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Friday, 10 June 2011

It’s a Wrap / C'est dans la boîte

One of the best investment you will make in a wedding is definitely having a photographer and /or videographer. In fact, despite the fact that I am very much budget conscious, this is one expense I encourage engaged couples not to go on the cheapest side, or hire the first photographer or videographer that came around the corner. The consequences can be heavily disappointing, and I have witnessed brides and grooms, get their wedding pictures and be bitter of the result.

Photographing and filming a wedding require an artistic eye, a passion for people and most importantly a sensibility to others emotions: Getting this tear from the groom when the bride is coming alongside her dad, catching an intimate exchange pre-wedding between mother and daughter, and getting those special moments nobody saw, this is exactly what a real artist should be able to deliver.

Coming back to money, there are little alternatives to the $10,000 tag photographer, but again it comes back to what you are looking for. Personally in dealing with professionals, anything less than $2000 should not be considered. Remember the work usually start with your engagement pictures, then your pre-wedding, wedding and sometimes post-wedding; but consider that the major part of the work is the editing process that requires hours and hours of work. If you go cheap, you get what I call the-nephew-took-it type of work, and this is not what you paid for.

My tips on how to pick a Wedding Photographer?

1.    Get references
You have friends or colleagues who got married and you got excellent comments? Ask for their photographer references. It is better if you have several people dealing with the same person. It is not a guarantee for good work, but it is at least a good start. Please, when you get recommendations make sure that the couple has gone through the whole process from discussing their pre-wedding and wedding day expectations and that they have a beautiful wedding album to show for it. Do not rely on beautiful words; see the work by yourself, after all we all have very different artistic tastes.

2.    Shop around
After you get a list of 3-5 photographers, made your exercise by visiting their websites or seeing their portfolio, do not hesitate to visit their place of business or meet for a casual conversation.  At this meeting you need to address important items: is he available the wedding date? Can he explain his background and give some credentials? Have a look at previous clients’ complete albums. Do you like his photography style? Again don’t settle for a “coup de Coeur”. Unless you hopelessly in love with the work, I recommend my clients to continue the exercise with at least 3 photographer.

3.    The it-factor
It is absolutely not cliché; you really have to click with your photographer or videographer. It is important for you trust him, and also that you feel comfortable enough to express yourself After all, you want your vision to be materialized the way you expect it to be. These professionals will become very intimate, you will invite them for engagement pictures, almost dressing in front of them for the pre-wedding pictures, and they will capture the best pictures out of you and your party. You need someone who understands your personality but who has a good eye to guide you through different intimate, group and family shots.

4.    Clarify expectations
When dealing with a photographer, there are several details that need to be clarified: Money, shooting times, and service provided. Communication and transparency are keys to a successful business relationship.
    - Define if you want a traditional, modern, innovative or artistic flair to your pictures
    - When dealing with photography groups, make sure that the photographer you book and exchange with is the same one who will take charge of your wedding.
   -  Insure you pay all deposits and balances requires prior to the wedding. If you have a package deal, detail what the package deal includes (album, prints, CD, portrait etc…). Also inquire for extra fees like travel fees, overtime charge,
    - Discuss material, crew members, backup plan in case the numeric camera breaks down
   -  Make sure to discuss the editing process and your implication in pictures for selection
    - In this time of social media, your photographer can help you to make it easy for friends and family to view your wedding gallery through his website or other external links. Photographers sometimes use couples shot as promotional material. So make sure you are comfortable with that and in case you are not, address your confidentiality level with the photographer.  
   -  Inquire about the price for duplicate prints, albums, etc.,
    -  Agree on the timeframe for picture or album delivery. We all know those horror stories where couples are still waiting for their wedding pictures after 5 years.

5.    Put it on paper and commit to it
If all of the previous concerns have been addressed and you are certain of your choice, it is time to sign a contract, usually along with a deposit to reserve the date. The contract should usually include:
    - Wedding-date changes or unforeseen cancellation clauses.  
   -  Clear detailing of packages - number of prints, digital files, enlargements, etc with description of service acquiring (i.e. “8 hours of wedding photography and portrait services by photographer), date, time, location of ceremony, reception, and other.
   -   Total charge for services provided. Usually the deposit that is non refundable.
    - A written permission clause for pictures sharing or diffusion

Click on the following link for a Sample Wedding Photography Agreement

Please find below the work of the photographers and videographers I love the most, in Canada and the US.
  • Loudbyte Cinematography, Illinois
I love what these guys do . I discovered him through Essence Magazine bridal Bliss section. Steve Gribben and Ton-Essa La’rocque don’t follow any trends or formulas because their goal is to create wedding motion pictures that couples will enjoy watching again and again. Please enjoy one of the wedding video trailers they did below.      

Loudbyte Cinematography Presents So Beautiful Wedding Movie Trailer from Loudbyte Cinematography on Vimeo.
  • Choi's Photography, Gatineau, QC
I discovered this team through one of my clients. Choi's Photography delivers amazing photos and movies to their clients. Meesook, the filmmaker along with Jae and Peter, the photographers are amazing. Visit or contact them at Choi Photography.

  • Christina Esteban Photographie, Montreal, QC

     She is one of the best photographesr in Montreal. I have heard of her work through clients, who swear by Christina's work. She is down to earth and extremely professional. But she takes her couples fun as a priority. Please visit her website for more details 


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