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.

The Journey to a Wedding by a Wedding Photographer

The journey to a wedding can be a real nightmare, because a wedding photographer simply cannot be late. If you plan everything carefully, you’ll have nothing to worry about; the important thing is planning well ahead. On the few occasions when the photographer is late, the whole wedding comes to a standstill: nobody wants to start the ceremony without the photographer, otherwise all of the long term memories will be compromised. Imagine this: tens of people are sitting in the church just waiting for you to arrive. What are you going to tell when you arrive there an hour late? How are you going to deal with such an embarrassing situation?

Being always late is a real disability. I know of people that are unable to keep a job, because of their time keeping skills. I myself do not keep assistants that are late. A wedding is a very important thing and being late once is enough for me not to hire an assistant again. What I tell them is this: make sure you arrive on time; if you have time keeping problems, then arrive three hours early. There are no excuses for a wedding photographer to be late. Not to talk about the financial losses you could incur into: you can be sure that you will be charged for some extras the bride and groom will incurred into because of you. The journey to a wedding doesn’t have to be this stressful, actually it can be quite peaceful and pleasant. Planning early and well, will almost guarantee that you will be there on time.

Your Vehicle:

Whatever vehicle you use (car, van, motorcycle, bicycle), make sure it’s well looked after. If you have a vehicle that is more than five years old, I would advise you have it checked out at least a couple of weeks before the event. This is because if there are repairs to be made, you want to be sure you’ll get it back before the wedding.

If your car is not reliable, rent one. Nowadays hiring a car can be very cheap and this can easily be included in the expenses bill. Also the vehicle you arrive with tells a lot about the way you work. Much more than you would think.

Imagine: you call a plumber from the yellow pages and he arrives at your home with an old noisy bitten up pickup truck with a dirty camper shell and you can tell he lives in it. Then your neighbor’s plumber arrives in the latest van, quietly, a professional advert on the side, wearing a nice work uniform. I bet you would wish you had called the other guy. You will automatically assume your plumber will not do the job properly, or at least not as well as the other guy. First impressions really count a lot.

It’s the same with wedding photographers: how you travel tells how you will work. Arrive in style and the bride and groom will already trust you more, even without having touched one of your cameras. They are paying you top dollars and they want to see their money well spent and of course they want to show their family and friends that they have selected a real pro.

Want to know what I do? Just in case that something goes wrong with my car and the journey, I always keep a folding bicycle in the trunk. When such an important thing like a wedding is at stake, you have to think about the unthinkable. What if you get into an accident and your car can no longer be moved? You are still required to attend the event. Remember that accidents do happen and they are not necessarily your fault, but you will be expected to have allowed enough time for them.

This is not a normal 9 to 6 job; you are the person in charge of the only memories the couple will have of their wedding day and it is your duty and main priority do anything in your power to attend AND to be on time (which means early).

Get a membership with the local automobile club, so that you will be prepared for any mishaps and you’ll have less worries as there would be someone to help you. Even if you only got a flat tire, could you change it on your own while wearing a nice suit and a white shirt? How clean (or dirty) will you arrive at the ceremony?

Always respect speed limits. Other than dramatically reducing the chances of having an accident, you’ll also reduce the chances of being pulled over by the police. Even if you get a straightforward fine, you will waste precious time and you will be upset for most of the day. You are going to create art on commission and your mind needs to be clear, relaxed and happy.

The Journey:

Going to a wedding is not like going to work at rush hour on weekdays, where everything is more or less predictable. Weddings usually happen on the weekend, where sometimes (always if you live in London) unusual road works take place, trains are limited and diversions are in place.

Since it is a weekend and most people do not work, the authorities don’t usually give much weight to congestion, which becomes extremely unpredictable and very heavy at times.

If you can, avoid travelling on the day of the wedding. Even if the event takes place at only 50 miles from your home, travel there the day before and stay at a cheap hotel. You will wake up nice and fresh, with plenty of time for everything… maybe even to have a nice walk in the morning before the wedding.

Make sure you know what is going on around you. A good way to do this is to watch the evening news the day before the wedding and to check for the local news website as soon as you get up in the morning. Go to any extent to make the journey go as smoothly as possible.

The Routes:

Always plan at least three routes. The first should be the quickest, the send should be the shortest and the third an emergency alternative. If your route includes a highway, plan an alternative route using local roads. Always think of the unthinkable.

Nowadays we use navigators, which are a fantastic aid in these sort of situations, but do not rely 100% on them. Always carry a city mad and a larger area map. The day before plan your route on a real map and match that with the navigator.

Keep in mind that on the weekend some roads might be closed and diversions might be in place. The journey can be severely altered and delayed, especially on a Saturday morning.

6 Things to Do to Become a Wedding Photographer

Some people may think that becoming a wedding photographer is easy. Many people now own a half decent camera and would like to start earning money from their photography. It is perceived as a simple way to earn cash. All you have to do is turn your hobby of taking photos into a business and start charging people. Because it is viewed as only 1 day a week and pays well, it is the natural progression for photographers who have struggled to make money from other pursuits. But the reality is that it is not so simple to become a wedding photographer. It is not an easy job and it is not just 1 day a week.

Here are 5 steps that you can implement now to begin your career as a successful wedding photographer.

1. The first and most important step is to practice. And I mean really practice. You may be handy with a camera but wedding photography is a very specific kind of photography which you’ve probably never tried. It is a very difficult thing to shoot. You have a very limited amount of time, dozens of people to organise, stressed out brides, possibly bad weather conditions and a whole load of pressure to get it right. But don’t let that scare you off, it just means that you need to be prepared. Do your research into the venue and the people involved.

The best thing you can do to prepare is to practice. If you have friends who are willing to help you, ask them to pretend to be a happily married couple and do some bridal photographs of them. You’ll discover whether you have the ability to pose people. Then try and do it with a small timescale and see if you still get decent photos. Try taking photos in rain and different lighting conditions. Practice the group photos if you get the chance. Maybe at a friends party or family gathering. Anything to help you feel confident in the fact that you can do it under pressure because you only get one chance to get it right.

2. Start following blogs of other wedding photographers who you aspire to. Learn from them. Find photographs that you think are amazing and work out how they did them and how you can do them too. Create a collection of inspiring pictures.

3. Begin working on a website. This is something that could generate a lot of leads in the future and it is also integral that you have somewhere to direct traffic. You need to have at least a basic website in place for people to be able to see what you can do. You don’t want to miss out on a potential lead because you missed this simple step. Getting your website to rank well on Google and other search engines is a very long process. The sooner you start building up a good website, creating content and getting your name out there, the better. Make your website specific to the area that you’re targeting. If you are looking for work in a certain location, use the keyword for that location throughout your website. Even in the URL if possible to really help with SEO. If you want to be known as a certain type of photographer such as a reportage, candid or natural wedding photographer, then use those words. The key is to choose a niche audience and stick to it.

4. Get some promotional material. This could be in the form of business cards, flyers or anything physical that you can hand out. One simple thing to do is to get some nice business cards printed and ask to leave them in wedding related stores. This could be in wedding dress shops, formal wear hire, fancy car hire etc. Many shops won’t allow it but there are always ones who do. Make your card stand out in some way as it might be competing with many other wedding photographer’s cards. Hand out flyers and cards at wedding expos or fairs.

5. Start buying equipment. A wedding photographer must have their own quality camera and a range of quality lenses. But don’t stop there, you also need a backup camera body as a minimum. You can’t even begin to think of being a wedding photographer if you don’t have a backup camera. It’s too great a risk and you could really ruin someone’s big day. If you’re still saving up, borrow off a friend or hire one for the day. It is also very useful to use two cameras with different lenses so that you don’t have to keep swapping lenses.

6. Work on it everyday. Unfortunately there is no easy way to get into wedding photography. A good place to start is by offering your services to anyone you know. Ask them to get the word out that you’re available. Once you do 1 wedding well, another will follow as a result. It’s a long process and it may take years to be able to earn a sustainable living. The best thing you can do is to just be persistent ad never give up. Do something every day that helps, whether it be practice photography, learn some new techniques, work on your website or do some footwork. Never just sit back and wait for the customers to come knocking because you’ll be waiting a while.