By Julie Ulstrup

As a wedding photographer, one thing I have heard repeatedly from married couples is that they wish they would have made photography of their wedding more of a priority. Every bride and groom wants to have beautiful photographs of their special day. They’ve spent a lot of time and energy planning an amazing celebration with family and friends. When all is said and done, after the wedding day, the spouse and wedding photographs are all that’s left “to have and to hold from this day forward.” After doing due diligence (i.e., asking friends for referrals, reading Google reviews, reviewing portfolios and meeting candidates in person), follow these tips to help ensure the best photographs:

1. Schedule an Engagement Shoot

Plan an engagement shoot with the wedding photographer. In addition to obtaining fantastic photographs to use for save-the-date announcements, holiday cards and your wedding collection, you’ll get to know and trust your photographer. This will be a chance to work together when you are relaxed, and you can get a feel for if you’d like to spend your entire wedding day with this person.

2. Communicate

The photographer should have a list of questions for you and should ask for contact information for all the vital people in your wedding, including family members. Additionally, the photographer should ask if there are specific elements of your wedding that you especially want to capture. Special details in the ceremony, generation portraits with grandparents, the antique toasting glasses from godparents; anything that is especially sentimental, as well as any family dynamics that may be challenging or unusual.

3. Plan Enough Time

Work with the photographer and the event planner to allow enough time before the ceremony, as well as between the ceremony and reception, for pictures. Plan to have drinks, appetizers and music for guests while you are being photographed. This is your day and you deserve to enjoy each moment, but you do not want your guests to leave out of boredom.

4. Details

Be sure to talk with the photographer the week before the wedding to let them know any last-minute details, guest list changes and “must have” photographs.

5. More than Digital

When choosing a photographer, be sure to work with someone who will offer more than just the digital files. I know couples who have wedding pictures on a disc in a drawer that they have never looked at. Professional photographers offer digital along with wall prints, albums or both. As mentioned earlier, these are for you to enjoy for generations. Not to sit on a jump drive or in the cloud. They are an investment that will become more valuable with time.

Julie Ulstrup is a Fort Collins-based wedding and portrait photographer.

To learn more about her work, go to To comment on

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