Saturday, January 2, 2010

What Photographers wish you knew.

*Please do your research. Anyone can buy a nice looking camera and photoshop, put an ad on Craigslist and say they are a photographer. But do they know how to USE that camera? Do they know how to USE photoshop? Just because someone says they do, doesn’t mean that is the reality. Look closely at their pictures, ask to see more than one wedding, ask for references and make sure that you get a good vibe from them and they are telling the whole truth. Everyone started somewhere and was new once but do you really want to be this person’s guinea pig?

*Both bride and groom should attend the photographer interviews. Even if the groom says he doesn’t care who you book, once the wedding is over and the pictures are all that is left, he WILL care. On top of the end result, the photographer is going to be with you alllllll day long and if personalities clash, that is going to show in the pictures! The best way to prevent that is to make sure that you click before you book.

*If I don’t respond to your email within 12 hours, please don’t freak out. I often have on-location shoots that take me out of the office. If you email over the weekend, don’t be shocked if it takes until Tuesday for me to respond – I am probably shooting over the weekend and then may take Monday off since I worked Friday/Saturday/Sunday.

*We charge what we charge for a reason – it is based on what we provide, our experience and how much work we put in processing your images and more. Please don’t schedule an appointment with us if our lowest package is equal to your whole wedding budget and expect to negotiate us down. And please don’t say that “so and so studio” will do the ‘same thing’ for $1000 less and ask us to match – trust me, they ARE NOT doing the ‘same thing’ as we do.

*Trust your gut. If you love a photographer’s pictures so much that you want to steal their sample books and show them to everyone you know, fair chance you will love your own pictures. Go with someone you LOVE and trust they will create pictures for you that someone else will want to steal and show to everyone too.

*Please hire a professional planner. Don’t trust this once in a lifetime day and all that money to a friend or family member who ‘loves to plan events.’ Having the help of a planner will make your life, my life and all your other vendor’s lives so much easier before, during and even after the wedding. Even if you can only afford an hour or two of their time, having someone get you on the right path is so very valuable and will really make the planning process so much easier.

*Plan your wedding with purpose – from the dress to the details to the vendors your choose, make sure that there is meaning behind each decision you make. It will make looking at those amazing pictures that I am going to take for you that much more special in 20/30/40 years.

*A better meal for the photographer is going to equal better pictures in the long run. Usually by dinner time we have already worked a hectic 6-8 hours capturing every detail that you have worked so hard to put together. Now imagine how deflating it is to sit down to a cold, stale turkey (or worse salami) sandwich, a spotted apple and a dry cookie – you might as well give us a juice box too. Some venues push the boxed meal as a savings to you but what is that $20 or so per person worth it in the long run? Serving your photographer a hot, fresh meal will help them refuel and be in top form to capture the rest of your wedding – including all the fun of your reception!

*All that being said, we understand that some choices have to be made and if you are serving your guests steak and lobster, it may not be feasible to serve us the same thing. If it isn’t, ask your caterer for less expensive – but still HOT – options for us – even a simple pasta with meat sauce is better than the dreaded boxed vendor meal.

*Ask your caterer to serve us immediately following the bridal party. Sometimes the lag in a large room can be upwards of 20 to 30 minutes from the time the bride and groom get their entrée until the last table is served. If we are among those last tables, there is a good chance we won’t even have been served our entrée by the time you are ready to start making the rounds to different tables. Serving us early in the process means we will be on the same schedule as you and ready to capture the next events as soon as you are ready for them to start.

*You have likely invested a lot of money in photography so please make sure that you have designated enough time for it on your wedding day. Ask your photographer for input on the wedding day timeline – they know what they need so ask them! If you have a planner/coordinator, they will likely do this for you but it should come up in your final photography meeting anyway. Also, make sure that everyone knows where they need to be and when – don’t forget to tell Grandma to stick around after the ceremony for pictures or the family pictures won’t have Grandma in them.

*Some photographers absolutely refuse to work from a list of shots while others request one. If we request it, please keep it simple. If you hired us for our style, let us do our style! A tedious list of formal shots is not going to tell the story of your wedding day.

*If you hired me because you love my photojournalistic style, realize that you cannot stop what you are doing to smile and pose for the camera every time you see me!! That’s not photojournalism and you will end up looking like all you did all day long was stand like a soldier and smile at the camera. If you want true memories, expressions, and personalities to come through in your photographs, then you need to enjoy your day and let your photographer do what you hired him/her to do.

*Please give me some creative license. If I ask you to do something that might seem a little out of the ordinary or if I spot a location that speaks to me but it wasn’t on the original list or not what you had in mind initially, just go with it. You hired me because you like my work and trust me, so give me the creative room to put my best foot forward and put you in the best light.

*With regard to how you look on your wedding day, some basic tips:
1. Don’t buy a dress that accentuates areas of your body you don’t like – even Photoshop won’t fix that.
2. Your makeup should be an upgrade of what you might usually wear for a night out. You want to look like YOU, just a slightly ‘better’ you.
3. If you are the same height or taller than your fiancé but don’t want to accentuate that on your wedding day, don’t wear heels.
4. Stop tanning several days before the wedding to avoid looking red, blotchy and dry.
5. If you have frizzy hair or hair that goes flat as the day goes on, the same thing is going to happen on your wedding day! Pick a hairstyle that works with your hair, not against its natural style.
6. Leave the body glitter/shimmer at home. It looks like white spots or sometimes even sweat in pictures.

*I am not a wedding planner or coordinator. I have been asked/expected/ordered to do everything from coordinate the processional to call other vendors to see where they were to bustle gowns to cut and serve the wedding cake! I am happy to help where I can but if I were doing those things, who is going to be doing what you actually hired me for – taking the pictures?

*Photoshop can work miracles but if you are expecting a miracle, please expect a price.

* I promise you I am going to take a lot of time to edit your pictures and make them phenomenal but please bear in mind, I have made the same commitment to other couples whose weddings were before yours. I am going to take as much care with your pictures when it is your turn – calling me every 3 days is not going to make me move any faster (in fact, it will likely push you down the list!). If I am more than a week late from my promised time frame, go ahead and check in but until that time frame is up – please be patient!

*You know how you can see happy and in love in pictures? You can also see snotty, nasty, angry, upset, overwhelmed and whiny. Which would you rather have come through in your pictures?

*Finally, be real, be you, be adventurous, be creative, be open, have fun, enjoy yourself, let loose, be nice, be in love, be happy and listen to the professionals you hired – they kind of know what they’re doing!

So there you have it – some of the things that Photographers wish you knew. Thanks to all my photographer friends who contributed – great insight and very interesting!

* One last one. If you are a guest at a wedding and photobug yourself please know that they couple is on a timeline to get to the reception and everytime I have to wait for you to take a photo it delays the whole process. Also there are times you may be in the way for what I am getting paid by the couple to do. I will be nice, but when I ask you to move or wait a moment to take a photo please dont get upset. I am just doing what the couple hired me to do and I want to give them their moneys worth.


James Dvorscak said...

This just touches the surface of what we think but often don't say for fear of coming across as arrogant or rude. Thanks for helping to get the word out! :)

kristi wright -austin wedding photographer said...

What a great post! Thanks for saying what we can't always express.

Becky said...

This is the response of several of my photographer friends when asked some of what they deal with. I am glad to help educate when I can.