Houston Wedding Photographer – I want to shoot your wedding! I do! However, I want you to find the best photographer to fit your style and budget. More than anything, I think brides should be educated consumers and truly know what they want from a wedding photographer. After reading about countless brides who were not happy with their photographers or that had photographers who did not show up for the wedding I felt it was essential to help educate brides.
1. Settle on a Style: Before you begin researching, e-mailing and calling photographers you should spend a few hours/days deciding on what type of photography fits your style. Finding the style you prefer will help determine which kind of photographer you will want shooting your wedding.
DOCUMENTARY – Instead of a series of posed photos, these are candid or spontaneous pictures of people, décor and the action. Typical shots might include: dancing guest, two champagne glasses in the middle of a toast, your bridesmaids laughing or praying for your right before the ceremony. With a purely photo-journalistic photographer, you’ll very rarely see people staring at the camera – the photos capture the moments exactly as they happened, and together they tell a story. This is part of our style here at Second Shots Photography.
PORTRAITURE – If you prefer classic portraits (think your parent’s wedding album), go with a traditional photographer who specializes in portraiture. These are posed shots of the tow of you, your friends and family in front of various backdrops.
FINE ART – Though it’s similar to documentary photography, this style gives the shooter greater artistic license to infuse their particular points of view and style into your photographs. So while they shots reflect reality, it’s the photographers reality. The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but are – or look as though they were – shot on film with a grainier, dreamier or more muted appearance. This is the other part of our shooting style here at Second Shots Photography.
EDGY-BOLD – This style of photography, an offshoot of fine art, is marked by outside-the-box, titled angles (called Dutch-angles) and unconventional framing. So instead of straight shot of the couple exchanging vows at the altar, the photo might look tilted, with an object like an altar arrangement or candle in the foreground. Or the photo of the bride having her make-up applied could be shot from the top with an emphasis on her eyes shadow or lashes. This style will also use prisms, convention lenses and even specialty lenses like tilt-shift to make images that are edgy. This is a small representation of our shooting style here at Second Shots Photography.
Many photographers will blend a combination of all these styles together, but if you ask them what they prefer most then most photographers will answer candidly. When you begin searching for a photographer, you will quickly notice which style you prefer.
2. Do Your Homework: Start your wedding photographer search by reading reviews from recent brides. Take the time to go through a photographer’s blog and website to see other weddings that he/she has shot. The design of the photographer’s website will often give couples insight into a photographer’s style, personality and sensibilities.
3. Set up Interviews: This is a decision that cannot be made on looks alone. You MUST meet your potential photographer(s) in person, or at minimum by Skype or FaceTime. If you like what you see on their sites – and their fees are in your ballpark range – call to see if they’re available for your date. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate photographer or can recommend another shooter with a similar style.
4. See a full Wedding Album: Do not base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer’s highlight gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you’re seeing the best of the best. Some photographers do wedding blogs with 60-100 images ranging from the start of the wedding to the end, those will give you a good example of what they can do in a variety of lighting situations. I must address the elephant in the room, seeing a full wedding album will help hedge against those up-start or short cut photographers who are stealing images from the real pros.
5. Make Sure Your Personalities Mesh: Do not underestimate the important of the chemistry needed between photographer and the couple the day of the shoot. Is your photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions are they in a clear and respectful way? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp on social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who above all, puts you at ease and does not irritate you in any way.
6. Confirm Your Shooter(s): Many larger and sometime the smaller photo studios have more than one photographer on staff. Since every photographer will shoot differently, make sure you take the time to check exactly who will be your shooter the day of the wedding. If there is room within your budget consider hiring a second shooter. Many top-notch photographers require a second shooter, but if it is not part of the deal, strongly consider adding one. The main benefit to having a second shooter is that you get twice the amount of coverage. For example, when the bride is getting ready, the primary photographer could be with her and the secondary could be with the groomsmen. In addition, during formal pictures/portraits, the secondary photographer could be taking pictures of the décor or the guest during cocktail hour.
7. Read Your Contract: Please, if you do not do anything else that is suggested above, do this. Take the time to read your contract from start to finish and ask clarifying questions when needed. This can save you a lot of heartache and disappointment down the road. Reading your contract can tell you about your image rights, payment schedules, penalties as well as timeline for delivery of your final products.
8. Schedule an Engagement Session: When you schedule an engagement session it will ensure two things. One it will help you know if you have hired the right photographer for your wedding. You will get to see how a photographer thinks and what poses he likes to use so that you are more comfortable on the day of the wedding. The second thing scheduling an engagement session will do is help ensure that a photographer does not take the money and run. I have read too many times for my comfort about a bride who has paid a photographer in full and had him not show up. That is all the more reason that we should do our research when making purchase, but an engagement session will give you an opportunity to build a rapport with your photographer before the final balance is due. Most wedding photographers require full payment 14-60 days before the wedding.
I hope this was a help, I really wanted to spend time making this a thorough piece of information that was useful in the decision-making process. It is true that education is power, and an educated bride is happy bride! Enjoy the planning process, and thank you for reading, Ed.
This is our third installment of the EDucated Bride Series: