is all new to me. What are the current styles of wedding
photography has come a long way in the last few years.
More and more, couples are taking a different look at
what they expect from a wedding photographer and choosing styles
that are much more individual and appropriate for them. It used
to be that a wedding photographer was a wedding photographer,
and you knew what to expect a lot of posing, predictable
shots and, usually, quality photos.
Today, there are a few more schools of thought out there.
On one extreme there is "Traditional
shots are very posed and sufficient time must be allotted to
accomplish the necessary images.
You will usually end up with formal pictures of all the
family groupings, the bridal couple, the wedding party, the
guests at the dinner tables, etc.
The images may be somewhat predictable, but can also be
very elegant and of very good quality.
On the other extreme is "Wedding Photojournalism", as
it is often referred to. This
is a very loose, candid approach to photographing the wedding
event. The idea is to capture as much spontaneity and emotion as
possible, replacing much of the elegance of traditional
photography with story telling and uniqueness. Although there
are a few great "Wedding Photojournalists", check
carefully into photographers or part- time photographers who
bill themselves as such, thinking it's an easier way to shoot.
Wedding photography, in all forms, is a complex art
requiring the dedication and professionalism of a seasoned
Wedding Photographer. Many
"Wedding Photojournalists" are BEGINNING Photographers or Week-End Photographers. A Week-End Photographer is someone who has a full time job doing something completely unrelated to photography, but has a camera and they want to make "spending" money on the side by doing weddings. These are the same people who will shoot your wedding with a Low End Consumer Digital camera. The traditional
Wedding Photographer, whose full time job is photography, will use Medium Format cameras or High End Professional Digital SLR's for the
highest image quality available.
"Contemporary Wedding Photography" is a natural
blending of the two schools of thought. It will include the
classic shots of the traditionalist and the story telling of the
will have a more candid, natural feel to them.
The posed shots will be less formal and not as numerous.
Quality " Contemporary Wedding Photography" is
a little harder to find, but the more personalized finished
product can be worth the extra effort.
should I start to look for and book my photographer?
six months to a year in advance is typical.
Popular summer months (May-August) can quickly book up a
year in advance. Off
season weddings or events on less popular days (like Sunday) are
easier to book on shorter notice.
should I start to look for a photographer?
from friends or relatives that have used a particular
photographer are always a good place to start.
They can tell you a lot more about how a photographer
works on wedding day than a short meeting in the studio can.
Also, ask your wedding coordinator or event manager who
they recommend. The
better services do not receive any compensation for referring a
photographer (it's a good question to ask) and do so simply
because they like the work and professionalism of a certain
look in yellow pages or bridal guides. Just be sure to interview
at least 2-3 photographers to be sure you have the one that's
right for you.
should I ask a prospective photographer?
common and important questions:
he/she be the actual photographer for the event or will someone
else be assigned to cover that day. Many larger studios' have
several freelance photographers working for them and it's
important to see the work of the photographer that will actually
shoot your wedding.
much time will be needed before and after the ceremony to
accomplish the style of photography you expect.
all fees and expenses up front. If you're planning to
purchase an album, ask what it will cost to complete the album
that you plan to have.
does the photographer plan to manage the wedding day? Some photographers stay completely in the background
(typically wedding photojournalists) without giving any guidance
or instruction to the wedding party whatsoever.
Others will give lots of instruction.
They'll tell you exactly what needs to be done and move
things along with authority.
Still others will suggest and lead where appropriate for
the more formal shots and settle into the background for candid
coverage of the rest of the event.
Pick a photographer who's management style is
representative of your needs and expectations.
proofs / originals / previews included in the package for you to
photographers will include the originals in your package, some
may charge $350-$1000 for the complete set of proofs, and others
ask you to return them within a specified amount of time and
purchase any pictures that you wish to have. With Digital photography the photographer may have you come in and order from the digital files without letting you take your images out of the studio. This is more common due to the ease of copying. Don't expect the photographer to do all the work and then just give up the files. The photographer needs to make a living so the next wedding couple can experience the awesome photography you were able to get. Still other
photographers design an album for brides and grooms to view by
appointment at the studio. Check with your photographer to find out how they do the viewing of your images.
long do they keep the negatives on file? Are there any time
limits for reordering pictures?
deposits are required to hold a specific date? When will the
final balance be due?
much should I expect to pay for wedding photography?
ask yourself, "How much is preserving this event with
quality photography worth to me?".
If you consider that your wedding photographs will be all
that you have left to remember your day (most couples admit that
they don't even recall much of the wedding because it was
"such a blur") and are a lifelong investment, then you
can figure it's value against the rest of your event expenses.
Some guides will tell you that 10-20% of the entire
budget is appropriate, but you need to weigh your needs against
the service and quality available in your area.
You can hire a wedding photographer for $500 or $50,000
it all depends on what level of quality and uniqueness you
want. Your first question to a photographer should never be,
"How much do you charge?" because you have no idea
what you're getting for that price.
You would never go to a new car lot and ask, "how
much for a car?". You
first find the car that fits your needs and quality
expectations, and take it for a spin if you like it, you ask,
" What do I need to pay for THIS car?".
your budget for photography is limited due to heavy expenditures
on a $2000 gown, flowing rivers of booze, exotic flowers and
elegant cuisine then you may want to rethink your budget.
Although it is important to have a visually beautiful
wedding that you and your guests will enjoy, none of what you
have or do that day will be remembered or reviewed as much as
your photography and video.
we need both video and photography?
and video give you two different and complementary views of the
wedding day. While
video captures the sounds, conversations and movement of the
event, still photos freeze special moments in time, are
archival, and easy to look back at when the urge arises.
Most couples elect to have both forms of coverage to
preserve the memories as completely as possible. If your budget is really tight, consider having a
videographer for the ceremony, at the very least, and ask a
friend with a steady hand to cover the reception.
You may also consider hiring both photographer and
videographer for the same amount of coverage, but choose a
simpler package for the finished product.
should I choose to go with an independent vs. a large studio or
quality of the photographers work and personal service they
provide is more important than the size of the studio.
Compare it to purchasing clothes from a small designer
boutique vs. buying from a department store.
studios have the resources to cover most any wedding date and
rely on volume to support their overhead.
Many people feel more comfortable working with a larger,
more substantial studio. Also,
because of their volume, some large studios can offer price
breaks on services or products.
Most large studios use part-time subcontractors or
apprentices to cover the larger volume of events.
studios and independents, by necessity, focus on quality
photography and personal service.
Since a small studio is usually built around the style
and service of one photographer, they cannot cover more than 4-6
weddings a month, and cannot afford a disappointed client - thus
ensuring that each customer receive the best service possible.
You most often will be able to meet with the photographer
first hand and be assured that he/she will be the one to
photograph your wedding.
choosing a large studio or small, be sure the photographer is a
skilled, professional wedding photographer and takes your needs
and expectations very seriously.
shouldn't we have a friend or relative do it instead of a professional
photography is art and science mixed gingerly with nerves of
everyone has a friend or friend of the family who is a great
amateur photographer. Wedding photography, however, requires the skills, equipment
and experience that only comes from the completion of 100+
weddings. A wedding
photographer needs patience and the demeanor to be calm and
creative under pressure. It is virtually impossible to be a guest at a wedding while
simultaneously watching constantly for important events to
unfold. (I know
this from experience, I've been asked to take photographs at
friends' weddings but to "relax and have a good time"
as well. It can't
be done. I'm either
a guest, or the photographer). Trusting your lifelong wedding
memories to a friendly amateur is asking for hurt feelings and
photographers also have a significant investment in the
equipment necessary for quality photos.
Specifically, larger format camera systems costing
many THOUSANDS of dollars and flash equipment designed to provide 10
times the power for 10 times as long as the best amateur
for quality indoor AND outdoor photography).
a guest to be trusted with your primary wedding photographs is
an imposition and responsibility that they shouldn't have to
undertake. If they make a mistake on your wedding portraits will it be the end of your friendship? This is a good thing the think about.
we have a friend take pictures IN ADDITION to our professional
photographers will answer a resounding "NO".
But more often than not, it is fine for friends and
relatives to shoot as much at the reception as they want
provided they don't interfere with the professional's attempt to
provide YOU with the best service possible.
When guests, friends and relatives try to “snap a
picture” at the same time as the professional, they often
cause the professional’s flash to go off prematurely causing
the loss of both images. The
professional has to then redo the photo (if he realizes his
flash didn’t go off with his camera) to make sure he has the
photo exposed correctly. Guests
who consistently ask the subjects to "stay there just a
second" between every professional shot, are robbing you of
expensive, and limited, photographic time.
Most all photographers will specify in their contract
that they are to be the only "photographer", which is
certainly in your best interest considering the chaos that would
be caused by two or more photographers both vying for your
providing DISPOSABLE CAMERAS for the guests at the reception, do
we still need professional coverage at this point?
are a great novelty for the guests to enjoy and to give you some
fun pictures to add to your collection.
However, they are NOT a substitute for professional
photography for the following reasons:
have a weak built in flash and fixed focus.
They are effective in a 5-7 foot range indoors. At least
50% of the pictures are unusable due to blur, over/under
exposure or just plain abstract subject matter.
of the cameras get inadvertently taken home by the guests, never
to reach your album.
the cost of the cameras, processing and printing running $16-20
each, figure about $360 for cameras at 20 tables.
That money could more successfully be applied to extended
*(I've actually run into a wedding client sitting on the floor
of Costco going through 30 packages of prints from disposables
trying to figure out which ones she could afford to pick up that
the other hand, if you've purchased adequate professional
coverage and have the budget for disposables, they can add a fun
and interesting twist to your collection of memories.
The more the merrier!
will you create?
Is black and white film less expensive than color?
number of images you will view naturally depends on the length
of time the photographer is hired to cover.
A typical wedding day of 6-7 hours will produce about 300
- 500 images.
and white prints are a beautiful addition to any wedding package
however, it is actually MORE expensive than color to produce. Most professional portrait labs are geared and automated for
the color work that is most popular with wedding and portrait
studios. Black and
white is still custom printed in smaller quantities, so expect
to pay 30-50% more for B&W work.
we get Black & White pictures along with the color? How much should we do?
& White can certainly be added to color coverage for an
elegant, timeless touch to your wedding album.
There are a couple ways of doing so.
The entire wedding can be photographed in color using digital and
afterwards, selected images can be printed on B&W paper.
This is a good quality option and a good choice for those
on a budget. The
best quality black and white print is achieved by using traditional B&W
paper to begin with. Many
photographers will prefer to use this method, although slightly
more expensive. Usually
15-20% is a nice balance.
we ask for Digital photos? Can we have the images on disk?
digital cameras run the price range from $4,000 to $50,000
each. Digital photography offers the professional the
advantage of not running out of film and allows him the
freedom of choice between Color and Black & White for the
same image. The less expensive digital cameras have limits
as far as the size of the portrait you can create. The
prints made by professional labs cost about double the price of
film prints at this time. Digital is the choice of the working
professional. Don't ask your photographer to provide you
with the images on disk. This will be the same as having
him give you the negatives and most professionals will charge in
the range of $800-$1500 per negative or digital negative.
Once the photographer gives you the digital "negative"
he will feel you won't purchase copies of the image from him
since you now have the "negative". A common trend amoung photographers is to not correct or color balance your digital files when they give them to you on a CD or DVD. Amature photographers will shoot "FULL FRAME" which will not allow you to make 8 x 10 prints of some of your favorite images. This happens because the format of the digital SLR is a 9 x 12 inch image not a 8 x 10 inch image. So when you take that favorite image into the lab to be printed as an 8 x 10 there is not enough room on the sides of the image to allow for cropping without cutting off people or parts of your image.
want to avoid the typical "Posed" look.
What should we do?
and most obvious, is to choose a photographer who's work
reflects what you're really looking for. Often you need to see
the work of several photographers to know what you prefer.
Usually it is necessary to "pose" certain shots
(if only to assure that the right people are in the right shot
at the right time), but they don't always have to look stiff or
yourself, have fun and (many photographers will cringe at this)
don't always look at the camera unless the photographer requests
it from you.
the bride and groom plan to see each other before the ceremony
is a common dilemma. Some
couples are adamantly opposed to seeing each other before the
ceremony, others could go either way.
If you truly do not wish to see each other before hand,
that's perfectly OK. Stick to your preference and ask your
photographer to work a plan around it. You can skip the rest of
primary advantage to meeting before the ceremony is to allow
most of the photographs to be taken BEFORE you have friends and
family anxiously awaiting your entrance to the party.
I've found that the bride and groom (and parents) are
often less stressed when they don't feel they are keeping their
guests waiting and this makes for much more natural pictures.
In order to get lots of fun, romantic and unique photos,
you need to plan some time to do so.
This time can be taken before the guests arrive or while
they are waiting.
is also becoming common for the couple to arrange a few minutes
of "private time" before the ceremony and pictures,
where they first meet and share a few moments alone (not likely
after the ceremony!). This
can make for some great, natural emotional pictures and also
relieves much of the anxiety of walking down the aisle.
It is a fact that none of the couples I know have ever
regretted seeing each other before the ceremony, but several
have wished they had. It can definitely make your day less
having a formal dinner, do we need to feed the photographer?
photographer's day starts several hours before the wedding and
goes on for several hours after the party's over.
It is a long, hard, tense day of being creative under
pressure. It is in
your interest to help him/her function comfortably and
effectively, and providing a suitable meal helps.
At formal dinners, your caterer may be able to provide a
less expensive alternative meal for the photographer (and
videographer and DJ) that will be perfectly suitable and
getting married at location away from our current home. How do we find a photographer long distance?
recommendations from friends or the hotel or catering
establishment in the area.
If possible, make an advance trip to personally interview
them. If having the
wedding at a vacation locale, it's often to your advantage to
bring a photographer from your home town or from the town of a
friend who can recommend a good photographer.
Many resorts have photographers of "
questionable" quality at best. Most good photographers
travel regularly to photograph events and are accustomed to
dealing with traveling logistics.
A few "photographers of the 90's" even have web
sites where you can gather an abundance of information about
them from anywhere in the world. (shameless plug)
can't we just copy the proofs ourselves to save money?
illegal. As if
that's not enough, the quality will be very poor.
All photographs and negatives are the exclusive property
of the photographer (with weddings and any other photographic
situation) unless other arrangements are made expressly in
similar to software copyrights where you're allowed to use your
copy, but not to duplicate it.
Many copyright infringers have learned the hard way that
illegally copying a photographer's work is an expensive mistake!
Please don't try it and don't ask a lab to do it for you.
(Most will frown upon copying professionals' work anyway, as
they face stiff ($150,000.00) fines per image as well for copyright
is photography so expensive?
people who feel professional photography is too expensive are
accustomed to the "quick photo" labs and expenses
associated with amateur photography.
Professional photography requires expensive professional
equipment, films and processing at high quality specialized
photographer invests years in training, apprenticing, and
continued study to keep his or her level or professionalism up
to expected standards. Many hours of work goes into prep, assembly and legwork
beyond just the few that you may see at the event.
Of course every professional needs a profit margin to
stay in business, but the profit margin for wedding photography
is actually much lower than what most people would expect.
if our photographer gets sick or has an emergency?
photographers will, in such a situation, attempt to find a
replacement for the event. If they are unable to, their
liability is limited to a refund of all monies paid.
However, realize that all the details of your wedding
involve an element of risk.
Most experienced photographers realize the importance of
your wedding and will do everything possible to ensure success.
do we get the most from our photography investment?
as much as possible with your photographer from the start. If
there are any special people or types of shots that you'd like
to have, let your photographer know ahead of time.
Help your photographer help YOU by providing him or her
with as much information and support as possible.
If you want fun, candid photos - then it helps if you can
relax and HAVE some fun!
sure you, and your wedding party, are on time for your
photographer's clock starts at the scheduled time when her or
she arrives ready to shoot, not when the last grooms man finally
certainly can't delay the ceremony to make up for lost picture
a best man or maid of honor to help with organizing people for
pictures or to point out certain people to the photographer.
Have them ask guests politely to refrain from interfering
with the photographer during formal or posed shots.
your friends and family know that you've paid a lot of money for
a professional photographer and anything they can do to help,
will also help YOU get the most for your money.
but not least, realize that your photographer takes pride is his
or her work and is only working towards one goal: to provide you
with photographs you will be proud to share and with a service
you will be comfortable recommending to a friend.
Establish a win-win relationship from the start, and
everyone will have fond memories.