Professional Wedding Photographer

THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

NOT ALL PHOTOGRAPHERS CAN DELIVER ANY STYLE OF PHOTOGRAPHY

A basketball player probably won’t do well in major league baseball (I’m looking at you) so it makes sense that not all photographers can photograph in any style. Wedding photography can be made up of many styles and an established professional should be able to explain how they shoot and demonstrate it on their website. If it’s not clear to you, ask. If you don’t know what you want, look at the type of photos and artwork you already display around your home and think about how your wedding photos will fit into this.

PHOTOGRAPHY IS ONLY 10% OF THE JOB

You have to find a photographer with a personality that you like. They have to be able to listen to you, your ideas and suggestions and apply these during the pressures of the wedding day. Your photographer needs to meet all your friends and family and in a short amount of time has to make them feel comfortable enough to have their photo taken. They have to plan for every scenario that can play out at a wedding. Afterwards they need to make sure everything is backed up and saved incase of computer meltdown. Then they sort through hundreds or thousands of photos and decide which photos to keep and edit and which ones to delete. Editing is probably the most time intensive part. Every photographer uses a different technique and has a different style. The current trend is to make photos look ‘vintage’ or as if they were shot on film using presets developed by companies such as VSCO. Others create their own look and will take 5-10 minutes on each photo, which means 500 photos can take up to 83 hours to edit.

THERE’S MORE TO PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY THAN A NICE CAMERA

When you book a professional wedding photographer you’re not just renting a camera and a user for the day, you’re paying for a small business owner who does the following:

Invests in training.

Has the ability to make people feel comfortable in front of a camera.

Has insurance policies and back up equipment in the event that something goes wrong.

Spends hours planning for different scenarios to reassure you on your wedding day.

Has the skill to organize, sort, edit and present your photos to you in a timely manner.

Stores and backs up multiple copies of your photos.

Serve you correctly with quality printed albums or prints that you can pass on to your children.

YOU WILL GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

Running a photography business is expensive and our accountants help us ensure that we’re turning a profit so that we can feed our families. The reality is that many photographers rarely make any profit from their businesses and close after 5 years. A good wedding photographer is also a good business owner and makes investments in their company so that they are around many years from now to serve you and your family. I mentioned a few of those investments above, but here is a further breakdown of the costs associated with running a photography business:

Sales tax

Self employment tax

Insurance for their equipment and liability

Business services such as their accountant and website

Servicing and updating of their equipment

Car maintenance

Training and development

Professional associations

Overheads such as rent or utility costs

Assistants to help with shoots

Advertising

Image storage and backup

Those dreaded credit card processing fees

IT’S MORE ABOUT THE PERSON THAN THEIR EQUIPMENT OR LENSES

If when you meet prospective photographers you’re not made to feel at ease and you don’t think they’ll fit in with your family and friends then they’re probably not the photographer for you. If they don’t make you feel reassured that they are in control, you’ll be worrying about your photos until they are delivered.

 

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY STYLES – WHAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU?

So you have begun your search for a wedding photographer. One of the first decision you need to make when selecting a wedding photographer is, which wedding photography styles best suit you as a couple. I say ‘styles’ rather than ‘style’ because most photographers will tend to use a combination of styles throughout a wedding day. While some wedding photography styles can be somewhat similar, others can be worlds apart. When selecting a wedding photographer, it’s important to get a good understanding of the different styles on offer. Doing this due diligence will ensure that there are no unexpected surprises either on your wedding day or when it comes time to receive your photos.

FILM VS DIGITAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Wedding photography used to be solely shot on film. However, after digital entered the photography market it turned the photography industry on its head. For the last decade, the majority of photographers have used digital to capture their wedding images. However, in recent years the idea of shooting on film has made a resurgence. This is due to it now being viewed as more artsy and hands-on than digital. While most photographers will only shoot on one or the other, there are photographers out there now which may offer the combination of both.

DIGITAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Digital photography is exactly that – digital. It is the process of capturing editing and delivering your wedding photography electronically. The benefit to digital is that the wedding photographer isn’t limited by the number of images they can take like on a roll of film. This means your photographer can shoot a much larger number of images and while ensuring the moments aren’t missed. Digital is also considered far less risky than film. This is due to the photographer’s ability to preview images immediately on the back of their camera. When it comes to receiving your images, the turn around time can often be much quicker when using digital.

FILM WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

Both film and digital will achieve very similar results in terms of image quality. However, film is considered to be a much more, artistic, hands-on way of shooting. It is the exact opposite of what digital represents. It will cause your wedding photographer to really slow the process of taking a picture down. This is because there is a lot more thought regarding lighting and composure which needs to go into each and every image.

LIGHTING STYLES

When it comes to wedding photography styles, the type of lighting a photographer uses can be very important. The vast majority of wedding photographers will use a combination of both. That being natural light photography during the day and flash photography at night. However, some wedding photographers will prefer to use flash throughout the entire day, even when there is enough available ambient light (sunlight). This would make them a flash photographer. On the other hand, some natural light wedding photographers will forgo the use of flash altogether, even at night. This is what makes them a natural light photographer. But which lighting style is best suited to you, you might ask?

 

Questions to Include in Your Wedding Questionnaire

How many of you out there are sending questionnaires to your clients before weddings? Questionnaires are one of the most important things you can do before a wedding day with your clients! They will not only save you time, but will help you see what is most important to your clients and make sure there aren’t red flags.

Here are questions you need to be asking your wedding couples on their questionnaires:

Where are the bride and groom getting ready? (include addresses)

Is hair and makeup team coming to you or are you going to a salon?

What time is the bride’s hair and makeup scheduled to start?

Do you plan on doing a first look?

If so, do you know where would like that to happen?

Do you have any spots in mind where you would like to do wedding party and bride and groom photos?

How many people are in your wedding party?

Do you have any “must-have” photographs? (Specific poses beyond what is typically captured on a wedding day. We do not guarantee any photographs, but we will make it a priority to capture the shots listed.)

Where is your ceremony taking place? (include address)

What time will your ceremony start time and how long do you expect it to last?

Are there any specific rules to be aware of for your ceremony?

Are you doing a receiving line after your ceremony?

Are you doing a formal exit from the ceremony? If so, what type?

What type of transportation will you have between ceremony and reception (if in different location)?

Where is your reception, if different? (include address)

Will you be having a cocktail hour?

What time do you need to be at your reception for introductions?

What is the order of events at your reception?

Are you having sit down, buffet, or family-style dinner?

Are there any special/unusual parts of your wedding day that we should be aware of?

What are the bride’s parents’ names and what is their marital status?

What are the groom’s parents’ names and what is their marital status?

How many siblings do you each have?

Are there any special family circumstances that we should be aware of? (divorces, deaths, dramas, etc)

Are there any additional family groupings you would like during family photo time outside of the immediate family list we capture? (Keep in mind this may add 2-3 minutes per pose to setup.)

Are there any additional family or friend groupings you would like us to get at the reception?

Are you working with a planner? If so, what is their name and contact number?

Who is your DJ or band?

Do you have a videographer? If so, what is their name?

Do you have a wedding hashtag?

 

ULTIMATE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY SAMPLE SHOT LIST

In today’s blog we are going to talk about something very important to the organization and flow of a wedding day, the actual list of photos you will likely take on the wedding day!  Today, alongside some sage advice, we will give you a wedding photography sample shot list to share with your clients. Its the dreaded question and how many times have you heard it in your career?

Far too often we, as photographers, end up with clients who either with good intentions or because of micromanaging tendencies, want to dictate the photos you take on the wedding day.  Not only is this a bad idea, it totally sets the wrong TONE for the wedding day.  Allowing a bride to dictate your shot list gives some indication that you, as the professional, are NOT in control and that is NOT how you want to start off any wedding. Instead of fighting these brides, work WITH them.  Present them with a detailed wedding shot list, during the planning process, and allow them to edit, or add to the list at will.

Now, we will share with you, the golden ticket of wedding photography shot lists.  This is a list that was tested and true, added to and subtracted from over the years.  At the bottom of this list, we also included a statement to our brides that read like this: “This is just a sampling of the important images that we will craft to tell the story of your wedding day.  This is NOT a guarantee that we will take every one of these photos but more a guide for you to begin to understand how in depth our process is.  On the last page we have left a few blanks.

GETTING READY Wedding Shot List:

Bride:

Hair /Makeup Shots, including brushes, the makeup artist in action, close ups of things like eyelashes, lips, smiling bride, mimosas, etc.

Bridesmaids “getting ready” laughing together

Bridesmaid and bride in special robes, shirts etc.

All of bride’s necessities before she puts them on: shoes, lacy dainties (if appropriate or unique), dress, veil, jewelry etc.

Bride’s dress with bridesmaid dresses in unique situations.

Any special bride items like monogrammed, handkercheif, family bible, etc.

Bride getting dressed (we usually had the bridesmaids in their dresses prior to this.

Maid of honor or mother zipping / lacing the dress.

Mother of the Bride placing the veil, kissing bride.

All bridesmaids admiring bride.

Groom:

Groom and groomsmen having fun, goofing off before getting ready (if they golf, play cards, etc, capture the anticipation.

Groom’s important items: suit hanging, tie or bow tie, shoes, cuff links, any monogrammed items like tie tac or flask.

Groom shaving and completing hair preparation.

Groom getting dressed

Groom shining shoes

Groom and groomsmen putting on vests, ties and tying for each other.

Groom with father tying tie or bow tie

Groom with groomsmen hanging out in hotel room

 

How much time do we need for pictures? Every wedding photography timeline question answered here!

This week I’m sending out helpful photography timeline planning documents for all of my 2014 couples (yup – 2014 is fully booked!) and I thought it’d be a good time (no pun intended!) to write a blog post about timing on your wedding day in general. It’s a long one – but I promise it’s worth it – go grab a coffee and settle in.

Also – if you’re in a big rush and can’t face reading pages of stuff here’s the CliffsNotes:

It’s your wedding day, not a photoshoot! However if you want lots of family/wedding party/couples pictures we need to allow appropriate time usually 30-60 minutes for family pictures, 30 minutes for wedding party pictures, 30 minutes for pictures of the two of you. If we try to cram that all into cocktail hour you probably won’t get all of the pictures you want so you can either do a first look, extend cocktail hour or have a break in between your ceremony and reception. Doing a first look means we can do all of the formal pictures early so you can thoroughly relax and enjoy your wedding day! Finally, everything takes longer than expected, things will run late but it’s going to be OK!

General thoughts on planning your wedding timeline

Do you know that song? Time…..is on your side? Yes it is! Well on your wedding day it isn’t. It’s hard to explain but it’s like the hands of the clock speed up and everyone else slows down. Actions that would normally take you 30 seconds now take 10 minutes. A short car ride that would usually take 10 minutes on the highway now takes over half an hour as you have to load a large wedding party onto a trolley, find the missing groomsman who went to to find a restroom and then drive on back roads.

You’ll help us plan our day right?

Yes and no! On your wedding day I’m your wedding photographer and NOT your wedding planner! To best document your day I can’t be chasing up bridesmaids to get dressed and reminding the groomsmen to be in the lobby for pictures – your wedding planner, a day of coordinator or super helpful Maid of Honor can help you with that. However, PRIOR to your wedding I’m always happy to help with your timeline in terms of photography. With the 2013 wedding season fresh in my mind and heading towards my 7th full wedding season I feel fairly qualified to share with you all sorts of timeline planning tips and mistakes to avoid.

just don’t know where to start with figuring out times? Our florist wants to know what time I need the flowers! I need to tell my hairstylist what time to arrive! Help!

Well, if I’m your wedding photographer you’ll fill in a comprehensive wedding homework document and from there we’ll put together a personalized photography timeline for you that your other vendors can then back into. In general, you want to start with the events that are fixed in time. Usually:

– Your ceremony

– The start of cocktail hour

– Sunset (here’s a helpful site to help you figure out the time of sunset on your wedding day)

– Then you need to think about whether you’ll see each other and do pictures before your cermony or if you want to do pictures afterwards