Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How to Choose Your Columbus Ohio Wedding or Event Photographer

Wait, What Happened To All The Amazing Pictures?"
by Ivan Apfel
So, it is time to decide on your wedding photographer. You search all the wedding sites; you check out all the photographer's listings. You look at their sites and all the beautiful pictures and all the not so beautiful pictures. You contact the photographers that you were impressed with. You meet with them and decide on one that not only makes you feel comfortable, but also offers you the package you want for the budget you need.
Fast forward to one to three weeks (depending on photographer) after your wedding. You log into your proofing page and exclaim "Wait, what happened to all the amazing pictures?"
Very few couples go into their wedding knowing the realities of photography in general and wedding photography in particular. In truth, why should you be expected to? You have to deal with florists and learning flower names, looks, colors, how they do in heat and cold, etc. You have to learn about cooking and catering. You have to learn about ceremony planning and legal documents -- all in a relatively short period of time.
The point of this article is to let you know what to expect and what to look for before you hire your photographer. Let's begin.
Myth versus reality: You look at all the beautiful pictures in the wedding magazines longing for your wedding pictures to look the same. Guess what? If you choose the right photographer, your pictures will come very close. However, keep in mind those wonderful pictures that you saw in the magazine included a professional editorial photographer, a set coordinator, a stylist, full time make-up artists, a hairstylist on set and, of course, professional models. They then spend hours setting up and shooting each look. In the end they narrow down from 300 images to the 10 beautiful shots you are now looking at adoringly. A good final product might include the following: 30 percent are as good as the best shot "Uncle Joe" took with his point and shoot. 50 percent should be better than the shots taken by "Uncle Joe" and his point and shoot. 20 percent should be beautiful images that you want to frame for your mantle and office desk.
Things to keep in mind. When you create what you want your photographs to look like, you have to take into consideration what is feasible with your budget. I have had brides who wanted me to shoot them getting ready at their hotel, pictures of the groom getting ready at the church, beautiful photographs of the cake that look like a magazine shoot as well as the family images at the church, pictures of the guests enjoying cocktail hour, the wedding, the reception, etc. If this is what you want, please note that this will require more than one photographer. Why? Because many of all these things are happening at the same time but in two different places.
Things to help ensure these results. First off, you have to make a choice. Do you want your pictures to look like your standard wedding pictures or do you want them to resemble the images in the magazines? Like I mentioned above, most of the magazine layouts were shot by an editorial photographer. If this is what you want, look for a photographer who shoots both commercial photography and wedding photography. Why? They will tend to bring more of a commercial look and perspective to your wedding assignment. Look at both their work and see if the commercial images match what you would expect from a magazine. Next, stay away from photographers who show you their sample book and state that they will make every one of your pictures look as good as these. Some of the best photographers I have met who shoot for some of the biggest names in advertising and fashion can not even make that promise. This is especially true with wedding photography, where light sources, temperature, and angles continuously change.
Finally, you really do get what you pay for. If you go for the lowest bidder, you will most likely end up with the lowest percentage of great shots when your wedding day is done. On average in most metropolitan areas, you should plan on at least $1,200.00 for a good photographer's package including only one photographer and no album. Prices can then go up depending on the type of book you want (leather, cloth, prints versus coffee table style, etc) and if more than one photographer is needed -- and, in some cases, if you insist on the use of professional studio lighting for certain shots.
Here is my golden piece of advice to you when looking for your photographer -- it is what I did when looking for our wedding. When you look at your potential photographer's images, look for a variety of styles (commercial, fashion, editorial, wedding, etc.) The more styles they tend to shoot, the better they can handle variable shooting conditions. Next, look at the composition and creativity of their composition. A great image is 50 percent technical skill and 50 percent creative eye. If they have a creative eye and good technical skills, you stand a very good chance of walking away with some great images that you can look at lovingly for years to come and might even make your friends envious.

- Ivan Apfel is with Apfel Photography in Miami, FL, and has been a WedPlan Member since May 2006.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Choosing Your Columbus Ohio Wedding or Event Photographer

Choosing Your Columbus Ohio Wedding or Event Photographer

Shopping for a wedding photographer is not like selecting a DJ or a wedding cake. Your cake will be eaten and the DJ's music will drift off never to be heard again. Your photographs will be the one thing left to enhance the memories of your once in a lifetime day. But in the selection of your photographer, you're often at the mercy of a super-salesperson and/or your own emotions or budget. You should attempt to not make PRICE the main determining factor, because there's NEVER going to be a second chance. This article was written to help you ask the right questions and look for the right things in selecting the photographer who's right for you. Read on to learn how to be an educated shopper for wedding photography.
Beginings: Intially a bride has to prejudge the competency of a wedding photographer. This can be acheived with a preview of the photograper's work. Are the photographs done in a style that appeals to you, do they give you a sense of being there or evoke some feeling or emotion in you? Then, an email or phone call is appropriate. Your initial communication should begin with the availability of the studio to photograph the wedding on your specific date. You should also learn the name of the photographer who will be doing the actual shooting on your wedding, Also ask for a possible range of the costs involved. You should find out on the telephone how the photographer handles posed and unposed pictures. Then decide whether or not you agree with or are interested in the studio's philosophy of how the wedding photography should be conducted. That is - photojournalism, candids, portraits, groups, etc. Just one concept? A combination of several? An appointment should be made to meet with the photographer who will be photographing your wedding, to see his work and discuss the details. Without doubt, this meeting should include both the bride and groom as well as any parents or as many of these people as can be assembled for the consultation, who may be helping with desicions and/or finances. Without all these people in attendance it would be virtually impossible to come to any conclusions that would effectively work for all the principle parties involved. At that meeting the first assessment you should make is whether or not you feel at home with the photographer. If you're going to spend a good part of the most important day of your life with this person, it should be someone with whom you know you'll enjoy sharing that time. Then, you should see some of the photographer's work. If you see a picture, or a series of pictures, that you really like, you should ask:
1. Who are these people?
2. Did you, personally, take these photographs?
3. May I call these people for a reference?
After all, it's one thing to see some beautiful pictures, but it's equally important to find out if the bride and groom ENJOYED working with this photographer. It's also a way of knowing that the photographs you're being shown were actually taken by the person you're speaking to. You want to be sure that the work you're admiring was made by the photographer who'll be at your wedding. Another result of this meeting could be to allow you and your photographer to begin a one-on-one relationship. In that way, neither of you will be strangers to each other on the day of the wedding and you'll be more relaxed in front of the camera.
Details that could change your wedding pictures.
For the most part, when I meet with new clients, their questions pertain to prices, sizes and numbers in general. Below are some considerations for more important questions:
1. How do you feel about the bride and groom not wanting to see each other before the ceremony? ---What are the alternatives? ---What are the advantages of the bride and groom meeting prior to the ceremony on the day of the wedding?
2. Do you have any goals for approaching each wedding?
3. How many hours will you be with us on the day of the wedding? ---Beginning at what time? ---Until when? ---Is there an extra charge if the wedding runs a little overtime?
4. What can I do to help you perform your duties to the best of your ability?
5. Do you use an assistant or second photographer?
Ask to look at a WHOLE Wedding. If you're still interested in the photographer's services at this point, ask to see a complete coverage of a single wedding. That's a lot more telling than seeing a selection of beautiful highlights from many different weddings.When looking through the album or disk, evaluate the work by placing yourself in the position that this could have been YOUR wedding coverage. Ask yourself if the photographer has actually captured the individual characteristics and personality of each of the important persons in the photographs. Has the photographer caught the individual's actual feelings of the moment, or are these just pictures of people standing and looking self-consciously into the lens. Do they look natural? Or even better than real? And, in fact, is that what you and they really want?
Get Specific! Now,consider these details
1. What kind of proofing options do we have for our initial look at our wedding photographs?
2. How can people who live out of town be accommodated with ordering, paying and delivery? Can the pictures be posted on the internet?
3. How much for the extras? --- Duplicates? --- Ask to see the specific style of album you will be receiving. --- Are alternate choices available? At an extra cost?
4. How long have you been in the business?Some bottom line considerations!
Finally, let's consider a few topics of conversation that could/should help you make your decision.
1. Do you have any particular philosophy about your approach to photographing weddings?
2. What would you plan to do at my wedding that would make my wedding photographs unique and personal to me? --- Can I tell you who I want in my pictures? --- How will you find them?
3. With whom will I be dealing after the wedding?
4. What's your payment policy?
Be Prepared To Make A Commitment!
By now you've probably spent a good deal of time with the photographer. His time is money, the same as yours. Keep his (and your) expenses to a minimum by going to the meeting with the photographer prepared to leave a deposit to confirm the date. Before you do, however, you may want to assure yourself of a few more last-minute details. Find out the photographer's policy if the date of your wedding is changed and he/she's not available on the alternate date. Find out, too, what the policy is for an unforeseen cancellation of the date. At this stage of the game, if you've really taken the time to get into some of the above questions, you SHOULD REALLY know whether or not this photographer is for you. If the photographer IS for you, if the photographer IS available, and if you're convinced that it's worth the price...then make the commitment and rest assured that this is undoubtedly one of the best and most intelligent decisions you've made in planning your wedding!
How Much Should Pictures Cost?
It's difficult to pay too much for something you really like. Yet, price is usually the one obstacle that prevents many wedding clients from selecting the photographer who undoubtedly could give them the best value for the money. Quite often the difference between the price of the photographer you really like and one who you feel is "within the budget" is miscalculated. Understandably, of course! When wedding plans come down to dollars and cents, it's hard to keep spending "a little more here...and a little more there. Somewhere along the line," you feel, "you have to give a little! There's only so-much money available!" Yet, within the framework of the entire wedding day, it makes good sense to evaluate the money spent on photographs in relation to what's being spent on flowers, food and music. Although everyone knows that the pictures are the only thing you have after the moment has passed, some people still feel that they have to put the money "where it shows". Later, In the privacy of their own hearts, many of these people are often disappointed with photographic memories that give them nothing but heartaches...and there's no remedy!
You're going to remember the wedding day through the eyes, heart and talent of your photographer. When making the decision as to who that photographer is going to be, realize that often times you're talking a relative difference of pennies! On the other hand, if you're unhappy, regardless of the "good deal" you're getting, you could lose everything! What's the "going rate" among wedding photographers nowadays? The price difference is as great as the time, talent and technique of the studios being considered. Certainly, among competent photographers in a highly competitive area, or photographers in their formative years, a good wedding coverage can be found around the thousand dollar category. Spending less than that would probably be a high-risk gamble. Other photographers may begin somewhere around a thousand dollars and go upwards from there. When considering the cost of a photographer, you may find that studios sometimes approach this matter in one or two different manners. Whereas some photographers have basic "packages" of an agreed number of photographs for a specified dollar amount, other studios might have a predetermined charge for their services and allow you to buy whatever amount of pictures you want. Still some photographers allow you to have ALL the pictures that are taken. There is a set fee that includes EVERYTHING! There are, of course, benefits to all of these approaches. In the first instance you have a good idea right from the start how much money you're probably going to spend...and you're locked into that minimum. That's a double gaurantee, both for you and the photographer. Studios that offer you their "a-la-carte" system are taking a chance (along with you) as to how much money you'll be spending.The studio that offers you ALL the pictures may scare you at first with the high price, but you may want to know that up front and KNOW that you will not be spending more. Realize that at the same time you're preparing your budget, you will probably want/need to spend extra money for albums and portraits for both families. In any case, you're probably going to spend more than you originally planned, but you'll be doing it because you like the pictures so much, you WANT to buy the extras. The bottom line, as you know, is not necessarily how much you end up spending on photographs. Instead, it's how much pleasure you get from them over the years. Wouldn't you agree, that at a time as important as your wedding day, it's better to invest a little more money for photography than you had planned...instead of a little less then you should? Don't risk your memories of a once-in-a-lifetime event on a gamble? You're going to be concerned with the price only one time...when you buy. You're going to be concerned with the quality of your photos, for a lifetime of memories. EMAIL

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

How to choose your wedding or event photographer

How to choose your wedding or event photographer
If you are looking for a wedding or event photographer (or other wedding vendor)in Columbus Ohio or for that matter anywhere is a great place to start. You might also try Event Photographer Online. The four most important questions you can ask any photographer you are interviewing are:
(1)How many years experience do you have shooting weddings?
You can tell by looking at a photographer's work if they have 1 year of experience 20 times or 20 years of experience showing growth in technique and style.
(2)Do you use an assistant or second phototographer and do you have backup equipment at hand.
(3)Do you have recent references?
(4)Are the High resolution files available?

How to choose your wedding or event photographer

How to choose your wedding or event photographer

Choosing A Wedding Photographer

(1) BOOK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER EARLY! Most weddings are held on Saturdays. There are only 52 Saturdays a year - dates fill up fast. Don't delay choosing the wedding photographer you want or the process of elimination may choose him for you!

(2) Shopping by phone for a photographer can be confusing. Pricing methods may be as hard to understand as the Income Tax Code! Schedule a meeting with the photographer so you can see their work and get a clear understanding of the way they do business.

(3) When viewing samples of the photographer's work, be sure you are seeing the work of the photographer you are talking to and the photographer that will be shooting your wedding.

(4) Make sure the wedding photographer is using professional equipment and professional back-up equipment. You want to be sure he can do the job come what may!

(5) Discuss with the photographer and perhaps make a list or clip / download examples of photos you would like in your album. What style do you prefer, posed pictures "traditional" or do you like more candids "photojournalism / romantic". The more explicit your instructions to the photographer, the better the odds your wedding photography will meet your expectations and misunderstandings will be eliminated. If your photographer resists this input from you I would resist signing with him.

(6) Personality is very important! Your wedding day can be made or ruined by your photographer. This is where a reference from your photographer may be most important, make sure they are recent client(s). During your consultation, did you feel comfortable that the photographer is capable of behaving professionally and in a friendly non abrasive way? Do you feel that you are a good personality match?

(7) Schedule a pre-bridal photo session. It will enhance your album and provide beautiful wall portraits.

(8) Your wedding photos will provide you years of memories of this very special day - you want to look your best. Consider using a professional skilled in photography make-up to do your make-up. They can enhance your natural beauty.

A great wedding and event photographer for the Ohio area!