Modern wedding photography serves many purposes — posting to social media sites, recording the gathering of family and friends, and one day showing the grandkids how great you looked in that strapless gown! So whether you’re a DIY bride or working with professionals, keep these tips in mind when considering your photographic options:
1. Photography Style — First and foremost, whomever you choose to be your wedding photographer, make sure the style matches your vision. Decide if you prefer photojournalistic photos (more candids and content, less posing), traditional (specific posed photos throughout the day), artistic (pretty photos) or a combination of them all. If the photographer you’ve eyed doesn’t have that style in his/her portfolio, you should probably find someone else.
2. Photographer’s Style — Whether hiring a professional photographer or having Uncle Charlie shoot your wedding, study their work. For pros, look at images from recent weddings of real couples, preferably an entire shoot from beginning to end. Look for consistency and adaptability. Make sure Uncle Charlie, who may have a nice camera, can handle all the elements of a wedding day — portraits and group shots, changing lighting situations, working in a crowd, unexpected moments.
3. Photographer’s Personality — Since this is someone with whom you will spend one of the most important days of your life, make sure it’s someone you and your guests will enjoy. Ask if they are more fly-on-the wall types who are almost invisible, or one who orchestrates and directs.
4. Budget — Prices for “professionals” are all over the map, from $500 to $50,000. (Be aware that having a Web site and portfolio does not qualify someone as a professional, so if in doubt, ask for references.) Decide where your price point is and ask for a la carte options rather than a big package deal. If considering a friend or family member, make sure they have enough experience and backup cameras, batteries and lighting equipment to ensure all the rest of the planning and hard work of the wedding is properly documented.
5. Communicate — If you want to have the pre-wedding preparation and jitters photographed, have the photographer arrive early enough to get both the bride and the groom. Some photographers work in teams and can do this simultaneously. If this doesn’t interest you, and you prefer more time at the reception, communicate this to the photographer before the wedding day.
6. Photo List — If couple photos or family shots are important, carve out time when best to do those — some brides opt to do an engagement shoot ahead of time to get the glamorous gown photos or arrange as many group shots as possible at the rehearsal dinner. Make sure each person knows where to be at what time — one person can hold up a whole group shot if they don’t know where to be, said Gainesville native and wedding photographer Gene Bednarek.
7. Assign Photo Coordinators — Make a list of special family, friends and groups that are must-haves in photos. Make sure this list is provided to the photographer and/or planner, and enlist someone from both sides of the family to doublecheck that everyone gets in at least one photo. If getting a photo of Aunt Dorothy is critical, provide a snapshot of her to the photographer, or buy her a special corsage so all will know to get lots of photos of her.
Since a wedding day goes by in a flash, make planning the photography a priority and you and future generations will be glad you did.
(For story suggestions or feedback, contact Carla Hotvedt at SILVER IMAGE® Weddings via email@example.com)