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Posted by Cayla Capri
Picking The Right Photographer
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Unless you’re confident she’s the next Leibovitz, hiring your sister to snap photos on her digi-cam is a great way to commemorate your husband and her thumb standing regally at the altar. Go with a pro and they’ll capture the fun and elegance you never want to forget, and the things your wedding-fever made you miss- all in one slick package. This doesn’t mean just any professional photographer will do the trick, and do it well. You’ve got to do your homework before dipping into your savings. Here are a few tips to help you avoid being underprepared and overwhelmed.
know your style
Before choosing a photographer to meet with, you should nail your budget down and decide what kind of features you want your photography package to include. It’s important to do this first, as it’s just way too easy to be swayed by a beautiful portfolio or a package you don’t really need.
Although each photographer may have a slightly different approach to the styles that they offer, there are two main wedding photography styles that prove to be the most popular (although there are always those who offer to use both):
traditional photography
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The traditional style features directed and posed photographs for a sleek, professional look. Since spontaneity is not an issue, you will be given a much-appreciated chance to primp before being snapped.
Many modern brides shy away from traditional shots, but remember, for all-inclusive family photos, posed is the way to go. Plus, your overly excited grandmother and proud parents will be just itching to show off their pumpkin’s pics, so capturing these photo-album-friendly moments is a must.
photojournalism
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The photojournalistic style (or freestyle) features candid photographs – snapshots of memories in-the-moment. All of the energy and emotion buzzing around on your wedding day will come through in your photographs, which is why this style tends to be more fashionable.
Browse the internet for examples of different styles to find what floats your boat; what gets your goat, but don’t expect your photographer to emulate particular shots. Remember that the guy (or gal)’s an artist who’ll be interpreting your wedding through his/her own expert eyes. In other words, don’t ask Van Gogh to paint like Kandinsky, lest you want an ear chopped off.
Don’t be afraid to ask “dumb” questions or make specific requests, as he or she will do their best to accommodate. Keep in mind that your photographer’s not going to know every family member by name and face and tick, so if you want photographs with specific loved-ones, mention it beforehand. They’re a cultivated lot, but not clairvoyant
photographer’s pricetag
Photographers can range from amateur to artist based on experience, price demands, and specific services. It’s important to know the difference between the extremes and to figure out exactly what it is you are looking for.
The cost of wedding photos can range anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000 and up. Certain photographers justify their higher prices by offering a second photographer for the wedding day, boasting the best equipment, and offering more luxurious wedding albums. As with anything, you get what you pay for. Because your wedding photographs will last forever, it’s worthwhile to invest in your photography. Of course, if this is something you can’t afford, you’ve got two options: either choose someone who fits your budget, (you’ll still end up with beautiful souvenirs) or you can choose a pricey photographer’s most moderate package, forgo parent albums or thank-you cards or maybe even ask for fewer hours of coverage. Either way, make sure you know what kind of questions to ask when you first meet with your photographer to make sure you are both on the same page.
what to ask
When you first meet with your potential photographer, have a list of questions prepared:
Will he/she be the one taking the photos at your wedding?
You’ll want all your follow-up questions to be answered by the person who will be present on your wedding day. Sometimes photographers hire assistants or delegate events to other photographers within the company based on their availability, so be wary and be firm.
What styles do they specialize in?
Make sure the photographer knows what kind of style you want, and that he or she is experienced with that type of photography. Are they willing to do any creative shots? Ask to see samples of the photographer’s work.
What is included in each package? How many pictures will the photographer take?
You should have an idea of how many pictures you want and how many will be included in the package. Is the album included? Are the “proofs” (untouched photos)? How many photo prints will be included? Ask as many questions as it takes you to achieve peace-of-mind.
Many photographers have packages that are based on a fixed number of hours that they photograph, ranging anywhere from four hours in a budget package to ten hours in a higher-end package. Typically, a photographer can take about a hundred photos in an hour but will only select the best to print for your album. Consider whether you want your photographer present for your entire wedding day, or just for the money-shots, (walking down the aisle, kissing at the altar etc.). The more photos he/she takes, the better, as it gives you both the freedom to be perfectly persnickety– only superlative shots welcome.
Will they give you the negatives or do they charge extra for them?
Because they own the rights to their pictures, some photographers may not be willing to hand over the negatives, or digital files free of charge. It takes some foresight to reach back into your wallet, but you should probably take the bait just in case your copies get ruined or lost. Plus, you may discover some lovely photos that didn’t make the final cut.
What type of camera will the photographer use?
This will help give you an idea of the photographer’s knowledge and experience. It will also be a good indicator of the quality you can expect. These days, most photographers are using digital cameras, which are great in that they allow him/her to make digital touch-ups. A photographer who uses a digital SLR camera will produce some of the best results.
What types of photos will be taken?
Will the photos be in black and white, sepia (a brownish tint added to black and white photos to make it look more antique), or in color? If the photographer uses a digital camera, find out if he or she will be taking ‘raw’ or ‘jpeg’ photos. Jpeg photos are digital photos that have been compressed to take up less space, losing some of their quality in the process. Raw photos are larger in file size and are of the best quality.
Do they offer videography?
Some photographers offer this as an additional feature to their photography packages. If a wedding video is important to you, you might want to research videographers separately from photographers. This way, you’ll be able to find a vendor that specializes in each.
Will there be backup equipment available? What happens if the photographer is sick?
Make sure the photographer is prepared in the case of an emergency. Does the photographer have backup equipment of the same type and quality? Is there another photographer who will be able to fill in at the last minute?
How long after the event will the proofs be ready?
The waiting game could take from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the schedule of the photographer and how much detail is going into your wedding album. You should be cautious of a photographer who claims that he or she can have the finished product ready in a few days - they’re more likely to do a rushed job and you’ll have to sacrifice quality.
Can they give you references?
Even though everything may sound perfect, it’s best to get a second opinion from a previous bride or another photographer. Ask for a few phone numbers, and be sure to ask former clients questions about your photographer’s dedication, reliability and quality of work.
Before finally deciding on your photographer, make sure you click. You have to be comfortable with him or her following you around all day! Don’t hesitate to schedule a second meeting with your photographer if you were left feeling uncertain after your first. Before your wedding day, he or she should understand exactly what you’re looking for and what your boundaries are. The connection and comfort established between you and your photographer will result in some obviously beautiful, but uniquely intimate wedding photos.