Picking the right photographer may be the most important decision a couple can make for their wedding.

With so much going on throughout the day, details big and small are quickly relegated to memory where they risk fading away.

A photograph is a timeless memento that allows couples to relive the day they said, “I do.”

To help make the decision-making process easier, we went to the source — those behind the lens.

Choosing a photographer

Couples will spend more time with the photographer than anyone else during their wedding day, so it’s important to find not only a photographic style they love, but a personality they get along with as well.

“It’s important to feel comfortable with and confident in your photographer,” said Bakersfield-based wedding and portrait photographer Ashley dePencier. “The more comfortable you feel, the more relaxed you will be and the better your images will turn out.”

Ask to see an entire wedding gallery, not just a “highlight reel,” to ensure that the photographer is strong from start to finish and can adapt to any lighting situation. Also ask if the photographer has photographed a venue similar to yours in the past.

It’s all in the details

Details are the supporting cast of a wedding that helps tell the story, so it’s important that they are captured.

To ensure everything runs on schedule, have your details gathered before the photographer arrives, from the wedding dress, both sets of rings, jewelry, shoes and any unique mementos you want incorporated into your photos.

Candid moments

A wedding is a day of pure emotion, full of reactions that pass in the blink of an eye. It’s the photographer’s job to freeze them in time so they may be revisited over and over again.

“You can’t stage emotion,” said award-winning international photographer Jessica Frey. “Your photographer should be great at anticipating them on your wedding day.”

Do’s and don’ts of portraiture

For family group photos, a list of names is a must. Work with the photographer and both sets of parents to ensure the list contains everyone you want included, as well as those who cannot be in the same picture.

Photos before sunset are also a must. Check the time the sun will set and be aware of daylight saving time.

“It’s difficult to get many great photos if your ceremony is at 5 p.m. and the sun sets at 5:30 p.m.,” Frey said.

Most importantly, don’t forget to smile.

Trends

Wedding trends change from year to year.

The most important thing a couple can do on their wedding day is to be true to themselves.

For those looking to change things up, a first look is a popular choice among photographers and couples alike. A first look allows the groom to see the bride before the ceremony in a private, intimate setting for photos and gives the couple some time alone.

“It is such a special and intimate moment that I get to capture of the couple as they see each other for the first time alone and prepare each other for what’s to come,” said Patrick Ang, a Central Coast photographer who has photographed more than 250 weddings.

Unplugged ceremonies are also gaining popularity. As technology continues to play a growing role in our everyday lives, couples are now asking their guests to unplug during the ceremony.

“This is a big one for me as I watch guests paying so much attention to their phones and iPads to get their photo, they miss out on being present for the ceremony,” Frey said.

Photography is not limited to the day of the wedding, either. Bridal boudoir and morning-after sessions are also things to consider.