Love is in the air! Yes, LOVE!
I know the only thing you have seen in the air lately is snowflakes, but trust me on this, love is definitely in the air. It happens every year at this time. People do fall in love all year long, but during the stretch between Christmas and Valentine's Day, a lot of people become engaged and start planning weddings.
Weddings do take a lot of planning: dresses, cakes, flowers and venues and menus. In my opinion, the most important thing is photography. Right about now you are thinking, of course, the photographer thinks photography is the most important thing, but let me explain why I'm right.
The dress is only worn once and gets stored away most likely to never be worn again. I love cake, but when it's gone, it's gone. The flowers look great but they are going to wilt in a few days and go in the trash. By now you can see where I'm going with this. Photographs are the only useful thing you have left to remember one of the biggest days of your life. With that said, those photographs had better be good and you are going to need a lot of them.
Wedding photography is one of the most difficult and stressful types of photography. It all looks like fun and games until you have to produce a quality product in an unpredictable situation. Some professional photographers refuse to shoot weddings because they realize you only get one chance to do it right.
Personally, I enjoy photographing weddings because even though it's the same type of event, every wedding is different. The people have different personalities. The venues have different lighting and architectural features, and on top of that, you never know what is going to happen next.
My advice to couples who are selecting a wedding photographer is to make sure your photographer has plenty of experience. A professional wedding photographer will have photographed numerous weddings. Ask for a number - by the way mine is over 100. Not bragging, just the facts.
Make sure you see examples of their work. Insist on seeing a complete wedding not just a few lucky shots.
And finally, don't make your selection based on price. Invite a few less guests or whatever you have to do to cut costs, but don't skimp on your photography. On your 25th anniversary you will want a great picture to prove how skinny you were and what a cool hair style you had back in 2011. Great photography is not expensive, it is priceless.
(Brent Kepner is the owner and photographer at Foto 1 Pro Photo in Elkins. He is a master photographer, certified professional photographer and president of the Professional Photographers of West Virginia.)