bookmark_borderWhat You Need To Know Before Short Listing The Best Wedding Photographer

What your wedding photographer wants you to know.

Most wedding magazines and sites will give you a list of questions to ask a wedding photographer. Stuff like: “Can you describe your style? What equipment do you shoot with?” But let’s be real: Those questions are boring. And you probably don’t actually care about the answers anyway, So I surveyed some wedding couples and photographers, and put together a list of all those questions you really want to ask with all those things we really want you to know below –

How do I pick a good photographer when there are hundreds out there?

First, check online. Obviously, if you’ve checked trippix, you’re in the right place. The photographers listed are initial partners and are accustomed to online inquiries and bookings.

How many photos do I get after the wedding?

Each wedding photographers typically deliver 50–100 photos for every hour of coverage. So, a couple of hundred photos may seem like a lot, but your wedding photographer is preserving all those little details and the moments you missed while you were mingling.

 

I love those photos with the blurry backgrounds. How do you get that look?

You’re talking about shallow depth of field. Photographers get that look by using professional lenses that are able to focus tightly on the subject.

I found one photographer whose images look soft and pastel, one whose images look clean, and one whose images look like they were shot on old film. What’s the deal?

Every photographer has a different way of editing their images using computer software (the high-tech version of a darkroom). This is called “Post-Processing.” Most photographers do some basic lighting and color adjustments, but you can also use editing software to create a unique look. Three popular styles right now are:

  • Clean: lightly processed to appear natural
  • Matte: a low-contrast look with muted pastel colors, similar to vintage film
  • High Contrast: a vibrant look with rich colors that pop

It doesn’t matter which style you go with, as long as you love it!

Why is wedding photography so freakin’ expensive?

This is the question I see most from brides on the interwebs. Wedding photography seems like easy money — work for one day and rake in the cash, right? But most full-time wedding photographers I know carry over $15,000 worth of wedding gear and often work 60-hour weeks. (Remember those 800 images from question #2? It takes several full days just to edit those.)

Add insurance, taxes, software, advertising, albums, repair, shipping, and studio expenses, and many photographers end up making less than minimum wage for the first few years of their career.

 

The more you trust me, the better your images will be (and yes, your dress will get dirty). 

Fact. My favorite words a couple can say to me, are “we’re up for anything!” Those are the couples who get crazy beautiful images. We try things that seem nuts to them at first, but they trust me anyway, and are blown away with the results! This includes the time of day you get married, and how much time you give me for photos of the two of you. Lighting is EVERYTHING for photos. Yes, your dress will likely get dirty and you might think I’m crazy, but I don’t think you’ll regret it once you see your photos! The more freedom you give me to be creative, the better your wedding photos will be. Truth.

I’m not God.
Nope! I hope you already knew this. But I’ll say it again, I’m not God. I don’t control the weather, or the lighting. That’s up to the man upstairs. If it rains, I’ll roll with it! Shooting in the rain is less scary than it seems and we can still get some beautiful photos. But don’t expect me to have a tent and umbrellas for 300 people in my camera bag. That’s just silly.

I don’t want you to look at me.
No seriously. During your engagement session and bride and groom portraits, I don’t want you to look at me! Unless I tell you to. The goal is to get you to interact with each other and share some beautiful moments together! I’m just there to capture it all. Of course, I’ll give you some cues and help you out along the way. But for the most part, just try to forget I’m there, and you’ll love your images!

 

We need to eat when you do.

Not only that, but we just plain need to eat. Sometimes we get forgotten, but by the time dinner rolls around we have most likely already been working for 6 or 7 hours. You and your posse are our #1 priority. Nobody wants their picture taken with a mouth full of food, so plan for us to eat while you eat so we can be finished when you are. Some reception venues and caterers will insist on serving vendors last, so be sure to address this with your venue or caterer prior to your wedding day.

Don’t forget about your photographer in the midst of a sea of iPhones.

Everyone wants a photo with the bride and groom on their wedding day – you are looking and feeling fabulous and it’s a once in a lifetime event. Don’t forget and most definitely don’t be shy when you are taking a group photo with someone’s iPhone. Call us over – we would love to capture a photo on our cameras so you have a copy. We’ll even take a photo with your friend’s iPhone so they can be in the picture too!

 

Instruct your DJ to communicate with the photographer during the reception.  

It’s best if they let me know BEFORE they start the cake cutting, bouquet toss, etc., so I can be prepared for these shots. Your aunt Margorie might have dragged me into another room and is having me take pictures of your second cousins twice removed while something important is happening on the dance floor. And then I’ll miss it. And you’ll be upset. And so will I!

Brides should go first (or close to it) for hair and make-up.  

Too many times bridesmaids make lots and lots of changes and that takes up the make-up artists’ time, which makes the bride late to start – which means late first look, rushed bridal party portraits, and all together… less photos. Bridesmaids can really sabotage a day. And sometimes on purpose!

bookmark_borderMain Job Description Of Camera Operator

Random Tips from a Professional Camera Operator

My childhood dream was to be a camera operator. I wanted to be the person looking through the camera and framing a shot. While I would have enjoyed having a long career as an operator, I entered the business at a time when operators were a dying breed, and the only people guaranteed careers as operators were Steadicam operators. I wasn’t particularly interested in doing that, so I moved towards being a director of photography faster than I had expected. Most of the shoots I do don’t require, or won’t hire, an operator, so in a way I’m still a career operator. I just get to light the shots as well as operate them

No one taught me how to be an operator. At a young age I found myself drawn to strong compositions in certain TV shows and movies, and I sought to emulate those compositions with my Regular 8mm film camera. Over time I learned, through trial and error and the occasional tip from those more experienced than I, how to move the camera predictably and repeatedly

LEARN THE GEARED HEAD

I really enjoy working with geared heads, although I rarely get to use them anymore. Most of my projects can’t afford to rent one for me. Hopefully this will change with the advent of the Gearnex geared head, which I’ve now used on several shoots

Buy, rent or borrow a geared head and strap a laser pointer to it: learn to write your name in light on a wall.

Although this is the most commonly recommend way of learning the wheels, I’m skeptical of this method as it teaches you to write your name in light on a wall–which is something you’ll never do. In my career–approaching 23 years in the film industry–I’ve only once had to follow text with a geared head, while operating second camera on a feature called “No Way Back.” A gang member spray painted words onto the side of a tunnel, and I had to follow his writing in third gear, with no rehearsal, on an 85mm lens. I nailed it, and I’d never done anything like that before.

Buy, rent or borrow a geared head and strap camera to it: follow people around.

Learning to read, and react to, body language is a huge part of operating a camera. You’ll get a lot farther faster if you learn to follow people around and interpret body movement and language through the wheels than you will simply learning the craft of moving the wheels, which is what the laser pointer technique teaches

 

Tips for being an Outstanding Camera Assistant

Being a professional Camera Assistant can be the hardest job on the crew. It carries more responsibility than most people think and even worse… while everyone else is on a tea break, the Camera Assistant is usually working, loading magazines, filling out Camera Report Sheets or organizing the camera equipment for the next set-up.

The stuff I’ve written here is based on film camera assistants but the rules apply for video assistants too. So, without further ado… let us begin! All experienced camera crews working at the top end of the film and TV industry such as   Cinematographers, Lighting Camera men/women, Camera Operators and Focus Pullers, have all done their time as Camera Assistants.

Always be a good time keeper and turn up at least 15 minutes before you are expected to start work. General rule of thumb: “If you’re on time… you’re late!”

Strive to be efficient and organized – Your aim is to be an outstanding Assistant. (Never aim for mediocrity, it won’t get you anywhere.)

When the camera is not in use keep it low on the tripod or preferably keep it in a safe place on the ground. Always place it on a groundsheet and protect it from moisture or dust with the rain cover.  Remember: “If it’s on the ground, it can’t fall any further!”

 

How To Be a Better Camera Operator

Welcome back to part 3 of my “How To Be A Better Camera Operator” series (if you haven’t read part 1 and part 2… what are you waiting for?! Haha). In this post we’ll be looking at Camera Equipment – there’s lots of information flying around all over the place about gear, so sometimes it can be very tough to see what’s really important about the kit you use. In this post I’ll try to cover what you need, why you need it and how to make sure it keeps doing what you want it to do!

Cameras

As there are so many different cameras out there I’m not going to discuss the ‘right’ camera to choose or use, as this largely depends on the type of work you do and anyway, as I’m sure you’ve already discovered there’s so much stuff online now about all the various cameras that are available, their pros and cons, special features and …well the internet groans under the strain of it all!

One thing I will say though is that having the latest, all singing all dancing camera with the brand new bells and whistles doesn’t make you a better camera operator. Similarly just because you have Microsoft Word on your computer doesn’t make you a better writer than William Shakespeare. I think you’ll all agree that even though good old Will had nothing but an unpretentious sharpened goose feather to work with… he kind of managed ok!!!

Camera Care

Looking after your camera is number one. It’s simple…Look after your equipment and your equipment will look after you.

DO: Always have a rain cover handy if you are filming outdoors. Also use a lens cap ready for the lens. Pretty obvious really, water and electrics don’t mix! To protect the lens from rain a great tip used by loads of camera assistants is to use disposable shower caps (the sort you sometimes find in hotels) because they are elasticated it only takes a second to snap one over the lens: it’ll protect it between Takes from those potentially damaging and annoying rain droplets.

 

qualities to look for when hiring a cameraman or crew

Great attention is given to actors, directors and producers, but what about the guy (or gal) you never see – the one on the other side of the lens? The one who holds a 25 lb. piece of equipment on their shoulder, while walking along a bumpy road with their vision tunneled into a small 1 inch rectangle, trying to get “the shot”….the cameraman

Easy to work with/Flexible

Finding someone who is flexible and easy to work with is always nice to have, but it is especially true when selecting a camera operator. You want someone who can: put those being filmed at ease; be patient when working on set during unavoidable delays; and be understanding about reshooting if you’re not getting what you had envisioned. You may be able to step in and do an “okay job” at other tasks, but shooting with a $50,000 camera and lens takes technical skills learned through school and years of practice

Honed technical skills/Tech savvy

Operating a camera, maintaining composition and adjusting camera angles is no easy feat. Learning, understanding and honing the technical skills required to become an operator takes many years – and then several more to hone a specialty. For instance, to be good at news requires a cameraman who is quick thinking and fast on their feet.  Others may be good at sports production and following the ball, or an expert in EFP (Electronic Field Production) which requires precise lighting and composition.  Still others specialize in multi-cam for meetings and the like, and then some can do it all.  Camera operators also need to stay up-to-date on shooting techniques, lighting, new equipment, and a plethora of formats, frame rates and resolutions

Physical stamina and strength

While keeping abreast of the latest news through industry associations, forums and journals is important for honing technical skills, the camera operator must also possess physical stamina, strength and manual dexterity. Shooting, although lots of fun, can also be very demanding – with long hours, challenging conditions, and the need to be on your feet all day

Creativity: they have a “good eye”

Creativity is something that cannot be taught. A good camera operator will be able to spot a good opportunity and have an artistic eye for framing shots. Having the ability to look through the lens and picture how all of the elements come together – visual composition, perspective, lighting and movement – is crucial so that the images captured will reinforce your message and tell your story in the way you want it to and one that is consistent with your brand image

 

A GUIDE TO BECOMING A CAMERA OPERATOR

Director of Photography Etienne Sauret’s Viewpoint

Experienced camera operators possess unique combinations of skills. They all seem to have artistic sensibilities – facile perception, a keen eye and the ability to compose balance and beauty in a frame; they also have impressive technical skills – a solid understanding of lighting, audio equipment, electrical requirements and even the physics required to produce the right shot with efficient timing. Due to the rigorous demands of the job, and the un-repetitious nature of the work, most camera operators build a career with a blend of education and on-the-job training. They also tend to be confident, lifelong learners willing to take on new challenges and learn new technologies to develop their craft.

The Camera Operator Job

A camera operator is someone who sets up a camera and records images that will later be edited for an audience. Camera operators are employed to film TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, news segments, corporate meetings and sports events. In the US, most operators work in the motion picture industry or in television broadcasting, but the number of operators working in corporate video production is increasing. Some camera operators are employed by production houses, corporations and institutions such as churches with in-house studios; and others work as freelancers or owner operators. The median annual Camera Operator salary in the US is $38,938, as of November 07, 2016, with a range usually between $31,958-$47,334, however this can vary based on geography and industry. For example, the mean income for the motion picture industry is $64,810 and the mean income for Broadcast and Radio is $51,970.

Assess Your Physical, Technical and People Skills

Your path to becoming an operator starts with taking a self-assessment. Since a camera operator does indeed operate camera equipment and its related accessories (which can add up to over 100 lbs with the most sophisticated camera packages), there is a level of comfort with the physical and technical nature of the work that you must be able and willing to develop. Learning about the highly technical specifications and capabilities of cameras, audio equipment and lighting is the foundation of becoming an operator. If you are fascinated with gadgets and new technology and you can’t keep yourself from experimenting with your camera settings and the video editing software on your computer, you might have what it takes for the multi-year process to learn the craft.

Commit to Lifelong Learning

After you develop a basic understanding of the concepts and equipment camera operators use, you must put them into practice with an internship or camera assistant position with a film or video production crew. In such positions, you will be shadowing, moving equipment around, running errands, performing administrative tasks and occasionally adjusting a camera. Eventually after a year or two, you will work your way to running a camera or jib. It is important that you volunteer to do everything you have permission to do as an assistant to understand how a crew works and how each person impacts the production process. It is important to take these tasks seriously as they are all essential for a production to be successful. You will also establish your reputation as hard worker who is eager to learn, shows up on time and gets the job done.

A Very Rewarding Career

A camera operator’s career is one that truly gives back. If you put the work into it, you will get amazing rewards. These rewards start with the aesthetics and social impact of the films and video you help create but they don’t end there. As you build your reputation in this industry, you will stand out and be appreciated among a select group of people that chose this work. The sky is the limit if you stay focused and seize every opportunity

bookmark_borderChoose The Best Wedding Photographer For Your Best Wedding Memories

TOP TIPS FOR CHOOSING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Image quality/style

The quality of a photographer’s portfolio should be the first thing that captures your attention. A good photographer should be able to offer clients a variety of styles, capturing the personalities of the bride and groom and showcasing the happiness and fun of the day. Be clear on what style you would like and make sure the photographer can provide this in their portfolio.

If you are drawn to a particular photographer, make sure you ask to view all of their images (not just the favourites they pick for their websites!) so that you can check the image quality is consistent throughout.

Be aware that photographers have different editing techniques. If an image is heavily edited then chances are this will be a common theme within their photography portfolio and is usually an attempt to try to cover up poor quality.

Above all, the style of the images should say something about you both as a couple. Whether you are looking for relaxed and informal photography or you would like to go for a more adventurous and contemporary style, be sure to do your homework and shop around.

Personality

As a bride and groom, you put a lot of trust and faith in your wedding photographer. In order to get the best images and a true account of the most important day of your life, it is imperative that you feel comfortable and relaxed in their presence.

You can usually tell within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone, whether you feel a rapport or connection. First impressions are key and if you instantly strike a bond then you are on to a good thing. If you feel uncomfortable around your photographer for whatever reason then this will become very apparent in your wedding photos.

Also, think of your guests. If your wedding photographer is approachable, friendly and down to earth, your guests will be at ease allowing the photographer to blend in and capture the day as it naturally unfolds rather than a forced and posed account.

Remember, a true smile is impossible to fake so choose wisely and ensure you meet with your photographer a couple of times before confirming your booking.

Value for money/cost

This can often be a deciding factor for a lot of brides and grooms and although it is a vital element, it should not be the basis for your decision. High-end prices do not always guarantee the highest quality but likewise, reasonable pricing does not always depict low quality.

A photographer should be open about their pricing structures and in turn, you should be clear on your budget. Neither one of you wants to waste any time so a clear dialogue right from the beginning will resolve this.

Your photographer should offer a variety of packages to suit all and should always be flexible with pricing and what is included within each package. Your photographer is providing a service and each couple will have different expectations and requirements so do make sure that your photographer can tailor make a package to suit your needs.

Always remember to ask about any hidden extras. Some photographers charge an additional fee for editing, VAT, creating artwork for an album or even travel and food expenses. You should always ensure that all costs are detailed in a quote before entering in to any contractual agreement.

 

Steps to Finding a Great Wedding Photographer

Settle on a Style

Before you begin researching photographers, you’ll need to first decide what type of photography style you prefer, as that will help determine which kind of photographer you’ll want shooting your wedding. Get inspired! Spend time pouring over any kind of imagery you love, from décor shots to a fashion blogger’s Instagram feed. Once you have a good collection of inspiring photographs, try to narrow in on what draws you to them specifically and dissect what feels most authentic to you and your partner. Maybe that’s formal-posed portraits, a classic photography style or a lifestyle, photojournalistic feel. If you love sharp and contrast-y shots, perhaps a photographer with a flair for the dramatic is the right choice for you. Remember that you don’t necessarily need to narrow in on one style in particular, since many wedding photographers can do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots, a mix of black-and-white and color images and so on. But if there’s a special style you love, make sure to focus on photographers who specialize in it.

Do Your Homework

Start your search by reading reviews from recent newlyweds and browsing local listings. Carefully review potential photographers’ websites and blogs to check out photos of other weddings they’ve shot, which will give you an idea of their style. How do they capture the moments important to you, like a mother bustling her daughter’s gown or an emotional first look? The design of the website may also have clues about the photographer’s personality and sensibility. Check out their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages too, if possible. Is the feedback from clients positive? How does the photographer respond? How do they interact with their Instagram followers, do they seem friendly and personable? You get the idea.

Set Up Interviews

This is not a decision that can be made on looks alone—you must meet your potential photographers in person. If you like what you see on their site—and their fees are in your ballpark range—call to see if they’re available for your wedding date. If available, go ahead and send an introductory email with a bit about you and your soon-to-be spouse, you event and the vision for your day, and feel free to attach five or so of your very favorite photos from your research so they know what you love. If the photographer is already booked on your date, you may want to see if they have an associate or can recommend another shooter with a similar style. Set up in-person meetings with three to five potential photographers who are available on your wedding date to look at more of their work and assess whether your personalities mesh. Be prepared to talk about your venue, wedding style and what you envision for your photos.

See a Few Full Wedding Albums

Don’t base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer’s highlights gallery or album. For good reason, photographers show prospective clients a portfolio of their best pictures, all from different weddings, so you’re seeing the best of the best. The problem with that is you won’t get a well-rounded idea of their work. Ask to see two or three full galleries from real weddings they’ve shot (not someone else at their company) so you can get a better idea of what your complete collection of photos might look like after the wedding. If you see that the full gallery photos are just about as good as the ones chosen in the highlight gallery (that is, they’re all so good it’s impossible to choose!), you’re on the right track. And ask to see at least one or two complete albums of weddings that are in similar settings to yours. For example, if you’re planning an indoor affair with dark lighting, don’t just look at weddings shot outdoors in natural sunlight. And if you’re planning to say “I do” on a beach at sunset, you’ll want to see examples of that.

 

HOW TO CHOOSE A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Classic

The classic style is the most well-known and timeless photography style, which was most likely used for your parents’ or even grandparents’ wedding album. A classic wedding album usually has clean, carefully composed photos with perfect lighting. If you just love those classic wedding moments—like the first look, wedding kiss, and bouquet toss—and would like yours captured in the same way, then you should look for photographers with this style.

The downside of this style is that it can make your wedding album look “too similar” to other wedding albums. To tackle this, you can ask your photographer to add a certain twist to the pictures, so the photos can look more modern and less predictable. Another thing you can do is to let loose and have fun. Let your positive radiance shine through every frame.

Photojournalistic or documentary

These types of photographers are inspired by photojournalism and capture moments as they happen. They usually shoot pictures from a slightly different perspective than traditional wedding photographers, focusing on candid and spontaneous moments instead of posed portraits. If you don’t enjoy posing in front of a camera, this style might be a good fit for you. The photos also give you documentary coverage, which will make you relive them easily in the future. However, this style might not be suitable if you want to take perfectly posed portraits.

Fine art or artistic

Fine art wedding photography is actually a bit hard to define, as the definition of art lies in the eyes of the beholder. The easiest way to tell a fine art wedding photograph is to take it out of the wedding context. Would the photo still be beautiful as a stand-alone piece of art? A fine art photographer usually has an artistic background and applies elements such as blurring or silhouettes into the pictures. With this kind of style, your wedding photos will surely be beautiful and won’t look like anyone else’s. The downside of this style is how it can get too artsy and abstract that it doesn’t tell a wedding story like a wedding album normally would. One way to tackle this is to hire another, more conventional wedding photographer as backup.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle photography is more or less a mixture between documentary and classic wedding photography. Candid moments are mixed with of direction and styling. As a result, you can get relaxed and relatable photos. This style is increasingly popular these days, as a lot of couples wants to have candid pictures but also want the assurance that their photos will look good. Another important thing to consider is the format. Film photography is having a comeback in the wedding world thanks to its beautiful tone and colors, but it’s not for everyone as it can be costly and more time-consuming to edit. Carefully research the perks of both digital and film photography before you make a decision.

 

STEPS TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

It pays to have the best

While you can get a good deal with a photographer who’s new to the industry, you do need to find someone you trust to get it right. Perfection comes with experience.

“It sounds obvious but nail down your photography budget before reaching out to wedding photographers.” Says Jay Rowden.

“Be prepared to break the bank if you find a photographer whose work you really love”.

Browse your photographer’s portfolio

Look through the portfolio of any photographer you’re considering. You won’t just be looking for examples of the weddings they’ve captured. You’ll also be looking at their different styles and approaches. When you find the photos that resonate with you, you’ve found your style and photographer.

“Before you meet your favourite photographer, ask them to bring along a few sample albums of their work,” Says Jay Rowden.

Decide on the right style

A professional photographer distinguishes all the subtleties of shooting a wedding. They’ll know exactly when to photograph your groom as he first sees you walking down the aisle, how to achieve the perfect confetti shot, and what to do in the event of rain. A creative and flexible approach often results in the most breathtaking and brilliant wedding photographs.

 

TIPS FOR PICKING THE PERFECT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Book early

Top wedding photographers in the UK can be booked not just months in advance, but years. Many will be taking bookings for one to two years in advance – popular summer weekends in peak season will be quickly booked up. If you are planning your wedding and have your date set, then now is the time to find your wedding photographer and get them booked as quickly as possible. Don’t be left disappointed by finding a photographer who you love, but are already booked up on your wedding day. Once your venue and wedding date is confirmed, get straight onto your wedding photographer and get them booked.

You would recommend them

A great way to know if you have found your perfect wedding photographer is to ask yourself ‘would I recommend them to a friend?’ If the answer is yes, then get them booked. If you have any doubts then consider the reasons you wouldn’t – if you wouldn’t recommend them to a friend then why would you hire them yourself?

Ensure you pick a wedding photographer that you love, someone you trust and someone you know will capture the day how you want it captured and will present it beautifully.

You trust them

Knowing you can trust your photographer and leave them to do what they do best is so important. After meeting them, make sure you leave feeling confident and happy, ensuring they answer any questions no matter how silly they may be. Go with your gut – if something doesn’t feel right then perhaps go and meet another photographer you like too.

You don’t want to be worrying about them on your day, or making sure they capture certain shots or directing them around. Speak to them about formal family shots you may want before hand, then just let them get on. They have had years of experiencing doing this, let them do what they do best. When it comes to creative fun shots with you and your partner, go with the flow, have fun and trust your photographer.

Ask to see a complete wedding

When looking at different photographers they will show a range of different photos that represent their best work. If you love their work and meet up with them then make sure you ask to see two or three completed wedding albums that were given to the couple. You are looking for consistency –  you want a whole album that’s amazing and tells a beautiful story, rather than just four or five impressive photos.