Hate to be bad news bear, but unless you have a super talented friend with a great camera, good wedding photography does NOT run cheap. Sorry, there really is no way of negotiating your way out of this part—regardless of how much you’re willing to pay, you need to do your due diligence and get the most out of this investment :)
- Own your moments (Literally): When selecting a photographer, make sure you ask them whether their contract allows you to fully own your photographs—that means, you can print them on your own and have access to all the original files. This is good to know as some photography contracts only allow you to print through that particular photographer!
- Be specific about your shots: I thought this was a no-brainer and because I trusted the photographer we hired, I didn’t go into much detail with him about what I wanted (mainly this was to give him more creative license. Plus, I wanted to be that really chill, cool bride.) and regretted it. For the most part, the pictures came out fine—more than fine—but I wish I had more candid shots of my adorable, precious flower girls getting ready. Or I wish I had images of the DIY details I had slaved over for months (I’m talking hand made runners, centerpieces, and personalized note cards for every single guest, including kids). Sadly, I didn’t get any of those captured. Learn from my mistake, brides! List out the shots you know you’ll want, even if it sounds obvious to you.
- Ask about the second shooter: This might be a better tip for those of you still deciding on your photographer. If you have more than one person shooting your big day, ask about the second shooter. More often than not, this is usually who will run around capturing detail shots of your tables, your florals, your jewelry, while the main photographer focuses on the bride and groom. Try to get a sense for their level of experience. If you’ve already chosen the photography team, just make sure you specify that you want those detail shots (see #1 *sadface*)
- Be cognizant of TIME: Yes, you’re paying them mucho bucks, but they can't read your mind or make the impossible happen. Most of the time, they depend on a reliable timeline and plan their shooting around that timeline. Please be considerate and make sure they have the most up-to-date timeline, and please ask them for their input about the timeline as it affects photography.
- Artificial vs. natural lighting: When you have a mix of artificial and natural lighting in a space, photography becomes a bit trickier. You don’t need to worry about the technicalities of this so much but do run it by the photographers, so that they can be prepared to deal with it on the day of. What’s a good example of this? My cocktail hour venue had big industrial lights in addition to a skylight. Not ideal, but the photographer knew what to do!
Lastly: be kind. This is probably more of my own opinion than a true tip, but I do believe that these people are taking part in a really precious day of your life. As much as the day is about you and your soon-to-be-spouse, it’s not going to be as special without the talent and help of a team of people. They’re working a long day lugging around heavy equipment—a simple smile and thank you will give them a nice energy boost!
We're lucky to have Wedding Photographer Ms. Joanne Leung on our shoots :)