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Easy Ways to Make Wedding Photos Memorable

A wedding album is one of the things that keeps your marriage young and alive.  It adds those nostalgic moments in your life that you want to experience again and again. Wedding pictures remind you how you and people around you were feeling when you were uniting with your love forever. Wedding is special and brings out moments of lifetime, thus, if you want your wedding day moments to be captured perfectly the way you want, you need to consider some important points beforehand. Once you have planned everything such as the wedding dress, guest list, venue, it is important that you make perfect arrangements to capture this day so that it becomes unforgettable.

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Photo by LV Wedding Connection

Firstly, before selecting a wedding photographer, have a good look at his portfolio. It would be better if you review his previous work in advance, rather than repenting later. The studio you are hiring for your wedding day should provide albums to review.  Discuss everything in detail with your photographer in advance; let him know what you are expecting from him one week prior.  If you have some specific ideas, expectations, or request, then convey them to your photographer.

If you have a wish list like sitting on a top of a hill, or a romantic photo by the lake or in the middle of the field, then discuss your desires with your photographer when you meet him. Be ready with the samples like a picture from magazine, old photos, etc to show him. From there, your photographer will come to know what you are expecting from him. Every couple desire to have photographs in romantic poses, but having the whole album filled with these photographs does not make it fun and exciting. Do not stick to the stiff poses; let your photographer catch some natural poses as well, as most of the time moments that are caught with you unaware of being clicked, turns out to be the best pictures. Choose a perfect time for the photography like early morning or after 4 o’clock. Never pose for photos in the noontime when the sun is at its high, it will create dark shadows on your face, wait until the sun starts setting slowly.

Shooting photos in a wedding is a whole day affair. It takes lot of time to click photos of the entire family at different location along with couple’s photos. To keep photography session hassle-free, schedule it keeping the different age group in mind. Start with children and then the elderly people. Next, take pictures with families of both bride and groom. However, keep enough time for you and your partner to get some amazing and romantic poses clicked that you wish to cherish forever. After couple of hours, your guest might just want to relax and enjoy the party. To catch the best shots of the wedding work with your photographer to keep everyone focused and photogenic, along with making them comfortable. However, don’t forget to catch some expressions with people being unaware that they are being clicked, as these often make the most cutest and funniest pictures of your wedding album.

There are some special moment in the wedding like ring exchange between bride and groom, wedding vows, bride and groom’s first kiss, cutting of cake, the first dance between a father and new bride, speeches, toasts etc., which obviously no wedding photographer will miss. However, other moments like parents on the dance floor, smile and even tears on parent’s face etc. cannot be missed as well. Do not turn off the camera, ask the photographers to keep clicking the photos; you never know when you get the best shot to add in your memorabilia.

This article has been written by an expert associated with WeddingMuseum.com, a company providing wedding planning for today’s brides and grooms.

The Must Know Secrets When Booking a Wedding Photographer

Will I get my images royalty free?

(if you don’t and they charge extra, take the extra cost into account when budgeting. And make sure you get good resolution images (about 7-18 MB each image)

How long will it take to get my wedding albums?

(I know some clients who had to wait 6 months to get their albums! Make sure you lock them down to a time duration in writing before giving the deposit).

What camera should the photographer use?

Make a note of the answer and Google it when you get home, if it costs less than £1000, they may not be as professional as they claim.

Can I see an example wedding gallery/album?

Make sure you see ALL the images from one of their weddings. Some photographers may just show you the ‘best’ photos from numerous weddings. You can only really tell how good the photographer is when you see the entire work from one wedding

How much image editing do you do?

Make sure they know you may ask them to turn some images black and white, have some images in color and black and white on the same page etc. If you don’t confirm this at the consultation they may hit you with an editing fee later.

How to get more for your money

1) If your wedding is during the week ask for about a 10% discount, generally they wont get another weekday booking and are highly likely to give you a reduction

2) Ask for a reduction! It sounds simple, but don’t worry about being pushy, if you don’t ask you don’t get!

3) Do your best to get rapport with them, if they like you they are much more likely to ‘do you a deal’

4) If you know of any friends who are getting married, suggest you could recommend them to the photographer. (many photographers give free canvases or services for this)

5) If your wedding is all in one place (prep, ceremony and reception) ask for a discount. (this set up makes the photographers life and car fuel bill a lot easier and they will be more inclined to want your work as it will be an easier than normal day for them)

Advice

The wedding day is your day, choose a photographer you genuinely like and have rapport with, even if they are more expensive. I have witnessed many photographers being too assertive, or others not having the best social skills and upsetting guests. The photographer is KEY to your day running smoothly; get one who is not only experienced but socially adept.

If you don’t like posing, don’t ask for to many group photos. The more groups you want the longer they will take to shoot and the more bored your guests become! I generally keep the group photos to around 12-16. More than that can drag on.

Ask to see an on-line proof of your wedding album before they print it, especially if it is a ‘photo book’. This can save a lot of time and effort later with a re-print!

Get the photographer to send you a list of their included services, and time durations. This will give you proof of what you are getting and you can refer back to it if any trouble arises.

If possible try and get a husband and wife team, two photographers will really make a difference on the day and generally they are not much more expensive than getting one photographer.

I wish you well with booking a wedding photographer and much happiness for your wedding!

Rudi Kennard

www.whatimage.com

About the Author: Rudi and Jenny Kennard run a wedding photography business, from their studio in Halstead, ESSEX, our expertise as travel photographers helps us offer unconventional and more creative wedding imagery.

Picture Perfect: A Wedding Photographer Checklist

Choosing a wedding photographer is incredibly important since it’s one of the primary ways to capture the special moments of your big day. It can be a complicated decision though, and there are certain things to consider when picking the right one. Consider an engagement picture shoot with your photographer prior to the wedding. Chances are he or she will be with you the entire day! This will get you used to the photographer being in your face all day taking pictures. As an added benefit, it will ensure you are more comfortable and less self-conscious about pictures being snapped every three seconds.

Use this checklist to make sure you’re meeting all the requirements couples look for when choosing a wedding photographer.

Wedding Vendor Checklist

[  ] Budget: Pricing may vary anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands, and is based on experience, quality, packages, day and time of wedding, and reputation. You’ll also want to consider if the photographer can travel to your wedding spot and how long he or she will be there.

Package pricing can be tricky however. For many couples, choosing a wedding photographer is based on price. Carefully review what is included in these pre-priced packages. Most of all, speak up and negotiate items you agree with.

[  ] Experience/Style: What is the photographer’s style? Whether it’s traditional or artsy, you’ll need to pick a wedding photographer that suits your style or theme. For example, a ‘barefoot on the beach’ theme may necessitate a photographer that shoots exclusively outside and is experienced with artistic nature shots.

You’ll also want to review a website or portfolio before choosing your wedding photographer. During the interview, ask the photographer to bring along pictures or albums of previous work. Ask yourself how obtrusive the photographer is during the actual shooting. Does he or she blend into the background while taking pictures or is it a more obnoxious approach?

Finally, what is the photographer’s personality like? Can you imagine yourself getting along with the person during the ceremony and reception? If you select a wedding photographer who is affiliated with a company, make sure you know who is taking the pictures that day. Sometimes, bigger companies have an apprentice or assistant taking your pictures.

[  ] Film: Ask what type of medium the photographer uses. Can he or she accommodate film and digital requests as well as color or black and white?

[  ] Capabilities: Remember – you will have choices to make, including how many hours you need the photographer to stay on and take pictures. What pictures do you want taken? Where do you want pictures taken? How many albums do you want?

Well before the day of the wedding, provide your photographer with a list of the pictures you want taken, including the bride getting ready, groomsmen, family, ceremony, and reception. This ensures that you have ample time to discuss the shots that are “must haves.” Plus, the wedding photographer is better prepared.

[  ] Developing: Can your wedding photographer put together a proof book with pictures from the wedding as well as a wedding album? Furthermore, you should inquire how you’ll receive your pictures and how long the turnaround takes. Some photographers upload pictures to a website and then charge you for every picture, while some give you all the negatives and then you print your own pictures. The rest may just give you the proof book to select pictures from. If you have the option to take them all, do it!

[  ] References: Don’t forget to ask your wedding photographer for references. The past experiences of other couples will help you make a more well-rounded decision.

The Trick to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

If you have a wedding planner — which is highly recommended – you’ll soon learn that he or she has relationships with all types of vendors and can introduce you to a few photographers who have proven their mettle. This type of scenario is a win-win situation for everyone. If having a wedding planner is unrealistic, referrals are a good place to start. Ask friends or family which photography studio they used for their weddings. The internet, bridal magazines, and shows are other good methods of research when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. Make sure you interview several photographers to find the right fit – just book fast – good photographers go quickly.

About the Author

Cherie Johnson is the founder and owner of Creative Wedding Favors, the premier site for unique anniversary, baby and bridal shower, graduation, quinceañera, and wedding favors. Her wedding ideas have also benefited readers of many websites, including Women Of, Wedding Lenox, and The Wedding Guide. Before establishing Creative Wedding Favors in 2006, she worked as a professional wedding photographer, capturing all the special moments of the nuptials and ceremony. Search for fun, festive favors by visiting www.CreativeWeddingFavors.com.

How NOT to Choose a Wedding Photographer

You have seen it on practically every wedding photographer’s web page and in bridal magazines. It seems that everyone wants to give the bride and groom advice on how to choose a wedding photographer. Most of what I have read is sound and useful advice, but I thought it might be helpful to write an article that explores this in more detail. So lets look at the mistakes brides and grooms often make in choosing their photographer.  Over the past 25 years as a wedding photographer, I have had the opportunity to speak with well over a thousand engaged couples. I am always surprised by some of the criteria many of them use to choose their wedding photographer.

Here are the top 7 mistakes I feel many brides and grooms make when selecting a photographer for their big day:

1. RELYING ON WEDDING VENDOR REFERRALS. This may be the worst mistake of them all. Many wedding vendors trade referrals with other wedding professionals with no real knowledge of the other’s work. And yes, many times it’s an honest referral based upon working a few weddings with one another. But how much can a DJ, for example, really know about the quality of a wedding photographer’s work? Often times this type of referral is just based on the fact that the DJ has worked with the photographer at a number of events and liked him or her. Did the DJ ever see the final result? Did they see the wedding album? Probably not.

2. JUDGING A PHOTOGRAPHER BASED SOLELY ON A “GREATEST HITS” WEDDING ALBUM PORTFOLIO. There is nothing more misleading regarding a photographer’s talent than looking at a sample wedding album that is a compilation of their best shots at 50 different weddings. An album such as this may be useful in understanding just how great an image they are capable of producing, but that’s really all it tells you. Ask to be shown an album of one entire wedding from start to finish. A good wedding photographer should be able to produce a number of complete albums, which will give you a better idea of how your own wedding will be photographed. Virtually anybody with a decent camera can get one great shot per wedding!

3. PAYING TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO THE SALES PITCH. Every photographer can tell you great things about themselves and so they should. But in your initial wedding consultation, look for photographers who are interested in YOU. A good photographer will want to know the types of photography styles you are interested in and what you are looking for in a wedding photographer. A photographer who asks you lots of questions about your wedding and your preferences will probably also be more likely to listen to you and have a better sense of what you
want. If the wedding meeting is just one long lecture from the photographer, move on to the next photographer. Find someone who cares.

4. NOT ASSESSING THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSONALITY. This is a biggie. You will spend the entire day with your photographer. If you don’t get along with him or her, it can ruin what should be the happiest day of your life. Rude and bossy photographers can also cause problems with your guests. Find a photographer who is easy to talk to and who you can establish good rapport with.

5. CHOOSING “UNCLE BOB” TO SHOOT YOUR WEDDING! With digital cameras now in practically everyone’s hands, there seems to be a lot more “wedding photographers” out there. The fact that a friend or relative is good with his new digital camera does not mean he can handle a wedding. And what about file backups? Does your family
photographer know how to do a correct backup, or even have the proper computer hardware to do it? In my business, I bring a portable hard drive to every wedding and the images are uploaded and checked on the spot. When I get back to my studio, the images are uploaded to my main computer and then backed up on an external hard drive. Once that is complete, 2 back up DVD’s are burned. Only then will I erase the cards I used for the wedding. You don’t want your memories to go up in smoke along with a burnt out hard drive.

6. CARING ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHERS TYPE OF CAMERA EQUIPMENT. In this day and age, a photographer can make great images with any medium to high quality camera. Wedding photographers who spend an inordinate amount of time discussing the type of equipment they use may not be the right person for you. What you really want to know is what type of images they can produce and if they can show you plenty of samples. It’s the final result that matters. If you are happy with what they show you and everything else checks out OK, you can assume their equipment is adequate for the task.

7. CONFUSION OVER PRICING. If you can’t understand the pricing or packages, keep looking. Package pricing, if flexible, is the best way to go. It allows you to have a better idea of what your final bill will be. Ala carte pricing can confuse and be misleading. You may assume that something you though was included in their coverage costs extra. Like a wedding album! However, a photographer who only offers strictly structured packages should also be avoided. Ultimately, you want to find someone who will work within your budget and give you exactly what you want. If you don’t see a package that fits your needs, ask the photographer to let you design your own.

This list was not intended to intimidate people in the market for a wedding photographer. It should, however, help you understand what’s important. Find a photographer with a style you prefer and who shows you images that you love. Use that initial consultation as a way to get to know your photographer and develop rapport. Talk to some former clients to get a sense of how the photographer behaved at the wedding. If everything looks good, you are ready to make your decision!

by Mike Dubnoff
Dubnoff Wedding Photography

Tips for Creating a Great Slide Show

Creating a captivating video montage or slide show that you can enjoy for years is not difficult, but by taking a few steps prior to creating a slide show or having one created for you can go along way. Here are some lessons that we’ve learned at DVDPhotographs.com while creating our slide shows.

1. Know who your audience is – Knowing who your intended audience is an obvious, but sometimes overlooked step in the process of developing your slide show. For instance, if you’re showing your slide show at your wedding reception, perhaps you’ll want to include some pictures of the guests, and not just pictures of you and your fiancé.

2. Shorter is sometimes better – After you’ve determined who your intended audience is you can start to get an idea as to how many pictures you’ll want to include in your slide show. We’ve found that video montages that are between 8 – 12 minutes in length are ideal for wedding receptions. This usually works out to about 3 songs and 75-100 pictures. While you can certainly display more photos during your slide show, you want to be careful not to overdo it. You may want to create two slide shows, one you show at your wedding, and another you keep for yourself.

3. Choose Quality Photographs – While recent advances in digital photo restoration have allowed torn and poorly developed photographs to be brought back to life, there is only so much that the software can do. Pictures that look great printed (correct lighting, framing, developed properly) will also look great while scanned. Pictures that are extremely dark or grainy, while perhaps improved somewhat, will still not appear the best. Make sure to choose a photo montage company that can make digital enhancements to your pictures.

4. Choose a Variety of Photographs – Even though you may love all the pictures of your dog Rusty, the audience may not want to sit through all the pictures of him. Instead of showing 10 pictures of Rusty, perhaps choose the best 2 or 3. Using a variety of photographs can keep your audience interest.

5. Landscape pictures show better than Portrait pictures – Given the standard 4:3 dimensions of television monitors, photographs that are in landscape mode (vertical) as opposed to portrait mode (horizontal) show better on a TV. While portrait photographs certainly can and SHOULD be used, you should be aware that there will typically be a black border that appears around the photograph. It’s best to use these sparingly throughout the slide show and not clump them all together.

6. Give some thought to music – Choose music that has meaning to you, music whose lyrics go well with the pictures. Also pay attention to how long the music you’re choosing is. If you’re only showing 30 pictures, you might not want to choose a 8 minute song. The photo montage company should be able to give you some suggestions as to the number of pictures with your selected songs.

7. Add short video clips – Do you have any home videos sitting around gathering dust? Think about adding perhaps a 10-15 second video clip in the middle of the slide show. The video clip can help break up the video montage and is a great way to keep your audiences interest. Make sure to choose a slide show company that can convert your video clips.

8. Add motion to your slide shows – Slide shows developed on PowerPoint and other consumer level software will typically be just static photos that go from one picture to the next. Consider having your slide shows created with the “Ken Burns” effects that Pan and Zoom on each photograph. This can help bring your pictures to life. Make sure you inquire to see if your photo montage company can create motion with your pictures.

9. Add transitions to your slide shows – Transitions such as fade in/fade out, dissolve, and image peel are also an effective way to move from one photograph to the next. Be careful not to get too carried away with transitions as they too many of them can distract from the overall slide show.

10. Test! Test! Test! – An event as big as your wedding requires that you make sure you test ALL the equipment prior to the big day. Make sure the projector or television, DVD Player or Laptop, and sound is all working.

Creating a captivating slide show or video montage can be done successfully with keeping a few of these tips in mind. Pictures that are preserved to DVD can be enjoyed for years to come. Partnering with an experienced slide show company like DVDPhotographs.com can help create a slide show you’ll be proud of.

About the Author:
Michael Yared is the owner of DVDPhotographs.com, the countries leading wedding slide show photo video montage production company.

10 Things to Look for in a Wedding Photographer

10 Things to Look for in a Wedding Photographer

10 Things to Look for in a Wedding PhotographerSo you are getting married and there are so many things to do. You have the hall, your dress, flowers, invitations and now it comes time to hire your photographer.

After doing some research on the web and “hanging out” on different wedding sites I have found that most brides are looking for more or less the same things. What follows is sort of a wish list of things couples want from their wedding photographer.

10. Negatives/Digital Files One thing that couples want these days is the opportunity to purchase or have included in their package the option to buy the negatives or (in the case of digital) the digital files. Many couples feel that they should be able to make as many re-prints as they would like, whenever they want. While many photographers do offer their negatives, many do not and feel that the labs that they use will be able to give a higher quality print rather than just taking a negative to the local drug store for printing. In addition, many photographers will sell their negatives after a certain amount of time, for example a year after your wedding date.

9. Black and White Everything old is new again. Almost all couples want a mixture of color and black and white. Black and white gives that photojournalistic look to a photograph as well as a fine art look. If your photographer is shooting digital, any photograph can be converted to black and white. If your photographer is shooting film then most likely they will be shooting with B&W and color film separately.

8. Unlimited Time When hiring a photographer couple like to have the security of someone who will be with them to capture all of the wedding moments. Having unlimited time can give you the peace of mind to know that those moments will be captured.

7. Experience Does your photographer have the necessary experience to handle the stresses of wedding photography? There are many things going on at once during a wedding. The experienced photographer knows how to bring everything together and in an orderly fashion.

6. Price This can vary a lot and price was not the main criteria in choosing a photographer. Prices can range from several hundred dollars to over $10,000. At the low end are usually people who do wedding photography part time. In wedding photography, you usually get what you pay for. As you go up in price, so does the “art of wedding photography”.

5. Professional Being a professional means many different things to different people. Those photographers who didn’t respond in a timely manner and/or who were rude (and amazingly, some are) were axed off the potential list immediately. Being professional also meant that couples wanted to know the photographers “style and philosophy”. Things that also bothered couple: rudeness, disorganization, insulting comments about other brides or photographers and other unprofessional comments.

4. Flexibility Brides put flexibility high on their list. To many flexibility is key. They said, packages are nice, but a photographer that refuses to be flexible, is not going to get very far with brides. Brides also commented that photographers get caught up in the OLD way of doing things, and never change with the times. Again, this relates to being flexible.

3. Style/Approach Today couples are looking for something different – artsy photojournalism, not the same cheesy photos. Brides are drawn to photographers who have developed their own unique (but consistent) artistic style/approach. Details are very important to brides. They appreciate a photographer who focuses on details.

2. Personality What can you really say about this. It is obvious. When you spend upwards of 10 hours with someone on an important day like your wedding you had better clique. Brides often said that they “just knew” when they met their photographer that they were right for each other.

1. Listen And the number thing that kept on coming up was that brides wanted from their photographer was that they “LISTEN”. This means that a photographer really heard what a bride said before they stated speaking about the next topic. This is really important because it is the ability to understand what a client wants that will make a photographer really deliver what a bride was expecting.

So there you have the top ten. So, when you go shopping for a photographer see how he/she measures up in each of the categories listed here. Remember, your wedding is a once in a lifetime event. Take your time, enjoy the process and you will find the perfect photographer for you.

About JBS Photography: JBS Photography – Jack Saady is a Philadelphia/New Jersey wedding photographer. Jack’s work is simple yet elegant, with a sense of fashion and classic style.

23 Mistakes To Avoid Choosing a Photographer

23 Mistakes To Avoid Choosing A Wedding Photographer

How to Avoid The Biggest Mistake 8 Out of 10 Brides Make When Choosing Their Wedding Photographer

23 Mistakes To Avoid Choosing a PhotographerSome brides make the mistake of selecting their wedding photographer without researching what they’re really getting for their money. “You get your negatives” sounds great, but when do you get them? The original price sounds great, but how much are extra prints? So often, brides buy a package knowing they don’t want everything in it, but they think they’re getting a deal because it’s all together. Nope, sorry, photography is not like buying a “value meal” at McDonalds! To be sure, you must research before you decide.Visit as many studios as you can. As a courtesy, please call them first and set an appointment. If they’re friendly or if they call you back quickly, they’ll most likely have better standards of service. Ask if they have any information they can mail or email to you. Meet the photographer. Search through their website with a fine-toothed comb. Do you see any loopholes or issues? The biggest reason people make mistakes in hiring photographers is because they don’t have experience doing it! They’ve never had to hire photographers, and most likely their last experience with a professional photographer was a friend’s wedding, and the grumpy, sweaty, old guy was either a bore or a an annoying jerk.

But your not destined to make a mistake. With weddings you only have one shot at getting it right, but you’re already on the right path! By the way, most of this information can be directly applied to videographers (and other services) too!

Important Qualities To Look For:

1) Find someone who cares more about your wedding images than they do about their own packages and policies. Someone you know will help your wedding run smoothly and efficiently. Choose someone that you can communicate with someone that truly understands how you want your wedding to feel. How do you know? When you talk to her, she’s more interested in learning about you than describing all of the print sizes and prices.

2) Is this someone that will add to the fun and emotion of your wedding? Remember your friend’s photographer, the grumpy, sweaty, old guy that was a boring, annoying jerk? Steer clear of that! Get someone that will make the work of posed pictures fun, memorable and exciting! How can you tell who’s cool? When you talk the photographer, ask how she feels about your family members taking pictures over her shoulder! If she stays relaxed, then everyone will have a good time.

3) Look for someone who has some flexibility in styles. See what they have to offer. Some of the styles you may want to consider are: Traditional, Black & White, Candid, Romantic or Photo-journalistic. Check to see how they handle both indoor and outdoor situations. Can they do fine portraiture as well as a truly candid style? Find out what they have for you. Remember that the photographer’s creativity and personality (and your rapport with him/her) is what makes your wedding images unique, and your expressions more genuine!

4) Find someone who has as few restrictions as possible regarding packages, number of prints, limiting locations, and limiting the amount of film they shoot. Prepaid, pre-deigned packages limit the creativity of the photographer. Creativity does not come from a pre-packaged album containing, for example, 24- 8x10s. If you’re paying for an album, it should look and feel like a storybook! Think of it not like a photo album, but an illustrated storybook that uses no words to tell the story. In most cases, packages are NOT a good thing because the photographer “knows” beforehand what he needs to shoot and will only strive for those images.

Limiting the number of locations is common among wedding photographers. They’re looking for ways to beef up that package you’re ordering.

Limiting Film (aka: digital film/exposures) is the worst thing a photographer can do when covering an unfolding event such as a wedding! Most package-based photographers will limit film even if they say they don’t! What would stop them from shooting just a couple of rolls – especially if you purchased the “24-8×10 package”. Always remember, once the moment is gone, it’s gone forever. Limiting film is the easiest way to lose a moment.

5) Ask about their guarantees!!! They should have some sort of performance guarantee – GET-IT-IN-WRITING! If something didn’t come out the way you expected, they should offer to recreate it somehow or give you your money back! As of this writing, one performance guarantee is to get “preview” images on a CD before you get anything else. These are small versions of your digital images, like getting a sample before buying the whole scoop of ice cream. If you don’t like them, the photographer should give you your money back! In other words, you don’t buy the photographs until after you’ve seen them!

About Your Budget – Wedding Planners Don’t Want You To Know This!

6) Remember, after the wedding day is over all you’ve got left is your spouse, the ring, and your photographs. The food is gone. The cake is gone. So are the cocktails and champagne. Your dress, as beautiful as it may be, will not be worn again. And, if you’re really lucky, your flowers will make it through the whole day without wilting (if it’s August, don’t count on it). All these things that you spend a fortune on are expendables, yet most of your budget gets spent on these expendable, one-time-use things. The whole budget seems to be spent on the party. A grand party is delightful and fun, but will your guests remember what kind of appetizers you served, or what the centerpieces looked like? This is just one person’s opinion, but you really could drop one of the appetizers I promise your guests will still show up- guaranteed!

If your budget is truly an issue, then you should be even more selective! The cheapest photographer is very likely to be the least qualified for the job! That means – the worst possible pictures at the end of the day!!

When planning your budget, you may want to consider just inviting ten less guests to your wedding – Now, before you get upset – let me qualify this point:

On the average, it costs at least $30 per guest to seat and feed them at the reception. So cutting out just 10 people would give you at least $300 more to spend on the one thing that lasts forever – the PHOTOGRAPHS! If this still upsets you, see number 7 below.

7) Some studios accept credit cards. Credit cards are a great way to extend your payment over a longer period of time. Even better, ask if the studio has a discount for paying cash or paying early. Remember, no matter how much (or how little) you spend on your wedding photography, if you aren’t happy with the finished photos, you’ve wasted your money! But if you love them, consider it an investment that you’ll treasure for a lifetime!

Ask These Questions:

8) Experience- Always ask how long they’ve been in business. Are they a full-time professional photographer, or a weekend photographer that actually does some other job to pay the bills? Are they good enough at weddings to only shoot weddings? Or do they have to supplement their income by working for other photography companies?? If they have an assistant, is he going to produce images for you or just carry around the boss’s camera bags? Do you really want to pay to have someone carry some guy’s photo bags all night? Hasn’t he done enough weddings that he can handle it without a caddy?

9) Are they doing true photojournalism?? This is a loaded question! SOOO many photographers think that they can pick up a camera, blast off some candids or some pics of the flowers and call it photojournalism!! Check and see if the candid pictures speak to you or tell a story. BE CAREFUL! If all a photographer says is they are “Capturing the action” or the “moment,” it’s not enough to pay the big bucks for photojournalism.

10) If I hire a particular studio, is the person I’m speaking to about my wedding really the person who will photograph it? If not, can I talk to the photographer before the wedding? Remember, sometimes you’ll first speak to the studio owner or manager- then they may job it out to “one of their associates” who you might not meet until the day of your wedding. Make sure you’re building a relationship with the right person! Oh, and make sure you get your actual wedding photographer for your engagement session.

11) Will the photographer take the time to visit all the locations where your wedding will take place, prior to the beginning of your photography time? Scouting locations tells the photographer where the best places to set up are, and how the natural light falls at a particular time of day. This will help in the planning of the posed photographs, and make them run really smooth and quick so you can get on to stuff that’s more fun – like the PARTY.

12) Do you have to go to their studio to have a consultation? The months you spend planning your wedding are going to be the most busy, most stressful months of your entire life! If a photographer wants to work with you at your wedding, shouldn’t they also work with your schedule right now? Find a photographer that will come to you for a consultation. Or better yet, find someone you can consult with over the phone. If their website, portfolio and personality are that good, you know you have a winner!

13) This one is sooooo important: WILL I GET MY NEGATIVES? Why would you spend over $1000 on a photographer for the privilege of paying him $30 per 8×10! Get your negatives and make your own prints. Most one-hour labs are using ALL of the same equipment as the pro labs are, so the quality you can get at Costco (with good quality, professional negatives/digital files) is the same as that 8×10 that sweaty guy is charging $30 or more for!!!

14) Make sure you get your negatives within the same month as your wedding!! Photographers think they are being clever by including them in a package, but holding onto them for 1-3 years! They know that you want prints now and that you’ll pay them to get it even if you’re getting negatives later on. Don’t fall into that trap. You are not that naive!

15) Are there any limitations? Do they limit the film or the number of exposures they take? Limit the number of locations? Is the photographer going to be pissy if family members use their cameras while he’s doing “his poses”?? I’ve heard WAY too many brides say their friends hated their photographers because of this! It’s absurd!

16) Is there a MINIMUM-ORDER that you must buy? Keep in mind that any sort of prepaid package (with prints and album) is a prepaid order! If they have a minimum order, they might not care to much to give you above and beyond- meaning they’ll only shoot what they have to- even if they say don’t limit anything.

If you take anything away from this article, realize that photographers don’t set up their pricing like fast food chains meaning buying a “package” or a “meal deal” isn’t a deal at all – it’s RETAIL. Don’t be fooled.

17) Do They Have Information They Can Send You? Get all the information you can up front, it makes your research more efficient. If you can go over their website, brochures, etc. prior to making an appointment to meet with them, you’ll save a great deal of time. And time and stress-reduction are VERY important right now. If they have no info to send you, don’t bother with them! Reputable studios will send you information.

18) Payment Flexibility. Are there other alternative methods of payment, such as credit cards? Can you just hire the photographer for the day, and buy the photos after you’ve seen them? Or better yet, just get the negatives and buy them wherever you want at wholesale? Is there a financing option? See if they have some sort of organized Bridal Registry. Do they give you discounts for paying in cash?

Important Points To Remember..

19) Your wedding day is a true “once-in-a-lifetime” event; it should be recorded sensitively and accurately – by a qualified photographer!

20) If you are on a strict budget, you will need to be extremely picky about choosing the right photographer. The CHEAPEST PHOTOGRAPHER is very likely to be the LEAST QUALIFIED-this is one time that you get what you pay for!

21) Do you get your negatives? Do you get them right away or do you have to wait 1-3 YEARS?

22) Unfortunately, the photographer is one of the last people considered and hired for the wedding. The best photographers will most likely be booked up well in advance- DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE!!!

23) As much as he wants to, DO NOT LET UNCLE LEO PHOTOGRAPH YOUR WEDDING IN PLACE OF A QUALIFIED PROFESSIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!! In the beginning this might sound like a good idea- (uncle Leo’s pictures from his trip to Yosemite look pretty good)- the price is certainly right, BUT the benefit of low cost does not outweigh the inability to anticipate and capture the moments of your day! The same goes for a NON-WEDDING photographer the experience is just not there. REMEMBER THIS- YOU CAN’T DO IT OVER!!!

GOOD-LUCK..

About The Author: Toni Rosati, owner of Orchid Photography, created her photographic style with the belief that time spent with friends and family is the most precious and enjoyable part of every event.

By mastering her craft, having a creative and adaptive eye, and planning ahead, her clients proudly display award-winning images – and they remember the event, not the photo shoot!

Toni Rosati earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Northridge in 2000. She and her staff at Orchid Photography have worked all over California – from San Diego to San Francisco.