emily Written with love by Emily

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Hiya! Welcome back to my wedding planning posts :) Today, I would LOVE to introduce you to our photographer — can you tell I’m excited??

Let me begin by saying that I know everyone has different priorities when it comes to planning a wedding, and I know that photography is not at the top of everyone’s list — but it definitely was for us. There are a few reasons for this — most importantly, that the photos are what we will cherish long after almost everything else has been eaten, sold, thrown out, packed up, or forgotten (kind of sad, but true). But the photos? The really good ones? Those will bring us back to that day years and years in the future.

Oh yes, and wedding photography is also my job. I stare at it all day long. Unsurprisingly, I have both strong opinions about it and high standards for it.

With that being said, there were a few things we were looking for in our photographer. They were, in no particular order:

1. Someone who shoots film.
2. Someone who has a great personality.
3. Someone who effortlessly directs their subjects and has a knack for natural posing.

I love SO many photographers, and there wasn’t just one that I HAD to have (there are certainly many who fit the above criteria). I would have been ecstatic to work with a number of photographers, and before I introduce you to our final pick, I wanted to spend a minute on these others, in the hopes that one of them might be right for one of you.

I adore Joey + Jessica. I really, really do. Having worked with them through Southern Weddings, I know that they are so fun and easy going. Plus, I love the ease with which they direct their subjects (probably from all of their commercial experience).

I haven’t met Jonathan Canlas in person, but I would really like to — he seems like such a fun person to be around, and I know his enthusiasm would be infectious on a wedding day. Plus, he turns out some of the most amazing family and large-group portraits I’ve ever seen.

I adore Lisa Lefkowitz’s work. I think her color images have the most beautiful quality to them, and everything she produces reflects such a high level of taste and a classic aesthetic. She also seems like she would be a warm, calming process on the day of a wedding.

Believe me, I could go on, and on, and on, but I think I’ll leave it at that for today!

Now, John and I actually made our choice a few weeks ago, and a few days after that, I asked y’all to guess on Twitter who we chose. The only hint I gave was that our photographer was a female. I had the best time looking through all of your guesses! In no particular order, you guessed: Jasmine Star, Kate Headley, Rae Leytham, Jen Huang, Nancy Ray, Elizabeth Messina, Meredith Perdue, Melissa Schollaert, Jenna Cole, Amy Rae, Katie Stoops, Meg Perotti, Kellie Kano, and Millie Holloman. What a WONDERFUL group of ladies and photographers!

In the end, though, no one guessed our choice. I am so pleased and excited to say that none other than Tanja Lippert will be photographing our wedding!! I have loved Tanja’s work for a loooooong time — ever since I saw this wedding in 2008, in fact. From what I’ve seen, she does an amazing job effortlessly posing single subjects and large groups. She also seems like she’ll be a blast to be around on our wedding day — just check out this video for evidence :) She has a strong commercial background, which gives her a matchless editorial eye. She has a huge heart, which is evident in how much love and emotion comes through in her images. And, of course, she shoots film, which gives her work the most beautiful color and quality.

But enough words from me! I’ll let Tanja’s images do the talking:

Elegant, fun, emotional, light-hearted, editorial, candid, classic, joyful — her photographs really run the gamut, don’t they?

Seeing all of those images together makes me even more excited, but you know what the best part about hiring Tanja has been? She is SO EXCITED about shooting our wedding. And while I know she just loves her job in general, and gets excited about every wedding she shoots, I think it also helps that she knows that I am SO EXCITED she’ll be shooting our wedding. It’s been my experience that vendors can tell when you love what they do and are thrilled to get to work with them — and those seem to be the conditions under which they produce their finest work. Something to keep in mind when interacting with the people who will be a part of your big day!

So tell me: What do you think? Do you love Tanja as much as I do? :) Who will be photographing your wedding?

P.S. In case you missed a post:
The main characters
Where we’re getting married
Something for the bride to wear

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Calle reply

    Emily! When I first read your three top qualities you wanted in a photographer I immediately thought Tanja Lippert!! She is my all time favorite as well!! I look at her blog daily hoping she has posted new photos!! I cant wait to see the magical pictures she takes on you day! When the day comes for me to get married she will be my photographer as well! I may have a Tanja Lippert savings account!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Calle! I’m so glad you are an uber Tanja fan as well!! Also, your Tanja Lippert savings account cracks me up… I may have not named mine so explicitly, but one of the reasons I started saving for my wedding EARLY was because I knew I was going to want an amazing photographer!!

  2. avatar Meredith Perdue reply

    I love Tanja’s work! There’s a very good chance I might have discovered her through Peach & Pearl, actually! I’m so happy that you found someone who makes you giddy with excitement!

  3. avatar Laura reply

    GREAT choice! I was introduced to Tanja’s work through her guest appearance on [Framed] Show, and she seems to be a person who is every bit as amazing as the work she produces!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Thank you so much, Laura! We had actually already decided to go with Tanja before I saw her episode of [Framed], but I got even more excited after I watched it. It was so cool to see, in a true wedding situation, how she interacts with her couples!

  4. avatar Brittany R reply

    Yay! Booking a great photographer was high on my list–in importance and things to do first. We are SO so excited to have booked the fabulous Nancy Ray as of yesterday! My head is swimming with ideas, and I know she will do a wonderful job. Congrats on choosing your photog!

    • avatar Emily reply

      How exciting, Brittany!! Nancy is one of my bestest friends in NC, and I know you will love working with her!

  5. avatar Courtney K reply

    Her work is beautiful! What a perfect choice. You two will treasure her work for years to come! Enjoy all of the planning!!

  6. avatar Andrew reply

    Hi Emily! Congrats! I saw Tanja facebook about this and i came over to see your post. So happy you chose tanja! She’s a good friend and i know she will do an amazing job for you! Do you remember this post from 2008? You guys featured Tanja and me way back when; this was the first time i worked with Tanja!

    congrats again!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Andrew! Those posts were actually before my time at SW, but I loved going back and revisiting them! :) Thanks so much for chiming in!

  7. avatar Maria Hibbs reply

    She would be my choice as well :)

  8. avatar Emily Anderson reply

    SUCH a good choice!! She shot our wedding in 2009 ( and did a PERFECT job! We treasure our photos so much. She and Tia are hilarious and really help you relax and look your best. So excited for you guys!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Emily! SO glad to hear you loved working with Tanja! And I couldn’t help but check out your wedding — so beautiful!!

  9. avatar Carly reply

    I’ve attending two of Tanja & Tia’s workshops and they are amazing. Congratulations, brilliant choice!

  10. avatar Ashley reply

    Best choice ever! It feels like tanja is a part of the family…she shot my wedding in June and mY brother’s wedding in may 2010. I just wish I had more siblings getting married. We also booked Tia for makeup and Luke goodman for video. The three together are fantastic! Oooh I can’t wait to see your photos!

  11. avatar THANK YOU!! V4 Twitter Madness + Blog Love! « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Lippert is one of our beyond-fabulous V4 Real Wedding photographers (and yes, I may be a little biased :) Save Facebook it Tweet […]

  12. avatar Southern Style :: Veils 101 « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Johnson (see the wedding featuring my favorite bridesmaid’s dresses here) and Tanja Lippert (read why Emily chose her to photograph her own wedding). What length veil will you or did you wear? […]

  13. avatar Victoria reply

    Do you know where I can go to find other film photographers? I love the ones you’ve posted, but I’d always love to see more!

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Victoria! I would be happy to help you out! You can find a number of amazing film photographers in our Blue Ribbon Vendor section, including Elisa B (VA), Katie Stoops (VA), and KT Merry (FL). I’m going to shoot you an email to see where you’re located to tailor my suggestions a bit more!

  14. avatar Southern Spotting: Surprise Breakfast « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] the benefits of taking portraits before the ceremony so we can get the most out of our time with Tanja! I’m sure I’ll write about this more in a future post, but tell me: Are you and your […]

  15. avatar Bridal Stylist: The Distinct Dapper Dude! – Everthine Bridal Boutique – a bridal shop serving Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Boston, and Beyond reply

    […] by A Bryan Photo via Snippet & Ink 24. Bride and groom in car image by Tanja Lippert via Southern Weddings 25. Teal classic car image by 2Rings Trouwfotografie & Feestsudio via Zank You Weddings 26. […]

  16. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: The Ceremony, Part II – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] a post… The main characters | Where we’re getting married | I go dress shopping | We choose a photographer | I ponder bridesmaid style | Mini food! | The music | We’re renting a tent! | We discuss […]

  17. avatar Emily Plans a Wedding: Hair and Makeup! – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] in from California for my big day, let me explain. Tia just so happens to be best buddies with our amazing photographer, Tanja Lippert, and the two work together all the time. Tia started out in the industry as a […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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