Friday, February 13, 2015

Wedding Photography: The Unknown Unknowns

My weekly column on The Broke Ass Bride is up!


Photo: Chasing Glimpses
Weddings are complicated creatures. There are a  there a lot of things about your wedding  that you can extrapolate from real life, and a lot of that you can find out by asking obvious questions. But there are also the unknown unknowns, the stuff that you don’t know that you don’t know.  And you don’t - or wouldn’t- know, because you haven’t done this before.

As a wedding planner, finding your photographer is always the next thing on our checklist, after your venue and a caterer. For one thing, it’s usually the next most expensive line item on your budget. Your wedding pictures are the only permanent thing, other than your spouse and your ring, that you’re taking away from your wedding day! But wedding photography  is filled with unknown unknowns. What is that you don’t know that you don't know about your wedding photography?

Choosing a Good Photographer
 Like most art forms, “good photography” is subjective. So, first of all ,look for pictures and styles that personally appeal to you.  Look for pictures that are focused, whose subjects are are well-lit, against backgrounds that don't distract from the photograph.

There are also no standard costs for photography, though here in Los Angeles, you can expect to throw back a few thousand dollars.  When you're deciding between photographers that you like, try and compare apples and apples. What services do they each provide, what are you getting for what you're paying? How many hours on site? Are engagement pictures included? An album? A disk of pictures. And if one photographer doesn't offer one apple that another does, ask how much it would be to add it. Either way, you'll be able to find a great photographer in your price range. But don't settle - sign that contract knowing that your pictures are going to be beautiful.
And, seriously? Choose a photographer that you like. They are going to literally be in your face all day during your wedding and you'll be dealing with them after the wedding while they're finishing your pictures and albums. You need to be okay with that.

How Much Time and Work is Invested in Your Pictures
There's the lead-up to your wedding, the consultations about what pictures you want, the ones you don't, and discussing (several times) the general flow of the day.  Engagement pictures usually take 2-3 hours. They are at your wedding for 8-12 hours. If you don't have a planner, they're going to be running the day with help from your DJ. And, depending on your venue and your guest count, there could be two photographers. And, no kidding, those photographers are going to take thousands of pictures. So, after your wedding, thousands pictures have to be sorted in chronological order, duplicates and blurry shots have to be deleted, and the rest have to be edited and touched up before you even see them. Raw images are not an option you want. So, it takes a few weeks! And, how fast you get your album after that depends on you and how fast you can pick the pictures you want in it.

About Those Pictures On Your Wedding Day...
As you've probably figured out if you've been reading for a while, I'm into wedding timing. How to manage it, when to ignore it, and when to pay very, very close attention to it. Pictures take a lot of time. Assembling everyone, for one. Posing. Posing again. Different locations, different shots. Groomsmen wander back to the bar, other people blink during group shots. This can eat up the time you have between hair and makeup and leaving for your venue, and it can definitely make your cocktail hour hectic! You don't have to do it (you don't have to do anything) but talk to your photographer about taking pictures of you and your fiance before the wedding, and getting as many group shots as you can after that. Less pictures during the cocktail hour, more of a chance for an appetizer and a drink, and to marvel in wonder that, WOW, you just got married! Ask your photographer about other ways to streamline the day. Trust me, they'll have a ton of suggestions.
Are starting to look for photographers? And if you've already picked yours, how many did you talk to before you made a decision? Have you decided to do a first look? Let me know, along with any questions, in the comments below! And if you would like to find out more about me, and my little part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

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