Along with your wedding video, your wedding photos will capture the memories and emotions of your special day and preserve them for many years to come, allowing you to relive the moment with family and friends. Remember that your memories are priceless. Therefore, this is one part of your wedding where it pays to invest some time in to. You get what you pay for! A professional will have the skill, equipment and experience to retell the events of the day according to your needs.
Like any other wedding service it pays to do your research, so get in touch with friends and family members who have recently been married to find out about their photographer and view the finished product. Seeing what other couples have done will give you ideas that you can incorporate into your own wedding day.
Enlisting the services of a photographer may cost as little as $1,500 for about 20 to 30 photos, but for a professional job with more depictions of your special day you can expect to pay up to three or four times that amount depending on the photographer’s experience, creative style, skill and whether or not they are in demand. The package should include photographs from the wedding and the ceremony, developing the pictures and should also include the finished prints organised into an album.
Finding the right photographer
When first meeting with a photographer, it’s important that you ask to view some of their most recent work. This is a good idea because it’s best to view all the photos taken at a wedding, rather than just those that end up in the finished product. Also, make sure that the person you are meeting with is actually the person who will be shooting your wedding photos. Some companies send less experienced photographers to shoot weddings, so make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.
A photographer should be booked as soon as a date has been set for the wedding. This can be any time between 12 to 18 months prior to the event. Spring and Summer are the most popular seasons to get married so as soon as you find the photographer that is right for you, pay the deposit (usually about 50% of the total package price) to lock the photographer in on your chosen day. Keep in mind that the price of the package may not include everything that you want. You should also budget for the album on top of the cost of hiring a professional photographer.
Communication is key in this relationship. Tell your photographer what you are looking for and in turn, listen to any advice that they have to offer. Be realistic about your expectations and understand that there may be some limitations with what you have in mind.
There are two main photographic styles you can choose from. The traditional posed style of photography is popular with some couples, but the trend is leaning towards more candid and natural shots. Your photographer can also advise you on special effects and techniques that can be used to enhance your wedding snaps.
Booking your photographer
Remember to sign a contract with your photographer. It’s always a good idea to keep a record of what was agreed on: the cost of services, what’s included in the package, the equipment to be used, important dates regarding when the photos will be taken, the date booked, the photographer booked and when the photos will be ready for viewing. Other things that should be included in the contract are:
- Ownership of the negatives – do they remain the property of the photographer or are you able to purchase them after a certain amount of time?
- Costs associated with re-prints, touch-ups and special effects or techniques used
- A schedule of the day, including times and locations where the photographer needs to be
- Details of deposit and balance amounts and dates
- Cancellation and refund policies
If there is anything in the contract that you are unsure about, clarify it with your photographer before anything is signed.
Four weeks prior to the day, you should have another meeting with your photographer. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the time your photographer will arrive and start working on your wedding day, including the locations they will be shooting at. It’s also a good time to make any special requests regarding photos that you would like taken on the day, for example, photos with family members whom you haven’t seen for a while.
As a general rule, you should pay for the professional photographer as soon as their services are completed for the day. This ensures that by the time you return from your honeymoon, your prints will be ready for viewing.
After the wedding
After the wedding you should make an appointment with your photographer to see the prints of your event. These should be presented in sample albums, to give you an idea of what the finished product may look like as well as displaying your photos sequentially and in a logical manner.
Planning the layout and style of the album is a timely process and can take some time, but it is well worth the effort. The final product will remind you and your partner of the love that you share and the deep commitment that you have made to each other for many years to come, long after the party is over.