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 for Getting the Best Wedding Photographs

Wedding photos are a permanent memory of that one special day in any couple’s lives. A huge part of the wedding budget is always reserved for the photography and the couples expect nothing but the very best shots from their service provider. But in order to get a quality wedding photographer whom you can rely on to capture the most stunning moments during the wedding, there are certain factors you must give a keen consideration to. They are as follows:

Don’t pay too much attention to the price

Other than focusing on the price that the photographer will charge, you need to focus on the package that will be best suited for your kind of wedding. You need to search for the wedding photographers that are able to offer theme based packages which will be suitable for your style, your location as well as other setups during the wedding. You should also incorporate the style of photography to be used as there are very many different styles couples can pick from.

Pick on your preferred hues

Knowing your preferred hues for the photographs will also be essential in getting the best from the photographer. Whether you want black and white hues or you simply want to go with warm tones, you should make it clear to the wedding photographer and ensure that they understand the hues and in case they don’t have them, then you can search for another service provider. If the photographer have this knowledge in advance, they can prepare well and come with the appropriate cameras and lighting equipment to enable them take the kind of shots that you desire.

Get sample poses

It is ideal that you give the wedding photographer your preferred poses that you would like them to capture. This will help a lot in helping them to understand the kind of poses to go for on the wedding such. There are several resources online where you can ideas about some of the best poses that will you can use on your wedding day.

Use a photo booth

It might not be an easy task to get the photographer to take photos of you together with all the guests on the wedding day. This can be a bit tiring and it might compromise on the quality of the shots as it will be done in a hurry. Instead, you can set up a photo booth with some nice backgrounds where the guests can take a few photos which they will use to remember your wedding.

17 Great Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer

The wedding date is set! Already, the excitement is building for your big day. You want awesome wedding pictures. But the challenge feels daunting. You know your family shutterbug Uncle Ned is not who you had in mind. Chances are you have never hired a photographer before. So where do you start? You know you want to interview the candidates, but what do you ask them? Here are 17 great questions to ask photographers before booking.

1. Are you full-time? When did you start shooting full-time?

The truth is most wedding photography operations are very fly by night. The photographers are doing their photography on a part-time basis with negligible photography experience. Do you believe your once-in-a-lifetime event should be on-the-job training for your photographer? I didn’t think so. A full-time photographer has already made the considerable life-long investment of their energy, time and money to create a valued and trusted service. Your wedding memories deserve your photographer’s 100 percent commitment not a 20 percent commitment.

2. Why do you like to photograph weddings?

This question helps you to gauge who your photographer is as a person and artist. Take stock of the person’s passion and energy. Does he/she seem enthusiastic or kind of flat? People who love what they do have a tendency to be very good at what they do and working with them is always more enjoyable and fun.

Also, knowing a little about what makes the person tick is a good way to feel out what kind of a personality “fit” you may share with the photographer. After all, you will be spending an entire day with your photographer, so do what you can to be sure the person you pick will be genuinely excited to be there and pleasant throughout that day.

3. Will you be the actual photographer to shoot our wedding? If not, who?

It’s not uncommon for photographers and larger studios to have a network of shooters. If you learn the person you are talking to will not be the shooter then insist you talk to the person who will and also insist you see their personal portfolio.

4. What kind of input can we have on the shots? i.e. subject matter, shotlists and ideas from other wedding shots we liked?

A formals/posed groupings worksheet is sometimes necessary when planning when and how to get that part of your wedding completed and done in time. Lots of communication is key here. When working with a good wedding photographer, it is important when capturing the unique qualities and moments of your wedding to keep it open-ended for your photographer. A good photographer cannot produce every photo you can think of, but he/she can produce photos you never dreamed of.

5. (For self-described photojournalists) How much of your candid-looking work is posing and setting-up of shots or do you get shots as they happen without posing or reenactment?

“Wedding photojournalist” has become a buzzword which has lost its specific meaning with its surge in popularity among photographers. Often, the term “photojournalist” means candid-looking when used by photographers and studios to describe their own work. Often these photographers will set up and reenact a few things during your wedding day but rely heavily upon traditional portraiture for a lot of your photos… there is nothing wrong with this approach if you are comfortable with that. However a true wedding photojournalist has the talent and ability to anticipate, observe and “see” moments as they happen without the need to interfere with the natural flow of your wedding day.

6. Are the digital files available on CD/DVD? If so, are they high resolution?

This is a popular request by couples. The discs can vary widely in price. Also ask if there are any discounts applied to the CD/DVD after a certain time has passed from the wedding. For example, the photographer may offer the discs at half-price two years after the wedding.

7. What kind of improvements do you make to the files on the CD/DVD?

It is nice to have your pictures in hand to keep safe and make whatever prints you like. Keep in mind all digital images on the disc should be toned, adjusted and worked a little to make an adequate print. You should have some guarantee of the quality of pictures on the disc.

8. Do you have a list of references with contact info?

This is a rarely asked but very effective question. A real live person who has worked with a photographer will give you valuable, objective information.

9. Who do you carry liability insurance with?

Businesses that adhere to professional practices will deliver professional service and results to you. Chances are slim you will ever have to worry about insurance coverage. But accidents can and do happen. Would you let a roofing company put a new roof on your home that did not have liability insurance? How about a mechanic working on your car? I hope not.

10. What is the delivery time for the various products you offer?

It really shouldn’t take half a year to receive an album, your proofs or any other products. Try to be timely with any input your photographer requires as far as albums, edits to help this process along.

11. With the albums, how does the design and picture selection process work? Are there any fees for changes we would like prior to the album’s production?

You should have some input into important keepsakes of your wedding like an album. Some photographers charge extra for a certain number of changes to the albums they design for you prior to the printing and binding of any album. Make sure such fees are all clearly stated. Beware of time deadlines too, they are necessary to preventing production bottlenecks.

12. When will the proofs be ready? Is there a time limit for the online proofing galleries?

If working with a digital photographer, online proofing (when you first get to see your photos online) should be completed within a couple of weeks of your event. The time period of online availability for those galleries varies among photographers. Some post them for three months, others post for a full year. Check with your photographer.

13. What happens if the photographer is ill? What about back-up equipment?

Any successful, established professional studio should have a network of shooters available for emergency help. You should have a written assurance the substitute photographer will be a competent professional.

14. Should our event last longer than scheduled? Will the photographer stay, are there extra charges?

Most weddings will not exceed a six to eight hour time commitment from your photographer. If you think you will need more time, find out how your photographer handles extra hours.

15. What associations do you belong to?

Another useful way to gauge a photographer’s qualifications and professional commitment.

16. Why should we hire you?

Again, this question is similar in spirit to Question 3. Your photographer’s answer should communicate some excitement about the privilege to shoot your wedding.

17. May we see your second photographer’s entire shoot from a wedding?

Wedding photography studios often promote themselves as two shooter “teams.” They are often a husband and wife duo. They are usually not the 2-for-1 benefit they advertise. For the most part they are maybe one decent photographer and a person who is nothing more than a camera holder with with very little qualifications or experience. Have you seen an entire take of both photographers? Insist on seeing the second photographers entire shoot.