Steps to Finding a Great Wedding PhotographerMost contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads. That also means you cant just post the digital proofs they send youmost photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked s or s with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the s yourselves or order an album from another source, youll have to buy the rights to the s.
Edgy and BoldThis of photography, an offshoot of fine art, is marked by outsidethebox, tilted angles called Dutch angles and unconventional framing. So instead of a straighton shot of the couple exchanging vows at the altar, the photo might look tilted, with an object like an altar arrangement or a candle in the foreground. Or the photo of the bride having her makeup done might be shot from above, with an emphasis on the eye shadow brush rather than on her ce. Even a single portrait of a bridesmaid might be shot so her ce takes over only the bottom right of the photo and the rest of the space is filled with the wall or whatevers behind her.
PortraitureIf you prefer classic portraits think your parents wedding album, go with a traditional photographer who specializes in portraiture. These are posed shots of the two of you, your friends and mily in front of various backdrops. Thats not to say there isnt room for creativity in this category. While some photographers will pose subjects in more traditional spots like at the ceremony altar or out on the lawn of the country club and in more formal poses standing as a group together, others take portraiture further into the creative realm with a more dramatic composition the couple sitting on a lounge chair at their hip hotel reception venue, or holding hands in the middle of a nearby dirt road with the mountains in the .
Before you begin researching photographers, youll need to first decide what of photography you prefer, as that will help determine which kind of photographer youll want shooting your wedding. Do any of the following appeal to you?
Start your search by reading reviews from recent newlyweds and browsinghundreds of local listings. Carefully review potential photographers websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings theyve shot, which will give you an idea of their . The design of the website may also have clues about the photographers personality and sensibility. Check out their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter s too, if possible. Is the feedback from clients positive? How does the photographer respond?
Many wedding photographers can do a blend of portraiture and documentary shots, and will do a mix of blackandwhite and s, but if theres a special you love, make sure to focus on photographers who specialize in it.
You wont be able to nail down an exact dollar amount until youre sure of what you want, how many albums you need and where your photographer is based, and packages range from , all the way up to ,plus on the higher end of the spectrum. When interviewing candidates, ask for a general range based on the photographers standard shooting fee and package, plus their standard rates for the of album you think youll want and the amount of coverage youre hoping to book them for day of, full weekend. Its important to find out whats included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras you may want, like an engagement shoot, special effects or additional coverage, so you can compare rates. In particular, find out exactly how many hours of coverage are included. Ideally, you want your photographer to be there for your full wedding dayfrom when you start getting ready until after you make your grand exit from the reception. While packages vary, most include about to hours to cover everything from preceremony events getting ready with your bridesmaids or firstlook photos to the end of the reception. Its usually better to pay for more coverage if theres a chance youll run over and you definitely want your photographer there until the end overtime is usually charged at a higher hoy rate. Also consider whether youll want to do an engagement shoot or have your photographer shoot other events during your wedding weekend the guys golf outing, the bridesmaid lunch.
When reviewing a photographers album, look for the key moments you want captured Did they get photos of both the bride and the groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of s, thoughtful compositions does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame? and good lighting beware of washedout pictures where small details are blurredunless thats the youre after. Its also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing peoples emotions; make sure the photographers subjects look relaxed, not like deer caught in headlights. While you two are, of course, important, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.
Fine ArtThough its similar to documentary photography, this gives the shooter greater artistic license to infuse their particular point of view and into your photographs. So while the shots reflect reality, its the photographers reality. The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but areor look as though they wereshot on film with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance. Usually the object or couple is in focus and the appears to blur. Motion also looks very natural in this of photography. The few wedding photographers who shoot only on film tend to ll into this category, and typically they shoot in black and white, though some will do a mix of both. That said, a photographer using a digital camera can still capture this with the right gear and camera lens. And some photographers will alternate between digital and film. Not all photographers who take a fineart approach shoot portraits, so if its really important to your mom to have posed mily shots, look for someone who does both, or consider hiring a second shooter for the portrait sessions.
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DocumentaryInstead of a series of posed photos, these are candid or spontaneous pictures read not d of people, dcor and the action. Typical shots might include the lavish raw bar before guests start digging in, your motley crew of cousins dancing, or you and your bridesmaids laughing, champagne in hand. With a purely photojournalistic photographer, youll very rarely see people staring at the camerathe photos capture the moments exactly as they happened, and together they tell a story.
Unlike the work of your otherwedding vendorsmusic, flower arrangements, cake, photographs arent things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at firstyou dont really know what youre getting until after the ct. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic and personal demeanor are extra important when choosing yourphotographer.
This is not a decision that can be made on looks aloneyou must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their siteand their fees are in your ballpark rangecall to see if theyre available for your wedding date. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar . Set up inperson meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh. Be prepared to talk about your venue, wedding and what you envision for your photos.
Special thanks to Duke Photography, Todd France, Jen Kroll Photography, Salvatore Cincotta Photography and Mel Barlow Co.
Dont underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms offputting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great s and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesnt irritate you in any way. Remember Theyll be shadowing your every move, and the more comforle both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you dont want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
Dont base your decision solely on what you see in a photographers highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so youre seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you wont get a wellrounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings theyve shot not someone else at their company so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery that is, theyre all so good its impossible to choose!, youre on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if youre planning an indoor afir with dark lighting, dont just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if youre planning to say I do on a beach at sunset, youll want to see examples of that.
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Important Questions to Ask Photographers Before You Book
A Traditional Wedding Ceremony Order of Events
Mistakes Couples Make That Drive Photographers Crazy in GIFs
Many larger photo studios have more than one photographer on staff, and unless you specify it in your contract, the lead photographer may not be the one shooting your day. Since every professional has a different , technique and personality, you need to make sure the one you interview and click with will be the same one who works your wedding. Also, include specific stipulations in the contract about who will cover for the photographer should something happen on the actual day. Check whether the photographer will bring any assistants to your wedding, and if so, how many. If you have room in your budget, consider hiring a second shooter. Many topnotch photographers include a second shooter in the contract, but if this isnt a part of the deal, you may want to ask about the possibility. The main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos, while the second one can get behindthescenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If youre having a larger wedding guests or more, you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles.
It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files r bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files in order to correct levels and so on. It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional hours editing s from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are to get proofs back. Heres what to ask How many s should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Will I be able to get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the s? Will the proofs I see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects which can range from white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like supersaturated s and the additional cost for both.