When it comes to your wedding photography choosing who to take the pictures is just one decision to be made…
Once that is done you need to think about the style of photographs you want to achieve from your big day. So what are your choices and how do you ensure you get the right images for you?
What you need to be asking your photographer:
Once you’ve narrowed down your short list to two or three potential photographers, meet with each in person (or by video chat if logistics are tough) to see if you feel comfortable around them. Getting along with them is —almost as crucial as their skills behind the camera. You’ll be spending your entire wedding day with this person and if you’re at ease, you’ll not only enjoy yourself more, but they’ll also get better shots. Win-win! Aside from your gut instinct, ask these questions before choosing a photographer…
What style(s) do you specialize in?
Why you want to know: Most photographers will use a blend of several different styles of photography, but you’ll want to make sure they shoot portraits, for example, if they’re important to you. Going with the style a photographer likes to shoot best (and has the most experience shooting) will give you the best results.
Will the photos be retouched and colour balanced? Is that done before I see the proofs?
Why you want to know: These are the techniques magazines use to make pages look perfect. Some photographers will polish all your photos, while others will show you untouched proofs and work their magic only on the images you order.
How many weddings have you shot, and how many do you do in a year? Also, what’s your favorite part of a wedding day, and time of year to shoot?
Why you want to know: You only have one chance to get amazing wedding photos, so you’ll want to hire someone who knows how to get those shots under pressure.
Do you shoot both digital and film?
Why you want to know: While digital is more common today, film has had a resurgence. If you want the latter, be sure your photographer has the relevant experience and skills required to execute this old-school format. If you’re obsessed with the dreamy quality of film, go with a pro in this medium. In addition to asking how many weddings they’ve shot in total (see above), let them know how many you want taken with film.
If you shoot film, do you usually shoot in both colour and black and white? If you’ll do both, what percentage of each do you recommend?
Why you want to know: These days, most photographer will do a mix of both color and black and white. You’ll get a sense of their style and how your album might look by asking what balance they usually go with.
What exactly is included in your packages?
Why you want to know: When comparing fees, check whether prints, albums and proofs, as well as extra coverage such as engagement shoots, are covered. They can all alter the costs significantly. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if, say, your album isn’t included—you can always make this on your own or buy it à la carte—but you want to be sure you’re comparing like with like to get the best value. If you’re having your photographer use film, also ask about film costs and processing fees.
How many hours of coverage do we get? What is the charge for overtime?
Why you want to know: If overtime is going to cost you a fortune, you’ll be able to plan their hours accordingly. For instance, if you have six hours of coverage but your photographer charges a huge hourly rate for overtime, you might have them leave after you cut the cake instead of after the last dance. Or, you may opt for a longer package to pay a little more up front (and avoid the larger hourly overtime rate later).
What is the deposit and total fee?
Why you want to know: In addition to this bottom line number, you’ll also want to ask when it’s due.
Do you have backup photographers who will shoot the wedding if you’re sick?
Why you want to know: If you’re going with a company that employs a team of photographers, you’ll have a built-in backup. But if you’re going with a solo shooter, ask if they have colleagues on call in case of an emergency.
Will there be a second photographer or any assistants? Is there an additional fee for each (if applicable)?
Why you want to know: Second shooters can cover more ground and can give you two perspectives on major moments (for instance, one can shoot the groom’s face when he first sees his bride and the other can photograph the bride as she walks down the aisle). But this may cost you extra.
How long after the wedding do we get to see the photos?
Why you want to know: You’ll want to see photos ASAP, and the wait can be pretty agonizing (it can take months!). But if you know in advance, you can manage your (and your mother’s) expectations.
How do you coordinate with my videographer? How do you envision working together?
Why you want to know: This pair will need to coordinate and stay out of each other’s way— easier to do if they have a good rapport. If you haven’t hired a videographer yet, ask them for a suggestion.
Have you ever shot at my venue(s) before?
Why you want to know: Your photographer should be aware of any lighting needs or issues specific to the space. If they haven’t ever worked in your venue, they should be willing to check it out beforehand.
Will you follow a shot list? Or do you prefer to have free reign to capture the festivities how you see fit?
Why you want to know: Most photographers will welcome a (short) shot list to make sure you get the specific pics you want. But don’t overwhelm them with hundreds of requests—if you hire a good pro, you’re hiring them for their eye as well as their experience creating amazing albums, so let them do their job.
What are the restrictions for sharing photos online or for publication? Do you own the copyright to the photos?
Why you want to know: If you’re a Facebook and Instagram addict, not being allowed to share some of your wedding photos online may be torture—better to know about this ahead of time.
Do you bring your own lighting?
Why you want to know: Not only will you want to determine if you’ll need to supply additional lighting (either hiring a lighting designer or having the venue supply it), but you’ll want to be sure the equipment they bring won’t be too bulky or obtrusive.
Narrowing down the style you want to Choose From
One of the key trends for 2018 according to photographer Jordan Fraser is a more relaxed/reportage/style. ‘This is achieved,’ he says, ‘by getting the bride and groom to relax as much as possible and just be themselves.
‘It is about creating special moments between the couple when you are using a wide zoom lens when they actually forget the photographer is there.’
‘This year it will be less about the photography and all about the couple.
Dublin based photographer Paul Keeling says he prefers an ‘as it happen’, ‘documentary’ style approach to photography.
‘For me I like to shoot as it happens. I love lots of relaxed happy, smiling images.’
‘I like to get to know the couple well in advance and know their story and feel it is about them and their special day and what they want out of it.
‘Many will have their own style to bring to it. Vintage for example is very popular at the moment.’
This spring is set to see a return to more classical, traditional styles of photographer according to Lurgan based photographer Ciaran O’Neill.
‘Couples have been coming to us requesting a return to this style. They like good strong lighting and silhouettes and backdrop such as windows to frame the photography.
‘We are finding a backlash towards documentary styles as brides want to make the most of their dress, the hair and the make-up and use the day like a mini fashion photo-shoot,’ he explains.
Moving away from the traditional style is Johnny Corcoran who describes himself as specialising in boho weddings.
‘I like to work with the couple and go for images which really suit their style. The boho style works for couples who are looking for something that little bit different and not opting for traditional images.
‘This style is very natural and focuses on the details which the couple have spent so much time focusing on. This style really suits people who want something a little different.
‘I love getting natural shots and am most at home shooting outdoors.
‘Another favourite wedding style of mine is the vintage wedding. These weddings can be really quirky and I love capturing the details.’
For more help on how to choose the perfect wedding photographer, and to check out our recommended suppliers and wedding photographers across Ireland and Northern Ireland CLICK HERE