Top 10 Things You Should Know About Wedding Photography
Consider this when thinking about selecting a photographer for your wedding: After the wedding is all over and done, what will you have left (besides of course your spouse and the rings)? The flowers have wilted, the cake has been eaten, the limo only stayed a few hours, the band or DJ is off entertaining someone else, the hotel has had many functions since your wedding, your dress is in storage and the guests have all gone home. Your memories will be fresh for awhile, but with the pace of every day life, they too will fade with time. The ONLY tangible thing you'll have for the rest of your LIFE are your wedding photographs!! For that reason, they better be wonderful and plentiful, right?
Well then, there are certain things you must know in order to make an intelligent decision when selecting your photographer. Here are a few:
1. DON'T SKIMP ON YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY!
There are no licenses (other than for tax purposes) required to be a wedding photographer. There are professional bodies overseeing the profession, although ANYONE with a camera and some business cards can proclaim to be a "professional wedding photographer". There are literally hundreds of photographers out there from which to choose.
The best source you have for making this selection are your instincts and common sense and of course references from friends! Make sure your chosen photographer is a member of a Professional Association such as AIPP, PPAQ, AAPP.
2. GOOD PHOTOGRAPHERS BOOK UP EARLY!
In general, the most skilled photographers book up to one year in advance. The busiest months are no longer only March and April...September, October and November had become just as popular and fill up well ahead of time.
All serious photographers will require a substantial deposit to reserve the day to insure they don't turn away other possible bookings. For this reason, it doesn't pay to leave to chance booking a photographer whose work you have seen and loved, just to look around more. If you meet with a photographer you really think you want...keep in mind the old adage "he who hesitates is lost".
3. MEET WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER(S) WHO WILL ACTUALLY BE THE ONE(S) TAKING THE PHOTOGRAPHS!
It is vitally important for you to meet with the actual person(s) who will be with you on your wedding day taking the photos and see examples of their own personal photography. Many photographers either have multiple photographers employed or hire "part-timers" to fulfill contracts for them. This way they can book several weddings for the same day to increase profits. This is good for THEM, but not necessarily good for YOU.
Don't leave to chance the matter of WHO will actually be photographing your wedding and what does THAT PERSON's work look like! You want to be certain that you feel comfortable with the person who will be at your wedding AND that their own work is up to the standards you expect for your photos.
4. RAPPORT WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHER!
The photographer will be with you for most of the entire day. Therefore, it is so important that you feel very relaxed and comfortable with this person(s). If you don't, your attitude toward the photographer can really show up in the photographs.
When you are meeting with different photographers, take note of how you feel being with them as well as how you like their photographs. If you notice that the photographs stir emotions in you...make you laugh or touch you...that means there was strong chemistry between the photographer and the people in attendance at your wedding. A HUGE part of a photographer's job is to make people feel at ease and responsive to her/him. If the EXPRESSION isn't there in the photographs, it's very likely the ENTHUSIASM wasn't there in the photographer!
It is also important to decide how involved you want the photographer to be in your day. Do you want someone orchestrating the whole day? Or would you prefer to have a photographer who works quickly and efficiently throughout the formal session and then remains unobtrusive and thorough at the reception? Let the photographers you interview KNOW how you feel about this very important issue.
The photographer should respond to your wishes and requests...not tell you how THEY always do it regardless of what you want.
5. CAMERA EQUIPMENT IS ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PERSON CLICKING THE SHUTTER!
The best cameras in the world are useless in the hands of an inept photographer. Conversely, most any quality camera equipment can be turned into an artist's paintbrush by a creative, talented and experienced photographer. Most of the best full-time professionals will use a high quality digital cameras at a wedding to meet the desires of today's couples.
This means that they will use professional equipment which produces a larger file for the formal photographs likely to be enlarged above an 8x10. (Brand names are basically irrelevant...REMEMBER, it's the user that counts). The most experienced and talented photojournalists in the world all use digital equipment to catch fast breaking action. With this in mind, most of the wedding photographers who capture "true candids" will as well.
6. QUALITY PHOTOGRAPHY TAKES TIME!
Beautiful, creative photographs take time to produce. You MUST allow sufficient time in planning your day for the pre-ceremony and after-ceremony sessions.
The BEST photographers will require at least an hour for the pre-ceremony session and (depending on the size of the groups involved) from 30 minutes to one hour for the after-ceremony photos. This is NOT snapshot photography...time is needed to pose groups, arrange the gown and achieve expressions. Also, the better photographers will take several shots of each pose to assure good results. If a photographer tells you it can be accomplished in 10-15 minutes, don't expect much in the way of results! It is YOUR responsibility to be on time for the pre-determined photo shoot and to YOUR disadvantage to cut the time allowed by being late or disorganized.
Also, florists can delay the start of the photography session by being late (and this happens often), so be certain to remind your florist repeatedly to have all the flowers delivered and labelled and all decorating finished at least 1/2 hour before the start of the photography! Ask your photographer if they will be available to disburse the flowers and pin on boutonnieres...if not, who will do this for you? Florists don't stick around for this function unless prior arrangements have been made.
7. FULL-TIME PHOTOGRAPHERS VS. PART-TIMERS!
The only thing you need to remember here is that when the photographers' entire livelihood depends upon their reputation as a wedding photographer, they have a vested interest in doing the most complete and satisfying job for you possible. There are part-time photographers who are quite accomplished and capable of doing a good job for you...but they have less to worry about if anything goes wrong.
8. HAVE THEY WORKED AT MY LOCATIONS BEFORE?
It really doesn't matter if a photographer has worked at the specific locations you are using before. A highly organized photographer will visit the locations involved prior to the wedding (even if they've worked there before) to get the current lay of the land and to pre-visualize your photography session. Often the photographer will gladly arrange to meet with you on this pre-visit and do a walk through.
This is an important facet of preparation on the part of the photographer and helps her/him be more organized and efficient on the actual wedding day!
9. A CHECKLIST OF MOST WANTED PHOTOGRAPHS AND FAMILY STRUCTURE QUESTIONNAIRES ARE HELPFUL!
The best photographic session is an ORGANIZED and EFFICIENT session. Most photographers will ask you to provide them with a list of your "most wanted" photographs, give you some sort of form to fill out giving the details of both of your families' structures, a schedule of the reception and list of other vendors with whom to coordinate. Doing this gives the photographer a complete overview of the day and aids in the smooth progression of your entire photographic experience.
The photographer should be the "calm in the eye of the storm" at a wedding...there to do whatever is necessary to be helpful to the participants.
10. MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS NOW HAVE WEBSITES.
You can find A LOT of information on the internet about photography as well as all other facets of your wedding. Whenever you're on a wedding related page, go totheir LINKS page and follow the trail. You'll be astounded by the results!
GOOD LUCK and BEST WISHES on your upcoming wedding!
For more information or to make an appointment to view our work and discuss your wedding over a great cup of coffee, no obligation, no hard sell, call Ian personally on 07 3273 7056 or 0416 275 730.
Ian Wharton CPP
Algester Q 4115
Ph 07 3273 7056