Ask the Expert: Dan Stewart | Dan Stewart Photography

Dan Stewart PhotographyPhoto courtesy of Bryan and Mae

In this week's "Ask the Expert" we received some great advice from Dan Stewart of Dan Stewart Photography.  He chimed in on the value of engagement sessions, the questions to ask your wedding photographer before booking, and the beauty of getting married in Northern Michigan.

What's the number one question you get from Brides?

Besides "Are you available?" or "What are your prices?" the most frequent question I get from  brides has to be, "Do we have to do the engagement session?" No you don't have to, but I encourage it. The engagement session is one of the best parts about the whole wedding process. If you are wondering if an engagement shoot is necessary, here are a couple of things to consider:

First, this may be the first time you're meeting your photographer. It is very important to establish a relationship with your photographer prior to the wedding day. You’re more likely to open up and be yourself in front of a friend rather than a stranger, right?

Second, this time allows you to get comfortable in front of the camera, figuring out how you and your photographer work best together before the wedding. You could almost look at the session as a trial run for the wedding photos, getting out your nervousness before the wedding: practice makes perfect!

What's the best advice you can give to brides and grooms starting to look for the right photographer?

Find a photographer whose work represents your personalities. If you're a fun, outgoing and crazy couple, be sure to find a photographer whose work and personality show that. Don't expect something out of a photographer if you don't see it in their portfolio, or in something that's written about them first.

What is the most important characteristic a couple should be looking for in a photographer?

I always tell potential clients that it is important to find a photographer whose personality is similar to theirs. The photographer is going to be around you ALL day, so it should be someone that you can tolerate for a great length of time.

As it relates to photography, what makes getting married in Northern Michigan so special?

Northern Michigan has so much to offer the world of wedding photography. Beaches, rustic settings, views of the water, the four seasons, it sure seems like we have it all. What makes it special is that you don't have to do much in terms of details for your wedding, when you have the natural settings and landscapes of Northern Michigan that can make your wedding unique on its own.

What should be on a couple's photographer check-list? (insurance, contract issues, gear, back-up gear, photographer back-up, second shooters, etc.)

It's good to ask your prospective photographer a slew of questions prior to signing a contract and sending in a deposit. However, I think that a potential bride should ask the questions like, "What is your philosophy?" or "What inspires you?" These are the kind of questions that will help you find the right photographer for you day.

Thank you so much for your input Dan!