Tips for Planning Your Wedding Photography
We at Creative Photography have been doing weddings for over thirty years and have gained a lot of insight and experience in that time. Whether we photography your wedding or not we want you to have a great day. Here are a few tips to help. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Hire a Professional Photographer! Look for a studio with convenient hours of operation and a wide range of services. Look for a studio that has flexibility in styles. Look for a photographer you like. Budget Wisely. Timing. Plan your wedding for the greatest impact for you and your guests.
Hire a Professional Photographer!
Your wedding photographs are a lasting memory of your special day. Sure you may have a friend or family member with a good camera, but this is an important day. You would like your friends and family to enjoy it with you and not be working. But more importantly good wedding photographs are the result of training, experience, and dependability. Trust your precious images to a professional who has a reputation of dependability. Many professionals will bring an assistant especially to a larger wedding. Who is a professional? Being a professional is more than just charging money. An accountant is a professional as well as a dentist, physician, and lawyer, not because they charge money to perform a service, but because of education, training, experience, dependability—and because they maintain membership in professional associations that provide continuing education and certification of his skills. A professional photographer is a member of professional trade associations that provide continuing education and certification. The Professional Photographers of America, Inc., is the world’s largest association of photographers. PPA provides the most comprehensive and extensive continuing education program of any trade association for
Wedding Tips, page 2
photographers. PPA is also a non-profit, member owned association. PPA provides its members with a “Certification” program. So if you see a photographer advertising as PPA Certified or CPP then you know that photographer has undergone the rigorous requirements to reach that milestone. The PPA Certified member has submitted business and personal references, passed a written examination, and passed a peer review of his or her professional images. The Professional Photographers of Oklahoma, Inc., is a state affiliate of PPA and, as an independent association, provides continuing education and support on the state level. Most states have state associations. For more information see www.ppa.com or www.ppok.org. Another benefit of membership in PPA and in PPO is that both associations require each member to sign a “Code of Conduct.” By signing this code each member promises to abide by good and honest business practices. Look for a photographer or studio that has a history of experience. Someone just starting out may be a good photographer, but experience—work under pressure—means so much on your special day.
Look for a studio with convenient hours of operation.
Some good photographers may operate out of their home, and this is not necessarily an indication of how good a photographer her or she may be. Many good photographers may work part time from home. However, the one disadvantage is that you can only do business “after hours.” A studio with regular business hours offers you the greatest convenience and flexibility for those times you need to check in or order. Most photographers who operate out of a studio will offer a wide range of services. Many may rent tuxedos or offer invitations. Most will have special offers for brides who book her wedding with the studio. Photographers who regularly photograph a wide variety of subjects generally offer the greatest skills.
Look for a studio that has flexibility in styles.
Many photographers because of years of experience can and do offer a variety of styles. You may prefer one style to another. Look at different styles. A traditional style is one with lots of posed portraits. Some use multiple lights for more of a “portrait” effect. A journalistic style is one where there are few, if any, posed photographs. The emphasis is on capturing the event as it happens. Candid Coverage is an attempt to mix Traditional and journalistic styles. You may not want to get locked into one single style. At Creative Photography we are comfortable and have experience with all three styles. In addition there is a renewed interest in Black and White photographs, and we can do that too. Don’t forget to look for “Digital” albums. Many new albums emphasize the creative ability to produce pages with multiple prints and special backgrounds. The best digital albums are the result of years of experience. If this is what you want be sure to ask to see examples of this type of work.
Wedding Tips, page 3
Look for a photographer you like.
It is very important that you like the studio or photographer. You are inviting him or her to your wedding. While the relationship is a business relationship, it is very personal. Ask lots of questions. Get to know the studio or photographer.
Many wedding planners don’t like the advice we are about to give you. But after the cake is eaten, after the flowers have wilted, after the dress is cleaned and put away, you are left with your memories. Photographs and the visual records are the most important memories that you will have. They will refresh you mind; they will bring back the emotions. Budgeting wisely does not mean being “cheap” or looking for the least expensive photographer, but placing emphasis on what you like and what will last. Memories last and the images will help you make them “last a lifetime.” Do not short change yourself on such an important feature of your wedding.
Good photographers get booked early. Don’t expect to check in mid-May for a wedding in June. Unless there has been a cancellation it won’t happen. Plan early with a good schedule. Frequently, the most popular dates are booked 12 and even 18 months ahead. Most weddings are booked with a photographer 6 to 12 months in advance. Engagement portraits for the newspaper and for display at the reception are taken 3 to 6 months in advance. If you want a portrait displayed at your reception then this should be taken a couple months before the wedding. You will need to order your portraits to be displayed at the wedding one to two months before the wedding. The week before your wedding you should check in with the photographers to discuss any “last minute” details or changes.
7. Plan your wedding for the greatest impact for you and your guests.
What has every bride dreamed about since she was a little girl? What is one of the greatest disappointments of a bride’s wedding day? The moment when her beloved sees her in her wedding gown! About 50 years ago a tradition, built upon romanticized ideas about ancient wedding ceremonies, has painted a false romantic notion of the bride walking down the isle in her magnificent wedding gown to be seen by her future husband. But it is a moment that must be shared with everyone in the audience. There is no privacy; there is no romantic, quiet moment for the couple; it simply fails to live up to its billing! Yes, it is an exciting moment. It is the time to be seen by your audience. The couple can join hands with their families and friends admiring the young couple and the beauty of the moment. We at Creative Photography urge our brides to consider a tradition of greater romance and far greater emotional impact for the couple —“The Quiet Moment.” When the bride and groom have a few minutes alone for the bride to quietly present herself in her dazzling gown to her groom and together they can then take a few moments to talk
Wedding Tips, page 4
and share those loving, intimate moments. The groom can look longingly and lovingly at his bride. They can hug and kiss in loving anticipation of the ceremony, which will follow. The wedding hall can be cleared of all people for this moment or a small intimate room can be used. Let us explain how this will help your wedding in other ways. After the ceremony most brides and grooms want to get to their guests. If the couple has had their “Quiet Moment” and, then, if all the photography is done prior to the wedding, the couple can enjoy their wedding day without a long interruption made necessary by photographing all the groups. If the photographs are already taken, then the wedding moves along to the reception; guests don’t get tired of waiting—You go straight to your reception. One of the disappointments that we see is after the photography following the ceremony, after the cake-cutting and toasting, then the guests start leaving. They have been a the reception and are ready to go. So many times we have seen the bride with few people to whom she can toss the bouquet or the groom the garter. This will give you much more time with your guests. Consider a more romantic solution and practical solution—choose “The Quiet Moment.”