Choosing the Right Photographer, part 3

RIGHTS and PRINTING 

Most wedding photography contracts will stipulate who owns the rights to the photographs. In most cases, the wedding photographer owns the full rights to all of the photographs and will be able to produce any prints and albums you want. This means that any images you also share digitally fall under this policy. In some cases you will only be able to share watermarked images or with proper credits. You will need to negotiate a release of rights for your photographs if you will want to print them on your own or through another source. 

PRODUCTION

After your wedding date, you will want to see the photographs immediately. Bear in mind that it usually takes a month to get all of your proofs back. There are a lot of images and most wedding photographers will spend up to 40 hours a wedding editing, color correcting and making any necessary adjustments. Depending on how busy your photographer is, this process might take longer than others.

Be sure to discuss with your wedding photographer how you will receive your photographs after the wedding. How many images should you expect? Will they be edited proofs? Will you be able to share them through social media? Who will retain the rights to the photographs? How long will it take for prints and albums to be made? Figuring out these details before the wedding will allow your wedding photographer to work smoothly and efficiently, and in the end will get you your beloved wedding photographs sooner. 

Choosing the Right Photographer, part 2

REVIEW THEIR WORK

You may have heard it before, and there is truth to this piece of advice, ask to see a full wedding album.

Your decision to hire your wedding photographer should not be based upon a couple photographs that you fell in love with. Photographers will always put their best foot forward and with good reason. However, you don't want to hire a wedding photographer based on a select few shots, you want a wedding photographer that is well-rounded. And a full wedding album will give you that perspective.

It will also help to see photographs from weddings at similar locations to your wedding venue. This will give you better insight as to the wedding photographers abilities in specific conditions. If you are having an outdoor wedding, take a look at photographs where the photographer utilized natural lighting. If you are saying "I do" in a large chapel, take a look at some indoor wedding shots, maybe some with up-lighting. This will help you to see how your wedding photographer will be able to work with you and your unique wedding.

COMPARE SERVICES

Many photographers will offer set packages for you to choose from. This may be helpful if you have no idea what you might want from your wedding photographer. If you do know what you want, and may be very specific in your needs for your wedding photography, it may be beneficial to find a wedding photographer who will be able to cater to your needs. 

Generally, wedding photography works on a standard of coverage hours. You will want to ensure that your photographer is available for your wedding during the times that you want them. Most weddings are covered from the getting ready stages, through the ceremony and even into the reception. Ask questions about what your wedding photographer offers as this will help you decide on what you want for your wedding.

You may even want to consider additional photoshoots before your actual wedding date. Engagement shoots are very popular for multiple reasons. Aside from the obvious reason of having photos of yourself while being engaged, it offers a great opportunity to get used to your photographer. Most people are camera-shy. It is a natural tendency when asked to pose in front of a camera. An engagement shoot allows you to get used to posing with your partner in front of a camera. Think of it as a practice run - because when the big day comes, there are no re-shoots. You will want to be sure you are comfortable with a photographer and vice versa. 

Choosing the Right Photographer, part 1

With the "wedding season" approaching rapidly, I am reminded of the joys and stress of wedding planning. Although my role was more of a support person and ideas generator, I am very aware of everything that went into planning our wedding about 4 years ago.

Unlike other vendors you would decide upon for your wedding, photography and videography aren't tangible purchases - at first. A lot of what you get from a wedding photographer and videographer is obtained after the fact. With that being said, there are a number of other characteristics that you might consider when deliberating over your right wedding photographer

I've narrowed it down in this three-part blog, and have laid it out in detail, all from my personal experience. Hopefully this can help to remove the shroud of uncertainty in choosing a wedding photographer, and at least make this step in wedding planning a lot easier.

PHOTOGRAPHIC STYLE

A lot of photographers these days will define themselves as their style of photography. This can help you because a lot can be said about a photographer by the style in which they choose. I found this fun infographic, courtesy of Simply Bridal, defining wedding photography style into three categories: photojournalism, classic and artistic. Through the humorous approach, there is some truth to these photo style definitions. 

PHOTOJOURNALISM

This style can be likened to a documentary. Photographs are taken in the moment, rarely is any photo staged. The photographs are taken in a way that will retell the story. Key characteristics of a photojournalistic approach is that moments are often spontaneous and candid. Photographs might include scenes of your wedding venue with guests at the bar, family members dancing at the reception, conversations at during dinner and laughing. 

CLASSIC

Think traditional, posed portraiture. Although you might be thinking of your parents wedding album or even your high school prom portraits, there is still a lot of room for creativity through this style. Photographs of this nature are generally posed in traditional settings, while other photographers will take creative liberties to find dramatic scenes staging beautiful bride and groom photographs.

ARTISTIC

While most of the typical shots are still covered through this style of photography, the creativity is noticed by the approach and angle at which the shot was taken. Rather than a head-on shot of the couple at the altar, you might have an over-the-shoulder shot from the groomsman's perspective. This style is marked by an out-of-the-box thinking, with dramatic angles and unconventional framing to create the photograph.

Understanding these styles will help you to discover what you want in a wedding photographer. Although many photographers will blend styles and utilize multiple styles during a wedding, you will want to do your homework. Often times a photographer will default to what they are best at, and you will want to find a photographer that can focus on what you want out of your wedding photography.

RESEARCH

As with any business today, there are numerous resources available for customer/client reviews. When I'm travelling and I need to find a great place to eat, I will usually default to what I know or look into social media platforms with customer reviews and ratings (ie. Yelp, Foursquare). Almost every time I am pleasantly surprised by the accuracy of the reviews and walk away feeling like a winner.

The same thing goes for wedding photography. Do your homework. Photographers are often listed on numerous sites, where customers have the ability to leave a review for them. Read the reviews. 

Visit their website. Often times the design and style of a website will clue you in to their artistic style. Check out their weddings that they've shot. Photographers will always put their best foot forward, so take a look at their style, this can give you a better picture if they will be the best fit for you and your wedding.

MEET THE PHOTOGRAPHER

Choosing a wedding photographer should not be done based on the images alone. Your wedding photographer will be alongside you throughout one of the biggest days of your life, so you will want to meet them in person.

Key things to bring to a meeting with a potential wedding photographer include - wedding date, venue location and details, wedding style and potential style you desire from your photos. Ask questions, and get to know your wedding photographer. Are they confident enough to present their suggestions clearly? A professional photographer needs to be bold enough to get the right shot while remaining tactful without overtaking the moment. You need to be comfortable with your photographer as they will be shadowing you throughout the day. The more comfortable you are with them, the better your photographs will turn out after your wedding. 

North Shore Through A Lensbaby

Just picked up the Sweet 35 optic for my Lensbaby, and I was looking for a place and occasion just to break it in – figuratively speaking.

Head over to the North Shore, what better place. And for a perfect day at the beach celebrating my second wedding anniversary. Great food at Haleiwa, pristine waters to stand-up paddle, sharing it all with my wife – perfect lens to capture a perfect day.