Everyone has a favorite wedding photo. Or, if you're like me, several favorite photos. :) Our wedding photographer did an adequate job...he got all the important moments, he was pleasant and unobtrusive, and he caught a few pics I really loved. But he wasn't involved. He didn't get any really romantic pics (except the few that I specifically requested), and there were some crucial pics missing. But I think that's because I didn't get a chance to chat with him. Our photography company (a commercial unit that randomly assigned photographers to weddings) didn't offer engagement sessions or meetings with the photographer, so we didn't meet him until the day of. There were no pics of me getting ready (which is personally my favorite wedding photo segment)...or detail shots. There weren't any artsy or dreamy photos, nothing in black and white or with any type of editing at all. I found out later that he hated wedding photography and it was just a stepping stone to doing what he really loved, which was international landscape photography and celebrity portraiture...which he's really good at. :) But weddings weren't really his thing and I wish I'd known that before hiring him.
As I come up on celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary, I realize that while photos were terribly important to me, I was really passive in finding a fantastic photographer, one that understood us and our special relationship. I knew what I wanted, but I didn't know how to ask for it. I didn't know I was SUPPOSED to ask for it. Now being a professional photographer, I look at things very differently. I had no idea I had to edit all the pics myself (lifting shadows off faces, fixing little imperfections, getting sharper or more colorful images)...I assumed that my pics would look like the ones they presented on the website. Haha...so naive!. Photographers often show their best work that's been fully edited/retouched, and clients don't realize that there are extra fees that require that level of editing.
For my photos, including engagement and wedding pics, everything the client gets has had post production work. I ensure that there's the highest quality in clarity, color, and a flawless finish to the best of my abilities. What you see on my website and in my portfolio is what you get.
For my brides and grooms, I recommend that you come up with a list of "must have" photos to give to me. We'll definitely talk about the style and vibe you're going for during your engagement session as we get to know each other, but it's really great to write down the photos that you can't live without ahead of the wedding. :) It's also good to have a little "wishlist" of photos...it's not a guarantee that I can capture all of them but I will absolutely make it my focus to do that. A lot of photographers focus so much on getting something in THEIR artistic vision, their own must have shots...and they forget about things that are the most important to their clients.
Our photographer did get some of the Must Haves below...like my Dad and I smiling at each other pre ceremony...Brian and I smiling at each other amidst the chatter at our reception...and between my two older sisters outside on the bluff overlooking the lake. These are the photos that are framed and on display in the house because they hold the most meaning.
I don't mind the occasional photo snap from a family member or friend during the ceremony, but I would advise the bride & groom to ask them in advance to be respectful of the person you actually hired to take the wedding pics. I had an event I photographed back in December and literally had parents and random people shove me with my camera and equipment out of the way to get a photo with their cell phones! I'm not by nature a combative or competitive person, so I'd rather just calmly and professionally do my job without the flash interference or having to ask people to move...I try to be polite and unobtrusive, esp. during the ceremony, and don't want anything to take away from the main event...you & your vows!
That said, people taking random photos during the reception isn't a problem for me. There's a lot more leeway in taking photos then for me, and sometimes a family member or a friend gets a fun moment that I might not be able to get...
Like the one above of us laughing in our limo...our friend Pam snapped it and we love it. Or the one of us in black and white walking away from the crowd...our friend Andrea (now a professional photographer herself) which I adore. Or the pic I took of us in the limo...our first married couple "Greencard". Those pics are important and wonderful.
So as you're choosing your wedding photographer, it's not really about how much experience the photographer has (although they need SOME experience!), or how much it costs (remember that you're investing in something that will last a lifetime)...it's about choosing someone you feel comfortable with...someone whose work you respect and like, someone who understands what photos mean to you, someone who gets your unique relationship, and someone who you know will be calm, cool, collected, fun and dependable on your wedding day. The photographer you select should be the one you trust to make your magical day last forever in the images he or she captures.
It's a big responsibility, and one that I cherish. I look forward to talking with you about your special day. :)
*Please note that all the photos displayed on this blog were hand edited by me and not the photographer who originally took them.