Wedding Shots with Style
After hours upon days upon months of planning (and spending), your most momentous of days deserves to be documented. These are images you’ll cherish for the rest of your life, so choosing a photographer and videographer who understand your personality and tastes is crucial.
As with any artist, each wedding photographer comes with his or her unique perspective and style. Research and communication are key to finding the right fit.
“Make sure that you and your photographer have a good line of communication. Make sure that you click. You will be spending your whole wedding day with this person,” says Lisa Marie O’Quinn, owner of Sweet Tea Photography, Old Town Alexandria, Va.
The best way to start researching is to first identify a photography style that’s right for you. O’Quinn says there are three major wedding photography styles:
Traditional: The least expensive photographers will likely take a traditional approach, says O’Quinn. Most shots are posed. “These are the images that you would expect to see at every wedding,” she says. Think straight-on shots and big smiles – not much more, not much less.
Photojournalistic: “Photojournalistic photographers capture the emotion in every moment rather than poses,” O’Quinn says. These photographers will roam an even unobtrusively, capturing candid images.
Artistic: It’s all in the name. Artistic photographers aim to create visually stimulating, highly edited, magazine-worthy photographs. However, artistic photographers’ styles vary greatly, so choose carefully. “Make sure that their style is not too trendy,” O’Quinn says. “You want your photos to look beautiful when you receive them and when you look at them 20 years from now.”
Once you’ve identified your style, however, your work isn’t done. To ensure your photographer has what it takes, don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions regarding prior experience. Take a good look at past work. “Ask your photographer if you can see an entire wedding that they have photographed,” O’Quinn suggests. That way, you’ll have a clear idea of how many photos you’ll get and how much of your day will be captured on film.
Also, when hiring a photographer through a photography studio, be sure to ask precisely who will photograph your day. “Sometimes you think that you will be hiring one shooter, and then they throw in someone else in,” O’Quinn says.
If you have questions about digital photography, ask your photographer to explain some of it to you, such as what format they shoot in and why. Do you get a DVD with all the photo files and the rights to them after the wedding? Will they be available to proof online?
As wedding photographers cost an average of $1,500 – and up to $5,000 in large urban markets – couples may find that the photographer of their dreams is well outside of the budget. O’Quinn recommends perusing creative wedding blogs or asking friends for referrals in order to get lasting memories without leaving a lasting mark on your bank account.
Videography, too, comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and price points.
The same rules for choosing the right photographer apply to video, from looking at prior work to establishing a good connection, but there are a few key differences.
While many videographers opt for a photojournalistic approach, inconspicuously shooting the day, others may take on a more hands-on approach, says Leslie Satterfield, owner of Kiss the Bride Films. “Some couples might want their videographer to take a more directorial role – interviewing the wedding party, for example,” she says.
Camera choice can also greatly affect your video’s outcome. “The latest HD cameras give superb color and stunning image quality,” Satterfield says. “A black-and-white Super 8 camera creates a romantic, old-fashioned look.”
The price range for videography can vary greatly. Traditional videography can start as low as $250, says Michelle Walker, owner of Layer Cake Films, which operates in L.A. and New York, with the most artful Super 8 films reaching upwards of $5,000. As Satterfield explains, “As with any service, quality will often cost you.”
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