How do I choose a photographer?
Look through magazines and wedding blogs to compare the work of different photographers. Ask your family and friends if they have a favourite wedding photographer. Also check with the owner or manager of your reception venue if there’s someone they’d recommend. It’s important to find out how photographers conduct themselves at weddings. They must be able to fit in on the day, to help make it an even more memorable and special occasion. Also find out how many years’ experience they have and how they work – what they do to capture all the special moments. Make a list of possible candidates, then visit the website and Facebook page of each one to get an idea of their style and quality of work. This will give you a good indication of whether they’d be the right person for your wedding. Ask about their rates to see if they fit into your budget. Cross them off the list one by one and narrow down the options until you’ve decided which one to go with.
When should I book my photographer?
Popular wedding photographers are often booked up a year in advance. So start your search early, because the closer you get to your wedding date, the harder it may become to secure the services of your first-choice photographer. If it turns out that they are not available, you could ask them to recommend someone who has a similar style.
Does the photographer need an assistant?
It isn’t essential and some photographers work without the help of an assistant, but most prefer to have one. A photographer’s assistant usually helps with equipment and doesn’t take pictures themselves. If you’re inviting more than 150 guests, you could ask your photographer for a ‘second shooter’, who typically is a less experienced photographer and costs between R1 000 and R2 500.
How many photos can I expect to receive?
A photographer will give you between 150 and 200 shots for every hour that they work. You should receive the highresolution images on a CD or USB stick.
How do I ensure that I look good in my photos?
Relax and enjoy it. The more relaxed you are, the more natural the pictures will be. • Smile. The moment you’ve dreamt about for so long has finally arrived and you may be feeling nervous. But take a deep breath, relax and smile. A smiling face looks so much better than a stressed one. Make a point of smiling from the moment you set foot in the church. • Feel the love. What does every wedding photographer love above all else? A happy couple who gaze lovingly at each other, who laugh and smile a lot, and who freely show their affection for each other. It makes for the most unforgettable images.
On your big day you want to look your best – in your wedding photos too. Here you’ll find advice to help you choose the perfect photographer.
• Practice makes perfect. If your budget allows, consider going for a photo session with the same photographer to celebrate your engagement. This helps you feel more comfortable in front of the camera, and more comfortable being photographed as a couple. It’s also a good way of getting to know your photographer and how he or she works.
Where do the photos fit in the wedding timeline?
Arrange everything around the photos of you as a couple. You want the softest, most beautiful light for these images. The best light is the ‘golden hour’ before sunset. The light changes from month to month as daylight hours shift, so find out when sunset is on the day of your wedding and schedule the ceremony at least three hours before. That will give the photographer enough time to take pictures of you as a couple, plus your family and entourage. Here’s an example of how the photos could be scheduled:
13:15 Venue 14:00 Groom’s preparations 14:30 Bride’s preparations 16:00 Ceremony 17:15 Family photos (10 different photos should take about 20 minutes) 17:40 The couple with their entourage 18:00 The couple on their own 19:00 The couple arriving at the venue and entering the reception 19:15 Starters being served 19:30 Speeches 20:00 Main course being served 21:00 Opening the dance floor 21:30 Garter and bouquet
The best time to photograph the venue is at the start. Make sure that the florist knows what time your photographer will be arriving to take pictures so that everything will be ready in time.
Carefully consider the setting of the room where you’ll be getting dressed. Choose a place with big windows that will have lots of natural light. A beautiful room with tasteful furniture creates a gorgeous backdrop. Ask your bridesmaids to tidy the room before the photographer arrives. Put out everything that you’d like to have photographed to make it easier for the photographer and to ensure nothing is missed. It’s crucial to choose a good hair stylist and make-up artist. Do your preparation well by having practice runs before the big day so you know exactly what to expect, and how long it takes. Hang your wedding gown and your bridesmaids’ dresses on decorative hangers. Cheap plastic ones don’t make very pretty pictures.
Try to be organised about photographing the family so that it takes as little time as possible. Make a list of the family photos you’d like the photographer to take and keep it to a maximum of 10. You could consider photographing only your nearest and dearest family members (and not the whole family), but that’s up to you. Decide beforehand where the family photos will be taken so that everyone knows where to go and give the list to someone with a strong voice, who can ‘marshal the troops’!
Make sure the photographer chooses a few beautiful spots beforehand. Move quickly from one place to the next, not to waste the available light. No-one except the photographer needs to be with you. Other people could distract you and make you self-conscious, which strips away the intimacy and emotion. Most importantly, enjoy this time and have fun – it will show in the images.
For an evening reception, use fairy lights and candles to provide soft lighting and create a magical backdrop. Ask the master of ceremonies to tell the photographer when big moments will be happening, for example when the dance floor is about to be opened. Remember, the photographer needs to set up equipment and be in position in good time.
The bottom line
Even if you plan every last detail, something will go wrong on the day. However, no-one except you will know. Focus on enjoying your day and on remembering that you’re marrying the person you love. Relax, smile and enjoy – it will show in your wedding photos.