Top tips when looking for a wedding photographer

wedding photographer

Wedding photographer – Congratulations on your engagement! Now the journey of wedding planning begins but it doesn’t have to be stressful always. mtltimes.ca recently got the chance to speak with Jimmy Chan, the wedding photographer behind Pixelicious, to share some of the best tips and what to watch out for when choosing a photographer.

There are too many options, where do I start?

Brides from Montreal are blessed with a deep, creative pool of wedding photographers to choose from! We truly have some of the most outstanding talents in the country, all with different styles and pricing. There’s definitely a photographer out there that matches your needs. The best approach would be via word of mouth, especially if you were once a bridesmaid and you were able to see your friend’s photographer in action. If you liked your friend’s wedding pictures, chances are you will be just as happy! Don’t hesitate in asking your friend for referrals.

Then there’s the bridal show where they put you inside a huge room full of wedding vendors. Some like the experience but many don’t due to the crowded environment. It’s difficult to get quality 1-on-1 time with the photographer when there are 20 other brides asking for similar questions.

Finally, a simply online search would return a very long list of options. Here’s the mistake brides often make: they blindly send out a generic inquiry to 20, 30+ photographers without actually taking the time to study our portfolios. We can sense the lack of interest right away, don’t be surprised if you get a reply that is just as generic. At Pixelicious, we only accept a small number of weddings per year so it is crucial that we work with the right clients. A bad fit between bride and photographer will result in a poor wedding experience guaranteed!

OK, I short listed my favourites. Now what?

Pick up the phone! Better yet, schedule a meeting to learn more about the person behind the camera. Wedding days are really long, so it’s best to choose someone that you feel comfortable with, someone that you can trust.

Red flags include: arriving late, showing up with improper attire or lack of professionalism in general.

What should I ask and what should I expect anyway?

Besides confirming the photographer’s availability for your date and pricing, ensure that you are getting the coverage required to cover all important moments. Many work with packages, based on the number of hours involved. Watch out because you will be expected to pay overtime rates when going beyond the agreed hours. Also, this puts you into a restricted timeline for wedding photography, something that brides don’t find enjoyable at all.

Whether you wish to purchase a wedding photo album or not, all clients desire a copy of the digital images. Make sure that the resolution of your images aren’t downsized and that they are retouched. Unfortunately, photographers do this to prevent clients in making large, quality prints.

Due to the above, Pixelicious employs a more holistic approach by always giving out retouched full resolution digital files. We find that clients prefer a flat rate for the entire day so they no longer deal with overtime rates or timeline restrictions so that’s what we mainly offer.

Other pertinent questions include: turnaround time in receiving your images, who’s the photographer that will actually show up at the wedding and suggestions for locations during photo sessions.

Tell me about engagement sessions and do I need one?

Don’t feel oblige in having one but engagement sessions are fantastic to bond with your wedding photographer. We understand that we aren’t working with professional models, so you feel uneasy when posed. The engagement session will allow you to practice in front of the camera and get a good feel on how the photographer positions you relative to lighting and composition.

Some brides see this as a trial, if things turn out sour after the engagement pictures then a last minute change in the photographer can occur. However, if you love the outcome then most likely you will be just as happy with the upcoming wedding images. Clients often use their own engagement pictures for invitation cards, guest books and various decorative prints during reception!

What should my photographer capture on my wedding day?

The typical full day wedding day can be broken down into various phases: the groom’s preparation, the bride’s preparation, the ceremony, group photos, bridal portraits and the reception.

Depending on how your day is structured, the order can be arranged differently but it comes back to the same. Your photographer’s assignment is to tell the story, to document the big moments.

Each phase requires different skills sets. For example, posing skills are essential during the bridal portraits of our newlyweds whereas the usage of flash comes in handy during late reception. A good wedding photographer will excel in any condition, no matter how challenging. Our job is to guide our clients towards a successful wedding day, to reassure them that beautiful images can be captured whether the sun is blazing or pitch-black dark everywhere.

Anything to watch out for after the wedding?

Both your digital files and albums (if applicable) should be delivered as promised, per the turnaround time agreed in the contract. Some have requested to not publish their wedding photos on the internet, Pixelicious always respects our clients’ privacy. Most of the issues result from miscommunication. As opposed to e-mailing back and forth, schedule a call with your photographer to go over the concerns you might have. At the end of the day, we all want happy brides.

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