Choosing The Right Wedding Photographer And Videographer
" Now very often events are set up for photographers....The weddings are orchestrated about the photographers taking the picture, because if it hasn't been photographed it doesn't really exist."~Elliott Erwitt
When it's time to finally choose your photographer, DO NOT just hire anyone. Remember, a photographer will be documenting your wedding day. Not all photographers are the same. Pricing structures are very different and some photographers offer a high end, quality product while others offer mediocre at best. Be cautious because if you don't do your homework, you could end up with a hot mess of photos after the wedding and you can't go back in time to change it.
What Does Your Photographer Offer?
Many are now using digital photography. When it comes to digital photography, there are many factors to consider. For example, the quality, choices and pricing may differ significantly from one photographer to another. The reason for this is the type of camera that they will be using to take your photos. Consumer grade digital cameras will cost a few hundred dollars but top of the line pro brands can cost upwards to $10,000.
The most expensive component of photography is the labour. There are a variety of things that a photographer may or may not do and everything takes a great deal of time and effort. The more they do the more they charge. In order to get an idea of what a prospective photographer offers, you should ask the following questions:
-Does the photographer offer an Engagement photo shoot? If yes, are they taken in a studio or a scenic location and are clothing changes allowed?
-Do they offer pre-bridal glamour shots? These are stylized portraits done before the wedding which accentuate the gorgeous bride in her gown.
-Ask the photographer how much time they will spend taking pictures on your wedding day. Some charge by the hour with a restriction on number of photos and locations while others devote the entire day and evening without limits on what they will photograph.
-Ask the photographer how much time they will spend in preparation for your wedding day. For example, depending on their equipment, how much time will they spend testing their equipment or recharging batteries? You don't want any malfunctions on your big day!
-Does your photographer have an assistant to help in thoroughly covering the events of the day?
-Will the photographer spend time to edit and prepare a proof album for you or is he/she going to give you a bunch of pictures or rolls of film?
-Does your photographer offer a website where long-distance family members and friends can view your photos through a password protected link?
-Prior to sending out to the lab, will the photographer spend any time cropping, improving layout or composition of the negatives or images?
-Will your portraits be processed at a professional lab that specializes in wedding portraits or are they mailing them out to a less than desirable discount lab?
-Will they take the time to assemble your wedding album or expect you to do it yourself?
-Ask who will be taking the photos on the wedding day. Find out if it is the actual owner(s) or if it's hourly staff hired on the outside. You want only the best on your day.
For a professional photographer to effectively complete all of these tasks, he/she, and or staff will have to spend a minimum of 40 hours. However, there are variables involved and in no way touch upon the issues of talent, skill level, technique or experience. An expert, full time photographer's time and labour will be far more valuable than that of beginner or a weekend hobbiest.
Making The Right Choice
Three Steps To Choosing A Wedding Photographer:
1) Choose a photographer that offers the particular style which you prefer. Although there are a large variety of styles, the two most popular styles are "traditional" and "Photojournal/Contemporary". Traditional photos are staged poses with very few candid shots. Photojournal or Contemporary captures undirected, spontaneous emotion that tells the story as it happens. Do your homework because some photographers claim to have photojournalistic ability and do not. Look for a photographer whose images stir emotion within you.
2) Find a photographer whose personality meshes well with yours. Make sure that it's someone you will enjoy working with on your big day. Don't spend your wedding day with someone you don't care for because he's inexpensive.
3) Once you have found a few photographers that meet the above 2 requirements, you can then compare price and package options. If you really love one particular photographer and he/she is a little more expensive than the others, it may be best to spend the extra money if it's within reason.
The similarities between photographers vary greatly. There is a wide range in levels of personalized service as well as in the quality and quantity of your photos. Taking the time to research various photographers is an important process. As mentioned before, this person is responsible for documenting one of the most important days of your life. Your wedding photos will be the sweet reminder of the love and excitement of the event long after your wedding day is over.
Much like choosing your photographer, when it comes to selecting a videographer, you MUST do your homework if you wish to avoid disappointment. Your video is meant to last a lifetime, just like your portraits. Therefore, you will want to choose a qualified and reputable videographer to preserve one of the most important days of your life.
Choosing The Right Videographer
Following some of these tips will save you from the potential headaches and frustration associated with selecting a less than qualified videographer:
-Do Your Research-When seeking out services for your wedding, it is always prudent to do your homework. In your search for the ideal videographer, doing some research on the internet by visiting forums and blogs or talking to people that have used a particular videographer will get you on the right track. Once you have found a few that have peaked your interest, be sure to meet with them in person. Talk to the individual who will be shooting your video. Be sure to have your list of questions with you. Be sure to research their education, qualifications and experience.
-Book Early-It is a good idea to book a videographer early on in your wedding planning process. It is never a good idea to wait until the last minute because they may not be available for your date. Also, some videographers do some pre-wedding footage so you will have to allow time.
-Request Samples-You should request some samples of their work to review. If they have a Website, you should be able to see samples there. It is best to review as many videos archived as possible to get a feel for their picture quality of work, composition and transitions. Also, inquire as to whether they use professional quality wireless microphones for sound because audio is of great importance as well. If they use board microphones the quality will be poor.
-Customizing-Do they offer customizable services for your convenience? Good production companies that are on top of the most current trends tend to offer their clients some of the latest services. Some companies that do not keep up with the latest trends will offer the same outdated services to everyone. If you are looking for a specific mood, style or special effects, be sure to provide samples with you in order to express what you want. Also, ask to see the different types of special effects they offer.
-Style-What type of video style do they have? Today, the client's needs have shifted with regards to videography. In order to meet these needs video companies are including Save the Date options, Vignettes, and Couple Stories. Ask about what else can be included in your video such as highlights, credits, or photomontages. Another popular trend is Cinematic Weddings where they create an overall mood that supersedes basic footage.
-Personality-A prospective videographer's personality and overall appearance should be taken into consideration. Also, it is a good idea to ask the videographer to dress appropriately for the occasion. You don't want him/her to come in jeans or shirts to a formal affair. Another thing to consider is meeting anyone else working with them that day, in person as well. You need to be able to work well with everyone involved.
-Ensure that Videographer Can Work Well with a Photographer-It is a very good idea to have your videographer meet with your photographer. These two integral wedding day service providers will need to work well together. It is always better if they can work together in the spirit of co-operation and not create unwanted issues by getting in each other's way.
-Etiquette-Most experienced videographers possess proper etiquette and know how to get the job done well while remaining under the radar and not being seen. Ensure that your prospective videographer is unobtrusive. You should ask if they have had experience at your ceremony and reception venues before. It might be a good idea to ask them in advance not to disturb guests with interview type questions.
-Equipment-A good video company will offer High Definition (HD) from start to finish. Many companies offer HD, however not all HD is the same. Some videographers shoot in Standard Definition and then burn the footage to Blu-ray. Also, ask them what types of cameras they use explaining the differences. They should be using the latest HD cameras with 1080p resolution. Look for videographers that are using HD cameras and glidecams, shooting in 24 frames per second (FPS), and who are knowledgeable in cinematic editing techniques.
-Ask For Referrals-It is a good idea to ask the videographer for a recent list of clients that you can contact.
-Pricing-Discuss pricing with a prospective videographer and see if they can stay within your budget. Inquire about any additional fees. Also, remember that most deposits are non-refundable so keep that in mind. Ask if they are offering any discounts or special promotions. Many production companies are now offering a gift registry to finance wedding videos. This can be added to overall cost or toward specific items such as additional hours or extra DVDs.
Much like your photographer, your videographer is an important element because he/she will be filming your wedding. He will be responsible for capturing the live action of your special day. Your wedding video is meant to capture all the cherished memories of the day. What a treasure to be shared with family and friends for years to come!