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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.

How Can You Look For The Best Wedding Photographers?

It is easy to find the best of everything on the internet and if you are looking for the best wedding photographers, you can use some of the search engines online and you will find many. You can also get a lot of tips online to know how you can choose one of the best photographers, but make sure when you do, you find one within your area. It will be best for you to look for a photographer in your own area because this will make it easy for the photographer to reach and depart from the venue in time. Here are a few things you can do to distinguish the best photographer from the rest:

A Good Photographer Will Have Reasons for His/Her Photography Rates

Some people just love to take advantage of the area and market. You might find many photographers who are new but have very high charges for wedding photography, just because the market for wedding photography in that area is high. However, high prices never guarantee a good quality service or product. When you talk to the best wedding photographers, they will have their fair reasons for whatever prices they are charging to the customers. Most of the times, it should be their experience and success rate or artistic style of wedding photography. They will back their pricing with some authentic proofs instead of just talking.

They Will Keep Things Clear

Pricing is a matter that is discussed between a customer and a seller all the time. When you talk to a photographer, you will definitely look into the pricing and discuss your options, which is a good practice. However, there are things that often get overlooked when you are laying too much stress on pricing only. To distinguish betweenthe best wedding photographers and the rest, always keep an eye on what information is you being provided to you. A truly professional photographer will tell you clearly about the fees, additional fees, his equipment, terms, conditions and his compliance to your requirements. You don’t want to know that you can’t upload a picture on your public profile unless you have the photographer’s watermark on it, do you?

Will Have A Nice Portfolio

While you are looking for the best wedding photographers, let your artistic side be a little active or simply have someone along who has a little photography experience and who could help you with your decisions. You should be able to make a good decision by looking at the portfolio of the photographer, but there is a tricky and clever way of evaluating a portfolio too. Don’t go for the individual artistic shots taken by the photographer. They have probably been picked from various albums, because they were the best shots. Look for complete albums; first photo to the last in order to get an idea of focus, concentration, consistency and constancy of the pictures.

Wedding Photography Gear: A Check List of Equipment Every Wedding Photographer Needs

Being asked to be a Wedding Photographer is a huge responsibility! Someone has trusted YOU with capturing the memories of what could be the biggest day of their lives!

Have you got the right gear to get the job done?

Gear can be a bit of a sensitive topic and every photographer is different. Some prefer Canon, other prefer Nikon. Some prefer zoom lenses, others prefer prime lenses. And some photographers are just starting out and don’t know what they need. So, I have created this article to give an outline of the gear I take with me to every wedding and that I feel is crucial and could not live without!

Firstly I use Canon gear and ONLY use zoom lenses. A lot of my friends like to use prime lenses and we often have fun battling about the pros and cons of both options, and for me, I’m a zoom lens kind of guy.

The battle of the zoom lens Vs the prime lens

Here are 6 super important reasons why I prefer to use zoom lenses over prime lenses:

1. Firstly, I can shoot 95% of the wedding on just 2 lenses.

2. It saves me from having to shoot using 2 cameras.

3. I feel more prepared with a zoom lens to get ‘the shot’ when it appears in a split second.

4. It gives the look of my images more variety. For example, I can shoot the same subject while quickly zooming in and out, and the two images will look completely different.

5. It’s also just way quicker to use, instead of running in and out, I can simply just zoom in and out (within reason)

6. And my last reason is simply, this is the way I learnt to shoot weddings and just feel way more comfortable using zoom lenses. Again, everyone is different and everyone has their own style, so it’s simply just my preferred way of shooting a wedding

Checklist: 13 MUST-HAVE things for every wedding!

OK, so this bag (LowPro Pro Roller x300 AW) comes with me on every shoot. Check out what’s inside:

1. Canon 5D MK3 (with battery grip)

My trusty workhorse! An absolutely fantastic camera that does everything I need it to do to shoot weddings. There are definitely better camera’s out there, but for what I need it for, and at this price range it is the BEST!

2. Canon 5D MK2 (backup camera body just in case)

This was my old camera before I upgraded to the Canon 5D mk3. The perfect backup camera, which hopefully I will never need to use!

3. Canon 24mm – 70mm f/2.8 (series 2)

The lens I absolutely could not live without and most used in my whole kit. The series 2 is also a big improvement on the series 1, providing noticeably sharper images.

4. Canon 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 IS (series 2)

The second most used lens in my kit and another that I could not live without! This lens comes in two versions, with image stabiliser and a cheaper version without. If I could give one point of advice, it’s DEFINITELY worth forking out for the IS.

5. Canon 100mm macro f/2.8

I mainly use this lens for all my detail shots as the macro lets me get up close and personal with the item and also gives the images a super nice soft drop off. Just be careful to check your images on the back of the camera to make sure the thing that you want to have in focus, is actually in focus. If you miss by a millimetre, your whole shot will be ruined!

6. Canon 17mm – 40mm f/4

This is a great lens that I use to get a lot of my ‘epic’ shots. The wide angle is amazing and can give you some really dramatic shots. Also great when you’re shooting in a crowd after the ceremony and on the D-floor in the reception. Personally I couldn’t justify the additional $1500 for the 16mm – 35mm f/2.8

7. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash

I just upgraded from the 580ex and basically can’t tell the difference. I’m sure there are more and better features, but I just use it on ETTL and bounce the light around. Works perfectly, as did the 580ex.

8. Spare camera batteries

Always bring spare batteries with you to every wedding! Luckily I have never needed to use them yet as I always charge my batteries the night before, but still for the peace of mind it worth having.

9. Canon battery charger

Also have never needed to use this on a wedding yet as everything is already charged, but it’s nice to have just in case you need to do some emergency charging. Remember with the battery grip you can charge one battery while still being able to shoot with the other in your grip.

10. Spare AA batteries and charger for Speedlite flash

Now these are probably more important than the spare camera batteries. I find I’m way more likely to run out of flash power, especially on some of the longer days, so a spare set of fully charged AA’s is a must!

11. Card folder with 1x 8gig, 2x 16gig and 1x 32gig sandisk memory cards

To be honest I should actually have 1 more card in my kit. I find it is best to have 1 card for every different section of the day, groom coverage, bride coverage, ceremony, locations and reception. That way if worst case scenario you end up with a corrupt card, you have only lost a section of the day, not the WHOLE day!!

12. Little baggie with lens cloth and elinchrom flash trigger inside

I find it just nice to have a little bag to put random little stuff in.

13. Business cards!!

Always thinking about marketing, so give out your business cards!!

Stuff I take to give my images that extra punch!

So apart from everything that is in my camera bag, a few extra bits and pieces make it on the list as well! These things are not crucial but I still like to take them to every wedding so I can use them if I want to.

1. Elinchrom Quadra – An amazing 400 watt portable studio flash unit that’s totally easy to use and transport. It also allows me to take some of the photos you see below. This flash has helped me define my ‘style’ as a wedding photography and I use it at almost every wedding. Remember, I don’t use assistants or second shooters on a wedding, but still easily manage use this flash without any headaches. Here is a link to the Elinchrom Quadra official site if you want to read more about it.

2. Dido Video Light – A super awesome warm light that I use almost at every wedding to create really moody shots. I use the light generally during the morning coverage at the grooms house and brides house, sometimes at receptions to get a bit of flare during the dancing, and if we go to any bars or clubs on locations. Works a treat!! Check out the effect below.

3. My trusty little step ladder! I use this 95% of the time for the group photo of all the guests after the wedding ceremony. A bit of a hassle to carry and travel with as it takes up a decent amount of room in the car, but a must have piece of equipment if you’re doing group photos. Without it you might be stuck standing on a chair, which doesn’t give you the height you need, or looking for a tree to climb.

4. Lastly, not exactly something you need to bring with you, but something worth preparing, always have enough petrol in the car to get you through the day.

Thanks so much for reading!

Thanks so much for reading my post about wedding photography gear, a detailed MUST-HAVE checklist of everything you need to take to every wedding!!