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Find the Perfect Photographer to Shoot Your Wedding

Updated on March 31, 2014

Find the Perfect Photographer to Shoot Your Wedding

What Attributes Do You Look for in a Wedding Photographer

If there is one day in your entire life to use a professional wedding photographer it has to be your wedding day. For many couples, you only get married once, often people look their best when they get married, and the photos from a wedding can only be taken once, you can't have a wedding do-over, you need a professional wedding photographer in order to capture the special moment, and the pictures you capture become a treasure and a keepsake.

The setting has to come out perfect, the photos taken have to be timely, it takes experience to know where to position, the lighting and setting on the camera has to be right, the important emotional moments have to be captured, the expressions on faces are a focal point, and the subjects in the photos need to be looking in the proper direction.

The subjects in wedding photography photos need to be centered and after the wedding shoot is over, proper editing techniques need to be applied to make the photos look even more sharp and beautiful. Wedding photographers have the ability to affect the memories of your wedding. Years down the road, the wedding will become a distant memory, much of the wedding will be forgotten, but a great wedding photographer in pictures brings the wedding back to life, a skilled wedding photographer knows how to capture the special moments of your wedding day.

The great wedding photographers have these particular attributes. They have character, they are very professional on how they operate, act, and dress. The come highly recommended, they tend to be highly personable, they are sincere, and they are very creative. The great wedding photographers are perfectionists, they pay much attention to detail, they are on top of the current photography equipment, they know what equipment to use for each type of photo, their equipment is ready and they are positioned properly for each climax moment, they are positioned in the right place at the right time and they tend to have excellent sales skills.

A great wedding photographer is very personable, they know how to put a wedding couple at ease. They enable a wedding couple to focus on their wedding and not worry about their wedding photography. A great wedding photographer would make a great guest at your wedding reception. There are a number of photographers out there, you don't want to hire a photographer that can ruin a wedding and there are some out there that could. Avoid hiring wedding photographers that are rude, lazy, distracting, authoritarian, unprofessional, or sloppy. For your wedding, don't just pick out any wedding photographer off of the web or out of a phone book, find a wedding photographer that you are comfortable communicating with and talking to.

You want to find a wedding photographer that knows how to set the right mood, one that can make you smile, laugh, and puts you in a good frame of mind as you are getting wedding pictures taken. You want a wedding photographer that leaves a good impression around your wedding guests. A good photographer is friendly towards your wedding guests, but during photo shoot time, they become assertive but in a friendly kind of way, they are effective, and well organized.

The professional wedding photographer meets with the wedding couple and together communicating comes up with a plan of action on taking photos, whether they work off a checklist of photos wanted or scheme up action shots. The great wedding photographer meets with both sides of the family and learns the family structure for the wedding and learns what photos are most important. The great photographer meets with the officiant and communicates how best to capture the wedding moment. The photographer meets with wedding vendors to communicate what they are up to and where they will be located to get good photos.

The great wedding photographer becomes familiar with the ceremony site, photo shoots, and wedding reception space before the wedding day. He/she also gets their hands on the day of wedding schedule so they are positioned at the right moment. They also insure the bride looks her best for the wedding photography, her hair and makeup are looking good, wedding flowers are positioned properly and captures special pictures such as the uncut wedding cake.

It's important to find a great wedding photographer that a wedding couple enjoys being around, the wedding photographer follows the bride all day long and is often in her face. It's important they get along well, and keeps the bride in a good mood looking beautiful for her wedding day.

Where to Find Great Wedding Photographers

There is an abundance of wedding photographers, thousands in cities, hundreds in towns. The secret is finding a great one to shoot your special wedding day. Almost anyone can take a picture using a digital camera. A great wedding photographer insures a great picture is taken, insures he/she has got the right camera for the type of lighting. The right camera or lens needs to be used for inside the church whether it be close up or looking down the wedding aisle. The church maybe be dark, outside the sky could be sunny, partly sunny, cloudy, sunset, or pictures could be in a well lit room, or a darkened room or darken outside with lights or fireworks. Each situation requires the proper camera, lighting situation, and the proper lens.

The great wedding photographer, knows how to capture lovely backgrounds, insures the subjects have a good attention span, has the subjects in a good frame of mind, and when the photo sessions are complete, has access to editing equipment to even make the wedding photography come out even more beautiful.

There are a number of places to start your search for great photographer. You can find some by downloading wedding planning apps onto your mobile device such as your iPad, iPhone, or Android device, one company is called Wedding Selections. You can also find wedding photographers in wedding directories. Some reputable wedding directories include www,theweddingdirectory.us , www.gatheringguide.com , www.weddingwire.com , www.perfectweddingguide.com , www.mywedding.com , www.eventective.com , and www.decidio.com .

You can also find wedding directories using search engines, inputting your city or town followed by "wedding photographers". You also can talk to family, friends, co-workers, wedding planners, and wedding vendors. Wedding photographers also advertise in photography magazines and other wedding related magazines, check if they have classifieds near the back of the magazines. You can also put an ad in a high volume free classified website such as "Craigslist", put the ad into the Event Category, put a catchy ad in such as "Looking for a Fabulous Wedding Photographer to Photograph our Wedding". Make sure you interview a half a dozen wedding photographers before choosing one to shoot your wedding. Another place you can find wedding photographers is in the Yellow Pages.

Many wedding photographers have studios and many work out of their home. It is recommended to use a full time wedding photographer over a part time one. The full time wedding photographer has their reputation and livelihood on the line and tends to create a superior product. A part time photographer is not always on top of having great photographic equipment and has less to worry about, should something go wrong.

Find a good meeting spot to meet the wedding photographer for an interview. You might meet them in your home, in their studio, or in their home. If they are a bit of distance away, you could meet them at a between location, meet them in a quiet area of a restaurant, at a wedding venue when it's slow, a country club, golf club, bar, or a slow time at a coffee shop. Just be sure where you meet is quiet or not crowded and have a bit of table room to look at pictures.

Maybe you can set up a day devoted to your wedding photographer hunt and have back to back to back meeting, try to not overlap appointments, if you find someone you like you can arrange a followup interview. Before meeting, identify the amount of time the wedding photographer needs for the appointment. Confirm the appointment the day before the meeting, and if you are running late in traffic, let the photographer know you are running late.

Free Wedding Photography Tutorial Tips and Tricks

Your Appointment With the Wedding Photographer

Before meeting in an interview meeting with a wedding photographer, most great wedding photographers usually will have a website. Check out the style of wedding photography that wedding photographer takes. Many wedding photographers feature their own style, some wedding photographers are called "Traditionalist Wedding Photographers", these photographers generally work off a wedding checklist of photos. Other wedding photographers are called "Photo Journalistic Photographers", these photographers tend to get input from wedding couples and their wedding photography is set up to tell a story. Some of their photos may be taken another day, outside of their wedding. You want to look at a photographer's website, get an idea of style, and also look at the photos in their website, some photographers are top notch in editing and their photos look brilliant whereas others don't put much emphasis on editing and their photos look ordinary.

When you first talk on the phone and meet the wedding photographer, make sure first he/she is available on the day of your wedding. Make sure he/she would be the one shooting your wedding, you want to be sure you are compatible. You should also divulge the amount of wedding guests you are planning to have for your wedding and where the ceremony and reception locations are going to be. Many wedding photographers will talk to you in terms of photography packages and what each package includes.

Early in your interview meeting with the wedding photographer, most wedding photographers share a portfolio of pictures of previous weddings he/she has taken. Evaluate the pictures, do they look brilliant or ordinary. Do the subjects look enchantingly beautiful or are you looking at an ordinary photo with not much expression or do the photos capture a beautiful event. The photos you see should help you make your decision on what photographer to go with.

A lot of discussion will be centered around how the wedding photographer operates and what you are looking for in the realms of wedding photography. You need to discuss, what types of pictures you want in your wedding album, you should look at examples of other wedding albums. You also need to discuss, what types of photos are needed for picture frames, what pictures for wallet size pictures, what pictures for a CD or DVD, are pictures wanted for a wedding album, or pictures for an online photo album.

Many different wedding photographers have their own fee structures, most often each has their unique photography packages. If you are satisfied with any of their packages and it fits your budget go for it. If the packages that are shown to you, you are not satisfied with what is being offered, this is what to do.

First start with your photography budget, then subtract 10% or 20% from your budget and come up with a wedding photography range putting your budget on the high end of the range and put your low range at 10 or 20% less. Give the wedding photographer your range and tell the photographer exactly what pictures you want from the wedding. Can the wedding photographer come up with a package that's within your budget and with the photos you want.

If the photographer is interested in shooting your wedding, he/she will come up with a solution. What happens sometimes, the photographer tries to come up with a package that is mid range of your budget and comes up with pictures you are really looking for and adds a few more. You get a package that is a little less than budget and maybe you don't get all your photos, but get most of what you really want.

Remember, when you are talking wedding photography, you have the upper hand, there are thousands of wedding photographers in your city and many would love to shoot your wedding. You have the upper hand. Wedding photographers might charge anywhere from $500 to $4,000 with the amount charges by a skilled wedding photographer is around $1500. Many wedding photographers are very skilled in sales and might try to get you to upgrade and get you to get anything and everything. Many wedding couples are naive and easily get convinced and overpay. The secret to getting a good wedding photographer is to interview a half dozen and then go with who you think is best. Some will tell you, the deal they offer is only good for today. If you find them to be the best, most likely their offer, a week later will still stand.

Many brides and families think they are overpaying when it comes to wedding photographers, in actuality a wedding photographer actually spends a bit over 40 hours of service on a typical wedding. The photographer might spend 3 hours on an engagement shoot, spend a full day at a wedding (bride's home, wedding ceremony, photo shoot somewhere, and at the wedding reception). He/she might take anywhere from 500 to 4,000 photos. It often takes them 10 hours and more loading, cropping, editing, in production, designing and preparing the wedding album, add 5 hours in meetings, phone calls, corresponding in emails, planning sessions, preparing slide shows, trips to the photo lab, and traveling to and from meetings and wedding venues.

The wedding photographer also has a lot in expense outlays. Besides office overheads, they have to often purchase all sorts of camera equipment including cameras, lenses, lighting, protective bags, and camera bags. They also have to purchase computer software processing including storage, backup, and editing software. They have to purchase wedding albums, camera cards, camera batteries, proof prints, proof albums, negatives, photographic paper, insurance, studio rent or mortgage, utility costs, assistant help, equipment for slide shows, DVD's, CD's and furniture and storage in their office. Often their interviews don't result in gigs, most weddings happen only on Saturdays. The typical salary for a wedding photographer is a little over $28,000 and their salary must cover a lot.

Wedding Photographers Day of Wedding

A week or two before the wedding, the wedding photographer usually will spend time with the wedding couple and their families to lay out the plan for the wedding day. A lot of wedding photographers have their own way of doing things, some put together a plan working off a photographer's checklist, others kind of lay out a story, others just keep shooting photos the day of the wedding and capturing climax moments.

A good photographer will often wear a neck strap with a number of cameras strapped to it and choose the camera that best suit's the moment. Some cameras are better for closeups, some are better for distances, some are better for wide angles, and some are better for different lighting conditions. Wedding moments happen quickly, it's often quicker to switch cameras than to switch a setting or lens on a camera.

It's generally a good idea to assign a family member or friend that knows the family structure well to assist the wedding photographer when it's time for bride's and groom's photos. Many photographers limit or restrict guests from taking photos. Wedding photographers have different policies in regarding guests taking pictures. The reason photographers implement this policy, if the photographer and guests are taking photos at the same time, some of the subjects in the photos often end up looking in different directions other than the wedding photographer or the photographer ends up with an unwanted flash in a photo he/she has taken.

Also, sometimes a photographer is restricted where he/she can station themselves inside of a church or ceremony site. The photographer has a good photo lined up at a special moment, and then a wedding guest with a cell phone jumps in the way of a special moment taking away the photographer's good shot. The wedding photographer is trying their best to produce great photos for their client. What happens often at weddings, bride's hear complaints from their guests not being able to get a good photos of wedding couple's for themselves and sometimes brides end up being upset with the wedding photographer.

In an interview with the wedding photographer, bride's and family should look for a win/win solution. At each photo shoot, allow the wedding photographer take his photo and then let wedding guests to get their photos, just don't let wedding guests and the photographer be taking photos at the same time. This setup needs to be advertised so wedding guests don't get into the wedding photographer's way.

The wedding photographer needs to meet with wedding officiants, wedding venue managers, and wedding vendors, so the photographer knows where he/she can be positioned during parts of a wedding ceremony and wedding reception. Some officiants work well with wedding photographers and some make it difficult to get good photos during a wedding ceremony. It helps that they communicate where a photographer can be positioned during the ceremony. The wedding couple can help the situation out by setting a one on one meeting. Wedding rehearsals are often a good time to meet, before or after the rehearsal time.

Wedding Photography Processing of Photos

After a wedding photography shoot, a photographer will have all his photos from different cameras on memory cards. When he/she gets back to his studio or home office after the ceremony he/she will download all their images to a software program, a software program something like photo mechanic. He/she will back up all the wedding images somewhere, possibly on a hard drive or an online software storage program. This safeguards the photos being saved in the event of a computer crash or should equipment become damaged from a fire, flood, or other disaster.

After the images are saved, the images are sorted and selected, often the pictures are copied and backed up to a photo editing system. One popular editing system is called "Lightroom". Often thousands of photos are captured from a wedding. After images are loaded, they will be gone through, they are reviewed, some photos are selected and they will be imported into lightroom for additional editing.

The wedding photographs are reviewed with many types of editing functions applied to the photos, techniques that can take an ordinary photo and make it into a brilliant photo. Many of the terminology you may hear when it comes to making editing adjustments include white balancing, exposure, contrast, saturation, brightness, apply coloring effects, cropping, reducing red eye, dodge and burn, add/remove vignettes, perform light retouching, reduce noise, sharpen images, and make tone curve adjustments.

Some editing enhancements are done individually and some are done in groups of photos that have similar lighting conditions when photos were taken. Once images have finished going through editing, they generally are exported as a JPEG export file and given a naming convention established for their client.

Sometimes the wedding photographer starts with thousands of picture and reduces the amount to around 500 photos. The photos are set up to be reviewed with a client, they might be setup on a slide show or put into an online album for review. Photos are selected along with the client to determine which ones should be selected for a photo album, picture frames, wallet photos, CD's, DVD's, other devices, wedding websites, or possibly a wedding couple's online photo album.

Some photos selected might go through a retouching process. Retouching might include reducing bags under ones eyes, whitening of teeth, heal temporary blemishes on face or skin, and remove distraction elements from a photo such as an exit sign, unsightly debris, or garbage on the ground. Some photographers will use Photoshop for the retouching of images.

Every photo studio has their own way of processing photos. Some wedding photographers contract with a photography editing company. The good wedding photographers can give the wedding couple a good idea when the photos will be ready. The better photo products tend to be with wedding photographers who do their editing in-house. It is recommended not to rush the turnaround time for the processing of photos. The photos often will come out better if there is less pressure applied to turn around. It takes time to edit photos to make have them come out exceptionally beautiful. Less editing techniques might be applied if they have to be rushed.

Lightroom 5 Wedding Editing Tutorial

What's in a Wedding Photographer's Camera Bag

The great wedding photographers tend to have all the right photography equipment. In a wedding photographer's camera bag he/she should have the following equipment. He/she should have a main camera, backup camera, medium zoom lens, telephoto lens, wide angle lens, prime lens, flash diffuser, speedlights, tripod, camera memory cards, camera batteries, lens cleaner kit, and lens hood.


Main Camera and Backup Camera

A professional wedding photographer always carries more than one camera. For quick climax moments that happen often at weddings, it is a lot easier to switch cameras than changes the lens on a camera, spending time switching lenses may result in missing the shot. It's always advised to always have on hand a backup camera for every occasion. The wedding photographer is always prepared should something go wrong with any of their equipment, it could be a dead battery, equipment get jammed, or a lens could get clobbered by dirt specs or a sand storm.

Lens

It is always important to select the proper lens for the types of wedding photos you are taking. Sometimes you want a head shot, sometimes a 3/4's shot, sometimes a full body shot, and some shots from a distance.

Medium Zoom Lens

A 24mm-70mm +2.8 is said to be the best lens for wedding photographers. The focal length is great for taking wedding portraits. This lens offers both wide and fixed perspectives. The wide aperture of the lens gives flexibility in nighttime light situations.

Telephoto Lens

Telephoto lens are great to use when you need to capture images or events froma distance. This lens is great to use if their is a need to capture group photos and for use with capturing bridal party photos. A telephoto lens that is 70-300 mil is a recommended one to use. You can also capture closeups from afar without disturbing guests allowing a good close up shots from a distance.

Wide Angle Lens and Prime Lens

A wedding photographer does not want to carry too many lens when shooting weddings or their camera bag will start to get a bit heavy. To get good shots of big groups or get a good shot of the wedding couple with a panoramic background view, a wide angle camera is recommended. If you are looking for a shot that's has dark spaces in the background with a vague depth, take that shot using a prime lens.

Flash Diffuser

You can radically change the way light illuminates your subject using a flash diffuser. The flash diffuser secures to the top of your camera and shoots light up and out from the camera, causing the light to bounce off the ceiling and wall. The flash diffuser is really helpful when you have no time or ability to set up lights. The light diffuser helps create better photos allowing light to hit the subject at different angles in a darkened room.

Speedlights

Sppedlights are flash devices which are not built into the camera. There are on camera speedlights and off camera speedlights. On camera speedlights are mounted onto the camera, when the shutter is fired it automatically triggers a flash. Off camera flashes are powerful lights and positioned upon the subject allowing light to hit the subject from different directions. Speedlights help you get great photos at night and are used for studio photographing.

Tripods

Tripods are a triangular stable stand and are used to mount a camera or speedlights. They enable a steady platform used to take a photo or allow lights such as sppelights apply apply lights from an angle upon a subject.

Memory Cards and Batteries

You need to be sure you are using the proper memory cards that is compatible with your camera. Most memory cards are in the SD family of formats. SD cards today come in three flavors. There is the original SD card, SD high capacity, and the newer SD extended capacity. Each version of SD cards come in a variety of storage capacities and transfer speeds. The CF memory card mostly works with older version style cameras.

A;ways carry extra memory cards and batteries. Often memory cards get filled, run out of space or gets corrupted. Sometimes batteries get drained effected by heat. It is suggested to always have 2 or 3 sets of batteries per camera and speedlights. A day or two before you need your camera equipment, you should check or charge all your batteries so they are in good condition for your shoots.

Lens Cleaning Kit and Lens Hood

Whenever you are taking photos, there often is a change your lens will get dirty from blowing dirt, sand, and raindrops. Your photo can get disturbed if your lens becomes dirty. It's a good idea to have a cleaning kit on hand to help keep your camera and camera lens clean. Your cleaning kit should include a rocket blower, a camera brush, a lens cloth, and it's a good idea to carry a pen knife. You should keep all you camera equipment in a protective bag and lenses protected using a lens hood.

Other Recommended Camera Equipment

Your camera bag might include a neck shoulder strap to allow you to have a number of cameras dangle on your person and available to use on a moments notice. Other equipment you should consider, a remote control trigger, a circular polarizer, a rain cover for your equipment, a battery charger, an umbrella, a camera reflector and a "portaprivy", which is a little tent in which your subjects can get inside for a change of clothing.

What's in Your Camera Bag

Canon LP-E6 Battery Pack

Wedding Photography Tidbits

When you are ready to sign a contract with a wedding photographer, it is advised to have an extra set of eyes along, it helps to have someone along to look through the contract of the wedding photographer and someone who is there as a witness of the contract. Invite along a family member, the maid of honor, a close friend, or your fiancee in your meeting to sign the contract. Make sure whatever agreements that were verbally stated are in the contract. You want no surprises or hidden fees. Be sure all fees are spelled out in the contract such as overtime and travel fees. The contract is your insurance of being compensated if there is non performance.

You might consider leaving disposable cameras or video phones on your reception tables to get good action shots of the wedding and they would make good wedding favors. Some wedding guests would love the opportunity to be in a shot with an old friend.

If your wedding photographer and wedding guests are interested, you might arrange for studio type portraits once the wedding photography photos are over. It's a good occasion for relatives and friends to get good family photos done since they are dressed up in their finest clothing.

Should you have a photo booth at your wedding, you might be able to have your wedding photographer or assistant watch over it to oversee the prints are coming out well, props are in position and that individuals aren't hogging the booth. Some photo booth photos might make a good collage of photos in the back of your wedding photo album.

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    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Good point that they do need to be personable. And so, the photographer is about having more than photography skills - being well-rounded is important. Such thorough details here!