Wedding Photography Basics 5/19/04 12:06 PM
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WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY BASICS
Your wedding photos will be the most tangible memories of the day. To make sure you will be happy
with your pictures, it helps to familiarize yourself with some basic information.
Finding a Photographer
Start looking at least six months before the wedding day; begin by asking friends and relatives for
recommendations. You can also ask your caterer or wedding consultant for the names of recent brides
who may have recommendations. Interview at least two or three photographers, paying close
Personalizable Heirloom Photo
attention to both the person and the work. Ask to see one complete album—not a “best of” collection.
Albums, $79.00 - $139.00
Look at a sample proof book as well to assess the depth of coverage; for an important moment such
as the cake cutting, make sure there are five or six shots to choose from, not just one or two. Tell the
photographer what you are planning for your wedding, and ask him to describe how he would shoot
the event if hired to do the job. It will become clear when you and a photographer share the same
vision for your wedding.
Photographer fees start at about $1,000; generally speaking, about 10 percent of the wedding budget
should be allocated to photography. The final fee will be based on the number of hours of coverage,
the number of exposures the photographer will take, and the number of proofs he’ll show the bride
and groom. Many photographers use four hours as the base for calculating their fees, but in reality,
that is not enough time to photograph an average wedding, much less a large wedding, which will last
at least eight hours. The only time a photographer should spend less than four hours is if you’re
having a very small wedding. Otherwise, don’t agree to a four-hour package thinking you’ll save
money: Overtime charges can be exorbitant, and you’ll end up racing through the cake-cutting and
the bouquet-throwing at an unnatural speed so the photographer can capture these moments without
it costing you much more than you expected.
Exposures and Proofs
At an average-size wedding (around 150 guests), count on a photographer shooting 250 or 300
exposures. Keep in mind that the more candid shots you request, the more film will be used.
Photographers often edit out 10 to 20 percent of their shots for the proof book. Therefore, you should
expect to see around 200 to 250 proofs for an average-size wedding. Find out if you can keep the
proof book; some photographers do include it as part of the package.
Choice of Film
Discuss with the photographer the percentage of images you want in black and white and the
percentage you want in color. Black-and-white film is especially well-suited to group photographs
because it balances skin tones and complexions, and it simplifies odd combinations of colors in
clothing. Black-and-white photographs are often developed by the photographer on archival paper;
this means they will not begin to fade as quickly as color prints, which might start to fade in as few as
seven years, depending on how they were processed and how they are stored. On the other hand,
color photography captures the brightness of the day and better records the moment. Combining both
black-and-white and color is often the best solution.
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