Photographers & Videographers
The Right Wedding Photographer For You
Unlike the work of your other wedding vendors (venue, music, flower arrangements, cake, etc), photographs aren’t things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first. You don’t really know what you’re getting until after the fact. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style, and personal demeanor are extremely important when choosing your photographer. Perhaps this involves looking into professionals with experience photographing beach weddings. Whether it’s generally photography done well, or you’re looking for that specific OBX wedding photography. Here’s some of our best advice to help you in this important selection…(Full list of OBX Wedding Photographers & Videographers below)
Choose a Wedding Photography Style
Before you begin researching specific photographers, first, you’ll need to decide what type of photography style you prefer. Go wild with research in magazines, on the Internet, photos from friends, everything you can think of. This will help determine which kind of photographer you’ll want shooting your wedding. Spend time noticing the many styles of wedding photography. Save any kind of imagery you love. Visual inspiration can come from décor shots to a fashion blogger’s Instagram feed, to photos resonating of fine art, documentary (candid, off-the-cuff,) traditional, modern, etc.
Narrow Down What Connects With You
Once you have a good collection of inspiring photographs, try to narrow in on what draws you to them specifically. 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 high contrast wedding photography, 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. Many wedding photographers can do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots. Similarly, they could possibly do 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. The questions you need to answer are: Do you like their work now? Will you love this style for years to come? Will you be happy having it hanging on your wall at home? And does it speak to your heart and tastes?
Do Your Homework
Start your search by reading reviews from recent newlyweds and browsing local listings on the Internet. Carefully review potential photographers’ websites and blogs. Checking out the photos of other weddings they’ve shot will give you an idea of their style. Delve into their gallery or blog section to look at full weddings. Look for consistency, not just a few great images. How do they capture the moments important to you. Specifically, 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, Pinterest, 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. If there are certain photographs that are important to you (family portraits, fun, candid shots, detailed pictures, etc.) make sure you like the way the photographer shoots those types of images. If you don’t see what you’re looking for in their posted examples, most professionals can supply you with samples upon your request. Create your short list of photographers from all this research.
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, your event, and the vision for your day. Furthermore, 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. Therefore, 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). Henceforth, 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.
Review Albums With a Critical Eye
This can be tricky, but try to separate the photographer’s work from the weddings they shoot. Whether you like or dislike the dress or the venue, should not have bearing on how you view the photographer’s work. When reviewing a photographer’s album, look for the key moments you want captured: Did they get photos of both the bride and groom when they locked eyes for the first time? Also look for crispness of images, thoughtful compositions (does a shot look good the way it was framed, or is there too much clutter in the frame?) and good lighting (beware of washed-out pictures where small details are blurred—unless that’s the style you’re after).
It’s also very important that you detect sensitivity in capturing people’s emotions; make sure the photographer’s subjects look relaxed, not like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. While the bride and groom are important, of course, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.
Make Sure Your Personalities Mesh
Don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. Is the photographer excited by your vision when you describe it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or are they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images. Provided that, above all, they put you at ease and don’t irritate you in any way.
Remember: They’ll be shadowing your every move. Hence the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don’t want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests. Conversely, capture them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, they will be there until the very end of their designated time (overtime is usually charged at a higher hourly rate). Also consider that your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments. Equally, cajoling enough to coax relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests. Lastly, calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
Compare Wedding Photography Packages
You won’t be able to nail down an exact dollar amount until you’re sure of what you want. Specifically, your desired wedding photographic style, how many albums you need, and where your photographer is based. When interviewing candidates, ask for a general range based on the photographer’s standard “shooting fee” and package. Additionally, learn about their standard rates for the type of album you think you’ll want and the amount of coverage you’re hoping to book them for (day of, full weekend). It’s important to find out what’s included in the standard package, plus the basic range for any extras you may want. For example, extras like an engagement shoot, special effects or additional coverage. Generally, you’ll want to compare rates.
In particular, find out exactly how many hours of coverage are included. Ideally, you want your photographer to be there for your full wedding day. Most photographers plan on shooting from when you start getting ready until after you make your grand exit from the reception. While packages vary, most include about 6 to 12 hours to cover everything.
Wedding Photography Assistants
Also, check if there’s a second shooter included in the contract, and if there’s not, ask about the possibility. It’s likely the second shooter can be confirmed later on. Obviously the main benefit to having two shooters is, of course, you get twice as much coverage. For example, during your formal photo session, one photographer can capture the formal photos. Whereas the second one can get behind-the-scenes, photojournalistic photos, like your guests mingling. If you’re having a larger wedding (250 guests or more), you might even want to ask about having three shooters so your photography team can be sure to capture the event from all angles. Specifically, on the Outer Banks, many of the photographers work as a team.
Ask About Your Rights
Most contracts stipulate that the photographer owns the rights to all photos taken at the wedding, even the ones of you. In other words, the photographer can use them promotionally (on their website or blog, submit them for publication and even place them in ads). That also means you can’t just post the digital proofs they send you. Most photographers have a policy that you can only share watermarked images or images with their credit on them. Also, unless you negotiate otherwise, if you want to print the images yourselves or order an album from another source, you’ll have to buy the rights to the images.
Get the Post-production Details
It usually takes at least a month to get all those photo proofs back from your photographer. Why? Your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than your typical JPG. Shooting raw files gives your photographer greater ability to correct the photo, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files (in order to correct color levels and so on). It varies, but many photographers say they spend an additional 40 hours editing images from a single wedding, so it can take up to six to eight weeks (or longer, depending on the photographer and how busy they are) to get proofs back.
Here’s what to ask: How many images should I expect? Will they be high resolution or low resolution? Can I get prints made myself, or does the photographer retain the rights to the images? Are the proofs I will see be the retouched versions, or does that happen after I select the photos I want? Speaking of retouching, ask about retouching options and special effects (which can range from simple white balancing to beauty retouching and stylized art effects like super-saturated colors) and the additional cost for both.
What About a Wedding Videographer?
A photographer at your wedding is really a no-brainer. But the videographer can be just as important. After all, photos can’t capture the sounds, movements, and all of the emotions that go into your wedding day. Videos can immortalize every word of your vows, every music note during the reception, and every smile during the toast.
The most recent trend in videography is high-definition. In addition, new technology will allow you to add vintage-style scenes to your video. For example, a Super 8 effect, which gives the video a grainy feel, can allow you to enhance some classic shots. A videographer can improve color, contrast and volume after the film has been shot. Typically an amateur shooting a home video does not have the ability to meet all the challenges of videotaping a wedding. A bonus in hiring a professional videographer is that they have filmed dozens of weddings and can anticipate the crucial moments of the day. They also have the audio equipment to meet challenges in our unique environment, such as capturing the vows with the ocean roaring in the background or lighting contrasts between bright beaches and shaded piers.
Prep Together for the Day-Of
Remember that your photographer is the pro, so—while it’s helpful—you shouldn’t spend too much time putting together a detailed shot list for them. Instead, pass along your day-of timeline. Give them an idea of what images you’d like captured. Such as a shot with each of your bridesmaids in addition to wedding party portraits. This is also the perfect moment to give them a heads up on any familial or friendship intricacies they should be aware of. In particular, any divorced parents, a grandmother that needs to remain sitting for portraits, or a groomsman and bridesmaid that don’t get along (yes, it happens!). It may also be a good idea to let your photographer know when you don’t want your picture taken. For example, while eating.
If you’re hoping to get your wedding day published online or in a magazine down the road, be sure to relay that to your photographer. This way, they’ll put extra emphasis on snapping shots of all your amazing details. In the hope that they will likely come armed with gorgeous styling accessories, like ribbons, linens and more. In order to help your wedding aesthetic truly stand out.
Wedding Photography as a whole
Selecting your wedding photographer is a daunting task, and certainly a financial investment. Same goes when pertaining to finding an OBX wedding photographer. When you have a genuine connection with your photographer, they’ll do a better job capturing your emotions. You want to be able to look at your wedding photography and feel your love, your joy, your stillness. In the long run, looking back and reflecting on this wedding whirlwind years from now, you’ll thank yourself every time for investing in them to capture your precious memories forever.♥
During your wedding I will be a photojournalist, a fine-art photographer, a portrait photographer and so much more. In the end, I want to create photos for you that translate the deep joy of the day. Every love story is unique, and I want to tell yours. My biggest goal is to help you have memories of a day that was joyful and have wonderful, colorful, fun images to look at for the rest of your life. You will also have someone you can come back to for photography that you know will bring the joy and fun, while capturing beautiful work.