Wedding Photography Tips

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What is considered traditional wedding photography?

Traditional Wedding Photography

Wedding photography before, during and after the service is a part of setting up the wedding album. While some wedding photographers will only focus on the traditional elements and others want to experiment with them, it's very important to understand the ‘expectations' of a typical album. Many can be taken before the ceremony or after. Some couples even schedule a day just for these posed shots on a day separated from the wedding. The scheduling decision will be purely between the couple and the wedding photographer:

Traditional Wedding Shots:

Bridal Shots

  • Bride alone – close up, three-quarters and full length
  • Bride with mom
  • Bride with dad
  • Bride with both parents
  • Just the parents
  • Bride with grandparents
  • Bride with siblings
  • Bride with family
  • Bride with each bridesmaid
  • Bride with flower girls
  • Bride with bridesmaids and flower girls
Groom Shots
  • Groom alone – close up, three-quarters and full length
  • Groom with mom
  • Groom with dad
  • Groom with both parents
  • Just the parents
  • Groom with grandparents
  • Groom with siblings
  • Groom with family
Bride and Groom
  • Bride and Groom with each set of parents
  • Bride and groom with each immediate family and each set of grandparents
  • Bride and Groom with various aunts/uncles as family chooses
  • Bride and Groom with the Minister/Rabbi/Service Conductor

What do you owe your wedding photographer?

Take Care of Your Wedding Photographer

In addition to paying your photographer the general fee for your wedding photos, it's a good idea to feed your wedding photographer if they are shooting pictures of the reception as well. For the majority of wedding photographers, they book one wedding per day. This allows them the time to travel to the wedding location, set up, and take pictures before, during and after the ceremony. They will also then transport their equipment to the reception to capture key moments during the reception for your wedding album.

Not only will you be providing nurishment for your wedding photographer, your wedding photography will benefit because your photographer is going to linger longer during the reception. The additional cost of a plate or allowing the wedding photographer to serve his or herself at the buffet is not enough to be concerned about.

Client Tip: Plan an extra plate for the wedding
photographers and any assistants they may have with them at your
reception. This gives them the option of eating and drinking without
being obtrusive at the wedding reception. If you are planning a buffet
reception, it's usually good to let the photographer and his or her
assistant know they are more than welcome to a plate. You can even set
up a quiet table in a corner of the reception for staff and wedding
vendors to be able to sit and eat. If you are serving a plate dinner,
then ask the photographer ahead of time what they prefer from the menu
and plan accordingly.

What should you discuss with your wedding photographer?

Describe Your Wedding Photography for Your Photographer

When you meet with your wedding photographer, you will have a lot to talk about. There will be many different moments happening before, during and after the wedding. Wedding photography is part photojournalism and part portraiture. You want your wedding photographer to be prepared for the unexpected. During your interview with them, you want to ask them about their style; their background and their experience.

You want a wedding photographer who watches the people around them. You want wedding photography that comes from being unobtrusive where they catch not only the key wedding moments, but also the moments of deep connection between the bride, the groom, the family members and other guests.

Imagine, standing in the vestibule of the Church while the Bride is waiting with her father for their cue. They aren't saying anything with words, but Dad brushes her cheek with his knuckles, ever so lightly and her eyes shimmer with tears. The corners of her mouth turn up just ever so slightly and her father's face softens as well. That is the shot you want in your wedding photography. Be sure to give your wedding photographer clear details of the wedding location, venue, theme and most of all – what you want to see.

Take the time to talk to your wedding photographer during the interview and during the wedding planning. If it helps, write down what you want your wedding album to look like before you meet with the photographer in order to give them clear directions. Remember, however, that while the wedding photographer is a professional, it's still your wedding.

How do you see your wedding photography?

Memory Book Wedding Photography

There are key moments in every wedding that you want to have documented by the wedding photography, but you may or may not want your wedding photography to resemble traditional images. One of the best ways for a bride to figure out how to request the wedding photography she wants is to visualize the story book she wants to look at in a few years.

One way to help a bride visualize their wedding photography is to sit down and write out a memory book while visualizing the pictures that could go there. Make notes in the margins of the pages. Write down things like: “Mom's smiling, but you can see the tears in her eyes.” Or “Cindy looks great in the dress, but what is she looking at?” Go for the funny lines, go for the sentimental and go for your own personality. These are the lines that you want to be able to show to your wedding photographer.

Think of them as a road map to your own book of memories. There plenty of important ceremony moments that your wedding photography will capture, but you can give the photographer tips on how you want those images to look and the shots he or she should be looking for:

Important Ceremony Moments:

Procession (Bride/Father; Close Up of Bride's Mother, Close up of Groom waiting)

The passing of the Bride's hand from the father to the mother

Profile Shot of Bride and Groom in front of the Minister as the ceremony Begins

Exchange of Vows/Rings

The Kiss

The Presentation

What do you need to know?

Interviewing Your Wedding Photographer

When you are planning a wedding, you need to capture the moments and that means hiring a wedding photographer. There are many ways to locate a wedding photographer, including recommendations from friends and families or letting your fingers do the walking either via an Internet search or in the Yellow Pages. But when it comes to interviewing your wedding photographer, there are a few things you definitely want to know.

First and foremost, don't walk into your interview with the photographer blind. Do your homework. In 2006, 2,271,343 weddings are estimated to occur in the United States. That's nearly 3 million opportunities for wedding photographers in the United States alone. In the United Kingdom and France, the number of weddings expected to take place will reach a combined 2 million opportunities. The average wedding will cost around $26,100 U.S. with market value of items associated with weddings, such photographs, reaching over 59 billion dollars U.S.

A standard photo package in the United States for a wedding would include up to 7 hours of coverage, unlimited number of images, videography, online proofs and 35 to 70 matte or glossy finish prints in varying sizes. The average cost for this standard package is about $2400 U.S. An elite or premium package would include another photographer, more time, specialized sessions with the bride or groom for a portrait layout and a higher number of prints at $3600 U.S.

Knowing these basic facts can help you to know what it is you're looking for when you begin the interview.

  • Are you actually interviewing the photographer who will be at the wedding or their corporate representative?
  • Do they have samples of wedding photography they have done before?
  • Do their samples of wedding photography include the types of images you have in mind?
  • What is the minimum pricing package?
  • What is included in the package?
  • Do they offer digital packages?
  • Do they include video or is that separate?
  • Do they work with assistants? Will they be available for the rehearsal dinner?
  • What is their booking schedule? (This is important, you don't want your photographer booking another wedding that is too close to yours on the same day)
  • What is their standard method of working?
  • Are they willing to listen to your input?
  • What contingencies and guarantees do they offer?
  • How soon after the wedding will you be able to see the proofs? (2-4 weeks is normal)

what creative opportunities will the wedding photographers have for candids?

Opportunities for Shots at the Reception

You'll be able to get interesting shots during the dancing, too. Watch for the children and the older members of the family dancing. Those provide absolutely charming memories. Photographs during the reception should rarely if ever be posed. This is a time when wedding photographers take pictures of the newlyweds having fun whether they are stuffing cake into each other's faces or going for a twirl on the dance floor.

Ask the wedding photographer to take detail pictures. Have them capture the exterior and interior of a location, especially one that's remarkable for itself such as a bed and breakfast or old style country inn or even a Disney World Resort feature. Have the wedding photographer take pictures of the decorations, the cake placement, and the band – the atmosphere of the reception. In fact, the creative opportunities at the reception are endless. You can use many of the shots taken at the reception for more than just your memory book and wedding albums, but also for thank you cards, Christmas Cards and more.

Challenge your wedding photographer to explore their creativity during the reception. Take advantage of the fact that family members and friends, old and new, near and far have all come together to celebrate your wedding. Imagine a picture of your mother-in-law with your oldest friend and another that captures your younger brother in conversation with your great Uncle Milton, every family has a dozen stories and the creative wedding photographer will find all of those and more to tell in the candid shots they capture at your wedding reception.

What are the key moments in reception wedding photography?

Wedding Photography at the Reception

Receptions are as important as the wedding for both traditional and candid shots. The photographer will need to be prepared to move to the reception following the couples' shots with the bride, groom and family after the wedding ceremony. If the reception is located in a different place from the ceremony, many photographers will need an assistant to help get the equipment broken down and moved to the reception area.

While wedding ceremonies might be typical, receptions are usually anything but. They range from long, boring affairs where people are hungry and impatient, but traditionally the party doesn't start until the bride and groom arrive. They can also be rousing parties with lots of action. Expect the unexpected and let wedding photographer know what shots at the reception are the most important.

You'll want to make sure you get a few of the following traditional reception activities in key shots:

  • Arrival
  • Cutting the Cake
  • Cake Feeding
  • The Toasts
  • First Dance
  • The Car
The cake and the dance are very important moments, both from the breaking of bread together to the absolute romance. Watch for the children and the older members of the family dancing. Those provide absolutely charming memories. Watch for reaction shots, full lengths of the couple and close-ups of their faces as well as those who are guests at the wedding.

Why should you have disposable cameras on reception tables?

Your Wedding Guests Can Be Amateur Wedding Photographers Too

Wedding photography is expensive and most couples plan at least $2,000 of their budget around the hiring of the photographer and the creating of the stills to look at - that's before you even attempt the picture package. Wedding photographers cost money and generally they are worth every penny of the investment. However, you can do more for your wedding photography than just utilizing the wedding photographer you hired.

Since your guests are often comprised of friends and family, they are more inclined towards trying to capture the odd, absurd, adorable and fun moments in the reception. Those moments that you or family may prize that a wedding photographer couldn't begin to guess at. This is the beauty of intimate friends and family capturing memorable moments on film. It also helps that getting disposable camera film developed inexpensively.

Your wedding guests can be amateur wedding photographers, too. Add a disposable indoor or outdoor camera to each place setting of your tables. You can place one for each guest or a couple per table. You can add a note to the cameras asking guests to take their own pictures and to drop them off at a designated place there at the reception.


Interviewing Your Wedding Photographer

Asking questions is an important part of selecting a wedding photographer, and also the type of wedding photography you want to capture your wedding. Whether dealing with vendors, individual photographers or venues, ask to see albums of their wedding photography and request references from past clients.

How can I get a photographer who takes good candid shots?

Candid Style - Wedding Photographers

If you want to have a lot of great candid-style photographs of your wedding, consider hiring wedding photographers who have a background in news or journalistic photography----often they're the best at capturing moments as they happen and not having to pose everyone in stiff-looking pictures.

What should I consider when thinking about my photography?

Proof Positive

Make certain that you understand who owns the proofs after the wedding. Many photographers retain ownership of the proofs unless it is specifically outlined in the contract that the bride and groom will keep the proofs.

What questions should I ask prospective photographers?

Quizzing the Camera Guy

When you meet with a photographer, here are some questions you'll want to ask:

  • What packages are offered and how many photos are included in each package?
  • Are the proofs yours to keep or do you have to purchase them?
  • What is the cost for additional time or photos?
  • How much is the deposit and when is it due?
  • When is the balance due?
  • Is there a travel charge?
  • Are the negatives available to purchase, and if so, do you have to wait a specified time before you can purchase them?

What should I consider when thinking about my photography?

Nix the Black Dot Effect

When choosing jewelry, dresses and other accessories, keep in mind that crystals photograph better than rhinestones, which tend to look like black dots in photographs.

Should we feed our photographer?

Feed Your Photographer

Be sure to include in your reception a meal for your photographer/videographer. They will be working for you sometimes for nine or ten hours, and it's just plain courteous to make sure they have something to eat during that long time period.

What poem can I leave with the disposable cameras?

More Disposable Camera Rhymes - Wedding Reception Photos

Here are some cute little poems to leave on notes with disposable cameras at your reception: 1) Take wedding reception photos of everyone! Maybe you'll see something We didn't see That we can keep as a memory! Thank you for sharing This special day with us. 2) To celebrate this special day, Pick a camera and really play. Leave it on the table when you are through, So [bride's name] and [groom's name] can develop the photos taken by you. 3) This camera's been provided so We'll have pictures of people we know. Take snaps, if you're able of friends on your table And leave it behind when you go!

How can I get inexpensive photography for my wedding?

Inexpensive Photography

If your budget doesn't allow for the cost of a professional photographer but you still want some nice pictures, consider hiring a photography student from a local college or university. The professors and directors of the photography school should be able to direct you to a promising student.

How can I afford wedding photography?

Photography on a Shoestring and Making Wedding Photos

Start comparative shopping early, insist on viewing samples of the photographers' work (from more than one album). To cut costs, enlist family and friends that are shutter bugs. Place disposable cameras on the guests tables with a note requesting candid shots. This will help with making wedding photos.

What should I know about a videographer before hiring them?

Wedding Videographers Details

Ask your wedding videographers how many cameras they use. Supply your videographer and photographer with the church or synangogue policies in regards to photography as some clergy have very specific rules. Ensure that your photographers comply with the policy to avoid interruptions of the service.

What questions should I ask videographers?

Quizzing the Video Guy - Wedding Videography

When interviewing prospective videographers, you might want to ask them the following questions:What video format is offered? What are the charges for extra time or tape? Will the videographer have available back-up equipment in the event difficulties are encountered? How many cameras will be covering the events? Can a videographic collage be provided? Is a choice of background music available? Are title screens provided? Does the artist provide lighting, or does he rely only on available light? If friends or family want to purchase copies of the tape, can they, and how much will they cost? These are all of the things that should be asked when choosing wedding videography.

How can I make sure my wedding photos aren´t lost?

Back-up Copies

Insist that your videographer creates and archives a back up copy of your wedding video. Find your photographers' policy for how long your negatives will be kept on file and their policy for future retrieval.

How can I save money on photography/videography?

Photo Ideas - Wedding Videography

If you absolutely must cut costs on photography and wedding videography, consider getting just a photographer and have a friend videotape the wedding and ceremony. If you're really strapped, hire a photographer to take pictures only for the ceremony and enlist some helpful friends or family to take pictures at the reception.

Should I hire a videographer for my wedding?

Hiring Wedding Videographers

Visit at least three wedding videographers and compare not only price but also their sample videos. Check references and talk to previous clients to get the real nitty gritty on their service.

I am very interested in starting my own photography business. I just don`t no where to start. Can you give me some pointers and what I`ll need besides a place? Thank you

Photography Business

The best way to start a photography business is to first consult a lawyer about legal issues, taxes, incorporation, and trademark.
Then a simple storefront will do with samples of your work. You will then have to advertise and get customers. Once you have shot the wedding you can then go to a full service lab and have them make the photos and process the film. If you are very successful you may want to open your own lab. This would involve very expensive machines and supplies.

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Guru Spotlight
Shirley Tan