Is a wedding album a ‘must have’ ?

More and more couples are deciding that they do not want a wedding album, but go for a CD of the images if the photographer is happy to provide this. This can be a sensible option if you want to have only individual prints of your wedding photographs, or you are intending to produce your own album using one of the companies offering this service on the internet. Certainly the price of the latter will be much cheaper than having the photographer produce an album, but you will not find the extensive range and variety of albums on the internet to compare with the many options available to your photographer.

But there is no right or wrong answer to the question of ‘Should I have a wedding album’. Make the decision with which you are comfortable – or which your budget dictates. If you decide to ‘do your own thing’, you may want to see what a company called Cewe (www.cewe-photoworld.co.uk) can offer in the way of albums. They received a 5-star rating in Practical Photography (January 2010).

What photographs will my photographer take ?

So, you’ve decided on your photographer. How does he know who and what to take at your wedding ? This is generally the subject of a meeting held with your photographer a few days before the wedding itself. You should expect the photographer to lead the meeting – after all, he’s probably seen many more weddings than you – but don’t be talked into things you don’t want. It’s your wedding, and you call the shots.There are many photographs which would be considered essential – arrival of the bride, signing of the register, cutting of the cake, and so on, but it’s worth checking they will be included.You may decide on a traditional approach when it comes to the group photographs – bridal party, bride’s family, groom’s family, friends – or you may prefer a less structured approach where the photographer simply takes shots of different groups. Or you could suggest a mixture of the two – the ‘traditional’ approach to ensure that everyone who matters has been photographed, combined with more informal shots of other groups if time allows.

If you have specific requests for particular photographs, do make your photographer aware of them. If you have seen a particular shot which you like in a wedding magazine, or you have your own ideas for photographs, do mention it. The photographer should welcome your input and ideas, as it means he is more likely to deliver exactly the results you are looking for.

But please do bear in mind that there is a timetable for the day, so be realistic about the time available – again, your photographer should offer advice and guidance on this.

So what do I get ?

Once you have satisfied yourself about your potential photographer’s credentials, perhaps the next most important job is to make sure you know exactly what you are going to get for your money. Some of this will be down to you and your budget, but questions to consider are : Where does the photography start and end ? How much is it for any extra time ?Does the price include an album – if so, what sort; if not, how much, and how many photographs are included ? Does the price include a CD – if so, how many images, and are they all high-resolution (able to produce good prints) ? How much are extra prints/parents albums/wall portraits ? As well as establishing ‘how much?’ it is also wise to ask ‘when?’ – how much is the deposit, and when do I pay the balance ?

See the next post for ‘making sure you get the photographs you want’.

Looking for a wedding photographer ?

Unless you know of a photographer by recommendation, how best to find one you can rely on ? There are a number of professional bodies to which photographers can be accredited, but please bear in mind that not all photographers who are members of such bodies will be full-time professionals. The exception should be the Master Photographers Association (www.thempa.com) whose membership is open only to full-time professional photographers. Search on their web site for the type of photographer you need – wedding, portrait, or commercial.

Once you have found a photographer in your area, look at his/her web site. Does this show the style of photography you are looking for ? Are there any testimonials on the site ? Are there any additional sources of information about the photographer – on Facebook,perhaps, or through ‘paid for’ advertising  on wedding web sites or in Yell.com for example ?

Please don’t expect always to gauge any indication of prices from a photographer’s web site. Some are happy to post all of their prices on-line, many are more reticent but may give a more general indication of their charges. Do not necessarily take a high price as always being indicative of high quality. The two should go hand-in-hand, but there is no guarantee.

In future posts I’ll talk about the sorts of questions you may wish to ask your potential wedding photographer.

Just getting to grips…..

And I thought digital photography would be a challenge ! It’s a piece of cake compared to getting to grips with the world of social media. Blogs,tags,tweets,posts – it’s a whole new language out there, but hopefully one I’ll understand eventually (no doubt after a few ‘oops’ moments).

But for those who might care to follow my occasional ramblings I’ll try to provide some insights into the world of ‘social photography’ – basically weddings and portraits, in other words. After all, I must have learned something useful in the 16 years I’ve been doing this. So, watch this space……