7 Steps To Get The Best Out Of Your Wedding Photographer

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By Arjun Kartha Last Updated:

7 Steps To Get The Best Out Of Your Wedding Photographer

If you are getting married you know that apart from having a beautiful wedding, you need lovely memories to help you remember your special day for the rest of your life. That is when you recognise that you need to invest in quality wedding photography, and search high and low to find a perfect photographer for your wedding. After all, this is your special day and its memories should be absolutely stunning as well. But, how do you ensure that you get the best and the maximum result out of the photographer you finalise? Well, here are a few simple steps that will help you and your photographer to capture exquisite pictures that you will cherish forever.

Step 1: Questions and answers

This is the most important step. Have an extensive discussion with your photographer regarding your (hi)story as a couple, your ideas on style and content.

  • Sharing reference photos is a good starting point for this discussion and will ensure that you and the photographer understand each other. Most brides have very specific ideas on what they like and what they don’t like. So, it is best to talk about all of those clearly.
  • Photographers in general are fairly patient, and are usually quite happy answering your questions. Find out what process your photographer follows, and what he/she is most comfortable doing. For instance, find out if your photographer will come by earlier on the day of your wedding and take behind the scenes photos of the wedding prep, the getting ready shots and candid shots of you leaving your house.

  • Photographers appreciate a bride who knows what she wants. Let your photographer know if there are a few pictures you have seen of someone else's wedding (either first-hand or on the Internet), which you would like to try.
  • The converse also applies: is there a style that you DON’T like? Chances are your wedding photographer doesn’t have that style– else you wouldn’t have picked him or her in the first place! However, make it clear. It will help avoid future misunderstandings.
  •  In addition, try and be as clear as possible about the proceedings and ceremonies involved in the wedding so that he or she can be better prepared.

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Step 2: Ensure you get a traditional photographer too

Indian weddings are very different from the ones in the west (or anywhere else for that matter). Our weddings go on for days, and some weddings can have literally hundreds of guests running amok while you are getting married. Remember, most contemporary wedding photographers don’t do the stage shots as these would be a waste for their skill, style and vision. So, it is best to have a traditional photographer to document the more mechanical aspects of the wedding, like the long meet and greet sessions on the stage.

Either arrange for a traditional photographer yourself or ask your professional photographer to bring one along (most pro photographers have backup/assistant photographers for this kind of thing), so that each can do justice to their own styles.

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Step 3: Extras and value additions

Pre and post wedding shoots are becoming increasingly common nowadays. It is a really good idea to get a photo-essay done of your story as a couple before you took the plunge. This gives you fun memories to look at years later, or for your children to get a glimpse of how their parents were. Some photographers include this as part of your package, and some have a nominal separate cost for it.

It is good to try and wriggle out a few extra couple shots just before or after the wedding or a pre-wedding photo-shoot as an add-on, if you have purchased a substantial package. You can also look into chargeable extras like special coffee table albums, honeymoon photography, merchandise, special frames, etc.

Step 4: Deliverables and timelines

Many photographers do not restrict the number of photos they give you while others do. It is in your best interest to have at least an idea of how many photos to expect per day or function. This need not be a strict number but more like a ballpark figure. Pay attention to the format offered by the photographer– finished images would mostly be given as hi-res JPGs in a DVD/ pen drive or through file sharing software like sendspace or dropbox. But it is best to clarify in advance and agree upon something convenient. Albums are usually charged over and above the package. Delivery timelines should also be decided, with a little wiggle room for unexpected circumstances.

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Step 5: Make time

Irrespective of the extra shots of the couple, try and be conscious of the odd, unexpected windows of free time in between the ceremonies. The photographer must be encouraged to keep hanging around you so that any unexpected free time can be utilised for some candid shots. Bear in mind that even the best photographer cannot get fantastic portraits of a couple who is disinterested or unenthusiastic. The commitment and enthusiasm of the couple and the photographer should be on the same level. Even though weddings can be stressful and tiring, the difference between great and average photography is most often the ability to prioritise and make time by the couple.

Step 6: Assign a coordinator

Be sure to assign a cousin or friend as the coordinator for the photographer. The coordinator will be responsible to help the photographer with any extra logistics, like pointing out important family members. There are a millions of small things that are needed during a wedding.

Make sure the person you assign takes the job seriously, and is always available to answer your phone. It is normally best to assign the coordinator well in advance, so that the photographer knows the person well. Additionally, it is best to assign one coordinator each from the boy’s family and the girl’s family. This will help in case both families don’t know each other too well and have separate functions going on. You have to remember that your wedding day is your big day and that you may not be available to sort out logistic troubles.

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Step 7: Open communication always

Keep the communication lines open. At any point, if a new idea or direction comes in your mind or if you don’t like a particular approach or you are not too happy with the finishing style, feel free to talk to the photographer. With so much time, effort and money already invested in the project, there is nothing that a frank and reasonable conversation can’t solve.

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Most importantly, remember to relax and have fun. Your mood and body language are a big part of the final outcome and it is important that your excitement and happiness reflects in your photos.

Originally published: arjunkarthaphotography.com
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