Everything you wanted to ask a wedding photographer but were afraid to ask – a guest post from Bohemian Weddings
Today we have a guest blog post from Michael and Andrea of Bohemian Weddings, one of our recommended wedding photographers, who have tips and advice on what to ask your wedding photographer to make sure you get the perfect photographer and feel for your wedding day.
Over to Michael and Andrea from Bohemian Weddings…
It may sound obvious but one of the most important things to us as wedding photographers is our relationship with our couples. The reason for this is simple, if we have a good relationship the couple are relaxed, we are relaxed and this really really shows in every photograph we take.
If you have just started your search for your perfect wedding photographer this is an exciting time as there are so many talented people out there who are amazing to work with. But it is important to note that the wedding industry like any other does also have its undesirables and unlike big corporate companies there is no law to enforce vetting of small self-employed photographers…it’s down to you folks!
To help you make the right choice we are going to guide you through what to expect based on questions we receive from our couples.
Before you go any further realise this – you are not expected to know what you are doing! I can imagine a lot of people thinking “huh?”. Well think about it, why should you? Have you been married many times before? Are you actively involved in weddings every day? Do you attend 15 – 20 a year?
A very small percentage will be answering yes to any of these. You have to stick to what you want on your wedding but at the same time have trust in your vendors. They are the ones that have the experience from dealing with all things weddingy day in day out.
There are so many misconceptions surrounding wedding photography, so we’d like to try and guide you through the haze.
Ok, lets get started, open your mind and forget almost everything you thought you knew about wedding photographers…
Contrary to popular belief a wedding photographer in 2013 does not have to run around like a crazy person with a big camera and tripod and shout at people to stand in a certain way or say cheese. In the past photographers used film which consisted of 24-36 exposures per roll, it was time consuming and an expensive way to operate.
I have the upmost respect for photographers that still use film today it’s no easy feat. A majority of photographers now use digital which is expensive to purchase but generally more user friendly in terms of processing (yes professional images still need to be processed and an entire wedding can take a number of days).
With the change in technology came a different way of working for photographers, we no longer have to ask people to rigidly pose, we have the freedom to take as many shots as we like. Being selective and seeing the light around us whilst capturing real moments as they unfold naturally is the way we like to work.
You may have heard of this being referred to as ‘Natural – Candid – Reportage style’.
The most important thing of course is what you like as a couple. Have a look at all the excellent photographers on The Natural Wedding Company blog posts or directory and look at the images only. Forget the text for a while, the pricing information and take a good look at the images and see which ones you like and which ones you love.
Make a note of the ones you love and then take a look at the photographers ‘about me’ page or area where they describe how they work. You will soon get to know what style you prefer just by looking at the images which is pretty awesome.
There are a crazy amount of questions you could ask and you should take time to prepare some. Believe it or not we love long lists of questions as it really helps us put couples at ease. We love what we do so could talk about it all day :)
What you should ask…
Q: To see at least one wedding from start to finish.
Why?: This will give you a better idea of what you can expect. Seeing a previous couples slideshow or a printed album is a perfect way to see what the photographer offers.
Q: If a contract needs to be signed and if they have insurance.
Why?: A well thought out contract should always be provided by the photographer and outline everything that they are providing you including what happens if problems arise for you or for them. This generally should also outline how many images will be provided, in what timescale and in what format.
Q: If there are options for different hours.
Why?: Many photographers like to keep things simple and advertise their main package only, however many will also offer additional as well as fewer hours. So don’t be afraid to ask what the photographer can offer and for what price. Note that there may be a minimum amount of hours.
Q: Copyright and use of images, who retains the rights?
Why?: A photographer retains the rights to their images unless they put in writing that they are relinquishing them to you as part of the package. Again this is something every photographer does slightly differently so you should factor this in when considering different people as it can affect the cost and what you are provided. We provide all images in all of our packages but retain the right to use them on our website / Facebook business page only.
Questions we are often asked:
Q: Can we give you a list so you know what group shots to take?
A: Our personal style is to take natural shots without posing however we do take group shots if required. Providing a list is all well and good but do realise the photographer has no idea who any of your family is. To help things run smoothly appoint an outspoken best man or member of family to assist in rounding people up. This will not only allow things to run more smoothly but will also save lots of time.
Q: Do we really need two photographers?
A: There are many photographers out there that work alone and are highly successful. Everyone has a different way of working and even photographers that usually work alone may occasionally take on a second shooter (especially for weddings with a large number of guests). The way in which we personally operate is as a team. We find that we complement each other’s way of working, we can capture more moments from different angles and can literally be in two places at once. For us and our customers it just works.
Where to start…some photographers don’t advertise their prices whereas some give you multiple options…the only important thing here is your budget. Really think about how important photography is to you both. I could be telling you what percentage you should be spending and that it’s the most important thing or that it’s the only part of your wedding (along with your love) that is timeless. But in reality everyone values the different aspects of their wedding in their own way.
Personally we love the thought of our grandkids being able to look at photos of us on their futuristic computers or go through our old album.
There are prices to suit all budgets ranging from a few hundred pounds to several thousand. It is true that you get what you pay for but it is down to you to ensure you get what’s important to you. Once you know what you are looking for in terms of style and options keep the following in mind :
- Your Budget
- That every photographer provides something slightly different.
- In many cases there can be flexibility in hours and options.
May I just start by saying albums are awesome! Today’s technology has enabled super high resolution cameras to capture images and then magically transfer them to some of the best printers and album makers on the planet. All it takes is a bit of designing from the photographer and some colour and material choices from you and you can have a little piece of printing perfection all of your own.
Its beneficial to see examples before you commit as well as colour, size and material options. It can also be an option for the photographer to send you an electronic copy before they send it to the printers.
May we ask?
Because every wedding is different there are a number of questions you should expect a photographer to ask. These are some things the photographer needs to know to be able to capture the best of you. It is always a good idea to ensure the below is discussed if not mentioned by the photographer.
Q: Location photography restrictions?
Why?:The same rules do not apply to each church or venue, the restrictions are purely down to the vicar / venue owner and are often based on his / her previous experience on wedding photographers. It is common in churches for there to be a no flash photography rule, a restriction on movement and in a majority of venues to have no photos during signing the register. However equally there can be no restrictions at all!
In rare instances no photography is allowed at all in a church so ensure both you and your photographer know any limitations before the big day!
Q: Time alone?
Why?: You’ve seen those awesome shots of wedding couples by themselves bathed in golden sunlight in a field or cool urban location right? Well these are only possible if time is made for them to happen. Golden hour is a phrase you may hear and refers to the time the light is best and most flattering which is the hour leading up to sunset. If you want some awesome images of just you two then factor it in to your day and let your photographer get creative. 20 minutes to 1 hour is common dependant on location.
If you simply can’t spare the time on the day then don’t worry you have three very cool options:
1 . If your venue has some interesting locations consider sneaking away for 10 minutes here and there.
2. If time is tight and you feel you don’t want to leave your guests why not shoot the day after your wedding ?!
3. First looks are a superb way to capture a magical moment with just the two of you. It comprises of you both getting dressed up before the wedding and meeting each other in private before walking down the aisle. Often the groom will face away and the bride will approach him. The lead up to this moment and the moment itself when the couple both see each other for the first time can be very special and you have the time to enjoy it for a while in private.
Last but not least
When it comes to your wedding day, enjoy it, you’ve done all the planning and all you have to do is arrive and have a great time. Trust in your photographer and you won’t even notice they are there.
Bohemian Weddings are a recommended supplier of The Natural Wedding Company. Based in Herfordshire, Bohemian Weddings is Michael and Andrea – they love each other and love what they do. Their vision is to provide an alternative yet natural style to your wedding photography. They only use FSC approved printing papers and albums, 100% recycled packaging and local suppliers to keep their carbon footprint to a minimum. Visit www.bohemianweddings.co.uk for more details or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images: Bohemian Weddings