When the wedding’s over, the cake is eaten and the honeymoon is a memory, what’s left?
“In the years to come, what do you have left from your wedding? You have your photos and your memories,” says Traci Buck, who’s been a Grants Pass wedding photographer for 14 years.
So choosing a photographer who’ll capture the important moments and all the details you worked so hard on, as well as the unplanned things that happen, may be one of the most important wedding decisions a couple can make.
“Everything is a flash. The kiss happens for a second and you don’t get to redo. There are no second chances,” says Mikell Nielsen of Mikellouise Photography in Grants Pass.
Most professional photographers charge between $1,000 and $5,000 for their services and the resulting products — a disc of carefully edited and retouched photographs, a website where you, your friends and family can download photos, perhaps prints and a photo book of the wedding, maybe an engagement photo as well.
All of the professional photographers we spoke with said two things are important: finding a photographer you’re comfortable with and finding one whose photographic style will match what you want.
“Make sure you love their work and their personality,” says Rogue River photographer Jacquelyn Cease.
Photographer Michael Newcomb agrees. He’s working on a training book about basic photography he hopes to have available soon.
“One important thing that I mention in the book is that one of the big themes is the personality of the photographer and the rapport. It’s so important for a bride and groom to meet the photographer and really make a time commitment,” Newcomb says.
“Myself, I won’t photograph a wedding without doing a consultation and really planning it out. To me the key to success — even though it may be photographed as things happen pretty much unplanned — it’s still that the key to success is planning and organizing and finding out what they want,” he says.
Cease includes an engagement photo in all of her packages, because it gives her a chance to really meet the bride and groom. “So when I’m close to you on your wedding day we already have a relationship,” she says.
Nielsen says pros can deal with any situation: “Things happen — cameras fail, technology fails, lighting situations can get tricky. So the person really needs to know what they’re doing.”
She says she often sees photos on Facebook pages taken by well-meaning volunteer photographers. “But I’ll see the focus is actually on a tree 15 feet behind her and not on her. This is important. This is the one thing that the couple is going to take away and have years after.”