How To Get The Most Out Of Your Wedding Photographer
-Tips From Wedding Photographers-
We've compiled a list that you as photography clients can refer to, assuring that you get the most out of your photographer on your big day. Some of these tips will not only apply to your photographer but also to the other vendors and your special day as a whole.
First of all...
-Book your photographer well in advance of your wedding day!
This is critical if you want to get your first choice for your wedding photography. Photographers, especially the good ones, book up quickly. Waiting too long will have you settling for less than your ideal photographer. It depends on the market and photographers in your area but booking any less than a year in advance means you could be in danger of having your photographer already booked for your date. If you have your heart set on a particular photographer, we would suggest coordinating with them at the time of booking the venue, that way you have a better chance of finding a date that works for you, your venue and your photographer.
But before you book your photographer...
-Research photographers and find the style you want for your wedding.
Photographers come in all different styles, abilities and prices. Find a photographer who's shooting and editing style you like. Keep in mind that they're trends in photography that influence some photographers shooting and editing style. The shooting/editing style that is "in" right now may not look great in 10 years. It's like fashion trends. They seem great at the time but looking back, you are shocked that you ever thought it was a good idea. We suggest to find a photographer who edits clean. No obvious color casts or filters and avoid photographers who will edit an entire wedding with filters. In our business, we will edit a wedding clean, crisp and classic but we will add a folder of what we call "creative edits". This is where we will edit photos with the "in" style of editing for the time. Doing it this way gives our photos a better chance of standing the test of time.
You also need to be sure your photographer is well rounded. It's important that a wedding photographer knows when and how to use flash in their photography. A photographer may prefer to shoot natural light, that could be their style. However, they need to know how to use flash for when natural light isn't available or is of poor quality. Take for example the photo below.
This wedding was a constant battle with the weather. It was right around freezing temperatures all day with rain showers on and off all day. After family photos we saw the sun peeking out from behind the cloudy as it was dropping behind the horizon. We were losing the light from the sun quickly and there is no other way to get this shot without the use of flash. If we didn't have our flash or didn't know how to use it, we would have not been able to get great photographs with such little natural light. It's also important for you reception photos. If your photographer doesn't have the skill to use flash, they will struggle to get good photos in challenging lighting situations. So when looking through their sample photos, look for photographs where they used flash. A great photographer should pride themselves on being able to control any lighting situation.
Once you book your perfect photographer...
-Have an open line of communication with your photographer...
Do not hesitate to ask a question. It's your big day after all and if you need clarification on something, then just ask! Make sure you mention important details that might not be obvious to your photographer. They can't possibly know that the groom is carrying a pocket watch that has been passed down through the family if no one tells them. So point out objects of sentimental value to make sure the photographer will photograph them. Trust us. Your photographer wants to photograph and document these details but they could miss them if they are not pointed out.
Keep your eyes peeled...
-You can help scout locations for photos at or near the venue.
Most photographers try their best to scout locations at or near the venue ahead of the big day. However that can be a challenge when the photographer is driving a long distance to a venue they have never been to. The venues will likely know the photo spots around the property. A location at the venue that is easily accessible is the ideal choice for the family photos. The newlywed photos need to have a great backdrop and that might not be at venue itself. There could be a beautiful park or public garden close to the venue that you can get to for some really special photo opportunities. Don't be afraid to scout and suggest spots to your photographer. Send these suggestions over prior to the wedding so your photographer can at least do some research on the internet. A good photography location is something to keep in the back of your mind when visiting and choosing a venue.
A little help goes a long way...
-Ask someone to take the lead during family photos.
So many combinations of family members to photograph and so little time! It helps your photographer greatly to have someone who knows everyone at the wedding and can help corral people. Where is cousin Jen? Someone needs to go get Jen for the photos. Your photographer doesn't know who Jen even is. It helps to keep the family photos rolling. Your photographer's time is better spent arranging and posing the next group to be photographed and not chasing down Jen. It is also a big help to have a list of the combinations of groups. That being planned ahead of time makes the process short and sweet, so the photographer can spend more time photographing you and your partner.
-Consider an "Unplugged Wedding"
A new trend in weddings is an unplugged wedding. Asking guests to keep their phones in their pockets and enjoy the wedding through theirs eyes and not the screens of their devices. Whilst this might be a bit over the top, your photographer would probably appreciate some sort of statement mentioned to your guests about being aware of the professional photographer. Asking them to stay out of the aisle would be a huge help. Many shots have been ruined by someone stepping into the aisle to capture a moment right in front of the hired photographer. You paid good money for your photographer, don't let your guests make their job more difficult, don't let them ruin the moment.
-Properly budget time and stay on schedule!
Allow a little extra time for everything throughout the day. Allowing extra time for the events of the day will keep everything on time. Get dressed and leave a little time afterwards for photos, that is an opportunity for your photographer to get creative and get some great shots of you in your dress/suit before the ceremony. The most stressful thing on a wedding day is trying to stick to a schedule that is so tight, everyone is rushing from one thing to the next. The photography is usually the thing that gets cut short when things are running behind schedule. You won't be getting the most out of your photographer that way. Having a bit of extra time for each part of the day will also allow you to be flexible during an unforeseen circumstance. Chances are, there will be one.
Which leads us to...
-Be flexible and roll with the punches!
No matter how much you plan and organize, something might not go to plan. There are so many things that could go wrong. It's almost guaranteed that the day will not be flawless. Someone forgot the veil or the venue doesn't allow open flame candles so all the center pieces can't be lit. Poor weather and an outside ceremony, etc. The day is stressful for everyone and we have personally witnessed one small hiccup spiral out of control into a much bigger deal than it really is. On the other side, we have seen something go wrong and it did not phase anyone at all. Everyone got over it and went on having a great time. If and when something goes sideways, just shrug it off. Don't allow it to get you in a bad mood. Let it go and move on.
-Enjoy your day!
You've spent so much time and money, planning this one day. Enjoy it! All the hard work is done and now it's time to soak in every second. Enjoy the time you have with your photographer. Be there in the moment. Follow their lead and try to enjoy your time with your partner in front of the camera. Those genuine moments translate so well into photographs. Don't try to rush through the photographs. The more time you spend for your photographs and the more poses and location changes you do, the more photos you get.
There you have it!
Keep these tips in the back of your head. They will help you get the most out of your wedding photographer and hopefully help your special day go as smoothly as possible.
Keep checking back here for more blog posts.
In the next blog post we will show you how to choose a photographer. What to look for in their photographs, what their photographs can tell you about their skill level, questions to ask them and how to tell a bad photograph from a good one.
You can find more of our work at www.HessPhotography.us and www.facebook.com/hessphotograp...
Happy Wedding Planning!
- Adam and Michaela