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.

Tips To Find Your Best Wedding Photographer

Start looking early for your wedding photographer.

Wedding photographers typically get inquiries from brides from 6-8 months prior to a bride’s wedding day. The sooner you start looking the better the chances are of hiring the best match for your style and personality. Also, booking earlier gives you more flexibility in when you will be able to shoot your engagement session. Booking late can restrict you to a season that’s either too hot or too cold.

Don’t have any idea how to start looking? Here are some ideas.

Start asking around your circle of friends that have been married recently. Referrals are the absolute best way to get true feedback for a particular photographer. Lean on Google heavily. If you’ve already booked your wedding venue, search for photographers that have blogged about weddings at that location. Make a working group of 15-20 bookmarks of favorite wedding photographer websites. Keep that group fluid, when you add one…drop someone else off. Don’t go over 20. Once you have a good list make a top 5 group from that bigger group. Contact those five photographers and start setting up consultations.

Ask the photographer about their cameras and equipment.

Ask your photographer to describe their approach to backup gear for the wedding day. Photographers love to talk about their toys and you’ll be reassured to hear about their backup plans. They should have at least two fully capable pro camera bodies and multiple lenses specialized for low light photography. Professional cameras are robust but as with anything mechanical, failure can occur. Having immediately available backup gear is essential.

Talk to the photographer about his backup methods AFTER the wedding.

Your photographer should have a strategy for backing up your digital images that includes multiple onsite and off site backups. For example, a photographer may have duplicate hard drives at their studio as well as a safe deposit box with additional backups.

Why an engagement session is so important.

The engagement session is important to create photographic record of this amazing time in your life. The time between your engagement and wedding is one of the most exciting periods of your life. beyond that, no one will be around you more than your photographer on your wedding day. The importance of personal compatibility cannot be overstated. Having spent time together as friends and photo subjects at the engagement session goes a long way towards the comfort and trust necessary on the wedding day.

Saving money by having a friend or relative that’s pretty good with a camera shoot the wedding.

If you place a high degree of importance on the photographic record of your wedding day then nothing less than a professional is acceptable. A talented friend may capture a few nice images but with the experience and training of photographing many weddings you cannot rely on them to have the consistency and control to capture the entire day. A professional photographer has shot countless weddings and worked in every possible lighting situation. These are your memories…hire a professional.

You will find that your wedding photographer choice is a very personal one. If this article plants a seed or two to help you as you begin your search the it will be a success.

How to Pick the Right Wedding Photographer

Picking the right wedding photographer is a three step process:

1. Connect with the photographers work. Are you moved and captivated by the images or do they look like every other photographer you have looked at? Look at many sites and check the photographers blog to see current images in addition to just the best pictures on the website. Look for consistency by viewing many images from each wedding. Also look for pictures that have real emotional and romantic moments as they will mean more to you than a picture of yourself smiling at the camera.

2. Meet or talk with the photographer. They will be around you more than anyone else on such an important day. Go with your gut instinct on whether you feel they can be trusted with the emotions you will show. You must be comfortable and excited to have them cover your wedding. Try to see their work in print. Do their images look as nice as on the computer screen? Are you impressed with their sample albums of complete weddings?

3. Budget. Yes money matters but keep in mind the more distinctive the work, the more of an investment is required. Photography is the only purchase for your wedding that is forever, and will also increase in value to you over the years. Try not to settle, there is only one chance on this day and your images will be priceless in the future. Any amount spent today is a bargain for the enjoyment you will have for the rest of your life and future family members. If you have a very tight budget try not to focus so much on products. You have the rest of your life to get a nice album. Great images are a smarter first step.

Take care and I hope you have an incredible wedding!