Wedding photography is a mixture of many other photographic genres.
It incorporates portraiture, family and group photography, documentary, boudoir, event, and close-up images.
Perhaps it even incorporates landscapes. This is especially true if the location is particularly beautiful or important.
Tip #1 Meet your wedding photographer “in real life” together.
If you have the ability to set up a face-to-face meeting with a wedding photographer you are interested in, it is a great idea!
These in-person meetings allow you to really connect on a more personal level.
Going as a couple makes this experience even more rewarding!!
Of course, if you’re unable to set up a real life meeting due to time restrictions or geographic proximity, there is also a phone call or Skype as an alternative. While not always preferred, it’s still better than just chatting via email.
Tip #2 Hire Photography and Videography From The Same Company
Choosing a photographer and videographer from the same studio is often the better choice for many reasons including:
The Shared Incentives and Accountability
Better Communication, Workflow & Positioning
The Common Shared Vision and Style
Fewer Contracts & Admin for a combined Photography and Videography Package
Wedding Photography and Videography Package Discounts
Tip #3 Check References
Online reviews are great, and reading real couples’ reviews should be a big part of your research, but once you’re ready to hire someone, ask to speak to a previous client or two. Ask the couple whether the pro got the shots they wanted and if they were happy with the service, plus any other specific questions you have.
Tip #4 Compare Packages
Ask what’s included in the standard package, plus any additional fees (think: overtime fees). In particular, find out how many hours of shooting are included. Most packages include about eight hours and cover everything from getting ready to the end of the reception. It’s usually better to pay for more coverage if there’s a chance you’ll run over, especially if you’re planning a big finale exit (overtime is normally charged at a higher rate).
Tip #5 Sign a Contract
Once you’ve chosen your photographer, sign a contract that includes everything, from the date of the wedding and the hours they’ll cover to postproduction work and timing expectation.
Tip #6 Include your photographers on the guest list
This accomplishes three important things for you and for us. 1) Send us an invitation like everyone else; this gives us time to photograph it for you in advance instead of getting a quick shot on the wedding day. 2) If your photographers are on the guest list, they will be seated with the guests, which ensures they are always with you and will never miss a moment of your reception. 3) This also ensures we are fed in a timely manner (instead of a cold sandwich in a back office far away from you when speeches are happening). Food is energy, and energetic, happy photographers are exactly what you want when you have four hours of dancing ahead of you.
Tip #7 Create a ‘Shot List’
Wedding Photography Shot List
One of the most helpful tips! The couple to think ahead about the shots that they’d like you to capture on the day and compile a list so that you can check them off. This is particularly helpful in the family shots.
Tip #8 Raise your wedding photography budget if at all possible
In the area of budget, it’s important to not view wedding photography as a tacked on expense if it’s important to you.
We know that not every couple can afford a $5,000 wedding photographer.
Use your best judgment and evaluate your budget to see what makes sense.
One thing to really consider is what else you are planning to purchase for the big day.
For example, if you set aside $1,500 for wedding photography, but found a photographer charging $2,000 that you really like – it might be worth putting out the money on this instead of dropping $500 on a chocolate fountain.
Tip #9 Understand the key parts of a wedding day from a photography perspective.
Most wedding days boil down to the following:
-Getting Ready. These are taken while you are preparing for the big day.
-First Look. This does not happen at every wedding, but it is becoming more common. A First Look allows you (as a couple) to have a quiet moment together seeing each other for the first time on your wedding day.
-Bride & Groom Portraits. These may be taken at different points in the day or all at once. Expect solo portraits, as well as couples portraits.
-Family Formals. These are portraits of you + your family.
-Bridal Party Portraits. These are portraits of you + your bridal party.
-Cocktail Hour. Often, cocktail hour photos will involve a good deal of candid shots. Your wedding photographer may also sneak off to take detail shots of your reception hall.
-Reception. Wedding photographers will capture a lot of candids, as well as photos of all the special events such as intros, toasts, first dances, cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc.
-Grand Exit. Most weddings we photograph include a sparkler exit.
Understanding the basic rhythm of the average wedding day will help you to prepare in advance for what to expect.
Tip #10 Schedule Enough Time For Each Section Of The Day
It is crucial that you create a timeline for your wedding day, something your wedding planner can assist you with organizing. There should be an estimated start and end time for hair, makeup, reception setup, etc. Within that timeline should include all your photo sessions such as the first look, bridal party photos, and couple’s session.
Tip #11 Creative Portraits
One of the most important parts of your wedding day is taking the time to make creative portraits of the two of you. Make sure to carve out 30 minutes to an hour for this. We will guide you through everything, but it’s important to remember these portraits require patience and tenacity, and occasionally an adventurous endeavor or two.
Tip #11 Minimize Your locations
In order to maximize photo time on your wedding day, we recommend minimizing the number of photo shoot locations. You don’t want to spend more time traveling from point A to point B than actually taking pictures. A great photographer should be able to make almost any location work. Even if you don’t love the background options of your venue, trust in the creative abilities of your photographer.
Tip #12 Have a bad weather backup plan that you like.
While we pray for good weather, we know that having a back up plan is always a good idea.
Most of the time – this will be dependent on your wedding venue. Before even booking your venue, make sure you understand what the rain option looks like.
Tip #13 Plan Enough Time for Hair & Make-up
Delays with hair and makeup can set the whole day behind. Plan to finish the process well ahead of schedule, too often do we see brides rushing because of unexpected delays. Many great hair and makeup artists will create a schedule to follow during wedding preparations.
Tip #14 Wear a Long Veil
There is something about putting on that wispy piece of fabric that makes you finally feel like a bride. That beautiful long veil makes for some of the best pictures. The veil can be incorporated in numerous ways during bridal portraits and the couples session.
Tip #15 Incorporate a First Look Session
One of the most memorable events of a wedding day is when the bride and groom see each other. Suddenly all the jitters and anticipation fades away and just the two get the chance to enjoy this remarkable moment. The first look makes for some of the most heartfelt photos, a tradition you can’t forget on your wedding day.
Tip #16 Pick Your Head Up
Photographers like to warn couples against keeping their heads down while walking down the aisle. You might be nervous, but keep your head up, even if smiling isn’t going to happen. A thoughtful or content look is way better than only the top of your heads!
Tip #16 Indoor receptions
The more lighting you can bring in, the better! We love uplighting (orange, red, purple and pink look the best; stay away from green); candles, chandeliers and twinkle lights.
Tip #17 Outdoor reception lighting
If you’re having a completely open-air reception, under the stars, adding as much extra lighting as possible, such as strands of twinkle lights and candles in hurricane vases. The extra lighting will help warm up your photos and add a prettier, more dynamic dimension. Otherwise, you will have a completely black background unless the reception takes place during the day.
Tip #18 Church Ceremonies
Before you book your church, please be sure to ask whether photography is allowed and if there are any restrictions.
Tip #19 Let your photographer know if there are any planned “surprises”.
Surprises are cool during weddings – but it’s not so cool for a wedding photographer who just stepped away to use the restroom or grab a quick bite to eat during dinner.
Sometimes, they can’t always be predicted. No doubt, if your dad decides to give a special toast that he didn’t tell you about – it happens and your wedding photographer should be able to jump into action to catch it.
Tip #20 Relax and Enjoy Your Day
Try not to sweat the small stuff, like a relocation of your portrait shoot because of rain or a flower girl melt down during family shots. And allow your photographer to keep you on schedule, to frame the shots and to know what will look best—remember, that’s why you hired them. If you’re always looking for the camera, it won’t capture you sharing a look with your new spouse or laughing with your friends. Your photographer should be the one worrying about capturing those moments—not you.
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