Five tips every bride should know about photography.
Below are some points to consider in searching for the right photographer. And yes there are actually 6 because we through in a bonus tip 🙂
Be realistic in your ideas.
This can cover several aspects of your wedding but the two that come to mind first is the amount of time that you are contracting. For example if you have an extensive list of family arrangements to photograph after or before your ceremony, you should allow ample time to achieve this. Trying to do 60 minutes worth of photos in 27 minutes usually does not produce a good result. You don’t get twice as many pictures in half the time when you crush for time, you get the same amount of pictures with half the quality generally. (Tongue in cheek). You’ve gone to the Bridal Store, got a beautiful dress and now you want to photograph it! Here’s how!
The other thing photographers see are lists or images presented to the photographer that you have collected from various social sites deemed as “must have” photos. We love seeing your ideas but sometimes there are external factors that prevent this from happening such as “lighting conditions”, “location” and “timing”.
Example with location: We receive images showing a bridal party on the beach yet you are having your event at a civic center in the heart of downtown with no water in sight.
Price and Value
There seems to be no shortage of photographers to choose from out there and the internet can make it easier to find them but the vast amount of photographers can also seem overwhelming. This point goes back to being realistic and that is if the average going rate is “X” amount of dollars per hour for photography coverage, you may want to examine why photographer XYZ is only charging half of the average amount and is supplying two photographers. It could be because that is all his demographic or geographic area will permit or it could mean that this photographer is also starting out and is trying to build up a portfolio.
Shoot and Burn Packages or Platinum Packages
Some things have changed. Photographers used to sell more reprints as they were the sole owners of the original negatives from the days of film. Currently most if not all photographers are shooting events digitally and many are including the high resolution digital files in the agreement.
In the days of film and negatives, the photographer was still the creator of the image however the lab was the producer of the final print or album. This means the lab took care of all of the color and contrast corrections as well as any digital retouching work that may have been requested. It is not uncommon now for photographers to be highly skilled in the use of programs such as Photoshop however do not assume that these services are included in your package at no additional cost. You can easily find packages now that are referred to as “Shoot and Burn”. Generally you get all of the images burned to a disc or thumb drive. Some studios will shoot the images in raw format only with no corrections or adjustments and that is what you will get so be sure that you understand what you are getting. There are also some photographers that will give you all of the images but they will only digitally enhance a certain number of images included in the package price. Also it should be noted that sometimes it’s the photographers choice on which ones and other times it could be the clients choice so be sure you understand the difference.
Another option and our favorite is to deliver all of the images and each one individually corrected for color, contrast and exposure which would be considered print ready.
Digital retouching services are contracted separately. We feel this is the best option because then you are only paying for your favorite images that you want retouched, cropped or enhanced as opposed to paying a much higher price for the overall package to have all of the pictures retouched. This could be the difference between a 6 hour photography package at $1500 and a $7000 photography package for the same amount of time on the event date. In essence the $7000 package is collecting the post production fees up front. The choice is yours but it’s nice to know that you do have options.
Contracts versus Handshake Agreements
It is highly recommended that you deal with contracts that spell out what you will get and what you will not get in the price that you are paying. Some things that should be well defined are the amount of hours, the number of locations, the number of photographers, and whether an album or retouching services are included just to name a few. This will go a long way in avoiding misunderstandings later. One of our clients from years ago asked if we deal in written contracts to which I answered “absolutely yes”. His response is one I will not forget and it made me chuckle. He said “Good because he is a firm believer that good paperwork makes for good friends”.
It does give someone a warm fuzzy feeling when they meet someone that they really like and feel comfortable enough with to just say we want to go ahead and have you cover our event with a handshake but I personally do not feel safe doing that with someone I’ve never met no matter how nice they seem. It’s just not wise especially considering the amount of time that passes from the initial meeting to when the event date arrives and besides the fact that the clients have usually done a lot of shopping with competitors more than likely prior to choosing your studio and it is too easy for them to remember something that someone else promised in a package innocently thinking it was something that you had promised.
Experience, experience, experience
This point should be highlighted. It is like the phrase “location, location, location” in the real estate world. The greater the number of weddings or events the photographer has performed almost certainly guarantees that your photographer has seen just about any scenario unfold and should have plan A, B or C ready to enact to avoid unnecessary stress. If the photographer has shot under 100 weddings in the span of four years for example (which may sound like a lot) you should not be surprised if your day does not flow as smoothly as it could with a more experienced one.
There are many factors that the photographer has to deal with ranging from the wedding party arriving late to the ceremony which means the pre-ceremony pictures have to be made up at some other point in the day or worse yet forfeited altogether. Ceremonies running longer than expected is another factor which further shortens the amount of time after the ceremony to get the pictures you want. And let’s not forget the church rushing everyone out because another wedding is coming in right after yours or maybe they just want to go have lunch. And did I forget to mention the limo driver tapping on his watch at the back of the church so that the bride and groom can see this but the photographer can’t because he standing behind you and you’re wondering why everybody keeps saying are we done yet.
OK now let’s assume you’ve gotten to the reception and you’re ready to party but you know that you still have a few more pictures that you asked the photographer to get. My question is this. “Is the DJ trying to line everybody up for introductions and talk to you as you step out of the limo at the same time that you planned to give the photographer your attention to get you into the party quicker? Perhaps you opted to do those pictures after you’ve been dancing and drinking for a while during the reception. Keep in mind that the fresher you look earlier in the day the better your formal shots will look. There will be plenty of reception coverage to show the fun you had at the party. In fact, you won’t be pulled away again at all the rest of the time. Experienced photographers should be able to create these images beautifully and in a timely manner.
We know the guests came to see you.
Do Vendor times match?
This happens all too often and understandably so but it should be considered.
Many times the bride and groom will contract us for six hours for example starting at the church one hour or more before the ceremony.
The DJ on the other hand is contracted two hours after the ceremony begins and for a minimum of four hours or longer so one question you should ask is do you have your photographer at the reception for as long as you need them in order to cover certain events like the bouquet and garter toss/cake cutting or grand exit?
Nothing stresses a DJ out more than finding out when he greets the photographer at the reception that the photographers end time is different than his and he is now expected to move things up earlier, breaking the flow he has worked hard to plan and at the same time keep everybody at the party having fun until his end time.
Well I hope this article has been enlightening and helpful as wedding days and special events are important days and a lot of planning has gone into them. Our end goal is to do everything we possibly can to help your memories be great ones.