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Wedding photography: Take your best shot
— By Carla Merrell—

Great wedding photography doesn't just happen.

You need to know what you want. Sounds simple and obvious, yet this overriding mission is often overlooked. Here's some information to consider in getting the most out of your wedding photography, because you don't get a second chance for great wedding photos.

Wedding Photographer• Budget: This is truly the best place to start once you've picked each other! Figure out what your overall wedding budget is and combine that with all the other photography components (photographer, style and planning) and soon you'll know what you can do in this area.

Good wedding photography takes hours of postprocessing, which translates to cost — but it's worth the price. The average weddings photographed by Elegant Images are within a $3,000 to $5,500 range. If you step into a verdant meadow with the snow-capped Three Sisters as your background, surrounded by only your immediate family, you may be able to do it all under $1,000.

Sisters photographer Lynn Woodward of Woodward Creative says, “It's easy to consider an amateur photographer when you see the price of professionals — but don't.”

Your wedding photography will grow more priceless as the years go by, so get what you want.

Formal portraits are a creative way to stretch your photography dollars. These can be taken before or after your wedding day and all with no stress. Let your friends photograph the ceremony/reception while getting quality professional portraits of the bridal couple.

“Studio portraits are fantastic in eliminating the uncontrollable,” Woodward said.

Louie Law of Elegant IMages Photography concurs.

“If you're going to miss something, miss the overly imbibed guests, the stress, the bad moods,” advises Law.

Consider cutting other expenditures. Think of where all the printed napkins, catered meals, open bars will end up within 24 hours, and think about what you will still have in 10-20 years. Cut other expenses and enrich your photography budget.

Register for wedding photography. Today's couples register for exotic honeymoons and real estate. It's no different for photography.

“When you register for wedding photography, family and friends can purchase a page(s) and know they've contributed towards a wedding gift that will last a lifetime,” said Law.

The Photographer: You'll be spending a lot of time with this person; make sure you can work with their personality.

When interviewing potential photographers ask to see their portfolios. Do they do the style of photography you want? Don't rely on terms like “artsy.” Check it out yourself.

Do you feel they'll work well with others involved in your wedding including clergy, videographer, wedding planner, etc.?

Style: Make it uniquely your own. You can get shots in a classic, posed style or go for a photojournalism approach that tells a story with more natural, spontaneous, artistic expression. Its all up to you.

Ask others couples what they liked and didn't like about their photography, and look at lots of wedding albums.

Planning: Above all, enjoy your own wedding! You can schedule photos before the ceremony, between ceremony and reception, or before or after your wedding day. Figure out what works best for you.

“The best photos are when time is set aside to ensure the conditions are right — no rush and no stress!” Woodward said.

• Click here to visit our directory of Wedding Photographers.



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