This interview was conducted in 2009 and is reprinted from the Weddingfavours.ca Website.
Melanie from Weddingfavours.ca (WF) met with Trish and Trevor Roberts of Custom Concept Photography (CC) in Ingersoll Ontario to get some answers.
WF: How should a couple begin choosing a wedding photographer?
CC: Couples should begin narrowing the field for photographers by asking friends and family members for referrals. Look through their wedding collections and family portraits and ask them about their experiences.
Other wedding professionals including caterers, venue operators, florists, officiants, videographers and DJs are also invaluable sources as they have worked with photographers and heard feedback from clients and seen them in action. Talk to the experts you already trust.
Search the internet for possibilities, you can view their work online without any pressure. You should also plan to visit them at their studio. If their workplace is professional and organized- they will likely work this way on your wedding day. It is not a good idea to choose a photographer simply from an internet search- do some homework and ask for references.
Hiring a professional is always a wise decision. A professional Photographer is constantly upgrading skills, education and equipment to keep pace with market trends and technology. This is the sort of person you can trust to capture your precious wedding memories. A professional will always insist on a contract. This will lay out all the details and is designed to protect both parties.
WF: How important is chemistry between the couple and the photographer?
CC: Chemistry is extremely important. You are going to spend more time with the photographer than anyone else on the day of the wedding so you want to have a good rapport. Engagement photos are a great way to get used to the photographer and to receive basic posing instructions. This practice will make your wedding day photos more relaxed and natural. By the time you have had a consultation, engagement photos, wedding day and chosen your finished collection- the relationship should feel like a friendship. You trust your photographer to capture your precious memories and it is important that you feel comfortable and confident with one another.
WF: How do you choose the location for a wedding shoot?
CC: It is wise to choose a location that is conveniently located near the ceremony and reception venues. Sometimes there is a place of sentimental value to the couple- the spot they became engaged or a family farm. It is important that you choose a location that is not going to be too busy at that time. You may not want an audience of onlookers and you may not want to have to wait your turn with other bridal parties for a popular site.
It is not necessary that you find THE most beautiful location as the background is not as important as the people. A nice tree, garden or park bench as a background can result in gorgeous images. You do not need to travel miles for a manicured garden or mountaintop view. A professional photographer will be able to help you find a beautiful backdrop in a public park or backyard.
It is a becoming more common that wedding shots are taken in unconventional locations. Train tracks, urban architecture, industrial and rustic backdrops are being used as a background with stunning results. What was formerly viewed as “ugly” can be beautiful when handled with skill and shot with artistic vision.
WF: How much time should be scheduled for bridal party and family pictures?
CC: You should schedule 2-3 hours for the wedding pictures. The length of time required depends on the family size and dynamics. It is becoming more common that pictures are taken prior to the ceremony. It is a more relaxed time of day and you do not have a hall full of guests waiting for you to finish. Makeup and hairstyles are fresher and there is less chance of spills and wrinkles on the formal wear. This will not appeal to a couple who wish to follow the tradition of not seeing one another prior to the vows but it is a good option logistically for those trying to streamline the wedding day.
WF: What can a couple do to prepare for wedding pictures? Is there anything that makes it run more smoothly?
CC: The photographer needs to understand the family dynamics before the event. If we know about “sticky” family situations we can help alleviate the tension by not placing certain people in the same picture or positioning them far apart for group shots.
Also the photographer should know of any physical limitations that exist. If there is someone who has difficulty walking on rough ground or cannot stand for an extended period of time, we can make sure there is a assistance for them or modify the poses. Family shots involving children or elderly relatives can be taken first.
In some cases, there are restrictions imposed by a profession- we work in Ingersoll which has a large agricultural community and sometimes family members need to go home to milk cows between the photos and the reception. We can work around all these situations if we know of them in advance.
WF: How much can a couple expect to spend on wedding photos?
CC: Wedding photos are an investment and roughly 10-15% of the wedding budget should be allocated to photography. The post-wedding service is an essential part of the photographer’s job. After the images are captured- the photographer heads back to the studio to craft the images using colour correction, editing techniques, artistic enhancement and image selection. This is an area where you get what you pay for and hiring a professional will ensure that the finished wedding collection is something to be treasured for years to come.
WF: How can a couple prepare for bad weather on an outdoor wedding shoot?
CC: This is a situation that we had to deal with many times in 2009 since it was such a wet summer in Ontario. We always bring backup studio lighting and equipment in case we need to set up to shoot inside the reception hall or church.
Some gardens have sheltered areas that can be used if the weather is uncooperative. We often shoot at the Elm Hurst here in Ingersoll and there are several interesting and beautiful locations that can be used in the rain.
We also enjoy the challenge of using the rain for inspiration. What a great opportunity to get creative with funky rubber boots and umbrellas. Some of our favourite wedding shots were captured because we were working around the weather.
This is another reason to hire a professional, an amateur will have difficulty handling rainy day conditions.
WF: How soon should a couple book their photographer?
CC: As soon as possible! Do NOT wait to book the photographer if you know who one you want. Weddings are sometimes planned several years in advance so you need to act fast to reserve the services you want. This should be one of the top priority decisions along with booking the venues, officiant and caterer.
WF: What questions should a couple ask before contracting a wedding photographer?
CC:Are you available to shoot on my wedding date?
To what professional associations do you belong?
How would you describe your style?
Have you shot a wedding at this location before? (look at samples)
Do you bring an assistant?
Do you have backup equipment and is it the same quality as the primary equipment?
When will the images be ready?
Do you offer a copyright released image disc?
How do you archive your digital files?
How do you accommodate working with a videographer?
What information do you need to create a photo checklist?
Do you think you are a good fit for our event?
WF: Trish and Trevor, Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions.
For more information or to view more of Trish’s photography, visit her online at: Trish Roberts Wedding Photography.