When planning a wedding, there's a lot to think about from the standpoint of style. There's the dresses or tuxes. There's choosing the wedding venue and there's decorating it.
Then, there is style associated with wedding photography, and according to photographer Angela Vaught, communication between the couple and the photographer is key to determining how they want their photographs to turn out.
"It's absolutely very important that you are able to communicate with the bride and groom and are able to figure out what it is that they expect from their wedding photographer," Vaught said. "I think even more than that, especially with the growing number of photographers today, that brides and grooms should shop around for somebody that they connect with, personality wise and style wise, because you want to be able to communicate with them to get the best portraits possible."
Vaught, owner of Photography by Angela Vaught, has been a photographer for 32 years and knows the ins and outs of getting the best shots at the perfect wedding.
She said she knows there is more to capturing the day than just picking up a camera and clicking: Lighting, mood, lenses, setting - all of it combines to make a photo special.
"A lot of photographers nowadays have a very photojournalistic style," Vaught said. "And some can capture any kind of style. … Is it a vintage wedding? Is it more traditional? Is it contemporary? Is it Catholic? Any of that information that you can give your photographer helps build the communication as to what your expectations are."
All of the elements that go into a wedding can help determine the style of photography used, she said.
"Outdoor? Indoor? Do you want dark and moody? Do you want classic? Do you want more of a fun, art look? There's a lot of different styles. Do you want candids? These are all things that, from classic to traditional, you need to communicate well," she said.
For couples who were struggling to find the right style or were having problems with finding the words to explain what they are looking for, Vaught suggested to go where almost everyone goes for creative inspiration: Pintrest.
Looking through what others have done - and how they have chosen to document their big day - can help all brides and grooms show their photographer what they're looking for in a wedding album.
It's also helpful to have a venue chosen before looking for the photographer, she said.
"If they find their venue, a lot of times that will help them decide who their photographer is going to be, because … there's so many different places they can have a beautiful wedding at that may not even cost what they're expecting," she said.
She encouraged couples to "think outside the box," to find a place that suits them. Then, it might benefit the couple to go looking for a photographer who knows that place well, who knows all the nooks and crannies of it, all the little out-of-the-way corners that would make for the best shots.
Vaught also encouraged couples to come up with a list of any special or particular pictures they want to see from the event. Having that checklist helps photographers know what to look for when planing pics, especially if they are considered to be a little more unusual than the typical wedding party/family moments.
At the same time, Vaught says that couples should know that professional photographers have their own checklist and know which standard photos to get.
"I'm going to make sure to get what you need to be happy, because I know you're going to want a picture of throwing your bouquet, or you're going to want a picture of you with your mom," she said. "I'm going to take that regardless of the amount of time. … Now, anything else that's important to you, it's helpful if they have a list of some kind."
To help with time, Vaught said that some couples have taken to have some pictures done on a day other than the wedding.
"That's something we like to highly encourage, just because there's less stress involved," she said.
"If they are able to do that on another day - sometimes they'll do it the day before the wedding - but it is important they realize they need to set a time for just that little quite moment.
"Nowadays you see a lot of 'first looks,' she said, meaning taking a staged photo of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time.
She said it is now becoming as much of a tradition as having the groom wait until the bride is coming down the aisle to see her.
"Now, they'll have a staged 'first look' moment, where they have kind of a private time without the entire guest list being there to observe it. It's a private moment, and I find those to be super sweet."
When it comes to the day of the wedding, Vaught said she has come to expect the unexpected, and so should the wedding party.
She said she plans on taking those photos that capture the small unexpected moments, like when people drop drinks or, as in one case, the bride knocks over the candle that she was meant to be lighting.
"When I say expect the unexpected, it happens, and we're there for you. When you cry, I will take your picture. Don't tell me not to. I'm going to take your picture crying. I think it's beautiful, especially when men cry, or when your parents cry. I'm going to take their pictures. You don't have to love it, but you do need to remember it."