Documenting Your Wedding Day: Photographs And Videotapes

Brides are often surprised and distressed to find that the photographer of their choice was booked months ago, and they must settle for fourth or fifth choice. Investigate, then engage your photographer or video service (or both) as soon as you possibly can.

• Engage a photographer who is a SPECIALIST IN WEDDINGS: An excellent portrait photographer is not necessarily adept at handling group pictures or candid shots discreetly. A specialist is familiar with wedding procedure and timing. He will anticipate the bridal couple’s next move and will be in the proper place at the proper time.
• A clear understanding of WHAT THE PHOTOGRAPHER WILL DO is essential. Ask your friends for their recommendations.
• Ask to SEE A PHOTOGRAPHER’S FINISHED WORK before you make a final decision.
• Make sure YOU can SELECT THE PICTURES for the albums.
• Be certain you will have a SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF PROOFS to allow an adequate selection. Several hundred is not too many.
• Make certain the photographer will take all the SPECIAL PICTURES you request.
• The FEE is partially based upon the time required. To avoid misunderstandings and consequent disappointment, specify enough time for him to stay throughout the reception.
• Get a FIRM PRICE IN WRITING on pictures and albums.
• HOW MANY PICTURES will be included in the album?
• What is the COST OF EXTRA PRINTS? Extra albums for parents?
• Does the photographer require a DOWN PAYMENT?
• Will he submit the proofs and deliver the FINISHED PHOTOGRAPHS BEFORE YOU MAKE THE FINAL PAYMENT?
• When will the PROOFS be submitted?
• When can you expect the FINISHED PHOTOGRAPHS?
• Will he OBJECT TO CANDID SHOTS SNAPPED BY ENTHUSIASTIC FRIENDS? He should not object; the candids will not replace his work.
• REQUEST “NO SUBSTITUTE.” When you are in complete agreement, make it clear you wish to engage the specific photographer whose portfolio you like, not the studio.
• Arrange a TIME AND PLACE FOR YOUR FORMAL BRIDAL PORTRAIT, if you desire one. Some fine gown salons provide space for this at the time of the final fitting, or your photographer may request you come to his studio. If you wait to have your portrait taken on your wedding day, however, the wedding bouquet will be your own, your gown will not have to be transported to the studio—and—everyone knows a bride is always most beautiful on her wedding day.
• Give the photographer a LIST OF PICTURES YOU MUST HAVE. In addition to the standard high points such as cutting the cake and toasting, you will want pictures such as the groom’s parents with the bride and groom, the girl with the guest book, and candids of certain relatives, school groups and friends. It is a good idea to ask a responsible friend to stay with the photographer long enough to point out those people.
• Arrange to take as many PHOTOGRAPHS as possible BEFORE THE WEDDING ceremony. There is nothing worse for your guests than an interminable wait outside the church while photographs are being taken after the ceremony. Many of today’s brides have given up the custom of the groom’s seeing her the first time in her wedding dress as she comes down the aisle. The photographer and others may give the bride and groom a moment alone before the wedding as they meet for the first time in their wedding finery; the photographs may then be taken and the bridal party will arrive promptly at the reception following the ceremony.
• Will you VIDEOTAPE your wedding? Videotaping of weddings is quite popular, although increasingly brides are opting not to have it done, as the video cameras are obtrusive. If you chose to do so, investigate thoroughly (as with the photographer) levels of experience and service to assure getting exactly what you want. You may opt for anything from an unedited ceremony-only tape, produced by a single camera, to the ultimate of a highly edited daylong production with two or more cameras in action. There are a number of variations between these two, and the price scale ranges accordingly.
• Set the EXACT TIME for the photographer or video- taper to be at the church, or whatever venue you have chosen for your pre-ceremony photographs. Be sure to ascertain the church rules regarding picture taking. Some churches forbid it; others specify which studios they favor—based upon the photographers’ previous restrained manners.
• REMIND THE PHOTOGRAPHERS AND VIDEOTAPERS TO BE DISCREET: There should be no dashing down the aisle in pursuit of a picture . . . and a camera should never be permitted in the chancel, on the rail or near the altar. To do this would spoil the beauty and solemnity of your perfect wedding.
• OBTAIN PERMISSION in advance from the club or hotel’s board of directors or manager. Some venues have rules and restrictions about videotaping because of the need to set up cables and lighting.
• Confirm with the photographer/videotaper WHAT HE PLANS TO WEAR to the wedding. Professionals will wear clothes that blend with the guests’ attire.
• A PHOTOGRAPHER MUST NEVER ADVERTISE at your wedding. A photographer may certainly give a guest his business card, if requested, but should never display advertising, even on his lapel.
• Instruct the photographer NOT TO HOLD UP THE RECEIVING LINE, if you have opted to have one, by taking too many pictures while guests are waiting. Your photographer has heard this many, many times. Tell him again, and mean it.
• Give the photographer a written LIST OF NEWSPAPERS to which he should send your favorite glossy prints, with deadlines. Send different poses if the newspapers are located in towns close to each other. If your photographer does not provide this service, you may do this yourself after contacting the papers to determine their requirements.
• REMIND YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER TO BE DISCREET. The best photographers are invisible. I have often seen a happy time marred by obtrusive, bossy and officious photographers who are more interested in their own agenda than yours. Be insistent! Remember, it is your wedding.

Sometimes a nonprofessional friend will offer to record your day on film. He might plan to make this your wedding present and a fine one indeed! If you accept his generosity, supply him with film, and give him an important gift afterward. For a large wedding, however, a nonprofessional photographer would not be as satisfactory. You might be reluctant to give a friend who donates his services the same instructions you would give a person you pay.

About Author

Leave A Reply