Choosing a Wedding Photographer

One of the main parts of any wedding package is time. The amount of time your photographer is willing to spend at your wedding may vary. Some photographers may offer 5 to 10 hours, while others will stay from start to finish. It usually takes an average of eight hours to cover a wedding and get all the needed shots. If you think you have more time then you need for the day of your wedding see if your photographer will let you cut up that time. Ask if they will come and take pictures at the rehearsal dinner or practice ceremony in exchange for some of the extra hours on the wedding day.

You are paying the photographer, so you decide when the clock starts. If you want your photographer to be there early to get pictures of you getting ready, keep in mind that this will shave some time off your reception. So plan important events accordingly. A photographer’s overtime rate can be outrageous so be careful.

With the digital age upon us and photographers using less and less film, the issue of film is starting to change. A digital wedding photographer has no real cost involved in taking pictures because he doesn’t have to think about cost involved with film. This way they can snap as many pictures as they want and not charge you extra. Most normal sized weddings will result in at least 500 quality shots. Larger events will produce upwards of a thousand prints.

If you can’t find a digital photographer try and find one that offers an unlimited number of rolls. This way you don’t have to worry about your photographer missing once-in-a-lifetime shots. If you are planning your wedding on a budget you will want to sit down and make a list of shots you want. This way the photographer will only be taking the pictures you want them too.

Black and white film is definitely becoming the trend in wedding photography these days. Some photographers will try to trick you, saying that they offer black and white film but what they are really doing is having black and white prints made from color film. This saves the photographer a lot of money and most people don’t realize this till after it’s too late. Black and white prints made from color film lack the contrast and artistic flare of true black and white film.

Even if you think you only want black and white pictures, it’s a good idea to throw in a few rolls of color for some extra bucks. You are going to want your formal family pictures in color. If you have a lavishly decorated wedding you will also want some color to capture all the painstaking detail of your wedding.

Most people like to have formals blown up to larger wall prints. If you are planning on getting this done you will want to make sure that your photographer is using a medium format camera and not a 35mm camera. Most experienced wedding photographers carry this gear but if you are on a budget your photographer may not use this gear. The reason for this is because medium format cameras use larger film, which means a larger negative, which means better quality enlargements.

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WHAT ABOUT PROOFS?

In about a month or less you should hear back from your photographer and be getting your proofs or contact sheet. A contact sheet will be several notebook size sheets of small thumbnail photos. You will usually only see these in black and white because true black and white film is expensive to print.

Proofs are small 4×6 prints that are cheap and quick to print. These are great for figuring out what picture you want reprints of and ones that you want enlarged.

Who is going to keep your proofs is something that you will want to find out about up front. Some photographers will hold on to your proofs for samples, some will include them in the packages, or just throw them away. Most photographers will sell the proofs out right or they will require that you buy a certain amount of pictures before they give you the proofs.

CHOOSING THE AMOUNT PRINTS

The number of prints in your package is one of the biggest factors in choosing the right package. You don’t want to spend money on prints that are going to gather dust in the closet but you also don’t want to not order enough for friends and family.

Trying to determine the number of prints you are going to want is hard to do. It is a common misconception that you will only need a few extra in addition to the number of pages in your album. But just because your album has 20 pages doesn’t mean you will only need 20 pictures. Some albums have more than one picture per
page. If you are getting a digital storybook album you will also be looking through a lot more prints. To determine how many prints are best suited for your needs think about how many prints you need for friends and family, think about how big your family is, and if you will be wanting enlargements to decorate your home.

Individual prints can seem expensive for what they are but you need to see things from the photographers’ point of view. Individual prints that are made by hand can get pricey. Black and white pictures are always hand printed and that is why black and white prints are always more expensive. Images that have special effects require more attention when being printed so they too cost more. As a guide line, an 8×0 print should not cost more than $25 to $30 individually.

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PICKING OUT YOUR ALBUM

Thanks to the scrapbook boom and digital age there are all sorts of wedding albums now available. The most traditional albums are those that either slip pictures into mattes or handmade album where the photographer mounts pictures on mats. You also now have digital albums that can be printed and bound like a hard back book. There is also the possibility to design your album your self.

Some photographers will also offer parents albums in their package. Parents’ albums are smaller versions of the wedding album that you can give to parents as presents. Some packages may not even offer a album. This is good because it gives you a better idea of what size album you will want. If you can order your
album after the service you will be able to pick out every picture you want and will be able to have an exact idea of what you want in your album.

With so many album options around it is a good idea to shop around and see what you like. Most photographers have a account with one supplier and will only offer a selected variety of albums. Just because they only show you a few different album designs they will probably be able to get the album you want. So look around at different photographers and find out what album style you are most interested in and then tell your photographer.

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