Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finding a Wedding Photographer: Part 1

I've been talking to many brides and grooms who I met at the Queen Mary Bridal Show. One of the brides I talked to seemed to echo what many of them told me: I don't really know anything about photography.

You don't need to know much about photography to hire a wedding photographer - but I do recommend asking lots of questions. The more you know, the better decision you will make.


Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Book a Wedding Photographer

I confess I read bridal magazines. I started when I was planning my own wedding, but now I just like to check out the trends. I always love reading the how-to’s when it comes wedding photography. Many of these articles feature questions you should ask your photographer before booking him or her. Before you do that, you should ask yourself some questions first:

1. Style
Every photographer has a different approach to shooting a wedding. The two basic categories are traditional, focusing mainly on posed photos, and photojournalism, capturing candid moments as they happen. Few photographers are strictly one or the other, but each photographer has his strength. As a bride or groom, it’s important to know what types of photos you prefer. What kind of art do you have in your home? Are you drawn to certain images in magazines? What photos grab you?

2. Hours
Are you looking for coverage of your entire wedding day? If you’d like a photojournalistic approach, you may want to start with getting ready photos and end when the reception is over. If you’re not planning a big exit, you may decide two hours of reception photography is a good amount. Maybe you’re planning a small wedding and decide you only need a photographer for the ceremony and a few posed photos. There is no right or wrong answer.

3. Budget
Most of us hate talking about money. If you’re in the middle of wedding planning, you already know the importance of a wedding budget. Most couples spend about 10-20% of their budget on a wedding photographer. I recommend coming up with a range that you’re comfortable spending on photography. Some couples choose to not have a wedding videographer so they can increase their photography budget. Others hire a photographer for only a couple hours so they can have a videographer for the whole day. How important is wedding photography to you?

4. Products
It may be difficult to imagine how many prints you’d like or what kind of album. Since different photographers have different pricing structures, it’s imperative for you to have at least an idea of what you’d like. Would you like a wedding album? Framed prints? Is it important for you to have a disc with your edited images to share on facebook? Would you like a piece of art in your home from your wedding day, like a gallery wrap? Are you looking for non-traditional art for your home like prints on metal or bamboo?

Hope these questions help you. Next week: Questions to Ask Your Photographer.

Los Angeles, wedding photographer, wedding photography

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