Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Top Ten Things You Need to Know to Ensure Wedding Photo Bliss

Professional Photographers of America (Staff Writers), Guest Author

Sure, today’s affordable digital cameras can make anyone seem like a good photographer. But there’s a lot more to getting the wedding photos you want and deserve than just pointing and shooting. After this most important and special of days, it will be your wedding albums and pictures that you turn to time and again to remember and cherish those once-in-a-lifetime moments. Choose your photographer as carefully as you’ve planned every other detail of your wedding, and you’ll still be enjoying those images years from now.

To help, we’ve put together a list of ten critical aspects of wedding photography you should know and understand, along with some of the most important questions you should ask prospective photographers to help you make your final decision.

#10 Professional Fees: What are your fees? Do you charge a flat rate for the day, or do you charge by the hour? What about travel time, overtime, and editing rounds? Are there other potential costs I should know about?

#9 Format: Do you shoot with film, or capture digital images? Tell me why you choose one over the other. If you capture digital images, what steps do you take to preserve the digital files for the long-term? How soon after the images are taken are the media cards backed-up. What steps do you take to protect against data loss?

#8 Equipment: What kind of camera do you use? Do you use any equipment that requires flashes or special arrangements for lighting? Are you able to provide equipment for black and white, or special effects?

#7 Collaboration: Will I be working with you or someone else on your staff? Do you work with an assistant? Can we work together to make sure you get all the shots I want? What is the process for reviewing, selecting, and editing the final images for the album, enlargements, and print sets?

#6 Deliverables: In what format do you deliver the proofs? Do you provide an album, CD, and prints as final products? How many and what size? What packages do you offer, and what will I pay for additional items not included? Are negatives or image rights included in your costs?

#5 Time: What is the maximum amount of time I will wait to see proofs? Once I’ve selected my pictures, how long will it take for final delivery of all printed products?

#4 Quality: Do you develop or print the final pictures in-house, or do you work with a professional lab? If in-house, what kind of equipment do you use? What do you do to make sure my pictures don’t fade?

#3 Style: What is your artistic style? Do you shoot traditional poses, or have a more photojournalistic approach, or, is it mixed? Do you like to shoot in the studio, as well as on the wedding day? If you stage shots or group portraits, how do you manage distracted or uncooperative subjects or guests? Can I see examples of an entire wedding day shoot to see how you might tell a wedding day “story”?

Experience: How long have you been photographing weddings? How long have you been in business? Can you provide references? Can I view some of your albums? Tell me about the worst wedding photography nightmare you’ve experienced, and how you got through it.

And perhaps the most important thing you need to discuss with your photographer…

#1 Assurances: How do you ensure my satisfaction? What are your backup plans in the event you’re late or called away by an emergency? What happens if there’s an equipment failure, or some other unforeseen issue? Do you carry liability insurance? Can I get all of the points we’ve covered in a written contractual agreement?

Do not take “no” for an answer to that last question! A written contract signed by all parties protects you and the photographer, and does more to ensure your wedding photo bliss than any other action or decision you can make.

Professional Photography – See the Difference

Professional photographers have unique skills and training in the artistry, as well as the technology, of creating beautiful wedding images that reflect exactly the image you want to portray. And wonderful wedding photography goes beyond the actual shoot itself to the products you’ll want to own. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure your photographer is well-versed in creating and delivering the total package that will make you happy long after your big day is over.

We recommend interviewing multiple photographers – and don’t forget, chemistry is important as well. Your photographer will spend this most important day in very close contact with you, your wedding party and your guests, so make sure you interview several photographers and after you’re satisfied that all of the above is in order, pick someone who you will want to share in your wedding day.

Larry’s Note: A special “Thank you!” to Marcia Mauskopf, Professional Photographer for calling my attention to this article.

Bonus article: Read, “Hire a Professional Photographer or Friend?

Copyright © 2010 – Professional Photographers of America. Reprinted with permission. Professional Photographers of America (PPA) is an international non-profit association for professional photographers. PPA exists to assist its 22,000 members in achieving their professional, artistic, and fraternal goals; to promote public awareness of the profession; and to advance the making of images in all of its disciplines as an art, a science and a visual recorder of history. To find a professional photographer, visit:

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