Wednesday, January 22, 2014

After all the preparation time and effort the wedding day arrives, you try your best to soak it all in but the truth is, it all goes by so quickly. The sun goes down and all you are left with are memories. You won't remember every single thing, you wouldn't have seen every single face and the truth is even what you remember won't stick as much in your memory once time goes by. This is why you need a very good professional photographer that can capture all aspects of your wedding. Your photography along with your videography is the only way you will get to re-live the day. So this is an area you shouldn't scrimp on. It's better to spend a little more on photography that is of good quality and will last forever, rather than get pictures that underwhelm you and don't sufficiently capture the day. Bearing this in mind, here are a some questions to equip you when meeting with different photographers before making your final choice. * The above photography is taken by the very talented Jide Alakija.

  • Do you have photo's of an entire wedding album that I can see? Can I also see indoor and outdoor shots?
Make sure you see a whole portfolio of the photographers work. Ask to see images of at least two complete weddings, instead of just looking at different photos from different weddings. This is so you can see the photographers full body of work, from the bride getting ready, the ceremony, the reception, the portraits etc. The reason for this being if the photographer shows you pictures from different weddings it may be just the fluke pictures he's showing you. You can better judge when you view an entire album that way you know the photographer is consistent from start to finish.

  • Who will be photographing my wedding?
If your photographer is not a freelance photographer but is part of a larger studio it may be him or one of several photographers that will be shooting your wedding. Since every photographer has his own style, personality and technique its important that the person you interview will be working at your wedding. Its also important to be able to know who the person is so you can establish a rapport as your wedding pictures are so personal it's best you have an easy rapport which the person who will be shooting you.

  • Have you worked at my wedding venue before?
If this is the case the photographer is likely to know good spots to take shots. If not, its worth visiting the venue together so that the photographer can familiarise himself with the space and determine which areas will be the best to get good shots.

  • Are you part of any professional associations, or do you have extra training in your field?
Someone who keeps up with the latest technology and information in the industry shows that they are passionate about their work and constantly seeking to improve themselves. Having said that, there are photographers with amazing and no formal training.

  • Roughly how many shots will we get in our album and what is your selection process and timeline till the finished product?
The number of proofs a photographer provides usually far exceeds the number that will be included in your album. Typically proofs are sent to you to choose from, you make your selection then its included in your album. Time lines vary from photographer to photographer so its always best to ask how soon after the wedding you will receive the proofs and also, when you can expect to receive the finished product.

  • Do you retouch images?
If you are particular about your images being retouched, if possible try to see a proof book before they were retouched and after. Just to show how good the photographer is. Heavens forbid you have a zit in the middle of your forehead duet to stress, at least you know your photographer will be able to delete it.

  • Will you shoot black and white as well as colour?
Take nothing for granted if you like the simplicity of black and white shots ensure that your photographer will shoot some of these.

  • Do you post proofs online?
Sometimes photographers post pictures of their work on their website and through other social/ digital mediums such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest etc. If you are private you may not want this so it's good to be upfront as this may be part of their contract and you may fail to see that. If you don't mind them being on line for a brief period ask how long the pictures will remain online as you may not want them online indefinitely. If you do not mind your pictures online then this a great way to show friends who weren't able to attend your wedding, and those abroad  your wedding pictures. You may even see if there is an option to have an entire album online with a password for loved ones to view.

  • Can we see our bridal album options and do we have a choice of page and boarder style?
You should look  at the album options that are available to you so you can select something thats to your taste as opposed to your photographer choosing for you.

  • How many albums are included in the cost of my photography package and what are the cost of additional albums?
Some photographers provide two albums that are included in the cost but some only provide one with all your proofs for free. It is important you find out exactly what you are getting that way if you need extra albums for your parents and in laws then it can be negotiated from inception.

  • Are all the album shots the same size, if not what are the size options for portraits?
8x10, 5x7, etc You may not want all the pictures in your album to be the same size, instead you may want a variation in size so it's best to enquire about the layout of your pictures ahead of time.

  • What is the cost for additional prints?
You may primarily like some prints and want to have them framed for your new home as well as having them in your album so its worth asking what the cost will be so you can factor this into your budget.

  • Can you shoot portraits of us before our wedding?
You may want to take some portraits to put in your new home or use some as displays at your wedding so its best to get all of this in your photography package.

  • How long will you stay at the event? What do you charge for overtime?
Make sure the photographer specifies the guranteed amount of hours he will be at your wedding. Based on your personality make sure it is long enough to capture all your special moments. If not enquire as to how much it would cost to keep him around if the celebrations run longer than scheduled. 

  • Will you need transportation between the ceremony and reception?
Bear your photographer in mind when thinking about transportation to the ceremony especially if you want some pictures of you in the car between the church and reception. It may  be in your best interest for your photographer to travel with you or the bridal party to ensure that he doesn't get lost on the way or you are not separated by traffic etc.
  • Can you be inconspicuous during the ceremony and reception?
If you are getting married in a church or any other religious venue you will want your photographer to be discreet and not detract from the ceremony. You will not want them to block the view of your guests so its best to discuss this with him before hand.

  • Are you shooting other wedding day?
You will want to know that you'll have the photographer's full attention and time. If the person is overbooked, he or she may rush through your event. Be sure your wedding doesn't overlap with another; if this is the case then you may need to consider working with someone else.

Below is a shoot sheet that you may want to consider. Most professional photographers capture most of the points below. However its good to look through them to see if there are many must have moments you want to capture. I am not suggesting that you hand over the exhaustive list to your photographer as its lengthy. You should also trust your photographer and allow them creative freedom. 

Photography Shoot list

Getting Ready

  •   Bride having her hair styled and makeup applied
  •  Bride’s gown hanging on a padded hanger, on the bed, or draped over a chair
  •  Still-life shots of the bride’s shoes, jewellery, something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue
  •  Detailed shots of the bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets
  •  Candid shots of the bridesmaids getting dressed
  • Candid shots of the bridesmaids getting their makeup done
  • Mother buttoning or zipping up the bride’s dress
  •  Mother helping the bride with one last detail, such as the veil
  •  Mother looking at the bride
  •  Full-length shot of the mother of the bride
  •  Full-length shot of the bride in her gown looking at herself in a mirror
  •  Bridesmaids reacting to the bride in her gown
  •  Father seeing the bride in her gown
  •   Bride with her parents and siblings
  •  Bride with her bridesmaids
  •  Bride with her chief bridesmaid/maid of honour
  •  Groom getting ready with his father and groomsmen
  •  Close-up shot of the wedding bands
  • Groom with his parents and siblings
  •  Groom with the best man
  •  Groom with his groomsmen
  •  Groomsmen putting on boutonnieres or ties
  •   Bride and groom separately making their way to the ceremony
The Ceremony
  •  Exterior and interior shots of the ceremony site before guests arrive
  •  Bride and Groom as they arrive getting out of the car
  •  Groom walking down the aisle with his mother
  •  Close-up of groom’s expression while waiting for the bride
  •  Bridal party walking down the aisle
  •  Both sets of grandparents walking down the aisle
  •  Bride with her father/escort before walking down the aisle
  • Close-up of bride just before she makes her entrance
  • Bride and her father/escort walking down the aisle
  •  Groom reacting to bride walking down the aisle
  •  Bride’s father/escort giving her away
  •  Bride and groom at the altar
  •  Both sets of parents watching the ceremony
  • Wide shot of the altar from the guests’ point of view
  •  Wide shot of the audience, from the couple’s point of view
  •  Special moments, such as the candle lighting and the readings
  •  Pictures of the bride and groom signing the register
  •  Close-up of bride and groom as they recite their vows
  •  Close-up of bride and groom’s hands as they exchange rings
  •  The kiss!
  • Close-up of the newlyweds immediately after the ceremony
  • Bride and groom hugging family and friends
  • Bride showing off her wedding ring to her bridesmaids
  • Bride and groom leaving the ceremony site
  Photos video before the reception (or ceremony)
  •  Bride and groom together
  •  Bride with her mother
  •  Bride with her father
  •  Bride with both parents
  •   Bride with her entire immediate family
  •   Groom with his mother
  •   Groom with his father
  •   Groom with both parents
  •   Groom with his entire immediate family
  •  Bride and groom with bride’s family
  •   Bride and groom with groom’s family
  •   Bride and groom with both sets of parents
  •   Bride and groom with immediate family members from both sides
  •   Bride and groom with bridesmaids and groomsmen
  •   Bride and groom with bridesmaids
  •   Bride and groom with groomsmen
  •   Bride and groom with flower girl and ring bearer
  •   Bride and groom with entire wedding party
  •   Exterior and interior shot of the reception site before guests arrive
  •   Still-life shots of place cards, menus, centre pieces, decorations, table settings, favors, and Champagne glasses
  •   The cake
  •   Hors d'oeuvres and specialty drinks
  •   Guests arriving and signing the guest book
  •   Bride and groom arriving
  •   Close-ups of friends and family making toasts
  •   Bride and groom sipping Champagne at their table
  •   Bride and groom speaking with guests
  •   Bride and groom’s first dance
  •   Bride and her father dancing
  •   Groom and his mother dancing
  •   Parents and grandparents dancing
  •   Wedding party dancing
  •   Musicians, deejay, and/or entertainers performing
  •   Guests dancing
  •   Bride and groom with the entire bridal party
  •   Bride and groom cutting the cake
  •   Bouquet toss
  •   Removal of the garter
  •   Newlyweds’ vehicle
  • Bride and groom leaving the reception