Hindsight is 20/20. Now that my wedding has come and gone, I can share what I’ve learned, what went well, and what I would have done differently. Our wedding was great but there are always things you think could have gone differently. I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I go through our wedding photos; therefore, I’m going over photography in today’s blog.
Our photographer was an amazing lady who’s husband works with my new father-in-law. She has high energy, professionalism, a friendly demeanor, and was just a pleasure to work with. Best of all, she did our photography as a wedding gift and gave us all of the photos on CDs. That saved us a minimum of $1300 from the research we’d done. There were more benefits than just upfront cost savings.
With the photo CDs, she gave us the rights to digital images, a huge savings. If the photographer owns the rights to your photos, you must have their permission to post the photos on a social networking site or to print them. The majority of my extended family was unable to attend the wedding, so being able to share the photos freely was incredibly important to us. If you have to pay the photographer for every print you get instead of shopping around for the best deal on digital prints, you may end up paying out the nose. I found that many photographers will allow you to purchase the rights to your photos and the digital files for your photos, but it could run you upwards of $600.
One of the biggest benefits our photographer had was her personality. Meeting with your photographer before the wedding is a great idea. If not doing an engagement photo shoot, you should definitely have a meeting with your photographer to go over important things. We met with ours at a Tim Hortons for about 10 minutes just to give her a list of the photos we wanted and for her to ask us important questions. She let us know what she typically wears (in case we were bothered by khaki pants at the wedding,) what she’d recommend in terms of timing, what kinds of group shots she typically does, and some suggestions on gathering people for the group shots. She also asked us a lot about what we wanted. Many photographers offer an engagement photo session as a way to meet with you beforehand and kind of “practice” for the big day (and I mean practice for both sides, as I’ll explain below.) Since saving money was important to me, I went into the photographer search determined not to have an engagement session (even if the photo shoot is included in the package you buy, the prints and/or rights may not be.) In retrospect, it does seem like a nice idea if it’s done well (and doesn’t use some of those awkward engagement poses I’ve seen in my Facebook friends’ engagement albums.) How many nice photos do you have with your fiancé? Odds are that you haven’t had a photo shoot together before.
If you don’t have many nice photos with you and your fiancé, you’ll want to make sure you can take a nice photo. Practice! If you aren’t doing an engagement shoot, you might want to try posing in the mirror (à la America’s Next Top Model – don’t forget to smize!) You have to remember to put your shoulders back and keep great posture; sadly, I did not. I read in a bridal magazine that while holding your bouquet in front of you, you should keep your arms away from your body to make them look slim and toned. Well, my arms look slim, but I look awkward since my arms are sticking so far out. I hadn’t practiced how far out to hold my arms beforehand. Perfect the poses in the mirror before doing them on the big day. I’ve noticed that a lot of parents feel awkward smiling with their mouths open. My parents, my in-laws, and my BFF’s dad often give awkward, closed mouth smiles that either look like they’re uncomfortably holding in gas or they’re angry. They did a good job and flashed their pearly whites for the most part at the wedding, but I think it would have been beneficial to gently suggest that they practice open-mouthed smiling because of how gorgeous their smiling faces are. That, or like my BFF does with her father, have the photographer yell something ridiculous before taking the photo so they’ll burst out laughing (she worries her wedding is going to be punctuated with shouts of “PENIS!” to make her father smile.)
As I mentioned earlier, the weather on our wedding day was awful. It rained from the moment I woke up until a few days later. This meant that my now-husband’s pre-ceremony photos were taken inside his parents’ house and mine were taken inside our house as well as in our yard on a white plastic tarp during a short break in the storm. While these solutions kept us dry, they didn’t create the ideal backdrop so the photos require a little Photoshopping. This is where we got what we paid for since we never agreed on whether Photoshopping would be included in our wedding gift (as it would have been with some of the photography packages we looked at.) I’m sure our photographer would have done this (possibly for a small fee) if we’d asked, but I feel like she’s done so much for us already so I’ve been Photoshopping them for myself. As I said in the entry about designing my save-the-date postcards in InDesign, it’s not worth buying Adobe Creative Suite in order to save money on your save-the-date card. Likewise, it’s not worth buying it to Photoshop your own photos (Creative Suite includes both InDesign and Photoshop.) While it’s a great design suite, it’s very expensive and isn’t the easiest thing to teach yourself if you have no experience with it. So if you have Photoshop or another photo editing program already that will do the edits you need, you can save money by tweaking the photos yourself; if you have no such programs or the photos need a lot of help, you should definitely pay for a professional. You’ll save money and be happier in the end. It’s taking me forever to edit excess furniture out of my husband’s pre-ceremony photos and make fake grass on top of the plastic tarp in mine.
All in all, we got tons of photos and there are some lovely ones, but I’ve also learned that some of the tips and info above could have made a lot of them perfect. I do have to mention my very favorite photo though: my good friend, W, staring at my bouquet as it landed on her feet, a look of disgust on her face, while all of the other single ladies rushed for it with arms outstretched. It’s an amazing photo and makes me laugh every time I see it. It means the world to me that I have that memory in the form of a photograph now. That’s the importance of a photographer.