How to Choose a Wedding Photographer – 10 Tips For Selecting Wedding Photography

You want your wedding photographer to capture everything that makes your day special, to capture you at your best, to deliver photographs that live up to your expectations. Here are 10 tips for selecting wedding photographers northern va that you can live with throughout your new life together.

  1. A reputable wedding photographer should have a physical location. A physical location where you can find them when you need them and where you can meet with them safely is important. Brick and mortar wedding photography studios build trust within the community and with their clients. If your wedding photographer does not have a local address (not a PO Box) that they will share with you, it’s a good reason not to trust them. They might work out of their house, but do you know where that is? A physical office or studio is paramount to them being trustworthy. Would be you be willing to have a random stranger come to your house, or for you to go to their house? It’s safer and more reliable to choose a wedding photographer with a studio or office you can visit and where you can find your photographer.


  1. A good wedding photographer should help make your day go more smoothly. Aside from a dedicated wedding planner, your photographer is the only vendor who is going to be spending the entire day with you. A good wedding photographer should make things easier for you. They should solve problems. Your wedding photographer should be flexible. They should be able to adapt and thrive in difficult situations. Find out more about their abilities and ask about a difficult lighting scenario, bad weather, or other catastrophe and find out how they dealt with it in the past.


  1. You need your wedding photographer to be focused on you. When you meet with any wedding photographer for the first time, do they ask about you, get to know you, and find out what you want? Or do only they talk about themselves and what they do? Find a photographer who is willing to spend time getting to know you so you know they understand you and your needs. This is the best way to find out if they are a good fit for you.


  1. Your wedding photographer should be knowledgeable and helpful. They should offer suggestions about options you have for different things, provide advice on scheduling and setup, be full of ideas, and be ready to make your day and your planning easier. A good photographer is big on planning. Your photographer should work with you before an engagement session to select clothing and location. Your wedding day photography should be scheduled as part of your day rather than as an afterthought. Photography does not have to be inconvenient – it can be a fun and integral part of your day.


  1. It might sound strange, but not all wedding photographers are the same and not all photographers are a good fit for every client. If your wedding photographer meets you and finds out about what you are looking for and then tells you that they don’t think they would be a good fit for you, it might be surprising, but it’s nothing personal. Wouldn’t you rather a professional be honest about this than trying to change to meet your needs? Sometimes photographers realize that what they specialize in is not the same thing a client wants. Photographers don’t want to make you unhappy, and if a wedding photographer thinks you might be happier with a different style of photography or with a different situation, we will tell you before you book so you are not disappointed later.


  1. Price is NOT the most important factor when choosing a wedding photographer: You definitely get what you pay for. Photography is like anything else in life: You get what you pay for. It is not logical to think you can hire someone for little to no money and get the same results you would get if you had spent twice what you paid. Price is normally a factor when it comes to quality. Photographers who charge more are usually backed by their reputation, their brand, and their experience. You should also understand that your photographs will become the lasting memory of your wedding day. There are two things you should spend money on for your wedding, it should be your venue and your photography. People will probably not remember the food, you will only wear your dress once, and most of the other things are not huge investments anyway (flowers, music, makeup). You will look at your wedding photographs regularly – perhaps even every day – for the rest of your life. Shouldn’t your wedding photos be great?


  1. Your wedding photography studio should be insured and licensed as a legal business. Many venues actually require insurance from vendors working there. Camera equipment is expensive and you should make sure your photographer is fully insured by a reputable insurance company to make sure you are protected. Many photographers are just individuals with cameras and maybe a slick website. Make sure your photographer is backed by a legal, legitimate business.


  1. Your wedding photographer should have backup equipment and a backup plan. Mandatory: Cameras with two slots for memory cards that can be written to simultaneously in case one card fails, backup cameras and lenses, a data backup plan including offsite backups, and a disaster plan. Protect your investment. If your photographer only has one camera, it’s not enough.


  1. Multiple photographers with your package are much better for you than having just one. Your wedding photographer should have multiple photographers on staff in case someone get sick or God forbid injured. A lone photographer cannot be in enough places at once to possibly cover a wedding day adequately. For all but the smallest weddings, your wedding photographer should have at a minimum a photographer and assistant/second shooter. Anything less and you will be missing out on important moments, angles, and opportunities.


  1. Your wedding photographer should NOT dump a disc of photos on you and disappear after the wedding day. Some photographers will sell you a disc of high resolution photos, give them to you, and that’s it. Your wedding photographer should provide value-add services and products after your wedding day – for example, photo books or albums, photo prints, and wall art. Other services you should look for are in-studio viewings and selection, retouching and editing services, and gift options. A photographer that shoots photos for a disc is going to give you a result that is a completely different set of photos than a photographer who is shooting with an album in mind or to create artwork. You are going to get a much better selection of photos from a photographer focused on artwork and an heirloom album than one who is going to shoot-andburn a disc for you and call it a day. Will you really want to spend time and money designing your own album? Probably not. Make sure your photographer provides you with personal usage rights for the images, but you do not need raw files or ultra high resolution photos if your wedding photographer designs for you an amazing photo album, gives you a disc of JPG digital negatives, and offers print, artwork, and design options after the wedding. Consider what you really need and talk to your photographer about what they provide.

If you choose a wedding photographer who you get along with, whose portfolio or example photographs you enjoy, who offers products you want, and whom you feel you can trust, your wedding photography experience should be a positive one.

Photography is one of the most important decisions you will make for your wedding, and you owe it to yourself and your future legacy to invest in selecting a good wedding photographer instead of just the cheapest photographer you can find.

Elusion provides talented Washington DC wedding photographer  who specialize in extraordinary contemporary portraiture and modern artistic wedding photojournalism.

Our Baltimore wedding photographers provide you with complete all-inclusive wedding photography packages including hand-caafted, heirloom quality custom-designed albums, digital negatives, and amazing artwork for your home. We operate a full-service, wedding photography studio based on Main Street in historic Ellicott City, MD.

wedding photographers northern va  is a licensed and insured Maryland business with multiple photographers on staff. Our clients are our focus, and we give you personalized boutique level services and a comprehensive custom wedding photography experience.

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Entertain Your Guests With Creative Wedding Songs

If you wish to give a fun blast to the guests of your wedding, then you can do it by choosing ultimate wedding songs. When it comes to wedding, there are numerous tasks to plan. With numerous events in place, most of them miss to choose an appropriate wedding song. If you want to make a difference in your wedding, then pay heed to each and every little aspect of your wedding. A wedding song distinguishes your wedding from other weddings. By playing the right set of songs, your wedding will stand out among a group of weddings.

Everyone wants their wedding to be special and commendable event. Being the most memorable event of your life, you have to give more importance to the songs that are played in your wedding. You can even sit back and discuss with your fiancé about the songs that will be played in your wedding. Make a playlist of all your favorite collections and decide on the ones that will best suit your wedding. Make sure to decide a song depending on the event. The various events that happen during the wedding are prelude, interlude, special ceremony, recessional, postlude and reception.

Keeping in mind the various types of events and the nature of events, you got to decide on the wedding songs for each and every event. Make sure the song goes well for the particular event. It is always a better idea to play some entertaining music during the reception. Reception is the ideal period when couples and guest sit back and relax after the wedding. So, you can play the best songs in your play list during this point of time. Don’t bore your guests with the traditional music. Entertain them with the music that is on demand.

If you are not sure about what type of music you got to use for your wedding, then you can always find some wedding hymns online for free. This will get you an idea on what kind of song you can choose to play for your wedding. It is always important to plan the songs well ahead of time. This will get you some time to get the songs ready for your wedding.

If you don’t have enough time or you’re just busy with other events of the wedding, you can take the help of a wedding event management company. These companies do all type of services for wedding events for a nominal cost. Other than wedding events, some companies even offer other services like budget planning, anniversary consultation, honeymoons and much more.

These companies also refer the right type of florist, hair stylist and musicians for your wedding. You can even talk to the company and find out how much do they charge for song selection for the wedding. This way you will be able to find the best event management company that provide services for a price that fits your budget. If you want to sit back and relax without taking stress in deciding on the wedding songs, then it is better to hire the services of an event management company.

Wedding Songs – Top 8 Wedding Music Mistakes

Having a great band or DJ at your wedding is an absolute necessity. There’s no getting around it, if you want a memorable wedding reception you need to hire good entertainment. With so many genres to choose from, many couples fall into several common wedding song mistakes. Never fear though, were here to let you in on the biggest mishaps couples make wedding picking out their wedding song play list.

1. Sound restrictions

Many brides forget to check restrictions for sound ordinances in the town their reception is going to be held. Some venues in particular may have restricted sound level requirements. So make sure to check out any requirements or possible restrictions that may affect your wedding song list or cause your party to end early.

2. Not meet the actual DJ until the wedding day

It’s imperative that you meet the DJ who will be doing the music for your wedding way in advanced. Only a face-to-face meeting will give you an overall feel of how this person operates and how you feel they will do at your wedding. This gives you the opportunity to choose wedding songs with the specific person, and map out where he/she will bet set up. Many times you will go into an agency to hire a DJ and never actually meet the DJ himself. Make sure you set out time to meet this person face-to-face, it will only ensure you’ve hired the right person.

3. Small dance floor

Having a small amount of room for a dance floor can cause huge congestion and frustration. If there isn’t any room for guests to move around, things can get bumped, glasses and bar wear can be broken, food could be spilled and older guests and children could be knocked down. Having ample amount of room will keep everyone and everything safe.

4. Playing only one genre of music

Keep in mind the vast amount of age groups at your wedding. Make them all comfortable by playing wedding songs from everyone’s generation. Some oldies, some pop, some love songs, some rock and some country should appeal to just about everyone there.

5. Forgetting to assemble a DO-NOT-PLAY-LIST

We all know there are certain songs that just need to stay in the past. So when crazy uncle Don asks the DJ to play the Macarena, the DJ can respectfully say no because it’s on the wedding song do-not-play list. This is also great for couples who absolutely hate a certain artist or band.

6. Requesting the DJ to play too many songs

Generally DJ’s play somewhere between 12 – 15 songs per hour, meaning about 60 songs for your typical 4 hour reception. A good way to go about selecting your wedding songs are to pick 25 that you really want to hear and then give your DJ the freedom to play songs based on the mood and requests from guests.

7. Choosing long special dance wedding songs

Everyone knows it’s your day, but picking dance wedding songs that are way too long can get extremely boring for your guests. It may be OK to splurge on the length of your first dance song, but for the mother-son and father-daughter dance try to keep it shorter.

8. Not paying attention to the flow of the reception

DJ’s not only play the wedding songs, they also are the man who keeps every informed and on schedule. That is as long as you are on schedule. Many DJ’s ask that you keep an eye on the time, know when your cocktail hour has started and when it’s suppose to end. Doing this will keep everything moving smoothly

Wedding Songs Can Make A Wedding Ceremony Really Special

It is your best friend’s wedding and you want to make it really special for her but do not know what to do or how to go about it. Then you should take charge of selecting the wedding songs to be played on the special day. Read this article to find out what type of songs and music you need to choose for the wedding ceremony.

Without doubt wedding songs are an integral part of a wedding ceremony. Thus, it becomes important to choose the right songs so as to make the wedding more memorable. So what type of wedding songs to choose? This can be a bit tricky with the option to choose from millions of songs and thousands of wedding songs. But then, the whole task can be quite enjoyable too. While choosing the songs, one consideration could be whether the wedding will be a traditional or contemporary affair. Depending on the type of wedding, songs can be chosen to reflect the whole ambiance of the wedding.

If the wedding ceremony is planned to take place in a traditional manner, then slow-moving traditional songs can be played. Though, it is not a hard and fast rule to opt for traditional songs. Some contemporary love songs can be played too. There are lots of songs that can certainly make the ceremony quite lively. Another good option could be to hire a pianist. The pianist can play at a slower tempo and could give the feeling of the start of the ceremony.

Besides a pianist, an orchestra can be a good choice too, with people to play the violin, cello and saxophone. Another great option could be to hire professional singers to sing wedding songs during the whole wedding affair. The professional singers can be asked to sing from the list of selected songs.

You can also purchase a CD of best wedding songs for the special day, if the ceremony is planned to be a simple one. This could be the choice for couples who prefer a small and simple wedding ceremony and do not wish to hire an orchestra. These music CDs will deliver just what is required to be played on the wedding day from traditional wedding songs to groovier and slow dance tracks. One can also choose the songs before hand and get it burned on a CD to be played on the wedding day. The songs can be chosen and downloaded from popular music websites.

However, the most important thing to remember while selecting the wedding songs is to make it absolutely personal for the bride and the bridegroom. The idea should not be just to please the guests but more so to make it memorable for the wedding couple. The first dance of the married couple is special to both the bride and groom and care should be taken to select a song that is liked by both or somehow reflects their love story.

A wedding is a once in a lifetime occasion and it becomes that much more crucial to make it really special and memorable and by choosing the right songs to be played on the wedding day, this goal can be achieved.

To make the wedding ceremony a grand success, songs and music play an important role. By taking care of this need, the wedding can be made quite a special and unforgettable event for both the married couple as well as the guests.

Planning For the Perfect Wedding Song: Everything You Need To Know


The music can be a very important part of your wedding because tying the knot is one of the most life changing events you’ll ever have in your life. You want everything to be perfect for the ceremony. The music can make or break your wedding.Express the love that you feel for your wedded spouse through the lyrics of the songs you choose. You want songs that are heartfelt and appropriate for your ceremony. With all the great songs out there, it can be difficult to make the right choice when it comes to your wedding ceremony. Of course I have my own favorite wedding song.


Some examples:

- traditional
- contemporary
- eclectic
- irreverent
- somber
- light-hearted
- reflective of your culture and faith

Setting the overall tone sets a framework from which to the consider specific musicians and instruments to create the feel you want. Of course, don’t be afraid to mix and match tones.

For example, often couples will choose more reverent, softer music for before the wedding, and then switch to something a bit sassier (e.g. “Jai Mike” with” (if u say I do)” as the recessional.


It is YOUR day and YOUR wedding song. Don’t try to please Aunt Mary by playing a 12 minute tribute to solid gold hits of the 1950s. Think about specific songs that convey what your loved one and you mean to each other, and consider styles and instrumentation of music that support the feel you want to create:

For example, R&B, Classical string quartet, solo new age piano, bluegrass or swing band, jazz ensemble, yodelers!!


- organ.
- piano
- saxophone/ piano
- string quartet
- bluegrass/ folk group
- solo vocalist
- choir
- sing a long song leader


1. Ask your local music stores, associations, record stores, and venues that feature bands and performers.

2. Ask friends who have been married who they used.

3. Check online where you will find info on musicians and bands. Also, check and do Google searches for musicians (e.g. piano players/ name of your town/ style of music). Many cities have online bulletin boards listing performers, venues & events. Do a search for “musicians/ name of your town”.

4. Check with your local newspaper; many have an entertainer section that lists local performers.

5. Listen to radio stations (internet or broadcast that feature local musicians)

6. Some TV stations such as Oregon Public Broadcasting or NPR feature musicians and send you daily or weekly samples of local musicians.


explain the style and feel of music you are looking for.

Then ask these questions:

1) How long have you been performing?
2) What styles of music/ instruments do you play?
3) Do you sight-read or play by ear (or both?)
4) Do you have other instrumentalists with whom you perform?
5) How many weddings have you performed at? Can you give me some names and phone numbers of some of your previous clients?
6) How much do you charge? Do you have a minimum “package” fee, or an hourly rate? Do your rates include rehearsal night, purchase of music, or other preparation or rehearsals?


1.Listen to them play song samples

2.Look at lists they have of songs they can do (if they are experienced, they will have these arranged by category and style)

3. Write down songs you like that they do.

4.Even more important, tell them what songs you definitely DO NOT WANT! Many people say “anything is fine” when choosing songs, then begin to realize there are songs they definitely do NOT want. Narrowing your list down first by eliminating songs you don’t want is a must.

5. Choose these essential songs:

- Bridal party music
- Bride’s processional
- Special music during service (whether by the musician or by a singer / soloist whom the musician will accompany)
- Recession

6. In addition, you will need to decide on about 12-15 songs for prelude music, and another 3 to 5 postlude songs. If you trust the musician and feel they have the gist of what you like, you can leave it to them to choose the specific tunes. Others prefer to choose every song. Do what you feel most comfortable with.

* Note: Most musicians do not charge for the consultation.


Have a clear agreement in writing (if a pro, they should have one handy – or at the very least, a gig info form) stating:

1. the time, date and location of the wedding & the wedding rehearsal.

2. What specific duties the musician will provide (e.g. play solo instrument, accompany singers, coordinate sound/ technical needs, act as liaison with planner, etc.)

3. What the total fee will be.

4. What equipment the musician will provide; what you or the venue will provide.

5. When payment will be made (it is recommended you do so at the rehearsal or ahead of time).

6. What the crucial music cues and songs are.

7. Who will be the person to cue the musician about when the wedding begins?

8. What color themes/ styles the wedding will use

9. Any special music needs (e.g. will the musician play at the reception in addition to the wedding, or have special songs for children during the service, first dances, etc.)


A good musician will want you to have the best musical experience possible, even if that means referring you to other musicians who might better suit your needs. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals if the musician(s) you interviewed just isn’t quite the right fit.


Musicians fees vary widely, depending on how many instruments/ performers are in a band, whether a soloist is also going to arrange music in keys for singers and rehearse with them, and whether travel is involved. Most musicians (soloists or small ensembles) charge a flat fee for weddings (anywhere from $300 to $800) on the average; some will charge an hourly fee of $100 (keep in time spent traveling, packing equipment, etc.), with a smaller hourly fee for rehearsals. A simple wedding involves an average of 10 hours of work on the part of a musician (including the mind this includes actual ceremony, the rehearsal, arranging music and set lists, rehearsing with singers, consultations with the betrothed, etc.). A complicated wedding can involve as much as 20 hours of behind the scenes work. Having a clear sense of your wedding’s structure and specific musical aspects will enable your potential musician to give you the most accurate price quote.

Always check to see what instruments (e.g. piano or organ) in your venue are available for use. If the venue is providing a sound system, get the specification of it for your musicians. Some venues have excellent sounds systems, while others have ones that do not work well.

If having your wedding outdoor make sure you get some sort of amplifier. Sound disappears quite easily outdoors. Many musicians have adapters so they can run their keyboard and sound systems on a car battery.

Don’t let anyone talk you into music (or anything) with which you are not comfortable. A wedding is an expression of your personalities (you and your mates) — make sure you clearly communicate your wishes to your planner, family members, musicians and others involved in the ceremony.

How To Pick The Best Wedding Songs For Your Big Day

Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. It’s filled with love, joy, celebration, and of course, music. Many people might even say a wedding isn’t a wedding without music. So, how do you go about choosing the soundtrack for your wedding? Here are some expert guidelines on picking the best wedding songs for your big day.

Processional Wedding Songs

“Here comes the bride!” Everyone knows Wagner’s Bridal Chorus as the traditional song played as the bride walks down the aisle, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use it for your wedding. You can pick a soft and romantic alternative that has deep meaning for the bride and groom, or totally resist tradition and go for a fast and funky song that encourages the whole bridal party to dance down the aisle. Some brides pick one song for the wedding party to walk down to and a different song as her very own. Whatever you choose, just make sure it fits your personality and is not someone else’s “suggestion.”

Recessional Wedding Songs

Once the ceremony is over, it’s time to celebrate, so your recessional wedding song should be something upbeat and triumphant (think “We are the Champions” by Queen). Your recessional song should be happy and inspire your wedding guests to cheer as the happy couple walks together back down the aisle. Recessional wedding songs should also make a smooth transition for guests to the reception.

First Dance

The first dance is not just the first dance of the wedding, it’s your very first dance as husband and wife; don’t put off choosing the song for your first dance till the last minute. While it’s important that you really like the song that you choose, it shouldn’t be the only basis for your selection. Consider the context of your first dance and analyze the lyrics of any song you consider for your important first dance. For example, some of your favorite songs may have embarrassingly provocative lyrics and should not be used as wedding songs. If you really like a song but the lyrics are not appropriate, one option is to find an instrumental version of it to dance to. However, remember that many guests might be singing along with it in their heads.

Whatever you choose as the first dance wedding song, it should reflect the perfect relationship that you have with your new husband or wife. Be sure you both agree that it defines you as a couple, and last but not least, time the song. While the song may seem really short while just listening to it, four minutes can seem like an eternity when all eyes are on you. If the song you have picked is a ten-minute ballad, consider cutting it down to a more realistic length for your first dance (this goes for any of your wedding songs).

Father/Daughter Dance

Weddings can be especially emotional for the father of the bride; after all, it’s the day he is “giving his daughter away” to another man. When looking at wedding songs for the father/daughter dance, include the bride’s father in the decision process. If the two of you have a special song, maybe one that you used to listen to together while you were growing up, that would make a good selection. If you don’t automatically have a song in mind, that’s okay, too. You can choose a serious and slow song to honor the moment, or perhaps a fast and upbeat song to keep the mood light. Just remember to review the lyrics and ensure the song that you choose is appropriate.

Mother/Son Dance

Recently, the father and daughter dance is commonly followed by the mother/son dance. Deciding on the mother and son dance song may be a bit difficult for the groom, so he may want to defer to his mother to make the choice. However, suggest to the mother of the groom that the selection is sincere, and not one that might be more suitable for a husband/wife dance.

Cake Cutting Wedding Songs

The sky’s the limit when it comes to what song will play while you cut the cake. It’s a playful time that may involve a cake fight, so choose something upbeat. You can go for a romantic song like “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles, something silly like “Kiss the Girl” from the Little Mermaid, or something literal, like “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies- the choice is entirely yours.

Bouquet Toss

Bouquet toss songs are played when the bride tosses her bouquet to all of the single female guests at the wedding. So what better song to play than “Single Ladies” by Beyonce? Any sassy song with a female singer could work, too. Make sure it’s a song that the bride enjoys so she can have fun as she throws her bouquet.

Garter Toss

The garter toss is typically more wild, so this is one of your wedding songs that you can go wild with. Depending on the groom’s personality, the garter toss song can be edgy, risqué or fun. Maybe the groom’s favorite hip-hop or country song? The bride also gets some input (it’s her garter after all), so find a song that you both like and think wedding guests will enjoy.

Last Dance

Your wedding is sure to be one party you won’t forget. The last dance song is a great way to finish the evening on a positive note. Much like the first dance wedding song, this song should reflect the couple’s relationship, and may even signify goals that you might have for your marriage (such as everlasting love). Depending on how you want the evening to end, you can choose an upbeat and fast-paced wedding song as one last, fun dance, or if you want your wedding day to end on a romantic note, go for a slower-paced wedding song that will leave everyone feeling sentimental.

Wedding songs are a very important part of wedding planning, so it is best not to leave the decision process till the last minute. For years after your wedding you’ll hear these wedding songs and think back to your wedding day, so make meaningful decisions!