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tips to hire your photography team


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#1 martin

martin
  • Jr. Member
  • 343 posts

    Posted 29 October 2009 - 02:05 PM

    Hiring a Photographer

    Consider this advice on hiring the right wedding photographer before signing on the dotted line.

    Many brides are comfortable with such priorities as reception site or catering selection, but may not be as familiar with the process of hiring the right wedding photographer. Wedding photography is one of the most important aspects of your day; consider these important tips before making your choice:

    The Selection Process

    Start by compiling a list of potential photographers and commence the “meet and greet.” Browsing through our list of Preferred Local Wedding Photographers is a great way to start. When meeting with potential photographers, you’ll need to consider the following:

    Chemistry
    Brides often underestimate the importance of the photographer’s personality, yet this person will end up being a very personal guest at your most important event. Evaluate carefully whether you feel comfortable with this person. Some of the most beautiful moments happen behind the scenes, while the bride is dressing, while the couple steals a kiss, and you should feel comfortable inviting the photographer to capture these moments. First find a wedding photographer you like as a person, then evaluate the artistic criteria.

    Review the Portfolio
    Seasoned wedding photographers have what is called a “book,” which is a portfolio of their best work. Evaluating a photographer’s portfolio depends on your own stylistic and artistic preferences. His or her work should match your tastes and style. Make sure the images speak to you and reflect your personal visions for your wedding day. Look for crisp images, thoughtful composition and good lighting. Also ask to see the shots from a complete wedding; that way you can see it all - not just the highlights - and you will have a better feel for his or her ability to capture your day.

    Questions to Ask

    Before hiring your wedding photographer, make sure you have answered these important questions:

    What is the photographer’s primary style?
    Make sure your photographer knows exactly what you want. Do you want mostly journalistic style or formal poses? Many photographers claim to do both, but in reality, most are better at one or the other, so make sure you know his or her strengths and background to ensure you get the wedding photos you want.

    Do you shoot mostly in color, black and white, or both?
    While some images call for color, other moments are best captured in black and white. Your photographer should have experience with both and be able to customize to meet your needs.


    Are you familiar with the location?
    Your photographer should be familiar with the ceremony and reception site so that he or she can quickly and efficiently capture the best shots.

    What are your references?
    Call each reference and ask whether or not the person was satisfied with the overall experience and received the desired photos.

    Working Together

    Once you have found the wedding photographer with the skill set, style, vision and personality to suit your needs, you must schedule follow-up meetings to discuss specifics and plan your wedding photography. Together you will decide how many hours your photographer will spend at your wedding, your overall vision and specific photo suggestions.

    Plan Your Album
    Define and articulate your expectations and desires. You should discuss everything with your photographer prior to the wedding to ensure you get the wedding album you envision. Visualize in advance what your wedding photos will look like. Consider whether you foresee black and white or color. Do you prefer a soft touch or crisp sharp images? Do you like matte or glossy finish? With or without borders? You get the picture. Our list of creative wedding picturesis a good starting point in determining the photos you want in your album.

    Plan the wedding day photography from beginning to end. Try to visit the location with your photographer to preview the site. This will help determine lighting conditions, photo locations and alternatives in case of inclement weather.

    Let the photographer know the sequence of activities and who, what, when and where you want to photograph. Your photographer is not a mind reader and will not inherently know who your Aunt Tilly is and the importance of capturing a photo of the two of you.

    Get Everything in Writing
    To avoid any confusion, all of the details that you have painstakingly discussed should be in writing. Read the contract carefully, especially the fine print.

    Consider Tipping
    Remember that tipping is completely optional. Most established wedding photographers do not expect a tip; however, a monetary thank you is always appreciated. If you decide to tip, $20-$25 is typical.

    #2 ldeavila

    ldeavila
    • Jr. Member
    • 206 posts

      Posted 29 October 2009 - 02:24 PM

      Wow, great advice, especially since I am currently in search of a photographer!
      [IMG]
      Mr. & Mrs. Rangel!!!

      #3 Matt Adcock

      Matt Adcock
      • Vendor
      • 1,243 posts

        Posted 29 October 2009 - 04:37 PM

        You have written some great stuff here for consideration... I have a few thoughts, enjoy or cringe :) Remember, this is our opinion...it may stink, just some words words words and as always, mileage may vary.


        Quote:
        Originally Posted by martin
        Hiring a Photographer
        Chemistry
        Brides often underestimate the importance of the photographer’s personality, yet this person will end up being a very personal guest at your most important event. Evaluate carefully whether you feel comfortable with this person. Some of the most beautiful moments happen behind the scenes, while the bride is dressing, while the couple steals a kiss, and you should feel comfortable inviting the photographer to capture these moments. First find a wedding photographer you like as a person, then evaluate the artistic criteria.
        Super important. We publish our blog. Its basically a journal of our life. We write about what we are doing pretty much every day. Lots of photographers have these blogs, so its easy to semi stalk them for some time to see what is going on, how they write (do they post on the forum) etc. Blog stalking is a great way to identify personality... phone chat too, if a meeting is impracticable. Problem for us, meetings in April - June are kinda tough for us because we have zillions of shoots. In actuality, we only meet with 5-10 people per year... 150 events. Virtual is the way of the future (combined with other investigative means listed below).


        Quote:
        Originally Posted by martin
        Hiring a Photographer
        Are you familiar with the location?
        Your photographer should be familiar with the ceremony and reception site so that he or she can quickly and efficiently capture the best shots.
        Actually, for us, this is quite the contrary. Of course, mileage may vary per photographer...these are just my thoughts: Although it makes perfect sense in black and white the way you have it written, its a tad more physiological for us.. Let me give you a for instance: There once was a quote that always stood out for me (Pattern and Repetition are the cancer of time). Basically, same ol day in and day out. If I shoot 200 weddings in a hotel, I'm going to be super board with every angle I can find because its already been found by me.

        What I'd love to do is to show up to a situation, totally inspired because its ALL NEW and nothing has "been done before"... When this is the case, I am 1000% percent sure that the emotions and feelings of what is happening actually are easier to photograph.

        Regardless, we make the most out of every location we go to. For us (and most of my peers in this industry), we are typically challenged when the spot is super NUEVO.

        Fashion a comparison to your hometown. The downtown shopping district. How many times have you been there, shopped those shops, walked those streets, sat on the park bench, seen the sites you've seen a zillion times before... Then, imagine going to a new city, walking down the street for the first time, seeing new signs, buildings, new shops, everything is TOTALLY different... Its almost like the feelings a kid gets when they go in a candy store.... every turn of the head stimulates the mind... Make sense? I want to be the kid in the candy store with my camera at every wedding! Sometimes, knowing nothing at all about the spot encourages creativity....


        Quote:
        Originally Posted by martin
        Hiring a Photographer
        What are your references?
        Call each reference and ask whether or not the person was satisfied with the overall experience and received the desired photos.
        Well, references are sometimes obtainable... but in a virtual world, I belive there might be a tad more available to help ease this decision vs contacting a list of past clients from all the photographers your interested in. First, how about the BDWF as a source as a reference. Place one post in the board where you are planning your event about a vendor, see how many responses you get. As we all know, there are a ton of great reviews here and some bad ones... In addition, check to see if the photographers have any accolades or if they belong to any professional organizations and what those organizations mission statements are.... does the photographer have awards? Does the photographer have a Rave or Testimonial page? Also, GOOGLE them... you'd be surprised to see whats archived out there. Sometimes, photographers may write their own obituary by something they did or said that was then posted on a public forum or written in a newspaper article...etc.



        Quote:
        Originally Posted by martin
        Hiring a Photographer
        Once you have found the wedding photographer with the skill set, style, vision and personality to suit your needs, you must schedule follow-up meetings to discuss specifics and plan your wedding photography. Together you will decide how many hours your photographer will spend at your wedding, your overall vision and specific photo suggestions.

        Plan the wedding day photography from beginning to end. Try to visit the location with your photographer to preview the site. This will help determine lighting conditions, photo locations and alternatives in case of inclement weather.

        Site visits are pretty tough. Sometimes, we make visits if we can, and sometimes its just impossible due to our crazy schedule. I would think that with destination brides bringing in foreign photographers actually may have a better chance for their photographer to make the site visit if they are staying on the property. Its just going to be tougher in the destination wedding market and in foreign countries to guarantee every photographer hired knows the property or can make a visit or has the availability on the calendar to make this happen... Much of this goes back to the kid in the candy store metaphor i mentioned above. Knowing the location though, isnt a bad thing, it just may not be totally practical in all circumstances.

        Planning alternatives for in-climate weather is a super good idea. First, get the WC's thoughts. The photographer may have no control here, but can always offer up good suggestions. For example, last Saturday, the WC wanted to cancel the beach reception due to "POTENTIAL RAIN", 30 minutes prior to the ceremony. Due to the fact that I'm a local and I can look at the sky and know which way the wind direction is coming from and typically, can judge when its going to rain or not, I gave my advice to this bride. DO NOT MOVE YOUR RECEPTION... I'm no meteorologist, but I just didnt feel it was going to rain. She is a BDWF bride and hopefully, can attest in her review to my advice here.



        All in all, your info is pretty spot on. Contracts are a must. Hopefully, the time of coverage is discussed PRIOR to the contract being signed. We go out of our way to interview the bride, gathering all the info about the wedding day timeline prior to even sending pricing info. We want to 100% make sure that all her expectations are met by the coverage we recommend.

        At the end of the day, my best advice is to hire a professional. Preferably someone who specializes in destination weddings business. Someone who has proper equipment for the job (LOTS OF BACKUPS) and who knows the region (vs the actual hotel) and the ins and outs of the region.

        Thanks for your post!

        #4 buckain

        buckain
        • Newbie
        • 37 posts

          Posted 30 October 2009 - 03:08 PM

          good tips! definitly need to mark this in the bookmarks tab for future reference!

          #5 SuperKate

          SuperKate
          • Member
          • 752 posts

            Posted 02 November 2009 - 12:37 PM

            Thanks for all the advice!




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