Choosing a photographer to photograph your wedding may seem like a simple task at first, but when you think about those fleeting emotional moments and how important and significant your wedding experience is, you understand how important it is to choose wisely. You will be entrusting a photographer to capture the happy emotions of your special day for all time and you will be looking at these images for many years. These images should bring back all those wonderful feelings of your special day and the joy of celebrating with those you love. You should be proud to show your breathtaking images to friends and family because one day you will pass these treasures down to your children and grandchildren. Think of your wedding images documenting two families coming together and the birth of a new family, your new family.
Contracting for wedding photography service, for the happiest day of your life comes with quite a few decisions and elements to consider. The following is a list of questions to ask yourself when considering the type of service and photographer you want:
· Is high quality, creative and breathtaking photography important to me?
· Do skill levels of professional photographers really vary that much?
· Should I have an engagement shoot in my package?
· How many hours of coverage will I need?
· How many photographers should I have?
· Do I want an album in my photography package?
· Should my contract include prints, digital images or both?
· How important is it for your photographer to have a good personality?
· How much should I budget for photography?
If you love beautiful photographs and appreciate good quality, creative and artistic photos, make sure that you choose your photographer carefully. Take enough time to examine many portfolios and albums and spend enough time getting to know the photographer, their skills, their style and their personality. This is one area of your wedding where you shouldn’t scrimp. If you are on a tight budget, focus on obtaining the best possible coverage and imagery and purchase albums and prints at a later date.
There is a wide range of skill levels with professional photographers. Additionally, many photographers profess to be professionals when in reality they photograph part-time on weekends occasionally and hold a day job during the week. These should be considered amateurs wanting to become professionals. It takes a lot of formal training and many dozens of weddings to become proficient in the craft of professional photography. Photographing a few weddings a year is not enough to become a real professional. To confirm that a prospective photographer is a real pro, all wedding photographs in on-line portfolios should be flawless and many complete wedding portfolios should be displayed from many different wedding venues and lighting challenges. A real professional will make couples look breathtaking in all lighting conditions, from bright sun, to the darkest night.
Most professional photographers will recommend an engagement photography session. This will typically be scheduled several months before your wedding. These vary in length and are typically 1-2 hrs long and should allow a clothing change or two and multiple backgrounds in a location meaningful to a couple. An engagement shoot is a great time to get to know your photographer, become relaxed and familiar in front of the camera with posing and the entire photographic process. It should be a fun and relaxing time without hundreds of guests watching your every move. Many couples don’t realize how nervous they can become when they are the center of attention at their wedding. The engagement shoot is a great time to relax and enjoy a photo-shoot which captures two people deeply in love in a casual setting. This can be very romantic and playful.
A good starting point when considering the type of coverage you will need is to consider a rough draft of your wedding timeline for the day. Most brides will want their photographer to arrive about 2 hours prior to the ceremony or earlier and will want them to stay throughout the reception until the key events such as; the cake cutting, bouquet garter toss and send off are finished. A professional will provide a shoot list of typical shots, poses and grouping captured and will allow you to make additions or subtractions to this list far in advance of the wedding.
Most photographers will encourage you to have a minimum of two photographers for wedding coverage. While a good professional photographer can handle a small wedding single handed, there is a great added level of coverage and comfort knowing that several angles or different parts of your wedding are being captured simultaneously. For weddings larger than 200 guests, it is sometimes advisable to add an additional photographer.
Photographers may create a bundle of services which includes an album or an album option. There is a wide range of albums styles with different attributes such as, page size, and thickness, page surfaces and number of pages and types of album covers and binding. Album designs can be anywhere from the most simple to works of art with extensive photo retouching and treatments such as black and white, mixed black and white with color and sepia.
Wedding photography packages may include prints, digital images or both. Several years ago it was unusual for a photographer to provide digital images with copyright for couples to print and post images on web sites. Now it is more common and there are several versions and ways that photographers provide copyrights to the images. It should be clearly outlined in writing whether you will receive images in high resolution, web resolution, with or without the photographer’s logo, retouched or not. Do you receive all the images or a selection of images? Do you have to buy images or prints? There is no one right mix of prints or digital images, simply be sure that you understand what you will receive so there are no surprises.
You will be spending a lot of time with you photographers on your wedding day. It is important that you feel comfortable that the photographers you choose have friendly dispositions, are flexible and can adapt to changing environments with changing time constraints and potentially stressful situations. A photographer can be the most technically proficient and talented in the world, but if he can’t maintain a friendly disposition in a time crunch or a chaotic situation; he probably isn’t the best wedding photographer. Pick photographers who are friendly and proficient. A real professional will encourage collaboration and frequent, easy flowing communication.
Photography prices vary widely; however, there are many misconceptions about the costs to provide photography services that drive prices. Providing a quality professional photography product takes years of training, experience and a unique set of people and technical skills. Top of the line cameras, lenses, lighting gear, computers and software are expensive and depreciate rapidly. Perhaps the biggest misconception arises if a bride compares the number of hours spent on-site with the professional fee. The actual hours spent on-site photographing the wedding is only a small part of the time invested in creating final works of art for each client. Planning, preparing, consulting and coordinating before the wedding take hours of time and commitment. After a long day of photographing a wedding, the work is just beginning. Typically, for every hour on-site photographing, there are four hours of post-production, downloading, organizing, retouching, archiving and uploading to an on-line proofing gallery, and this is before an album is designed. For complete wedding coverage from a professional photographer you can expect to pay from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on hours of coverage and type of images included. This is without a wedding album. Add from $1,000-$2,500 to your budget if you will be purchasing an album with your package.
In summary, choosing a photographer to photograph your wedding and capture your wedding dreams is very important, but can be very interesting and enjoyable. You can obtain all kinds of ideas for your wedding when browsing a photographer’s on-line galleries and albums. In fact starting your wedding planning by choosing your photographer first can be very advantageous. Before spending travel time you can get an idea for what venues you like, the décor, the flowers, cakes and all types of wedding dresses and clothing styles before you invest the time and gas to drive all over the city.
Hope this was helpful to you, thanks for stopping by! ~ Glenn & Lilet