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SNAPS OR SHOTS
A wedding is one of the most important days of your life falling second possibly to the day your perfect newborn baby came into the world.
From this perspective, every effort should be taken to preserve on film these precious memories and milestones, by placing the responsibility in the hands of someone meticulous and fluent in the field of photography. Sadly, we all too often hear disaster stories from newly weds, about wedding photography that was spoiled by an amateur. In order for you to avoid the distress this causes, do your homework in advance by putting in some time to search out the topmost photographer that your money can buy. When you’ve spent hours choosing every detail for your wedding; the precise dress, fabulous flowers, sumptuous catering and demanded specific standards when booking the idyllic venue; now is not the time to place photography into a budget category.
As with all things, you get exactly what you pay for, and for this occasion, only the very best will do. The only time you should be looking for a cheaper deal is if you can negotiate for it on a day that falls mid week or low season.
20 TOP TIPS When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
- Choose the right wedding photographer with care, short listing only those that are recommended. Try to have at least three on your list.
- Check whether insurance cover is provided in case the unthinkable happens.
- Decide on the type of images you want; reportage style is an abundant, vivid and unrehearsed collection of shots taken moment by moment. The professional photographer will have both eyes and ears, observing in advance, where the more interesting and candid photographs are likely to be found.
- Prepare a list of people you absolutely wouldn't want left out of your photographs, to give to your photographer before the day. In the hustle and bustle, some of the older guests may sit back, so ask for some candid and informal shots of those special people to be taken.
- More traditional photography leans towards pre-set pieces such as bride and groom shots outside the church, family groups, cutting the cake, and whole group pictures. Traditional style usually requires an advisor to point out guests belonging to family and specific groups or friends. So if you have a guest list of 200 or higher, you may find you’ll be standing around for long periods waiting for individuals to be called.
- For greater flexibility and choice, your photographer may suggest a mix of styles throughout the day; some in monochrome, some in colour.
- Check out your photographer’s portfolio and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials from previous clients. Read the small print before signing or paying and look for professional qualifications displayed in their place of work.
- Always meet the photographer in person. He or she will be close to you throughout the whole day, so you must feel comfortable and at ease in their company. Consider if they show courtesy, friendliness and appear well dressed. At all your meetings you should see a professional dress code in place, leading you to feel confidence in their expert intent on the day. If you wouldn’t invite the photographer to be a guest at your wedding for any reason, don’t book them, even on price.
- Check in detail how many photographs, and their sizes, are included in your package, and get specific dates for when they will be available to you. Ask if some of the proofs can be posted on a website for you and guests to view, in preparation for ordering.
- Ask if travel time and expenses are included in the price charged and if the wedding runs over time, what hourly rate will be applied.
- Never expect the most popular photographer to be available at a few months notice, unless you’ve decided on a mid-week, Sunday or out-of-season date.
- If a good friend, or willing relative, offers to take your photographs at little or no cost, be wary. It’s a kind gesture, well meant, but it will cause upsets and fall-outs if things don’t end up exactly right. You can always thank them from the bottom of your heart, and say you’d prefer they enjoyed the day with you instead of having to work for you.
- If you’re into super-planning, meet the photographer at your ceremony and reception venues beforehand to discuss and prepare possible shots and ideas. Difficult shots may need special equipment and if you both understand what’s required you’ll save time on the day, which you can otherwise spend with your guests.
- Don’t abandon the use of some of the pictures taken by your wedding guests. These will give you additional glimpses of all the fun surrounding the day. You can’t be everywhere at once so although these photographs are not meant for the album, they are part of the bigger picture of your wedding day memories that will bring hours of pleasure in the years to come.
- Don't be shy about adding wedding photography to your gift list. Groups of friends or whole families may well be happier contributing to this cost, rather that buying something for the kitchen that may never be used.
- Search online to check if your wedding photographer has won any awards or been shortlisted.
- See your wedding photographer as an uninvited guest. If you wouldn't invite them to your wedding because they're not friendly or helpful, move on to find someone who is.
- Arrange food and soft drinks for your wedding photographer, especially if they'll be on the go from morn till night.
- This shouldn't be the most important aspect, but advise your photographer on dress code. A professional photographer will dress the part to blend in favorably with your guests.
- This may seem silly, but your photographer should have knowledge about the depth of colour of make-up that looks best on film. You don't have to take their advice, but hear them out.