One of the first things a couple checks off their wedding list—after a church and venue location, of course—is their photographer. To many brides and grooms, this is the most important aspect of the wedding, as these pictures will last them a lifetime. So what should brides and grooms-to-be look for in a photographer? What questions should they come prepared with while searching for the person who will capture their dream day?
“I think knowledge is power when it comes to researching and finding a photographer,” said Tracey Elizabeth, photographer and owner of Tracey Elizabeth Photography Ltd. in Port Jefferson. “Ask anyone that you know who has gotten married about their experience with the photographer [or] studio they selected.”
Elizabeth encourages her future brides to look at Pinterest, make a board for “wedding photography” and pin images they love that they can later show a photographer. She also recommends visiting the photographers’ websites to get familiar with their work.
“It is also very important to meet ‘your’ wedding photographer, as some studios hire what we call ‘weekend warriors,’ which means that they hire a photographer who might not be a knowledgeable professional to be shooting your wedding,” she said.
Elizabeth considers word-of-mouth to be the best form of advertising, as she seems to have clients for life, which she absolutely loves.
“Remember this person is going to capture your day and you will have these images for the rest of your lives. So find a photographer that you love and don’t settle,” said Elizabeth. “The best compliment I get from clients is when they tell me that after looking at their images, they didn’t even know I was capturing that moment. Even better is when they tell me that looking through their images made them relive their wedding day all over again. That’s when I know that I did my job.”
Tracey Elizabeth Photography Ltd. is located in Port Jefferson. For more information and to view her portfolio visit www.traceyelizabeth.com or call 631-946-6096.
Alan Melconian of Déjà Vu Studios said quality and reputation are very important when choosing a photographer.
“We have been in this business for 30 years, so we’ve seen all of the styles,” he said. “Photography can be a very cyclical business, so you want to make sure that whoever you choose has a longstanding reputation and can deliver a product.”
While many engaged couples worry about the financial aspect of a wedding—especially if they are footing the bill themselves—Melconian says not to focus too much on price when researching photographers.
“Price isn’t and shouldn’t be the only thing that people focus on, because everyone is going to work with you on that,” he said. “Most photographers will be flexible when it comes to packages and will try their best to meet or match other studios’ pricing for certain packages.”
Déjà Vu Studios is located at 265 Horton Hwy., in Mineola. For more information and to view their portfolio visit www.dejavustudios.net or call 516-248-9600.
Howard Fritz of One Fine Day Photographers and Videographers also believes that experience and maturity is crucial when looking for someone to photograph your big day.
“Engaged couples should seek a wedding photographer whose style they enjoy, whose demeanor they feel comfortable with and who has the ability to work well under pressure and handle any obstacles,” he said.
Fritz also requests that his brides let him know exactly what images they want captured on their wedding day.
“I can photograph in many styles and I have an easygoing personality where I can get along with most individuals even under the most chaotic circumstances,” said Fritz.
One Fine Day Photographers and Videographers is located in Massapequa Park. For more information and to view their portfolio visit www.onefinedayphotographers.com or call 516-690-1320.
“There’s a lot of variables for couples to consider when they’re shopping,” said Jimmy Yacenda from Fine Art Photography & Video in Westbury. “The number one attribute would be that the photographer can feel a sense of his passion for photography. It’s critical for a bride and groom to see how the photographer feels towards the importance of their day.”
Yacenda also emphasized that couples should utilize social media and see if the photographer is keeping his or her Facebook and websites up to date.
“If their website is updated frequently, posting new and recent albums and shoots, then they are setting trends and are on top of everything,” he said.
Fine Art Photography & Video has been in business since 1985 and does all of their own printing at the studio.
“Our staff has been together for years and we treat every bride like she is our family member,” said Yacenda.
Fine Art Photography & Video is located at 240 Lincoln Pl., in Westbury. For more information and to view their portfolio visit www.fineartphoto.com or call 516-997-4200.
What Questions Should
You Ask Your Photographer?
Are you insured? If not, you can run into some problems with obtaining your photos or getting a refund if something goes wrong.
What happens if you are unavailable last minute the day of your wedding? Will they send a backup photographer or will you have to ask a family member to assume the role?
How many other weddings have you booked on our day? Be sure that you are the only wedding being photographed that day, especially if you and your bridesmaids aren’t photo ready or the groomsmen can’t get the groom to the church on time.
When will we receive the photos? Ask what the turnaround time is for proofs or images to be uploaded and compiled into albums. Some photographers have everything done in two to six weeks; others take up to a year.
Do you have backup equipment? Any professional photographer or cinematographer should have at least three to four cameras in the unfortunate event that one breaks or does not work properly.
Who will photograph our wedding? It is very important to meet the photographer who will be with you on your wedding day. This way, you get to know him or her and develop a relationship, learn his or her style, ask questions and address any concerns you may have. For example, if a photographer did your engagement shoot, ask the studio or company in advance if you can request that photographer on your wedding day.
What kind of packages do you have? Some photographers offer several different packages for couples to choose from. While one photographer may include an engagement shoot and thank you cards, another may not, so don’t expect that every photographer is the same.
Do you update your website/social media pages frequently? Check out photographers’ websites, Instagram and Facebook pages. If you don’t see recent posts of weddings or albums haven’t been updated in more than two months, they may be extremely busy and won’t have time to focus on your wedding’s needs. Make sure the work you are looking at is current.
What happens to our proofs? Some photographers will ask you if they can use your engagement or wedding photos as advertisement, as well as post them on their websites and social media pages. Some may not. It may not seem like a big deal to most couples, but if you are concerned as to where your photos will be going after you receive them, this is a good question to ask.
Why did you became a photographer? By asking personal questions about the photographer, you can get more of a feel. Questions like, What is your favorite season to photograph? Why do you love to shoot weddings? Or, Why are you passionate about taking pictures? are all great starting points.