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Friday, 27 September 2013
Ten Reasons To Choose Ayer Photography of Vermont
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Wedding Tips

In the current economy there are so many choices when it comes to selecting a photographer for your wedding, event or portrait, that it can be confusing.  Where do you begin?  Who is right for you?  What should you look for?  

This post answers the question of why you would choose a professional photographer in general, and why you would choose Ayer Photography of Vermont in particular.  The truth of the matter is that not all photographers are created equal, not all have the same operating principles, and not all have the same personality or guiding vision.   Furthermore, what is a good compromise for some customers will be a poor choice for others. 

And in the case of a wedding, it is about a lot more than just the images - it is also about the full experience - many customers opt for a photographer, who will do more than document the event - they want someone who will enrich their day and make it better, while also capturing great photographs. 

Our most recent bride and groom just sent us a thank you card.  They wrote, "thank you, thank you, thank you!  We are so excited to see how our pictures look.  We had such a great time and you were there to capture everything.  You helped us both feel at ease and I know our pictures will be great!  You were both so wonderful to work with.  Thanks again!"  They sent it to us while on their honeymoon and before they had seen more than a small fraction of the final images!  They were thanking us for the experience, as most of our customers do!  This is one of several reasons our customers select us for their wedding photography; and then refer us to their friends and families.   

 

Some of the elements that our customers have told us differentiate us from some of our competitors are as follows:   

Professional Artistry        

Our artistic goal is to tell the story of what makes our clients uniquely special, and the treasured relationships they have with the people, with whom they are connected in this life.  We do this through photographic art, that touches the heart and reflects their priceless value.   

Take a look through our galleries and albums to get a sense of how our artistic vision captures real events and emotions; and even see how it has evolved over the years.  While art is always a subjective thing, indications that our art is appreciated include:  a) multiple repeat and referral customers, b) peer recognition and awards in professional competitions, and c) our images being selected for publication in regional magazines, including two covers.       

Professional Albums     

At heart we are storytellers - some long, some short - but stories, nonetheless.  That is to say, our images have something to say about their subjects - about who they are, what they are like, and who they love.  This aspect of our business is most fully realized, when we produce an album.  From the moment we pick up our cameras we are working on your album, your story - collecting all the images and other elements we will need to tell it professionally. 

Then we custom design your story.  While some of our competitors offer little more than a photographer's portfolio, we tell your story, with your favorite images and give you final approval of our final design.  We do not use templates; and we do not use stock photos or graphical elements.  Every image and embellishment comes from your wedding.

Once the design is complete and approved, we print and bind it, creating an heirloom quality product in one of our three album styles, or two photobook styles.  We have produced multiple albums of each of our styles with album partners, that have a proven ability to repeatedly and consistently meet our exacting standards for print quality and accuracy and attention to every detail of high-quality album construction.  Even then the final album must pass our designer's final inspection, before it is delivered to you.  

 

Professional Quality           

While it is nice to be lucky, consistent high quality products and services is rarely an accident.  We work at it.  We understand for example the twelve elements of a high quality image and apply our experience and knowledge to achieving them every time.  We retouch every single image before we present it to you--you do not have to imagine what it could look like.  We use professional grade materials, equipment and software.  We use only proven professional lab partners and rigorously calibrate our equipment with theirs to achieve a consistent quality output.  Our labs inspect and correct every single product to our exacting standards of excellence, and every product partner has to demonstrate repeated consistent quality to remain our partner... right down to how it is packaged and shipped.     

Professional Customer Experience         

Our tagline is "Telling Your Story In Pictures!"  When we take your photograph, or design and produce the final product, we do apply our artistic vision and expertise.  But we always remember it is your story, it is your wedding, it is your heirloom album or piece of wall décor.  How we execute that vision is as important as the final product.  This is why we take the time to talk to you and get to know you before the event or session.  At a wedding, for example, we want to be as unobtrusive as possible - it is your wedding, not ours, and the final product should reflect that.  It is also why, for example, we will ask you to select your favorite images for inclusion in your album.  While we will design it and make it as artistic as we know how, we will use the images you love best.  At the end of the day, it is your album, that you will treasure and show to your grandchildren 

Professional Communication          

Nobody likes surprises.  So we make every effort to communicate clearly and completely.  This is why we have a website, that shows more than pretty pictures.  While we know that you need to see examples of our work, we also know that that is only one step in your decision-making process to hire a professional photographer.  We describe our products and encourage every potential customer to come and meet with us face-to-face.  We will answer all your questions and give you a good opportunity to see how our personality meshes with yours.  Like us, we assume you want your decision to be an informed one, based on facts and clear understandings, rather than guesswork or assumptions.      

Professional Equipment       

We use only professional equipment that requires a serious investment.  While we realize that under ideal conditions, an experienced photographer can probably produce a good image with consumer-grade cameras and lenses.  The trouble with weddings, for example, is that conditions are very often far from ideal for some part, if not all of the day.  It is under less than ideal conditions that professional grade cameras, lenses, and other equipment enable the professional to produce quality images.  Our prime camera body, for example, is a Canon EOS 1D mark IV on which we mount only Canon "L-series" lenses.  And our backup is a Canon EOS 1D mark III.  Such equipment costs many times more than the prosumer models.  But we made the investment so that we can still "get all the shots," even when conditions are far from ideal.      

Professional Experience              

Our lead photographer, Warren, has been taking photographs for other people for over fifty years.  We have been offering professional wedding, event, and portrait photography services as Ayer Photography of Vermont for over ten years.  During that last ten years, we have photographed weddings in barns, hotels, ballrooms, tents, fields, and forests; in simple country churches, historical landmarks, and ornate cathedrals; on hilltops, mountaintops, beaches, porches, and boats; in the harsh sun of day, the cool shade, the warm light of afternoon, candle light, star light, fire light, or under fireworks; in spring, summer, fall, and winter; windy, calm, rainy, and even snowy.  We have photographed weddings based on Christian, Celtic, Vedic (Hindu), Peruvian Indian, and even made-up traditions.  Your wedding or event will be unique with its special and traditional elements, but chances are, we have seen something like it before, and will be prepared.   

Professional Association           

No true professional ever stops learning.  There is always something new - new equipment, new software, new techniques, new products and new trends.  We are members of several professional organizations (e.g., Professional Photographers of America, Wedding & Portrait Photographers International, and Vermont Professional Photographers).  We take advantage of their conferences, workshops, and specialized training to get better, to take our craft to the next level -- year after year producing better products and higher quality service, than we did the year before.   

Professional Ethics       

We live in challenging times - where the media floods us with one pitch after another.  Sometimes it is hard to sort out.  This is why we state up front, that we are not in it for the quick sale.  We want your referrals and return business.  For that we need your trust. 

As professionals we subscribe to a code of ethics to treat people fairly and honestly with integrity and respect.  It also means, for example, that we will not disparage our competitors, nor will we even talk to you, if you have already committed to one of our competitors.  What we will do, is explain our products, services, and terms as clearly as we know how, we will keep our commitments to the best of our abilities, and deliver what we promise.  As members in good standing of Professional Photographers of America and of Vermont Professional Photographers we specifically subscribe to their codes of ethics, published on their respective websites.    

Professional Solvency     

We have been in business as Ayer Photography of Vermont for over ten years. We are not a fly-by-night, here-today gone-tomorrow operation. We are in it for the long haul. We have founded our enterprise on sound business practices -- we pay our taxes, we meet our commitments, and we charge enough to pay all of our expenses, whether it is for equipment, advertising, insurance, training, or the materials and service to build your album. Oftentimes, wedding customers will hire us more than a year in advance of their wedding, and then not make their last selection until months after their ceremony. We have structured our business, so that we will be able to meet our commitments well into the future. Our customers deserve one less thing to worry about.

Posted by Warren and Linda    

Ayer Photography of Vermont         


Posted by ayerphoto at 3:48 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 October 2013 1:56 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 11 September 2013
Vedic Wedding Ceremony
Mood:  special
Topic: Wedding Tips

In August of this year, we had an opportunity to photograph a Vedic (Hindu) wedding ceremony.  In fact you can see our blog post for that wedding on this blog under Weddings (Erik & Dimple).  Since that time, however, we have had some inquiries about the ceremony itself, since it is so different from a typical American ceremony, religious or civil.    

So, at the bride's suggestion, we decided to write another blog essentially describing the ceremony with photos, using the program as a guide.  So, rather than focusing on the love story of the bride and groom as we did in our regular posting, this one focuses on the Indian wedding customs and traditions, some of which are religious in origin and others from Indian culture.  While many Indian weddings can be a week-long series of events, the one we photographed was just two-days, beginning with Mehndi Night the evening before the wedding ceremony itself.

Mehndi Night

The night before a wedding is known as the 'Night of Henna” or Mehndi when the bride's hands and feet are decorated with elaborate designs.  The designs are usually floral with some signifying fertility.

I am told that there are a number of traditions associated with the henna.  The groom at the wedding we photographed told the assembled crowd of family and friends that the amount of henna the bride applies is indicative of how much she loves the bridegroom.  One of the guests also explained that how long the henna on the bride's hands lasts is indicative of how well she is cared for (it lasts longer if she does not have to do any chores),  Finally, I read on the web that in some cases the groom's name is hidden within the right palm of the bride, and he must find it before he is allowed to sleep on his wedding night.  

Clothing was of course traditional Indian.   

Wedding Day Attire

The next day saw all new traditional outfits for both the bride and groom.  Most interesting to western brides will be the fact that the Indian bride traditionally wears a red or maroon gown, rather than white.  I am told that in the Indian culture, white is usually reserved for funerals.  At an Indian wedding, the clothes are so colorful, the only flowers are usually just in petal form. 

As you might guess, it takes a very long time to get an Indian bride fully dressed and ready for the ceremony.  

Swagatam - Welcoming Groom

Once all is ready, the groom will arrive accompanied by his family and friends, where they are greeted by the bride's family and the priest.  

When all have arrived, they proceed in sort of a parade to the wedding location to the beat of an ancient Indian drum.  

At the entrance to the wedding location, the bride's family greets the groom.  The groom is fed sweets and then escorted to the spot where the wedding ceremony will take place.  

Antarpat - Curtain Ceremony

Once the groom is in place, a curtain is held up to block his view so he will be unable to see the bride's grand entrance.  The bride then enters, accompanied by four male members of her family. 

Only after the bride is in her spot on the Mandap, will the curtain be lowered and the groom be able to see his bride-to-be. 

 

Welcome & Invocation 

The priest welcomes both families and offers invocation prayers. 

Jaimala - Garland Exchange  

The bride and groom then exchange garlands of flowers, symbolizing their acceptance of matrimony.  

Offering of Sweets & Announcement

The bride's family then offers sweets to the groom, after which the priest invokes God's blessing and officially announces the wedding, inviting the guests to be witnesses.     

Kanyadaan - Giving Away The Bride

The groom is requested to accept the bride as an equal partner in his life. Water is poured over the groom's palms and flowing down onto the bride's. This is said to symbolize the continuity of the life cycle and passing of heritage to the next generation.    

Tying The Knot  

Attendants then tie the bride's and groom's clothing together symbolizing the bonding of the two together for all time.  

Pani-Grahan, Shilarohan, Lajahom

The priest then has the bride and groom recite a series of pledges and prayers, accepting each other as husband and wife. 

Mangal-Phere  

Next, while the priest chants hymns, the bride and groom walk around the fire seven times.  During this ceremony, the groom led the first three times around and the bride led the next three.  I heard someone suggest whoever leads the last time around will be the leader of the marriage.   

As the couple makes their way around, they are showered with rose petals. When they finally return to their seats, they switch places, so that the bride is now to the groom's left in order "to be nearer to his heart."

Seven Marriage Vows

The bride and groom walk seven steps. At each step they take another marriage vow. 

They conclude with an exchange of vows that include accepting each other's family as their own.

Sindoor, Mangalasutra & Ring Exchange

During this part of the ceremony, the groom applies vemillion powder in the part of the bride's hair, which in Indian culture indicates that she is now his wife. He then gives her a necklace, signifying good luck, love and friendship.    

While not normally a part of an Indian wedding, this couple chose to also exchange rings, as is common in most western weddings. 

Surya Darshan 

The Mandap is set up in such a way that as the bride and groom exit to the side, they will be taking their first steps together toward the sun, "that there may always be light shining on them."   

As the couple makes their departure, they may receive blessings from family and friends.

Following the ceremony the couple will change clothes again for the reception.  

The Vedic ceremony above was held on the terrace of the Sunset Ballroom in South Burlington, Vermont, overlooking Lake Champlain. All photographs are © 2013 Ayer Photography.

Posted by Warren

Ayer Photography of Vermont   

 

 

 


Posted by ayerphoto at 11:19 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 12 September 2013 9:18 AM EDT
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Sunday, 5 May 2013
Albums - Story or Portfolio?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Wedding Tips

This spring has got me thinking a lot about albums, what they are for and what makes a good one?  This was prompted in part by the passing of our Bichon Frise, Jeremiah, and my decision to design an album to commemorate his life.  It was also prompted in part by our experience submitting two of our wedding album designs into the Vermont Professional Photographers 2013 print competition, and subsequently observing the judging. 

I recall a while ago reading a post in a photographer's forum I scan occasionally that sparked a debate on this very topic.  It seems the photographer had made a mistake in a wedding album that was not caught by him or the bride and groom until after it was printed and bound.  It was a mistake that both should have caught, but alas, did not.  The photographer was seeking feedback on how other photographers handled situations like this from a business point of view. 

Somewhere in the various comments, someone said, well, at least he could use the album as a sample to show potential clients, since the mistake (an erroneous date) did not in any way detract from the design as a sample.  The original photographer answered, no because the bride had picked the wrong pictures - they were the ones the bride wanted in her album, but were not the ones the photographer would want to use to show off his work.  She had included lots of family group shots, for example, and under budget constraints omitted some the photographer's favorite portraits, etc.  This is where the debate got interesting because two camps evolved - those who believed that the client's input into the album design should be kept to an absolute minimum (even excluding the family group shots altogether), and others who believed that it was the bride's album and should have what she wants in it.  

As the debate went back and forth, it seemed that there were some photographers on one extreme who designed the album the way they thought best - in a way that best represented their artistry; while the others tried hard to tell the story of the bride's day as faithful as they could to the way the bride saw it.  To me this represents two very different design approaches to album design - one is to design it as a photographer's portfolio, and the other is to design it to tell the story of what was important to the subject of the album - in this case the bride and groom.  There is considerable overlap because the portfolio has a storytelling element, and the bride wants her story told in an artistic way, BUT they also have significant differences.  

This is probably best exemplified by the family group shots.  Some photographers will not put them in the album, but insist they be published separately.  Whereas many brides will have a long list of groups they want photographed and then select many of them for inclusion in the album, if given the option.  In general the photographer selects images for inclusion based on artistry first, whereas the bride selects on the basis of the strength of the relationship she has with the subjects in the image as the first criterion. 

When I first observed wedding albums in print competition, I was struck by the complete absence of the family group shots in many of the submissions.  It prompted me to ask those with more experience whether these were "real" albums - meaning ones that were delivered to real customers, or were they designed or modified specifically for competition.  In some cases where the albums submitted were "real" I was told that the designers also selected the images for the album, without giving their client an opportunity to offer input. 

One of my favorite parts of being a wedding photographer is getting to deliver the final album to the newlyweds and getting to watch them go through it for the first time.  Even though the selected the images that went into it and even though they approved the layout / design before printing and binding - it was still special to see it in print - in the book.  What I have also found interesting is what they react to.  Often they will make a comment like, "I really love this picture" especially when viewing a great artistic portrait.  But what they linger longest over and come back to for a second and third look are the ones to which they have the strongest emotional attachment to. Very often it is not the best or most artistic photograph in the album.  It might be a shot of them with their favorite grandmother, or with a friend she had been afraid would not have been able to make it, but came and surprised her, or of something funny her niece, the flower girl, did.   

In working on our album of our puppy's life, I found that in some cases I included images that would never win an award - probably not even be judged acceptable for exhibition.  They were included because in retrospect I chose the best image I had to tell a part of the story that was important to me independent of whether it measured up to some artistic standard.  The reality is that in some cases we were just shooting snapshots, not carefully orchestrated portraits.  And when we took them, they were not all that important.  It was only a few years later, when cancer had robbed him of his vitality that these simple snapshots took on so much more meaning.   

Similarly, I once took photographs of a Relay For Life Cancer Walk.  This event has all kinds of people - many are survivors, many are care givers, and others are just supporters.  It took a while to go through all the images and put them into a simple album.  One of the organizers went through and pointed out images of three people that had passed away in the short time since I had taken the images.  She said that at an event like that almost every image is important to someone!  The people were not known to me and even in retrospect there were few clues they were this close to the end in any of the shots.  It was not uncommon after one of these events to get requests from people who had seen a crowd shot I may have taken to describe someone in the image and ask if I had somehow managed to take any closeups? 

It is just one of many examples of when we as photographers have to take photographs without knowing the back and hidden stories of those whose photographs we are taking. Sometimes we find our later and in other cases, we never know. Without knowing the stories, without knowing what binds people together, without knowing all the sources of meaning in the people and things we photograph we will never see our photographs in the same way as our customers.

It is for this reason that I begin the design of every album with the simple question - whose album is it anyway? If it will not sit on my coffee table for the next 20 years, mine ought not to be the only perspective taken into account when designing it. No matter how nice I thought a wedding was, my emotional attachment will never be as strong as that of the bride and groom.

So, when we design an album, especially for a wedding, we work hard to balance artistry with meaning as seen by those whose album it is. To do this we take the first cut. We sort, perfect, and present only images that are technically acceptable - meaning we start with only the good images - which is always far more than we have room for in an album.  We then ask the bride and groom to select their favorites - and we give them a number range of what usually fits comfortably in an album of the size their budget has enabled them to purchase.  This tells us several things.  It tells us which parts of the story are most important to them and when we get to the candid reception mages, which of their many guests were the most important to them.  We then use that pool of images as our primary source in designing their album.  Sometimes we do not use all the images and sometimes we pull in additional images to make the design flow in an artistic way.  When complete we let the bride and groom review the design and recommend changes, if any.  We interpret their requests and propose alternate designs until we are both happy with the result.  The end result is an album that artistically pleasing, while at the same time telling the bride and groom's story in a way that emphasizes what is important to them using the images they like the best   They now feel comfortable using this album to tell their story in their way for generations to come. 

Interestingly we have found that about 70 to 80% of what the bride and groom select, we would have selected also.  These tend to be the technically best images and the ones that portray them in the best light.  Once the bride and groom have selected the best shots of them, other criteria begin to play a bigger role in selecting the remainder.  They want a few shots of their best friends and relatives, even if they are not the most photogenic, or in some cases even cooperative in letting you get their photograph.  And if they are budget constrained they may want to leave out some of those additional great bridal portraits from before the ceremony in favor of including more candids of them dancing with their friends, if that is more important to them in the way they want to tell their story. 

Story or portfolio?

Our artistic goal is to tell the story of what makes our clients uniquely special, and the treasured relationships they have with the people with whom they are connected in this life, through photographic art that touches the heart and reflects their priceless value.

Posted by Warren

Ayer Photography of Vermont           

  


Posted by ayerphoto at 6:27 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 May 2013 3:34 PM EDT
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Friday, 3 May 2013
Vermont Bride Magazine Interview
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Wedding Tips

Did you happen to catch our interview with Vermont Bride Magazine?  It can be found on page 98 of the Spring / Summer 2013 issue.  If you missed it, here are some excerpts of what we told them. 

How long have you been in business? 

I have had a life-long passion for photography and been producing photographs for others since I was a teenager.  We started Ayer Photography of Vermont as a full time wedding and portrait photography business about ten years ago. 

How or why did you become a photographer?

I learned photography in my father's darkroom as a boy, sparking a life-long interest.  I was the school photographer, president of the photography club, and contributed to the town newspaper.  I loved photography, but not the chemicals associated with wet processing.  When digital photography finally began to produce results comparable to film, I saw my chance to do what I loved without the part I did not.  So, I started Ayer Photography of Vermont with my wife, Linda, to pursue this passion full time.  

What do you love most about being a photographer?

Photographs have the ability to tell a story on several levels at once - perhaps it is the story teller in me coming out.  After all, our tag line is "Telling Your Story in Pictures!" 

What is your favorite part of working on weddings?

I love the honor and privilege of being part of such an important day in a young couple's life that I might not have even met, had we not been in this business.  I love delivering our album to the newlyweds and watching them relive that day as they look through it for the first time. 

What advice do you have for couples choosing a photographer? 

Three tips come to mind immediately: 

First, look at complete wedding samples and albums, not just a photographer's portfolio of their best shots - you will want someone to capture the whole story, not just a few artsy portraits.

Second, listen to their stories and get a sense of how they respond to problems - are they likely to help keep you calm, or contribute to the stress on your day?

Third, but certainly not last, meet with them in person and decide whether your personalities are complementary - they will see more of you than your family on the wedding day - do they put you at ease and help you relax - if not, it will show in your photographs. 

Finally, plan the plan, but when the day arrives, go with the flow and enjoy your day!     


Posted by Warren

Ayer Photography of Vermont                       


Posted by ayerphoto at 10:21 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 3 May 2013 5:21 PM EDT
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Thursday, 12 May 2011
Selecting A Wedding Photographer
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: Wedding Tips

In planning any wedding there are a myriad of decisions to be made from the simple and trivial to the complex and potentially expensive. 

One of these planning decisions is that of selecting your photographer.  Because the resulting images and prints, albums, or other works of art that are created from them will be some of your longest lasting recorded memories, this will be an important decision for many couples.  For some couples it will be one of the first decisions they make together that will define their style for years to come.  While it is easy to say that photographs of life events are "important," choosing a photographer for your wedding may force you as a couple to decide how important?  What is the value of a photograph (or a resulting work of art) relative to other aspects of your wedding as you allocate your overall wedding budget?  Since this can be an emotional topic and one whose full value may not be fully realized until years later, it is one that deserves thoughtful communication.       

Here are some tips to help the couple planning a wedding to work through this question of a photographer.     

Probably the best starting point is to honestly assess whether you will be happy preserving the memories of your important day with simple snapshots, or for this day, and these important memories, do they deserve - indeed, will you require - the skills and artistry of a professional.        

Everybody with a modern digital camera has probably gone to a wedding and taken a few good pictures.  This gives many people a false sense of confidence that it is easy, when in fact, wedding photography is one of the hardest and most demanding specialties there is.  Wedding photography in any style is a wild unpredictable mix of portrait photography, candid photojournalism, fashion photography, event photography, and even architectural photography.  And it is all done in an environment of constantly changing lighting and backgrounds, more often than not under constant pressure to do it quickly - but get not just one shot right the first time, but hundreds!       

I recall photographing a wedding one time and met a woman taking a few candid photographs for the family.  A few weeks later I met her at another wedding, but I noticed that she did not have her camera out.  I asked her, "aren't you taking pictures today?"  She answered, "are you kidding?  not in this light!"  This church was a lot darker and many of the good angles were strongly backlit - her skills were simply not up to taking good images under such conditions.  The thing we have learned about weddings is that conditions are rarely ideal, time is often at a premium, and sometimes nerves are on edge.  It takes a great deal of skill to create artistic images in poor and rapidly changing lighting; it takes great people skills to put people at ease so they reflect the joy of the day in their photographs and not the stress of what just went wrong five minutes earlier; and it takes tons of passion and downright flexibility to strive all day long to be in the right time and place even though they changed their mind at the last minute and did it differently than planned only the night before and did not remember to tell you.       

Once you have identified a photographer with the appropriate skills and a compatible style, the next most important question is personality - do you want this photographer or photographers sharing almost every minute of one of the most important days of your life with you.  The photographer will see more of you (good and bad) on your wedding day than almost any of your family and guests.  They will share your joy and also be there when you have to deal with something going wrong.  Will they be calming and helpful, or will they be part of the stress?  A good question to ask yourself is, if they were not your photographers, are they the type of person(s) you would invite to share your wedding?  If not, you may want to keep looking.     

As you select just the right photographer for YOUR wedding, you will want to choose someone who will capture your memories with professionalism, artistry, personality and your style in mind.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as you consider photographers for your wedding:     

Recognize that the job of delivering beautiful photographic works of art that properly honor the memory of your special day does not end with the click of the shutter - it barely begins.  A full-service photographer will photograph your event; sort and touch-up and perfect each of the hundreds of images taken - often from multiple perspectives; custom design your album and other artwork; and have it printed and bound or framed to exacting standards not readily available to the non-professional.    

Recognize that there are different photographic styles -- photojournalistic and traditional styles, candids and formal posed shots, etc.  You should select a photographer who excels at the  style you like the best, even if you want a mix of styles in the final products (like a mix of candids and classical posed portraits, for example). Full-service professional photographers usually have the skills and experience to offer a high quality mix of styles rather than one-size-fits all.    

If you would like a mix of black and white and color, or other artistic treatments, make sure your photographer has the skill and capability to deliver them. Consider both your personal taste and the type of wedding you are planning when deciding your preferences.   

In evaluating the creative portfolio of a candidate photographer make sure you look at images from multiple weddings, look at ALL of the images from a few weddings, and of course, look at several sample albums from entire weddings from start to finish, rather than just a few select shots. Can the photographer deliver consistently high quality images from all aspects of the wedding experience? - this is what separates the professional from the amateur enthusiast.    

Look for consistent technical quality (composition, lighting, exposure, etc.) and good variety, as well as whether the people in the photos seem at to be at ease. Most importantly, do the photos tell the story of what happened in an engaging manner, capturing the excitement and emotion of the occasion?   

Be sure the sample work you see was done by the same person you’re considering hiring as your photographer. Many studios have more than one photographer and the sample work doesn’t always indicate this.   

Understand in detail how the photographer works and charges. How long will the photographer stay at the event? Will there be an assistant? Is back-up equipment available? Can you provide a list of specific photos you want taken? What exactly is included in the package? How long will it take to see your images, and receive your album, once you approve the design?    

When booking a photographer well in advance, it may be important to know how long prices are guaranteed?  Booking a year ahead, you may not yet know all the items, or even sizes of albums, etc. you will want later.  Are the prices you saw when booking your package guarenteed until say 90 days after your wedding, so if you want more albums or extra pages, or a framed canvas, you will know what they will cost without having to put them into the initial package?        

Ask for references and call them. Past customers can give you insights you may not get from the photo studio.

 


Posted by ayerphoto at 2:20 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 13 May 2011 4:22 PM EDT
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