Choose a professional wedding photographer rather than Uncle Bob
When looking for a professional wedding photographer, you can choose to invest in an artistic approach, creative and natural photos of your couple and your family, taken on the spot. But when faced with the budget that a quality service provider represents, you might also wonder if your Uncle Bob could not also make a photo report of your wedding day at a rate defying all competition. Don't tell us that when you announced your wedding to your family and friends, none of them said "oh great ! I have a friend/cousin/neighbor/colleague who has a big camera, he will be able to do the pictures for your wedding !
Yes, because of course, we all have an uncle who bought his reflex at the supermarket yesterday and who will be happy to test the Manual mode on your wedding day. Be prepared to see a smartphone "that takes great pictures" or an old film camera if you're an artist !
HAPPILY, you have kindly declined by justifying that you prefer everyone to enjoy the evening as it should be. But if sometimes you don't have enough arguments, here is a little list that will convince you to skip the politeness for your shoot.
Once the festivities are over, all you'll have left are your photos, your album and your prints and/or digital files, depending on the contract with the service provider of your choice. It is about memories for a lifetime, we do not joke with that ! To capture your wedding photo reportage and sublimate the complicity and the good mood of the bride and groom, call upon the best wedding photographers.
From many regions and countries, your photographer will not lack of pretty places to realize sumptuous wedding photos. But be careful to take a professional wedding photographer, if you don't want to see the dream turn into a nightmare...
1. Professional wedding photography equipment
Yes, it seems obvious, but we still hear remarks like "it costs that much for one day? Well yes. A professional wedding photographer's camera (and even 2 cameras) and lenses, it's often not less than 10000 $ and it changes regularly. Of course, it is not the pot that makes the good cook, but a good camera will allow, for example, to shoot in poor lighting conditions, to focus quickly and not miss smiles, or the possibility of pre-settings to switch between differents lights very quickly. All this to immortalize a maximum of strong moments SO in your interest !
2. Have a plan B : backup equipment
Having 2 cameras, several lenses or 2 flashes will guarantee that the person designated to take the pictures will not "break down": the wedding must go smoothly and in case of breakdown or accidental fall, some of the photo equipment could need to be replaced in the minute so as not to miss a highlight of your wedding day.
3. Do not run out of consumables
Of course, a professional photographer will also have enough consumables : he/she won't run out of battery on his/her pro camera, or run out of batteries for his/her flash. He/she won't find himself/herself with a full memory card that blocks the camera at the fateful moment : you'll sleep soundly by choosing an experienced photographer !
4. How to use your camera, lenses and accessories like a pro during the wedding
This is THE basic technical training. It may make you smile, but buying an SLR for a fortune to use it in automatic mode is like buying a Formula 1 car to go shopping. Knowing how to use this very technical equipment is the basis of the photographer's job. To react to the different moments, to the light conditions, to the fact that the green, blue and red spots of the DJ won't make you look like a Hulk, a Smurf or a Zombie respectively... Actually, all this is the result of years of experience and many weddings photographed !
5. Mastering lighting like a pro
Photography is writing with light. And in photography, it is not enough to master the basics of your camera to create great images ! Mastering light is also a must-have for the photographer, at least for shooting in natural light. Managing white balance and different artificial light sources is also important, especially indoors : even if the camera adapts well at times in auto mode, some situations require a lot of know-how ! Not forgetting of course the flash, required especially in really dark places or to freeze the movement and create light effects during the evening. And for photographers who want to remain discreet during religious ceremonies (ex : in a church) or during the reception on the evening of the wedding, it is then necessary to master the sharp photo in low light conditions. Actually, at this stage, it's a bit like the game "Who's That ? We can imagine that many uncles Bob or beginners photographers are already eliminated.
6. Specialized training in wedding photography
To create fabulous wedding photos, good photographers often learn with international wedding photographers who teach them to tell a story with a unique point of view on your day and your couple. This is also what will make the difference in price among wedding photographers, between a photographer who masters his subject but makes photos similar to others and a specialized photographer who will have his own style in each of his images. If you choose to entrust the photo reportage of your wedding to Uncle Bob, expect at best well framed and well exposed photos.
7. Anticipation : choose the point of view, the angle, the moment to photograph the wedding day
An experienced professional photographer realizes several weddings in the year (between 10 and 30 per year generally). Therefore, with experience, he will know how to anticipate the strong moments and immortalize them. The footsteps in the staircase are perhaps those of the mother who will push the door and discover her daughter changing, so we place ourselves strategically to capture her emotion. And no, we do not look at the scene with the camera under the elbow and the tear in the eye...
9. A precious help : the team of wedding service providers who accompany you
And yes, as said above, when you immortalize 30 weddings a year, there are chances you've seen the best and the worst. Thus, your photographer is a precious source of advice, even more so when you have chosen not to hire a wedding planner ! Present from the beginning to the end of the day, he becomes an unavoidable partner of your day who quickly goes beyond his initial role by helping you with the preparations for example (anecdotes of photographers making the tie, the corsage, giving advice to the bride and groom for the entrance of the procession are more than frequent).
10. A dedicated person for you wedding photosLet's be honest, your uncle is more interested in joining his friends at the cocktail than taking your couple photos. He'd rather be laughing with his cousins at the table than spontaneously photographing your first dance, and he'd rather be sitting down than running around the church. And more simply, it will be difficult to reproach your uncle for not having "done the job" for the simple and good reason that... it's uncle !
11. Know the key moments and rituals of the wedding
An experienced wedding photographer will know every key moment of the day and the settings to apply each time to get the best results. The passing of the dress during the getting ready, the exit of the church / the end of the ceremony, the speeches filled with emotion... So many opportunities to create beautiful images, for instantaneous scenes that will not be repeated : you should not miss them !
If you have planned a religious ceremony, the highlights and also the rules to respect are important: the photographer will have to remain discreet not to disturb and be ready to capture each essential photo of the photographed ritual. Does your uncle know the rights spots, the rights settings and will he know how to be discreet to capture them without distorting the atmosphere and the emotion you are experiencing ? Only you can answer this question !
12. Advise you Throughout the wedding photo reportage
Your wedding day will be unique, but aside from a few weddings you've already been invited to, you don't really know how the day will work in practice. Unless you have a wedding planner and/or an army of people to delegate, you will certainly stress out and may want to handle many things on your own during the day.
Your photographer will be there to help you stay calm and make the most of every important moment. He/she will be able to guide you for some portraits once you are prepared before joining your beloved, will know how to advise you at the time of the "first look" to discover your future spouse with a maximum of emotions (and photos). Actually he/she will be there to advise you and to create the best images of your wedding. In the same way, his/her creativity will be precious to photograph all the details : the jewels, the outfits, the wedding rings, the table setting, the flowers, the wedding decorations, etc. He/she will also know how to anticipate a change in the planned organization (delay on the schedule, changing weather, etc.) in order to adapt and offer you the best solutions in images. With a beginner photographer or uncle Bob, keep your fingers crossed that your day will be perfect and without any unforeseen event : it is not their job!
13. The list of essential photos to capture on the wedding day
Another asset of the professional photographer is the preparation of the wedding beforehand with each couple. You will be able to talk to him/her about your vision of the ideal wedding, to indicate the people or the photos that are essential for you not to forget, to share all your expectations. A professional photographer will certainly have with him/her on the D-day a list of your most important photos so as not to forget anything and will be able to capture each "must have" photo of your wedding. If you are having group photos, he/she will help you make a list to organize them without being endless. If you entrust your wedding photos to a normal person, don't have any particular expectations and you will simply see what will come out of this day : the final result will certainly be very different.
14. Synchronization with the wedding suppliers on the big day
If you did not opt for the services of a wedding planner, a professional photographer will be able to rely on his or her experience to communicate with the other service providers : to ensure that the music is played at the entrance to the church or at the beginning of the secular ceremony, to warn the caterer of a possible delay in the cocktail party or to synchronize with the DJ for the first dance photos. If you have entrusted the mission to a begginner in photography or uncle Bob, good luck ...!
A professional result for the photographer at every moment of the wedding
15. It's his/her job : to preserve professional quality memories
We can never say it often enough, professional wedding photographer is a profession. It is built with years of experience, training, questioning and repetition over and over again. So to acquire all this know-how with the accelerated training of the B&H salesman is a concept, of which your wedding photos should clearly not be at the expense !
16. Editing and retouching of the wedding photosIn silver, the films were developed, then the photos were chosen during an editing (selection of the best images) before being retouched, sometimes directly with a brush on the photosensitive film itself!
In digital, it is the same process, which represents the biggest part of the photographer's work in number of hours: count at least 2 hours of post-processing of the images for 1 hour of reportage on the spot (and often much more). This step allows you to choose the captured moments that will tell the most accurate story of your wedding and to sublimate each photo by enhancing the colors (or the contrasts for beautiful black and white), by removing an embarrassing detail in the background or by combining several photos so that everyone has their eyes open on the group photos (if you do it on the big day).
Of course, if you entrust your wedding photography to someone who doesn't retouch or applies the same "preset" (like a photo filter) on all your images, you won't have the memories that were possible and you will miss an important step for your photos.
17. Quality media : wedding photo albums and print boxes
For photographers offering albums, it is often the guarantee to keep your memories of the D-Day forever and to pass it on to the generations to come thanks to quality products that will last through time, and often only accessible to professional wedding photographers. If you are hesitating with an album made on the internet, simply compare it with the media offered by your photographer and you will understand! Online albums will be perfect for your vacations, but will never last the years! Your wedding memories are priceless.
18. A wedding photo album fully customizableBooking a reportage with a professional wedding photographer will also allow you to have fun by personalizing your photo album with a choice :
- Materials for the cover : wood, leather, imitation leather, photo paper, plexiglass, fabric, etc.
- Engravings or embossing to personalize the cover,
- Type of photo paper (glossy, matte, pearl, satin...)
- The size and format of the album (French, Italian, square...)
Many options will be available to keep your wedding photo report in an album of your image. Don't ask your uncle to take care of it, he has long since moved on ;-)
19. Saving the images after the weddingWith digital files, there is the question of the backup of the images. Here again, find out what is planned with the photographer to whom you will entrust your wedding : what type of backup and for how long ?
When shooting a wedding, some photographers easily take several thousand pictures that they will have to sort. They then keep the best images that they retouch and most often send you the digital files, at least in screen size. But once the photos are delivered, does the photographer keep a copy ? For how long ? On one or more different hard drives ?
We don't want to give you a worst-case scenario, but imagine for a moment : your laptop on which your photos were stored falls and breaks : nothing is recoverable. If the photographer didn't plan a backup, you're done ! And if it's uncle Bob who took the pictures, you can flip a coin to see if he has a backup in case of a problem... Don't count on it !
20. A professional mediator service appointed in case of problems following your wedding
What if, once the wedding is over, you don't agree on the final photos ?
Professional photographers are required to hire the services of a professional mediator service in case of need. Imagine that you still haven't received your wedding photos 6 months later, that the photos were not retouched as expected or that a crucial moment of your day was missing in the photo reportage ? With a professional photographer, you sign a contract and mutually commit yourself with written expectations from both parts + a mediator service available if needed. With Uncle Bob, you can always ask your auntie if she can put in a good word for you, but it's likely that once you get back into the swing of things, your wedding photos will no longer be his priority.
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