We will be taking a short break from our ‘Image of the Day’ entries. They will resume shortly after the New Year.
We wish our all our friends, family and viewers a wonderful holiday season filled with blessings, love and much happiness!
** This is an entry I submitted to the Puget Sound Wedding Professionals group blog and thought I'd go ahead and share it here on my own blog too. If you have any questions about wedding photography never hesitate to ask us!
First you want to determine the style of photography you want. However, with that said you want to keep in mind that some photo editing applications, tricks, etc might be the ‘it’ thing right now. But, will those editing styles still be desirable in 2 or even 20 years? Over the past two years alone I have seen several editing trends come and go. A well composed photograph, one that tells the story of the day and expresses the emotion of the day is something that will last throughout the years.
It’s often said you get what you pay for. This is when it’s a good idea to arrange to meet the photographer so you can see if they have a history of producing a quality level of work that you would want for your own wedding.
As a wedding photographer, I can tell you that wedding photography can be one of the most challenging yet exciting forms of photography.
Don’t be afraid to ask how much experience they have? Have they photographed a few weddings, a few hundred weddings? Is this their business or a hobby?
Do they have experience at your venue or a similar venue, especially if it’s a low light venue or a venue with it’s own set of challenges such as bright sun (windows or outdoors), or any other lighting situation, each can present their own little challenges. An experienced photographer is going to be ready for any situation!
One thing we have noticed lately are people with little experience who are trying to take your focus off the actual photograph by over-editing and adding a lot of creative add-ons. While there are a lot of fun and interesting techniques that can be done to the photographs will they still be desirable in 2 to 5 or even 20 years from now? Look past the fun edits, and make sure the images are good from the beginning.
Many professional photographers who take their craft seriously are members of various professional photographer associations such as:
PPA - Professional Photographers Association
WPPI - Wedding & Portrait Photographers International
WPJA - Wedding Photojournalistic Association
Also what I feel is the most important credential is a happy customer! So, don’t be afraid to ask for references from past customers and check for online reviews.
Personality counts! I’ve had family members of our customers tell us stories of past photographers that they dealt with and obviously didn’t recommend them for the wedding we were photographing. We would hear about these photographers who were invasive, pushy, very demanding who had family or even the bride in tears on their wedding day. You want a photographer you can spend the day with, who isn’t going to add stress to your day. They don’t need to be your BFF but, you certainly want someone you are at ease with and who can work easily with all the personalities at your wedding.
If you are working with a studio that has multiple photographers make sure you meet with the photographer who would be photographing your wedding face to face before signing any contract. Also, ask if this is their work you are viewing or a collective gallery of work. Many larger studios will send whoever is available, this happens more often than you can imagine!
There are several things to consider when looking at the photographer’s packages and pricing structures. Do you understand what your getting? Is there room for changes and what will the changes cost? How much time will the photographer be at your wedding? What happens if you need more time?
~ How many photographers will be covering the event?
There are still several photographers who prefer to work alone and others who work as a team of two - usually husband/wife teams. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Most importantly though it’s a matter of personal preference of the bride and groom. If the photographer is used to shooting alone, it’s often awkward when they are required to bring in a second shooter. They need to be on the same page and work smoothly together. Photographers who work in pairs have that established pattern, they know each others moves and communicate well together.
It’s also important to consider your venue and wedding size when determining if you want one photographer or two. It wouldn’t make sense to have two photographers photographing a wedding at a small chapel with 20 guests.
~ How many hours of coverage will be provided?
Coverage means what time they start to the ending time. If you require your photographer to start at 10 am to photograph the bride getting her hair and make up done and the reception ends at 10 pm, that would be 12 hours of coverage. If your photographer is committed to their job they will have little to no down time during those 12 hours. When they aren’t photographing the bride and groom, they will be shooting details, guests and family.
~ How many photographs will they be taking?
This isn’t much of an issue with digital cameras. I’ve heard of some photographers who shoot about a 1000 images per hour! Personally, I call this the “Mad Clicker”.
If they are taking this many shots they obviously aren’t putting a lot of thought into composition.
~ Do they edit the photos?
This is often a big part of the cost of photographing a wedding. For every hour of event coverage the photographer who cares about their art is going to take 6-10 hours editing the photographs from that one hour of coverage. For example an 8 hour wedding can take anywhere from 48 hours to 80 hours to edit. Or another way to calculate how much time they spend is about 2-5 minute PER IMAGE.
~ How many photographs will they edit?
Some photographers will only edit and give you 50 to 200 images from the entire event. Others will select X amount of photographs to edit per hour of coverage. And finally you have others who will edit all photos that have turned out. These are all things to consider when looking at their package pricing and to be sure to get what is offered in writing in a contract.
There are also photographers who offer a “Shoot & Burn” package. Meaning they come and shoot the wedding and provide you a DVD of the images unedited in RAW form. This can be an issue if you don’t have the proper editing programs!
~ Will you receive proof prints or will the proofs be in a gallery for viewing?
This is a personal choice. Proofs are meant to serve as a way to allow you to view your images and choose which ones you would like turned into professional prints.
~ Are professional quality prints provided?
It’s hard to determine what size and how many prints you want before your wedding. Many photographers are now offering a print credit with their packages. It’s not only important to know the value of the print credit but, to see their print prices prior to signing. Photographer ‘A’ might give you a $100.00 credit and you can only buy 2 8x10’s with that credit. While that same $100.00 with Photographer ‘B’ will fill a wall!
Get it in Writing:
Once you’ve selected the photographer you want to cover your big day, be sure to get a contract in writing that states exactly what you’re getting and when you’re getting the final product. A professional should be providing one without asking.
Read through it before signing. Is it clear? Fair? Everything spelled out? Make sure you have no doubts before signing! If changes are made on the contract, be sure to show the amendments and initial them with the photographer. Example, if you ask not to have your images on display on their website. Make sure it’s written on the contract.
Keep in mind when planning your budget that your photographs are going to be one of the few physical reminders of your wedding and I find as years pass the photographs increase in sentimental value. No two photographers will photograph your wedding the same, like a painting, photography is a work of art.
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not so much for the feast that many families have, though I can't deny I enjoy a good meal! It's meant getting the family all together, shared conversations, catching up with those you love. I suppose some say Christmas is good for that and to a degree that is true. Except at Christmas I feel a bit of pressure to buy gifts for everyone and sometimes finding that right gift can be difficult. Especially when you get someone like myself - I have what I want when it comes to physical/material items.
Those who know my lack of desire to cook, might be surprised that Thanksgiving is a favorite time and I actually enjoy cooking a nice family dinner for this special occasion. However if I must be honest, I can't really say that I enjoy all the dishes afterwards! Wait, I can give thanks for the dishwasher and for family members who help clean up!
While this year has provided it's own challenges it's also provided me with many reasons to be thankful and grateful. Here is a brief personal list of things that I'm thankful/grateful for this year.
~ My husband and business partner, he has allowed me to pursue what I love. And not once did he discourage me from starting the business then dragging him around with me! I think he actually enjoyed this himself, even if it wasn't something he would have visualized for himself before I came into his life.
~ My three children who have led healthy productive lives and fill my life with love. laughter and even a bit of frustration that just reminds me life is a learning process that we must sometimes learn on our own.
~ My precious granddaughters who will test their daddy just the way he has tested me in the past! For their hugs, smiles and laughter.
~ I'm thankful for my parents who owned their own businesses. It was because of this I went forward with creating my own business with NO FEAR. Maybe I should have had some fear and worries but, I just knew deep in my heart this was right! I miss them terribly and I feel they would be very proud of what I have accomplished and of the wonderful man (my husband) who supports me through this journey.
~ Lastly, I am thankful for all the wonderful customers we've been blessed to photograph, to be a part of such an important day in their lives, to welcome a new baby into their families, to document their lives as they unfold. We have met some truly wonderful and inspirational people with this business.
We wish you, your family and friends a very 'Happy Thanksgiving'. Enjoy the holiday with those you love, laugh with them, embrace the moment and remember to give thanks for having love in your life!
First kiss as husband and wife. Lauren and Robert were married at the Holy Cross Catholic Church on the north end of Tacoma. We were originally told no photography during the ceremony, after talking to the father he agreed to let us shoot but, he could stop the service and tell us to leave f we disrupted the service. After the service he said he thought we decided not to take any photos as he wasn't aware we were still there. =) We love hearing that! The couple should be the focus of the day.