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Wedding Photographer – The Search (Posted On: Monday, October 22, 2007)

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Long after the day is over, the food eaten, the alcohol consumed, friends and relatives retuned home what remains but the memories?

Fall has finally arrived and next years’ brides have started the business of organizing their wedding. Lots of effort will be spent on planning and substantial amount of money will be spent on making sure their day is as special as possible.

Your wedding day will be one of the most memorable days of your life, if not the most memorable.

Unfortunately the sad fact is that as the years pass even cherished memories fade. Events and moments you were sure would remain bright and clear when they happened, become dull and clouded with the passage of time. Most great moments and events occur in our lives spontaneously. For the most part there is no real indication that when you wake in the morning it will be a day to remember. With a wedding day, however, that is not the case. You know when, where and why the day will be memorable. For that reason it’s possible to make sure the day is documented in such a way that the memories can be treasured for the rest of your lives.

For some people, the photography at their wedding is something that is required rather than desired. As a photographer and I admit to being biased, I am constantly amazed by this attitude. With the amount of time and effort, not to mention the money spent on the day a good photographer should be a high priority. Of course not everyone likes having their photograph taken and this can be one of the reasons why photography is such a low priority for some.

On the other hand there are people who consider finding the right photographer very important. They put time and effort in to finding someone who can document their wedding day. This means in years to come as their memories fade their photographs will provide them with a vivid reminder of their day.

Finding a photographer can be a challenging business and this article only scratches the surface. Be sure to check out the links at the end of the article that will provide you with much more information.

The first question to answer is what style of photography do you want? Photographic style varies from "photojournalistic" on the one side to "traditional" on the other with many shades in between. What exactly is the difference between the two styles?

Photojournalistic Wedding Photography has been around for a while now. Pioneered by the likes of Denis Reggie its roots are obviously in photojournalism and the aim is to record the day as faithfully as possible. Nothing is posed and in many cases the photographer is almost invisible. It is really hard to do well. Many photographers consider Joe Buissink as one of the leading proponents of this style of photography. To learn more about this style of photography you could check out the Wedding Photojournalists Association.

Traditional Photography is at the other extreme of the style spectrum. Typically all the shots will be posed and planned with no allowance for capturing the moments that happen naturally during the day. It is old fashioned and today very few photographers employ this style alone.

Many photographers combine a photojournalistic style with the more traditional posed approach. When done well this works wonderfully. The good news is that with the Internet it is relatively easy to see lots of photographers’ work with moderately little effort. By doing this you can make sure the photographers you approach have a style that you are comfortable with.

The Internet has had a huge impact on how people select their photographer. Websites have become the shop window from which potential clients can see the quality and style of work offered by a particular photographer. For the bride this is fantastic as it means you can see many different photographers’ work from the comfort of your own home. Indeed many brides now select their photographer in this way without ever meeting them.

Websites say almost as much about the photographer as the photographs contained within them. They are a useful way of learning about the photographer. Be wary of any photographer who does not have a well-presented site, which is easy to navigate. In addition look for their blog. A blog is a journal where you can see recent work and find out what the photographer has been up to. By reading the blog you can see whether they are busy, what they have been shooting recently and what, in some cases, clients and visitors think of them via comments. (Be careful here though, as almost any blog comment feature is moderated, meaning bad comments won’t appear.) It will also give you a chance to see if their recent work matches the quality of photographs in the main site. If the work on the website is much, much better than that on the blog then be wary.

Another consideration that should have an impact on which photographer you choose to shoot your wedding, is how many photographers will be covering the event? Many photographers bring a second shooter, but sometimes they bring a non-shooting assistant. Two photographers are better than one. After all it is the unscripted moments that make each wedding unique and having two people looking for them rather than one means more moments will be captured for you to enjoy over the years. It does tend to be more expensive but well worth the price.

Price will always be a consideration for most people. Today prices can range from as little as $400 to more than $15,000. Indeed one couple in Alberta recently spent just under $60,000! That said in Canada, according to "Wedding Photographer.ca", the average couple spent over $3,000 on their photography. Price will to some extent depend on your location. However, the biggest factor on price is the popularity of the photographer and their work. The photographers who are in demand charge much more than photographers just starting out and those photographers whose are not in demand.

These are very loose guidelines and you will find every photographer’s price list is different. What then, approximately could you expect for your money?

Cheap - $400 - $600 Shoot & Burn; will include a couple of hour’s coverage and your images on a CD. Don’t expect much in terms of creativity or customer service. Good if you’re on a very tight budget.

Average - $1500 - $3000 many photographers will fall within this bracket and even some excellent photographers have a starting price around this point. You can expect good coverage, typically 6 to 8 hours, a dash or two of creativity, some product either prints or a small album. If you are really lucky it will include a second shooter and files on CD/DVD

Expensive - $5000+ top photographers prices start here and beyond. Once in this price bracket it’s difficult to say what you will get as packages tend to be customized for individual clients needs. However, you should expect a very high level of creativity and craftsmanship. You should also be prepared to part with lots more money for albums, slideshows and enlargements as often you won’t be able to help yourself.

So what does $60,000 get you? Expect unique and incredible photography. Apart from that I suggest you ask your photographer and watch him or her fall of their chair.

Richard Galloway is one of two partners in Isis Photography. Isis Photography is quickly establishing itself as a reputable photography company specializing in Wedding and Portrait Photography in the Georgian Bay area. They have been published extensively in On The Bay Magazine, mycollingwood.ca and the EB. For more information about Isis Photography go to their website at www.isisphotography.ca

For more information about finding the right wedding photographer check out the following links. These two are current and up to date. There’s a lot of information out there but these are two of the best.

One of the best places to find information is from The Professional Wedding Photographers Collective. It’s a recent site so the information is up to date. www.wedfog.com

Also try www.wedding-photography.ca lots of great stuff about wedding photography, surprisingly.

Richard Galloway
ISIS Photography
705.445.8456

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