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Tips on Wedding Photography by Susan Michal

March 6, 2015

Susan Michal is local Jacksonville photographer.  She has been in the professional photography business for over 20 years and has shot many award winning images.  In 2014-2015 Susan has also served as the President of the Professional Photographers Association.  This 30,000+ member based organization strives to educate the public and photographers about their industry.  If  you are looking for a wedding photographer for your upcoming day….read some tips from a true professional!  Check out the Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Amelia Island and surrounding area photographers on our website.

Your wedding day planning is in full swing and as the day approaches you have so many things to remember. A very important part of your wedding will be your photography. Your photographs will be the one thing you will have long after the cake is eaten and your dress has been put away. To ensure that your photographer has all that they need to do the very best job for you consider the following tips. This will help make sure you get the photographs you expect from this very special day. Years ago, I read somewhere that on the wedding day a photographer has many jobs including…picture taker, physiologist, babysitter, mediator, seamstress, drink getter, weatherperson, coordinator… well you get the “picture”! Your photographer wears many hats on a wedding day. Thinking about some of the following will help ensure that things go a little smoother and will result in better images from your big day!

These days everyone is a photographer! If they use a cell phone, or actually have a nicer camera, for some reason a wedding is the place they want to prove they can “get the shot”. Maybe it was the Nikon commercial with Ashton Kutcher… I don’t know, but it’s gotten a little out of control! Most professional photographers have no problem with guests taking pictures, but many times wedding guests are actually ruining some of the most important moments for the bride and groom by jumping in front of the professional photographer. The most obvious faux pas is when you are entering or leaving the ceremony. Your photographer is simply not in a position to ask your guests to move. Many times they ruin the image. This is an image that is important to include in your album and it’s almost impossible to “Photoshop” these people out. Please ask your officiant to ask guests to be respectful of the service and your photographer, by not taking pictures or jumping in the aisle- otherwise, Uncle John’s back side may be featured in your wedding album.

Photoshop is a great tool for professional photographers, however it was not meant to “reconstruct images”. Removing unwanted people from images can be difficult if not impossible. Many non – professionals assume that Photoshop can work miracles…it cannot! Likewise, expecting your photographer to “add” someone that missed the family portrait is over expecting and nearly impossible. The advice here is while Photoshop is great, the general public believes it’s “easy “ to fix just about anything,  and that is just not true. If your family portraits are important to you, make sure everyone knows when and where they will be taken. Expecting your photographer to provide you with an image that never actually happened is well… probably not going to happen. There is a reasonable expectation for how much a professional can or should Photoshop any image. Understanding what is and what is not possible will keep everyone happy!

Making sure you have a realistic schedule you can follow on your wedding day is something your photographer should work with you on early in your planning.

While all professionals know things can happen…and most weddings tend to “run behind” it is not realistic to expect your photographer to do an hour’s worth of work in ten minutes and produce the same result. Photographers work with all kind of obstacles on the wedding day such as bad weather, tardy participants, ugly getting ready rooms…yeah, you all know the ones at the church with finger paintings all over the wall, and the list goes on. Your photographer loves making beautiful images and wants to do the very best job for you, but it requires a little thought on your part. Make sure that you have a schedule you can work with and do everything you can to make sure you, and anyone else involved in your wedding photography respects your timeline so that you can give your photographer the time they need to do what you hired them to do…in the end you win!

The big one…seeing each other before the service! There is simply no question that you will have less stress and better pictures if you decide to see each other before you walk down the aisle. There is more time for creative images that often cannot be done between the service and reception, additionally since these images will be done you can simply leave your service and go straight to the party!! While some cannot get past the idea of doing this, for many it makes things so much easier. Talk to your photographer about it and decide what is best for you.

Even in this digital world, there is still much value in printed art. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can get digital files and order some album online and get the same thing your professional photographer can offer you. 50% of the work done on a wedding by a professional happens after the wedding. “Digital files” are not finished files. They will never look the way they could or should when handled by a professional. Don’t make the mistake of not getting a beautiful finished product from your photographer. It is something your will treasure for the rest of your lives together.

Last but not least…make sure you hire a Professional Photographer. Your wedding day cannot be redone. If the person taking your pictures does not know what they are doing you could end up with nothing. Ask your photographer how long they have been in business, ask if they are a member Professional Photographers of America, and ask if they have insurance. Better photographers are going to cost more money. Price shopping is a scary game when it comes to one of the most important days of your lives. Experience and how a professional conducts business is critical to your wedding day photography.

To check out the Professional Photographers Association Website here.

Check out Susan Michals work here.