Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wedding Photographers



1. Research some photos by looking at magazines and/or on the web and define your favorite style of photography -- traditional, candid, or posed? (Seek out photographers whose forte matches your favorite style.)

2. What is the photographer’s approach to shooting weddings? Has the photographer shot many/few weddings? This question will give you an idea of the expertise and passion for his/her work. You want to hire a professional that is familiar with all the in’s and out’s of weddings so he/ she won’t miss any key special moments of your day.

3. Does the photographer shoot in color, black and white, or both? Does he shoot 35 mm or medium format or both?

4. Make sure you know who is going to shot your wedding and that you’re looking at his work. If dealing with a one-person operation, find out who would cover your wedding in case of an emergency.

5. Do not make a list of every possible photo combination, you’re dealing with a professional and he or she shoots weddings for a living. Most likely he or she would get the obvious family combinations. Rather, give your photographer a list of must-take photos of unusual combinations: college roommates, co-workers and other pictures you definitely want shot along with your wish-list photographs. Make sure you leave free range for the photographer’s creativity to capture the festivities. This usually will get you the best results. Enlist a relative or a close friend to point out specific people for the photographer. Your wedding coordinator can do that, if you have one.

6. How does the photographer determine price? By the number and kinds of prints you think you'll want, the amount of rolls of film, the hours the photographer spends on your wedding, the developing time, or a combination of the above factors? How many rolls of film will be shot, and how many proofs and final prints will result? Are packages available? Can you get a price list?

7. Does the photographer develop his own film? How long does he keep the negatives? Can you buy your negatives from the photographer? Do you get to see paper proofs or does he show you the proofs on video, CD-ROM, e-mail?

8. Look at each photographer's work. Be sure to carefully examine the technical aspects of his work. Some things to look for:

photos are framed and centered well
photos are over- or underexposed
details are visible
people look comfortable and relaxed
But more importantly look on the personal level and ask yourself: do I like his/her style? Does this seem like a person you could tolerate throughout your wedding day? You'll want to feel very comfortable around your photographer. If you’re not comfortable with him/her you can rest assure it will show in your photographs. Rapport is important with all wedding professionals, but it's crucial here!

9. Some of the most special wedding moments happen backstage while the bride is dressing, while the family is waiting, or right after the end of your ceremony when you sneak to a private room. Choosing a pro photographer with whom you feel extremely comfortable and don't mind inviting backstage will allow you to capture these moments. Keep your photographer aware of your whereabouts at (almost) all times.

10. Do not ask the photographer for references. After all, he/she would not give you the name of someone that he/she had a bad experience with. Ask to see thank you letters. If your photographer is a professional photographer, and has lots of experience than his/her past clients should have been satisfied with his/her services and would have sent some thank you letters. You can also ask other wedding professionals about your preferred photographer, as a good photographer would be well recognized by other wedding professionals in your area.

11. Once you've found a photographer with the skill set, style, vision, and personality you're looking for, you'll need to agree on a contract. Be sure to schedule a follow-up meeting to talk about specifics. Together, you'll decide how many hours your photographer will spend at your wedding, and you'll discuss your Must-Take List and any photos you don't want (the cake shot or the schmaltzy posed kiss).

12. A mixture of some posed and candid shots will round out and make your wedding album more interesting. If you favor candid, hire someone who specializes in a photojournalistic style, with real talent for capturing emotional, spontaneous moments keeping in mind that many portrait photographers can also shoot candid and most photojournalistic photographers hate to shot portraits. Determine your priorities and choose a professional accordingly. Your photojournalistic pictures will set the overall feel and look of your wedding album. Remember your most valuable photos would be the ones where you can see and recognize faces, like shots of family and friends. There's definitely a trend toward photojournalism and black and white photography at weddings. B&W photos convey more emotions and accentuate the essence of the subjects or objects being photographed. Color photographs capture the overall theme and feel of your wedding, like the room decoration, the bridal party colors and your flowers. If you are not sure whether or not you would like B&W photographs, have you photographer shoot everything in color and ask him to print some prints in B&W. With today’s technology it would be very hard for the untrained eye to see the difference between what was shot on B&W film and what was shot in color. You cannot print a color print from and B&W negative. However if you know you like B&W, have your photographer shoot it on B&W film for a better and a more rich contrast. Your best bet is a combination of both.

13.Make sure the photographer has backup equipment with him/her on your wedding date in case of an emergency. Also, make sure it is the same format and quality as the primary one. The photographer should have backup for all his/her equipment, cameras, flash, lenses, filters, batteries, cables, etc.

14. Always look for a professional photographer to shoot your wedding day. But if you are on a tight budget and are thinking on looking for a talented photography student or you've always admired your cousin's skill as a shutterbug, consider this option. Just keep in mind that if the photographer doesn't have wedding experience, you might not get the great results you want -- and it might not be worth the savings. If you hire a relative and you value your relationship, having him/her photograph your wedding would exclude him/her from your day. Moreover, if she misses some important moments she would feel bad and you would have no recourse. Not to mention it could actually sour the relationship you so cherished before.

15. Ask to see an actual album of an entire wedding and if possible a proofs album to see the photographer’s raw material. Many photographers have put together sample albums of their best shots from many weddings. Look at pictures the photographer shot at a previous wedding to see if he connected with the couple and captured the mood of their day.


A AD (Actual Day) photographer will take many shots just to get the one special moment. A photojournalistic photographer shoots between 1000- 3000 images at a wedding, while a good studio photographer shoots on average 100-300 images. A good basic AD package could cost $1000-$1500, but you can easily spend three or four times that amount. You're paying for the photographer's time at your wedding, hours spent developing your pictures, the finished product -- the prints and albums you order-- and for the artistic aspect and creativity of the photographer. If your photographer is in high demand expect to pay dearly for his services documenting your wedding. You may think you do not need that many photos but chances are that once you get to see the proofs you would want more than you first ordered. Especially if your photographer is a great artist!

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