6 Ways To Get Better Wedding Photographs Without Spending More

After two decades and over 1000 events in the wedding photography business, Michael Barrett moved on to photo booths in 2011. The insights in this article come from Michael’s vast experience in and around the Kansas Metro area. Many of the points here would be what your wedding photographer would tell you if they could.

Hire the right photographer. Do not hire someone based on price and then try to turn them into someone they are not. A photographer is, or should be, an artist. Every artist has a unique style. Choose the one for you based on your budget. Then, encourage the photographer to let his or her creative juices flow! No photographer wants to see your clippings of other photographers work. This does not inspire but instead stifles the creative process.

Do an engagement sitting. If offered, always take advantage of the engagement sitting offered by your photographer. This is a great opportunity for you to get comfortable with each other and for you both to become at ease in front of the camera.. When the wedding day rolls around, you can get rolling more easily. You want your break-in time to be before the wedding. Not on the big day.

Practice your smile. Most people can not just turn on a smile on queue. Practice in front of a mirror. Find a smile that you can live with. You will be using it a lot on your wedding day. After all, it is likely the only time in your life you will be photographed several hundreds of times in a single day

Be on time on your wedding day. This is not easy. You must build in a lot of extra time into your schedule. Mishaps will happen. Hair and make up appointments almost always run late. If you start on time, your photographer will have the opportunity to photograph you and your wedding party in those unique locations that they have scouted out. They may also have time to experiment with some unique lighting or angles. If you start late, much of that goes out the window. Your photographer will have to go into catch up mode. Meaning speed becomes the most important concern. You pay the same for ordinary photographs as extraordinary. Give your photographer the chance to do their best work for you on your wedding day.

Be willing to get creative with poses and locations. If you want fresh, creative photographs, think outside the altar. Be willing to try some of those off-beat ideas presented by your photographer. Often, the photos you didn’t think you wanted turn out to be your favorite.

Be nice to your photographer. It sounds obvious but it makes a difference. Photographers feed off of positive energy. They love to feel appreciated. If you follow this simple tip, you will get their best work.

Your wedding photographs will become a cherished heirloom for your new family. Anything you can do to ensure the best possible outcome will benefit you and yours for years to come.

Choosing a Wedding Photographer – Length of Coverage

The second in our series of articles about wedding photography looks at how long you will want the photographer to be taking photos on the day for. You may want photos getting ready at a house or hotel before the ceremony. Often this is useful to get used to having you picture taken and also for the photographer to get some pictures of the bride, bridesmaid and her parents before setting off to the ceremony.

Some photographers use this time as an opportunity to get the bride feeling relaxed and get some of the formal photos out of the way before the ceremony. It also gives the groom a nice surprise when he sees the pictures as he’ll be off getting ready somewhere else. Some wedding photographers will spend time with the bride and then go on to meet the groom and his ushers for some getting ready shots as well. This makes a nice story in the wedding album as both the bride and groom can see what the other was doing on the morning of the wedding in the finished album.

If your budget doesn’t allow for preparation shots then normally photographer will simply head straight to the venue to catch the grooms and his ushers there, then the arrival of the guests and finally the arrival of the bride. Most venues allow photography during the service. The best wedding photographers will be very unobtrusive and get some great reaction shots during the ceremony and really capture the emotion on the bride and groom’s faces as they say their vows looking adoringly into each-other’s eyes.

Once the service is over, it’s outside for the bride and groom to be congratulated. Generally wedding photographers will leave the couple for a few minutes to greet their guests as he captures the natural shots at this point. Once this is over it’s time for the formal / family photos to be taken. It’s best to work out if you want all of these in one place or to make things more interesting in your album, these can be done either in a church door way to frame the groups or maybe on a nice lawn or set of stairs for bigger groups. Normally it is recommended to leave at least an hour for the group photos even though you won’t be posing for the whole time.

Once these shots are done often wedding photographers will take the bride and groom into the room for a mock cutting of the cake. This is just to get a shot with the cake for the album before they actually cut it later in the day. It is after this point that some photographers will finish for the day leaving you to carry on with the celebrations.

If you want photography until the evening, this is usually a more expensive package or charged as an extra to the smaller package. However it is often well worth having as it will include reaction shots of the speeches, arrival of evening guests and first dance. Sometime the best natural shots can be taken at the evening reception as guests will have relaxed and the alcohol will be flowing, meaning that people are less self-conscious having their photo taken.

Our next article in the series will look at what’s included in the wedding photography packages.

Tips on How to Pick Your Wedding Photographer

Time to make that big decision!

Oh boy! So confusing! You just got engaged and so many things are running through your head. What date to get married on? Where to get married? Do we want to have the ceremony at one place and the reception at another? What wedding colors? The guest list? Oh my gosh, the guest list! Sounds like a lot of important decisions need to be made before the big day arrives.

You will probably start searching the internet, join a wedding web site, and buy a few wedding magazines. If you are lucky enough, you will live in a city that has a bridal show or two for you to check out. All of these things are an important part of the process and will help with choosing all of your wedding vendors and putting all the pieces together. One of the biggest of those decisions is going to be choosing the right wedding photographer. With that in mind, let’s look at a few things you should consider before making your choice.

One of the first things you are going to notice when looking for your wedding photographer is his or her’s photographic style or technique. Assuming that the photographer is technically proficient and capable, (which they should be, otherwise they shouldn’t be telling people they are a wedding photographer) the style of photography that you choose is a very personal decision. There are traditional or portraiture styles which tend to lean towards very posed, formal shots. These are very popular with Moms, Dads and grandparents. Very nice. Very traditional. There is the natural light and soft focus styles. These are very popular for weddings. Natural light style photography is pretty self explanatory. Your photographer will use the natural light at a particular location or setting to capture your photographs. This could be on the beach at sunset or next to a lake with the fog rolling over it. Soft focus style tends to be very dream like and romantic. Most of these techniques are done after the initial photographs are taken in the post production part of your wedding photography. Last but not least is the photojournalism style. This is very popular nowadays. Your photographer will capture you in the most natural settings throughout the wedding day. This style tends to look more like snapshots and less like the shots were posed for. It is nice to mix traditional portraiture and photojournalism to get the best of both of those worlds.

Your photographer’s personality is another big thing to consider. As you interview different photographers, you will be able to see if this is someone you are going to enjoy having around on the big day. Are they personable and friendly? Will they be able to work quickly with you and your entire families to get what you want? You want a photographer who is going to do great work and make it an enjoyable experience for the both of you and you families.

Is your photographer prepared for the unexpected? Does he or she have back up equipment in case of an equipment failure? I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. The last thing you want is for your photographer to come to you and try to explain why they missed that all important moment because their camera failed. Do they have a back up photographer in case they are ill or there is an emergency? You never know what life might throw at someone at the last minute but it is nice to know that your photographer has someone to cover for them or will assist you in getting someone if they have to bow out a day or two before the event.

Does the photographer you choose have good follow through and business skills? Do they answer your emails and phone calls promptly? It is important to get back with your clients within 24 hours or the same day if possible. Nowadays, unless you are stuck in the Sahara Desert with no wi-fi, there is no reason for a vendor to not get back to their client in a timely manner. After the wedding is over will you be updated and informed about your photography? How long will it be until my online gallery is up? How long will it take to do the post production on the chosen images? How long will it take to get my wedding album? Make sure your photographer is keeping you in the loop.

How much will it cost? Ahhh, the age old question. A good question considering how tough it is for people financially right now and how much a wedding can cost. You can spend anywhere from $500 to $5000 on your wedding photography so let us not forget the difference between price and value. Yes, you will have a budget for your wedding and only a certain amount you would like spend on your photographer. Keeping that in mind I think it is important to make sure that you try and get the best value for your money. Does the photographer your are thinking of using meet the criteria you have laid out? Do you like his or her’s style of photography? Do you like their personality? Are they going to be fun and enjoyable to have around on your big day? Are they prepared for the unexpected? Are they going to keep you in the loop and perform in a professional manner? If they are all of those things but just a little more expensive then the next photographer, then you might consider what you are getting for your money. Most wedding photographers are able to put together a package that will suit your needs. If you like one photographer but they are a little more expensive than another that you spoke with, you might try and adjust your photography package a bit so it falls within what you consider to be a good value. That might mean not getting the DVD of the images and only buying the prints you want online. It might mean having the photographer you really want for a shorter period of time on the wedding day. Most good photographer are more than willing to help you find a photography package that will work for you.

Well, there you go. Just a little food for thought for when it comes to making the big decision. It is a privilege as a photographer to be a part of such a wonderful event. Remember, your wedding day is one of the most joyous days of your life. Enjoy every moment leading up to it!