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It’s important that a professional photographer is as good in person as they are on paper. When it comes to communicating with your wedding photographer, to find out if they are right for you, you will probably have what will seem like millions of questions.
A good photographer will, and in fact should, also have some questions for you. The answers to his or her questions will ensure that they are on time at the venue, respectful of the rules and expected timeline, and able to give you the kinds of photos that you would most like to see.
The following is a list of questions you should expect your photographer to ask you. This list is the property of Lisa Robinson Photography, and is used here with express permission.
1. Venue requirements- Some churches or venues have shooting guidelines or insurance requirements for their photographers. If you are unsure of the requirements, you can put your photographer in touch with the coordinator or official to ensure guidelines are properly followed.
2. Size of your wedding party or expected guest list- This helps photographers properly prepare for the event.
3. Direction- If you feel awkward in front of the camera and would like strong direction, make sure you voice it to your photographer. Likewise, if you feel more comfortable with candid shots and just being yourself. A good photographer will be able to provide strong direction to large groups while knowing when to back off and just take candids and let the moment unfold.
4. Family matters- Does Uncle Bob not get along well with Cousin Billy? Best not to stick them next to each other in the family photo! It’s good to let your photographer know the family dynamics so we can discreetly pose them on opposite sides of the family photos.
5. Must have shots!- If you have been spending a lot of time on Pinterest than you probably have some specific shots you want taken. Keep in mind to use it just for general idea gathering and work with your photographer to get a shot list together, or perhaps just a few must have photos that you have been thinking of hanging on your wall.
6. Have Nots- Hate selective colors? Cheesy poses? Only like a few subtle black and whites? Just like a DJ’s “Do not play list”, It’s also a good idea to let your photographer know what you don’t like in your photos.
7. Timeline- Usually a week or two before the ceremony you give a timeline to some of your vendors to ensure the event runs along smoothly and on time.
8. Ceremony details – I find it helpful to know ahead of time if there will be any special ceremony touches that you’ve added in to make it your own. Sand ceremony, unity candles, hand fasting, and readings are common examples. It helps your photographer be in the right place at the right time of the ceremony.
9. Traditions- Will you be having a first look or staying traditional and not seeing each other until you walk down the aisle? Also be sure to note any traditional dances, bouquet tossing, or grand exits you may have planned throughout your day.
10. Details, Details, Details- Are you wearing your great grandmother’s necklace as your something old? Did you spend every night the last two weeks handcrafting those wedding favors? Tell your photographer, because we want to capture all those details you’ll want to remember.
Getting all the information straight, and all the details right, is as important for the photographer as it is for the bride and groom. By asking you questions like those listed above, we can help make your day as memorable and stress-free as you would like it to be.
. When the camera itself can be a thousand-dollar investment, it pays to know where you can cut costs until you get your feet solidly on the ground. Every professional photographer has been there, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of when you find yourself needing to improvise your equipment.
Below, I’ve come up with a quick list of things you can do to “fake it until you make it”:
Reflectors and Light Absorbers- There are several ways you can improvise a suitable reflector or light absorber. One way to do it is to buy a reflective car sun shade from your local automotive or hardware store. These come in all shapes and sizes, they are inexpensive and as effective as proper photography reflectors. Another thing you can do is buy a cheap piece of white Bristol or poster board. These cost literally pennies, and are effective in a pinch. For a light absorber, when you have too much light reflecting off your subject matter, a piece of black Bristol or poster board works nicely. Average Cost: $1-$20.
Weatherproofing for Cameras and Lenses- If you are shooting outside on a wet day, but don’t have a way of protecting your lens, you can use a simple unlubricated condom. Simply cut the tip off and slide the condom onto your lens. To weatherproof your camera, a produce bag from your local grocery store will do nicely. All you do is slip the camera into the bag, and cut a big enough hole in the bag for your lens. Average Cost: Free- $10.
Lens Sunshades- If you are shooting outside on a bright day, it pays to have some kind of a sunshade for your lens to cut down on lens flare. In a pinch, you can use a large or extra- large paper disposable coffee cup. Simply cut out the bottom (inside the ridge), and slip it over the end of your lens. Average Cost: The price of a cup of coffee.
Backgrounds- When you don’t have photographer’s backgrounds available, there are a couple of things you can use instead. Cheap bolts of plain cloth make decent backgrounds, and they can often be bought at department stores, or on sale in fabric stores. For smaller projects, a piece of Bristol or poster board will usually do nicely. Average Cost: $1-$10.
Lighting Equipment- Proper photographer’s lighting equipment can cost hundreds of dollars. In a pinch, you can buy work lights at any hardware or home renovation store. With a clip mounting, you can attach the light anywhere you need to, instead of buying a stand for it. Work lights are usually strong enough to give off enough light, but not so strong that you will need to compensate for it in any way. The only down-side is that you may need to buy an extension cord to compensate for the short cord. Average Cost: $15-$40.
Macro Lens- Proper macro lenses start at about $100, for a previously used lens. If you have already got a telephoto lens, you can improvise a macro lens in one of two ways. First, fit your telephoto lens onto your camera. Set your aperture so that it is completely open. Then, turn a smaller lens around and tape it (backwards) onto the end of the telephoto lens, taking care not to get the tape on the glass. Another way to do this is to use a macro adaptor ring. These nifty little things fit onto the end of your lenses and will allow you to attach your smaller lens to your camera backward. The only thing you need to bear in mind is that these methods need your camera to have manual focusing capability. Average Cost: $2-$40
The art of photography, whether you do it as a career or a hobby, can take a chunk out of your bank account. By learning how to improvise some cheap but effective (if a little “ghetto”) alternatives, you can save yourself a lot of money and still come out with an impressive finished product.