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Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer

If you've recently gotten engaged (Congratulations!!), this post is definitely for you. Since your wedding photos will be here for many generations after you are gone, it is one of the most important things to take time to consider. With so many lovely artists that there are to capture your special moment - especially on your Big Day, this is a decision to be made carefully and thoughtfully. If you are new to this wedding game (and most are, don’t worry), then you probably have no idea where to start with a lot of your vendors. We want to help, so we compiled a list of 6 questions to ask before hiring a wedding photographer.

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What is your photography style?

There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to the different styles of wedding photography. Some people want the style and glamour that they see in magazines while others would like something more traditional, classic, and modest. So, when asking your photographer about style, these are a few to consider:

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Traditional Photography

Traditional is a classic photography style that is simple and elegant. There’s a high concentration on posed portraits, with a rare capture of candid moments. Traditional photographs focus greatly on sharpness, lighting, correct skin tones, and the use of background.

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Photojournalism means to capture the true expressions and feelings that happen throughout the wedding. This style can add a unique charm to your pictures that bring out the emotional and artistic essence from your wedding day.

The photojournalist’s goal is to take pictures while guests are not aware, which capture the look of true emotion and the real expressions of happiness and joy. While blending in with the crowd, a photojournalist can nab the action as it happens!

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Illustrative wedding photography is a mix of traditional and photojournalistic styles together. It’s all about capturing the moment, but also relies on playing with lighting and scenery to ensure everyone looks their best while being candid. These shots are usually very artistic and unique, but with a twist of classic.

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Artistic style is just that: Artistic! An example of this style could be the incorporation of the bride’s and groom’s hands entangled as they say their vows. These photos are there to capture touching moments during the big day. These photographers have a keen eye for detail and find the perfect photograph in moments some might find ordinary.

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Fashion photography is for all about the details. From the elaborate wedding dresses and their intricate beading, to the appointed tuxedo, these photos often have dramatic lighting to emphasize the various embellishments and make them pop!

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May I see a complete gallery (or two)?

Photographers will display their very best images on their website and Instagram pages. Some of these items will be from real weddings, but many more may be from styled shoots. Even though it may LOOK like a real wedding, it is important to realize that it's not. A styled shoot is an amazing group effort between a variety of highly skilled vendors who come together to showcase beautiful and unique details to inspire couples. On an actual wedding day, your vendors have many different elements and surprises to contend with. For example, extreme weather, family members running behind schedule, or even things entirely out of their control like a freak power outage! A styled shoot is controlled and designed to perfection to showcase the talents of the vendors and to express their creativity in new and exciting ways pushing the boundaries of what can be done. Because of the small scale setup, each vendor is able to go over the top and showcase their best product allowing photographers to shoot many detailed photographs in the best possible lighting. By asking for a couple of complete galleries, you can see their actual work in real world (less than ideal) conditions.

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Do you provide a second shooter?

Not every photographer will include a second shooter, however, a second shooter assures that not a single moment goes missed. This can be especially important for moments such as walking down the aisle, or catching the expression on the bride and grooms faces when seeing each other for the first time. If you have only one photographer, it might be a bit more complicated to snap these moments from multiple perspectives.

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Do you bring in your own lighting?

The answer should be a definite! When it comes to lighting for a wedding photography it’s very important. As the day goes on, natural lighting might not be an option. However, to get the best quality, lighting is key. If they do not have their own, feel free to go in depth on why they work without their own lighting. This is especially important if your venue is indoors, or if your wedding will be taking place after dark. We also suggest checking on the approximate sunset time for your wedding date so you know which events will occur in daylight, when to get those stunning sunset photos, and when you may need flash.

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May I request certain images?

You are hiring these artists and if you want something in particular captured, let them know. There’s nothing wrong with requesting a special moment that you want documented. Photographers typically don’t guarantee these images, but they’re more likely to try their best to get them if they know about them in advance.

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How many images can I expect to receive?

Usually on average photographers take between 1,200 and 1,500 images at your wedding, but this just an estimate as it varies. Also, know that photographers typically cull their images and only send you the best shots. You are likely to get a gallery somewhere in the 400-600 range, but it can vary a great deal from photographer to photographer. For this reason, it’s a good idea to ask about how many to be expecting, especially since different amounts might come with different rates. Keep in mind, if your photographer shoots in film, this number will be significantly lower.

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As with all of your wedding vendors (and any contractual relationship you have), the key is open communication. Weddings are all very different, and wedding photographers are the same way. Try not to assume anything based on previous weddings you’ve been to, but always ask questions and read the contracts very carefully. Photography, next to an excellent wedding planner, is arguably one of the most important investments for your wedding day. If you ask the right questions then you are sure to have some stunning photos to show the grandbabies ones day!

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