should I hire a professional photographer for my wedding?
2. When I work with
a professional, what am I paying for?
3. I’ve never hired a professional
photographer before. How should I go about it and what should I be
4. How can I look and feel my best on my
5. Who owns the negatives and
the rights to the images?
6. What if I want a high resolution CD?
7. I’m thinking about doing my own album.
Do I have the time and commitment the to start and finish my album, or
am I only dreaming?
8. What's the
difference between the prints I get from my one-hour or online lab and
professionally made prints?
1. Why should I hire a
professional photographer for my wedding?
If you’re like most couples, you’ve
been experiencing “sticker shock” as you’ve begun shopping for your
wedding vendors. Everything costs so much more than you thought it
would. Maybe you’re thinking about cutting corners with some of your
vendors, like your photographer.
Think about it. Years from now, your
flowers and favors and cake will be long gone, but your wedding photos
will be handed down to your children and grandchildren. Your wedding
cannot be repeated, and you and your family will never again be
together in the way you are today. Why would you risk your precious
memories to anyone other than a seasoned professional photographer?
It seems like everyone has a digital
camera these days. The result is that more people are taking bad
pictures than ever before. Some owners of high-end digital cameras (and
there are more and more of them as camera prices continue to drop) call
themselves professionals. Many of them moonlight on the weekend. But
have you wondered what their commitment is to creating excellent
images? Have you wondered what their long-term commitment would be to
2. When I
work with a professional, what am I paying for?
When you hire a professional
photographer, you are generally paying for the following services:
When you work with Carol, you’re
paying for her artistic talent and time in creating the body of work
that is the raw material for your finished album or prints. You’re also
paying for her experience and expertise. She is a seasoned professional.
and post production services
For each hour she spends with you
on location at your event or portrait session, Carol spends three to
four hours in preparation and post-production services for you. Among
other professional services she performs for you, she downloads and
backs up your images with multiple copies on multiple media in multiple
locations, she edits the images, color corrects them, renames them, and
backs up the final edited set. She then produces and delivers your
online proofs, printed proof portfolio, and/or proof CD. Other services
may be included in your contract, as well.
Having received the Court of Honor
for Best Wedding Album in New England in both 2005 and 2006, Carol has
proven that she is an expert at finishing her work. She takes the raw
images and finishes them into beautifully designed one-of-a-kind
albums, each a unique piece of art that reflects you and triggers your
memories of your most cherished moments.
never hired a professional photographer before. How should I go about
it and what should I be looking for?
First, figure out your style. Do you
want mostly traditional shots, posed shots, candid/photojournalistic
shots, or mix of these styles? If you don’t know how to articulate your
style, start by looking through magazines and tearing out images you
like. Spread them all out and study them until you see the thread that
ties your favorite images together.
Visit many photographers’ web sites.
Identify at least three photographers whose style you appreciate and
interview them. Ask a lot of questions and look at samples of their
work. Here are some tips about making the most of your initial
- Looking at
Ask to see a few albums that show
wedding coverage from start to finish, rather than a collection of the
photographer’s best images as you might see on their web site. This
will give you an idea of both the style and quality each photographer
is capable of. You want someone who will create a strong body of work
and then finish it into an album that will reflect who you are,
- Does this
photographer have the vision to see something, or create an image, that
no one else could?
attention to the body language in the samples. Do the subjects look
comfortable, like they’re having fun?
the photographer’s skill set.
Good detail shots require the ability to do still life shots. Candid
shots require patience and anticipation. The best posed shots have good
lighting and an interesting, meaningful background that add to the
story of the day. Everyone looks fairly comfortable.
- Has the
photographer been published in any magazines?
There’s a lot of competition among photographers to get their work
published. Magazine photo editors select the best work for publication.
Photographers with a large body of published work, like Carol, have a
track record of creating high quality images over a number of years.
- Ask about
Always ask if the photographer
carries back-up equipment. Also, make sure the photographer has a ready
replacement who can photograph your wedding if he or she becomes ill.
Look for a photographer that you
feel comfortable with. Remember, you are not hiring someone to simply
take pictures, but to work together before, during, and after the
session. Look for someone with a pleasant personality who has a
willingness to work with you.
Make sure the photographer has a
clear understanding of your expectations. Take the time to sit down
with the photographer and discuss the services provided and the fees
involved. This helps avoid any future misunderstandings.
- Ask about
Membership and active involvement
in professional associations, certification, or a photography degree
shows a certain level of commitment to the profession. These types of
credentials can help you determine which photographer is right for you.
- Ask about
awards: What accolades has the photographer’s work received?
A friend or vendor’s recommendation
is an excellent source of information. Lacking those, ask to speak with
or email the photographer’s past clients.
4. How can I
look and feel my best on my wedding day?
While Carol will capture peak candid shots and suggest fun, comfortable
poses that will make you look good, you’ll feel your very best if you
take responsibility to keep yourself well rested, hydrated, and fed in
the days leading up to and including the wedding day.
5. Who owns
the negatives and the rights to the images?
In accordance with U.S. Copyright Law, the
photographer owns the copyright on all of their images. This is the
same copyright law that protects all artists, musicians, and software
companies, among others. When you copy an image, a song, or piece of
software without the permission of its creator, you’re stealing from
them, and you are subject to civil and criminal penalties.
6. What if I
want a high resolution CD?
All the wedding magazines these days seem to
suggest that you ask your photographer about getting a high resolution
CD, and these discs are available from Carol. If you think you’re
interested in having one, though, please ask yourself these questions:
Why do I want that disc? Do I
have the technical ability, storage capacity, and desire to manage up
to 1,500 images? What will I really do with that disc, toss in my desk
drawer with all those other loose CD’s and see them next time I clean
my desk (after my children graduate from school)? Do I want a
professional designed, professionally printed, professionally finished
album, or not?
thinking about doing my own album. Do I have the time and commitment
the to start and finish my album, or am I only dreaming? What will I
really do with the CD? Why do I want it? Is it a good value for me to
license those images, or am I kidding myself?
Photographers make their living by
selling, or licensing, copies of their images. If you’d like to have a
high resolution CD of all of the images of your event or session so you
can make your own copies legally, Carol would be happy to license them
to you in exchange for an additional fee that would compensate her for
her loss of income.
8. What's the
difference between the prints I get from my one-hour or online lab and
professionally made prints, and why do professional prints cost more?
You may find professional printing machines
such as the Fuji Frontier in places like Wal-Mart and Walgreen, and
they print on the fancy "Fuji Crystal Archive Paper" right?
Right, they sure do. Even though they may have the same identical model
number Fuji Frontier as a professional lab there are 3 big differences
between them and the professional photofinishing labs.
1. Not the same paper: There
are two main types of Crystal Archive paper categories, the
professional and the consumer types. The same thing is true with
Kodak papers. The professional papers (speaking from the Fujifilm tech
data only) have twice the silver content, giving them a deeper and
richer look when you print a high quality file on them. Also, the
consumer papers have more contrast and tend to be glossy instead of the
fine lustre finish of professional paper.
2. Not the same software and
printer driver: In order to run the professional papers, a lab
needs to move up to the premium software that drives the Frontier, or
your labs' Kodak printer. On the Fuji side, it's a $47,000
upgrade to the pro version of the "PIC" software that is the color and
"rezzing up" brains of the Frontier. There are a few major differences
but if we cut to the chase we discover that the consumer level PIC
printer driver is designed to take crappy files and make them better by
changing color and exposure values, reducing red-eye on the fly and
trying to make skin tones look "most pleasant." These are great for
snapshots but will inadvertently shift color carefully set by the
pros. The PIC Pro version will take good files and make them
great. It spends all its energy interpreting the sRGB input and
making it smooth and rich and it does a stupendous job in rezzing up
files into really great prints onto professional paper.
3. Not the same people: The
folks at stores like Costco mean well, they really do. But they are
hourly employees punching the clock to make a paycheck using a fully
automated machine. They cannot stop the printer when they see an
opportunity to make an improvement, they cannot answer any beyond the
most basic of questions. They're just doing their job. The
trained professionals at a professional color lab know that machine and
it's workflow inside and out. They can analyze the files and make
changes as they see fit. They can turn a good file into a
great print. Carol is committed to getting the best possible
results from her images and always uses a professional lab.
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If you’re thinking about having
someone like Uncle Bob or a
high-tech friend photograph the
wedding for you, here’s a snap shot
of what you can expect from him
compared to the experience of
hiring an seasoned professional like
Uncle Bob, Volunteer Amateur
Photographer vs. Carol Lundeen,
Certified Professional Photographer