One thing I love about my blog is the great wedding photography. Images of family and loved ones coming together to celebrate love. Photographs are so important, they immortalize your wedding day for you and generations to come. However, you only get one chance to get it right. So I asked my friend, photographer Tara Parekh, to give us some advice on the daunting task of choosing a photographer and capturing meaningful photos.
Clearly experience is another factor, "You will want to ask the photographer about his/her experience. How many weddings have they photographed? A general rule of thumb is once a photographer has photographed about 10 weddings, he/she is experienced. But be aware that even if a photographer tells you he/she is experienced, it is important to view the photographer's portfolio to verify that the work actually reflects the experience. As a bride, you can also ask to see a sample of a full wedding. This will help you know what to expect from the photographer. Many photographers showcase a full wedding on their web sites, so be sure to take a good look."
Consider the photographer's feedback from previous weddings. "Ask for references. Most photographers are able to refer you to previous clients. Remember that a little investigation never hurts. See what people are saying on the photographer's blog site and Facebook fan page, and make sure that the work you see on their blog site matches the work you see on their web site. Most work posted on a photographer's blog site is up-to-date, and should give you a good sense of the photographer's style."
And what about the bottom line? "Additionally, it is also important that you review the photography contract. Ask questions so that you understand all of the details, such as the services offered, the pricing, how the photos will be edited (do you receive images in color, black&white, or both) and the terms of delivery."
What should you consider during the planning stages in regards to photography?
Consider the venue. "As a photographer, I would advise you to look for a venue that has good lighting and beautiful background environments. Having both an indoor and outdoor option in case of inclement weather is also a great idea. Before your wedding, make sure to ask your venue if there are any restrictions for the photographer. Sometimes photographs are not permitted in specific areas of a church, or during specific moments of the ceremony. It is important for you to relay this information to your photographer before the big day."
Make sure you incorporate photography into the wedding day time line. "Allocating enough time for bride and groom photographs in addition to all of the group photographs is critical. Many times couples rush through the bride and groom photographs, not realizing until after the wedding that they missed out on getting the most important images of the day. A good way to make sure you have enough time is to have a family member or friend in charge of gathering individuals for group photographs. If you can get the group photographs finished in a timely manner, you will have more time for better, more creative images of the couple. If you still feeling like you did not budget enough time, think about hiring the photographer to take bride and groom portraits either before or after the wedding."
But don't forget... "The best advice I can give you is to not get caught up in wedding planning. Have fun and enjoy your wedding day because it will go by quickly."
As a photographer, what do you enjoy most about working with brides?
"When everything is over, the cake cut, the last dance has ended, and I have finished editing the photographs, I never get tired of the response I receive from a bride when she looks at her photographs for the first time. Although the day is only a distant memory for the bride and groom, the photographs bring back great recollections for the couple. I enjoy the excitement in their voices as they tell me about their favorite images or thank me for capturing their day."
Your favorite wedding? "It is difficult to pick one wedding as my favorite wedding because every wedding I have photographed has been quite unique. I have seen weddings with the guest list of over 1,000 people, accordion players, men on horses, Maryland crabs for dinner, and weddings in spectacular locations like India and Maine. Overall, my favorite weddings are those that have a great atmosphere. When the guests are excited, the couple can't be happier, and the party is on, the photographs just come naturally. It is a great pleasure to be a part of such an event."
Be sure to check out Tara Parekh's blog for more amazing images, including a post on her favorite wedding images from 2010. You can also find more of her work on flickr.
Thanks for all the advice Tara!