13 Questions About Wedding Photography

1. Should I hire a professional wedding photographer or relative/friend?

While you may feel comfortable with a relative or friend to capture your big day, a professional photographer possesses the technical mastery of shooting, logistics and time constraints. Experienced photographers will work with you, understand the vision of your event, and then capture your most precious memories without getting swept up in the celebration, lose entire segments of your wedding or forget backup equipment. If a relative or friend shoots your wedding, he or she is more likely to get caught up in the celebration and miss important shots.

Professional photographers anticipate and capture the most expressive split second at the exact time. They know how and when to crop the picture to highlight an important detail and keep all the other elements in the background. Professional photographers can also preserve all the details in a picture and keep all the important objects in sharp focus. Most importantly, experienced photographers can make your event look magnificent regardless of your wedding budget.

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2. What is a proof?


A proof is a low-resolution digital image or small-sized print. Photographers do not retouch all the pictures from their event shoots. Instead, they print or create a low-resolution version of all “open eyes and in-focus” photographs for a customer to view and then select a handful of the best pictures for further post-production and larger prints.

Artvesta Studio is committed to ensuring the highest quality of proofs. 

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3. Should I hire two wedding photographers or a solo photographer?

The decision of hiring two wedding photographers depends solely on your budget and photography needs. 
While the first photographer’s primary responsibility is to take all standard or classic wedding shots, the second photographer focuses on snapping additional action shots and different-angled images that capture those precious and fleeting moments.

The second photographer looks for authentic emotional shots that usually take place outside of the lens scope of the main photographer. He or she can also support the main photographer if something unpredictable happens.

A photography duo will also give you two distinct styles of photography that complement each other. The only disadvantage in hiring two wedding photographers is a higher price in the wedding photography package due to the extra cost of production and post-production.

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4. How can I determine the best wedding photography package?


A typical wedding package includes 8 hours of photo coverage by one or two professional photographers, digital or printed proofs, and a password-protected online preview gallery. Sometimes, wedding packages also include enlargements such as 11×14” or 16×20” as well as wedding albums for the bride and groom and two sets of parents.

We offer 4-hour, 8-hour, and 10-hour wedding photography packages that include digital proofs and an 8×8” or 10×10” Artvesta Photo book. We also offer a number of a la carte items such as additional photo albums, photo canvases, prints, pre-wedding and post-wedding photo shoots, additional or reduced hours of coverage, and customization options.

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5. What is the average retainer to secure a photographer for my big day? When is the remaining balance due?


A customary retainer for a photography package is at least 10% of the entire package price. While some wedding photographers prefer a 50% retainer, other photographers request 100% of payment delivered upon contract signing. At Artvesta Studio, we require a 30% retainer to reserve a date.

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6. How come the price ranges drastically among various wedding photographers?

Since a wedding photographer does not need a specific degree or to pass any specialty tests to shoot events, some aspiring photographers can offer their services for free or very low prices. These photographers have probably shot fewer than 20 weddings as a main or only photographer. I shot my very first wedding for $400 in 2003.

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7. When should I book a wedding photographer?

Start scouting for the right wedding photographer as soon as you secure your wedding date. Since experienced photographers accept bookings years in advance, it’s in your best interest to book your wedding photographer once you find the best combination of vision, skills, personality, and price that meets your requirements.

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8. What qualities must a wedding photographer possess?

As you interview multiple wedding photographers, look for the right combination of personal and professional qualities that will assure a smooth flow of your wedding day and captivating photos. Make sure you understand a photographer’s personality and figure out why he or she became a wedding photographer.

For example, I became a wedding photographer because I love capturing emotions and enjoy brainstorming creative photo concepts and ideas and bringing them to life. Nothing is more rewarding than creating the exact shot that I had in mind and the satisfaction of the couples with the finished product. I spent years honing my craft before offering my talent commercially.

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9. What should I be aware of when scouting wedding photographers?


Make sure to view several weddings that potential photographers have shot from the beginning to the end. Many wedding photographers start out as second shooters for well-established studios and often include second-shooter pictures in their portfolio when booking their own jobs. Even if those pictures are impressive, you cannot be sure that the photographer can withhold the pressure of being the first or, especially, the only photographer at the wedding.

Another helpful tip when scouting a wedding photographer is whether he or she is willing to give you reproduction rights after the job is completed. The withholding of reprinting rights is the main source of hidden additional costs in the industry. For instance, a photographer can offer you a very low price for his or her photography services, and after the wedding, he or she can inform you that the only way for you to receive your pictures is to pay $6.99 for each 4×6” print. Keep in mind that a professional photographer takes between 1,000 and 3,000 images per wedding.

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10. What equipment should a wedding photographer carry?

Since wedding photography is a rapidly-changing industry, new technologies and equipment are being constantly introduced to professional photographers which makes it difficult to give exact specifications of the equipment required for a quality photo shoot. However, some standards remain unchanged such as having at least two professional-grade photo cameras, a set of various lenses and speedlights, as well as off-camera photographic lights, reflectors, stands, portable batteries, and photographic umbrellas. In my professional kit, I usually carry three Nikon photo cameras, five lenses, five speedlights and one video light, at least two photo stands, a tripod, three sets of wireless speedlight triggers, 2-4 light stands, a stepladder, and a set of creative props.

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11. Are photography prices less expensive for off-season and weekday weddings?


The prices for professional wedding photography vary for off-season and weekday weddings. You can potentially save up to 20% on a regular photography package with a winter wedding on a weekday. If you want to include albums in your package, the discount will probably be much smaller because the cost of album production is fixed and included in the photography package price.

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12. Can I order both black and white and color photos?

Since it is fairly easy to convert a color photograph into a black and white one, do not worry about making this decision in advance as long as you agreed on color photography.

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  1. Why do wedding photographers copyright the pictures they take at weddings?  

Transfer and reproduction rights can easily be confused with a copyright. The copyright is granted to any photographer at the time a picture is created. It does not need to be claimed, documented, or registered by an author.

If you want to reproduce the images from your wedding photographer, make sure a reproduction release is included in your contract. For more information on copyrights, visit www.copyright.gov. It is common for wedding photographers to retain the original hi-resolution files to be able to maximize their profits by making additional money on prints. Retaining the hi-resolution photographs is very common in the United States except for some urban cities such as New York or Los Angeles. The fierce competition among wedding photographers forces many professionals to surrender their reproduction rights to make their photography packages more competitive.

Carlton Hotel groom and groomsmen

Still have questions? Please feel free to ask me by commenting below or email me at artvestastudio@gmail.com

© Tatiana Valerie, an award-winning wedding photographer based in New York City

Benefits of Professional Wedding Photography: Education, Training and Experience

Your big day is approaching and you have everything in order. You have your caterer, your church, your reception hall, the cake, the rings, the dresses, vows are written, and everything is in place. Or is it? Who is doing your photography? Oh not to worry – your cousin is an amateur photographer and he is taking the pictures. It was a good way to shave a few dollars off the budget. Good idea right? Wrong.

Midtown Loft and terrace bride

Why is it not a good idea? Why do you want to hire a professional wedding photographer for your big day? Pictures are pictures right? Again wrong. There are benefits to having a professional photographer for your wedding and these benefits far outweigh what you can shave from your budget by having an amateur do it for free. These pictures are the placeholders for the memories of your wedding for the rest of your life. Your cake will be devoured in a night. Your pictures will last longer than a lifetime.

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Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and those pictures will be one of the most important items in your box of memories. The more incredible the pictures, the more incredible the memories will be. What are the benefits of hiring a professional wedding photographer?

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer: Education, Training and Experience

A professional photographer is going to get you the best possible pictures, using the best set ups and props. The photographer will make sure the lighting and angles are excellent. When you interview photographers for your wedding, remember you want someone with great credentials. What are great credentials? Education and training in photography and years of experience, specifically with weddings.

Style:

Style is a vital component in why you should choose a professional wedding photographer. If you let a relative who is an amateur take your pictures what style will they have? Do they know they have a style or is it all haphazard? You take a huge risk by doing that.

Hire a professional whose style matches yours and who will give you the type of pictures that you want. Do you want modern shots that are black and white and very stark but stunning? Do you want the more traditional and formal style of pictures, mostly in color with set ups that everyone will recognize? Do you want pre-set pictures from a list you give the photographer or do you want candid, not preplanned pictures? Can an amateur deliver what you want in this area? Think this through completely and make sure your wedding photographer matches your desires and go with a professional who will immediately understand what you are talking about when you say you want modern, contemporary shots or you want a traditional wedding portfolio.

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Camera Equipment Knowledge:

You will want to hire a professional wedding photographer because they have the right equipment to provide you with the pictures and quality that you want. Your relatives or friends might have a really nice digital SLR with zoom lens, but usually they will still be handicapped by not having a variety of lenses and a couple of cameras of professional caliber. The type of photographic equipment used is as important as the person behind the camera. This is your wedding day after all. You are looking for the memories of your lifetime and you need the right professional equipment and the right professional with the training and experience to make the best use of it.

The Photographer’s Role:

Another reason to avoid having a relative or friend be your wedding day photographer is that they are emotionally involved in the activities of the day. They are more likely to get distracted and not get the pictures you want. Then what happens at the reception when they want to eat, have cake, and dance the night away? Do you end up without any pictures from your reception? Also it is very common for the guests at your wedding to give leeway to a professional wedding photographer because they understand that person’s role. They understand that you are paying that person. However, they are far less likely to give the same leeway to Uncle Bill. They will not see him as a professional photographer. They will see him as equal to themselves in just trying to get a good picture. He might have better equipment than they do, but he is still Uncle Bill and they have no reason to get out of his way or to let him get the picture.

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Professionalism:

Unlike a professional, your friends or relatives will not have a proven track record of taking photos at many weddings. The professional wedding photographer needs to be able to show you a proven record of success – they should have a portfolio of pictures from all the different types of weddings they have done.

Wedding Photographers do More:

Another benefit of hiring a professional wedding photographer with a lot of wedding experience is one that most people never think of. Your photographer will be your right hand woman on your wedding day. You will spend more time with your photographer on this day than with anyone else including the groom. Because of this you need a professional who is focused on you and not on their own role in the ceremony. The professional wedding photographer does a lot more than take the pictures. They also make things easier, more relaxed, and more enjoyable for the bride and groom, but especially for the bride.

Think about this for a few minutes. Who will be with you, the bride, from the moment you start your day until you get in the car to leave for your honeymoon? He or she will be in the background and never interfere unless you need them. But you will need them. The photographer is probably the person who assists the bride the most as she goes through her day.

Your photographer will be there for your pre-wedding breakfast. They will tell you if your makeup is good and if your hair is out of place. Who is there every minute calming the bride and assuring her that she looks gorgeous? Who is there every minute to tell the bride that her jewelry is right and her hair clip works perfectly. The photographer is always says “That’s it. That’s good. You’re beautiful. Great shot”. All these things calm an over excited bride. What we know for sure is there will be moments when the only person available to calm the over excited bride is the photographer. If this is a relative, they are in the church seated while the bride is alone in her nervousness.

So many brides and grooms never consider this aspect of hiring a professional wedding photographer. Even if you have a wedding planner, they will not be your shadow every minute of the day like your photographer will be.  Your photographer has to be an organizer and a cheerleader. They have to be a professional and the bride’s best friend for the day.

She also needs to be a therapist for the entire wedding party keeping them calm and keeping them on schedule. It is more likely to be the photographer who says “let’s go it’s time to start”, rather than the officiator. When something goes wrong the photographer has to be able to keep things calm and get whatever shots they can until the crisis is resolved. They also then have to readjust their timing to make sure they get all the shot you requested.

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Communication and Reliability:

Because of the importance of the role as stated above you need a professional wedding photographer and not an amateur. You need someone who can communicate very well with the entire bridal party and get them where he wants them when he wants them there without anyone feeling like he is an intrusion into the day.

She must be available emotionally for the bride so this means she has to match the bride’s personality as much as possible, be relaxed and outgoing, compassionate and sensitive, fun and energetic. It’s a big order to fill and that is why you need someone who knows how to do it and has done it successfully for years. He or she must be all of this and yet stay out of the way, in the background and of course, most importantly get the best and most intimate photographs while taking care of everyone in the bridal party. No amateur, no matter how good, relative or friend, will be able to maintain the distance and impartiality needed while still offering the intimacy and support needed and still get the shot.

Patience:

You need to hire someone that you, the bride, are comfortable with. Think about spending ten to thirteen hours with this person on the biggest day of your life. You had better like being with them.  You will expose your most intimate self to this person. Make sure you will be treated with respect and sensitivity.  This photographer needs to be the best possible combination of experience and patience. Patience just might be the most important characteristic any wedding photographer can have.
Props: Remember this is your photographer. You will spend all day with her but the most important thing is the pictures. Make sure she has the props and set ups she needs at every stage of the day: before the ceremony, at the ceremony, at the reception, and as you leave the reception.

Remember the most important thing is that this is the biggest day of your life.

They will give you the best quality and the most creativity. What is so important about having a professional is that they will find a way to be in the right place at the right time in order to get the right shot. No amateur can have the experience needed to be able to do this. It takes experience and training to be able to do this. The professional also knows how to coach the subjects of their pictures – to help them relax and look natural in every shot.

He or she has the experience to deal with the bride, groom, bridal party, families, guests, friends, officiator and wedding planner all day long and still stay out of the way, while taking great photos.
Establish a great rapport with the bride. If this does not happen then you will see it in the pictures.
Finally a professional wedding photographer will have outstanding planning skills. They have to be able to plan for any contingency that might occur on the day of the wedding. They need to have a plan for the story they are telling of your wedding day.

With all of this taken into consideration it only makes sense – both from a budgetary and a personal – for the bride and groom to hire a professional wedding photographer.

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