Ten Secrets to Great Photographs

by Grant Younglove

1. BE SELECTIVE ON YOUR LOCATION. Put some effort in choosing a beautiful location for the majority of your photographs. If a beautiful theme restaurant is not possible, ask a friend or relative if you may use their home or find a spacious park along your route. Another alternative is to choose a beautiful resort to spend your first night together. Then check in early for your pre-ceremony photographs. Look for distinctive features like spiral staircases, archways, columns, fountains, tall ceilings, beautiful furniture or English gardens.

2. HIRE A PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP ARTIST. On your wedding day, a beautiful makeup job could make your photographs look like you spent a fortune on your photographs. Your investment in makeup will easily be returned.

3. GET ROMANTIC. Flowers and candles are easy to acquire and can dramatically improve the romance of any location with minimal effort. Fresh cut flowers, tea lights, sprinkles of rose petals or shear material draped over windows will bring extra warmth to any room. Coordinate these extra touches in advance so they will cause no delays to your photography.

4. MAKE PRIVATE TIME FOR YOUR PORTRAITS. Design your day for extra photography while your guests are not present. Avoid the extra stress by allowing plenty of time to complete your formal portraits early, while your hair & makeup are fresh. Do them while few guests need your attention. In some cases, there may be plenty of time for extra photography before the service. This allows you to engage in your reception immediately following the ceremony while emotions are high and guests are eager to share your moment. Photography should be fun and stress-free.

5. SHOOT YOUR FAVORITE PORTRAITS DURING DAYLIGHT. Sunset ceremonies are romantic, but many of your most favorite photographs will follow later when its dark and flash photography is required. This is "artificial light" and the photographs will lack depth because the background falls to black. It's much better to shoot your photographs during daylight hours when your background is illuminated by "natural light". Afternoon light offers the most warmth and depth.

6. HIRE AN EXPERIENCED PHOTOJOURNALIST. Choose a photographer well trained in formal portraiture as well as in photojournalism. They are two distinct styles, but both are a must. Capturing special candid moments as they occur are priceless, but can you imagine the disaster if your photographer left it to fate for your family to arrange themselves for the family portrait? Beware; there are well-paid "artists" that never organize a shot. They feel capturing the moment should override the necessity to ask someone to move to a better position. Remember, posing can sometimes be just as important as the candid shots.

7. SEE THE WORK OF YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER FIRST. Never select a photographer whose work you haven't seen. During the interview, require that they show you at least one complete wedding from their work. You should also be able to select your photographer at the moment you secure by payment.

8. MATCH THE CAMERAS TO THE EVENT. Choose a photographer with well-maintained cameras and back up equipment. Just like a set of mechanic's tools, each type of camera has a different set of tasks it performs best.

9. QUESTION PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO DON'T MAKE ALBUMS. Some photographers just shoot and hand you the images on a CD and leave it to you to create your own album. This usually proves to be a huge task for people lacking experience or the resources to locate nice albums. Full service photographers have access to GREAT albums. Find one who builds wedding albums in his head as he shoots. Afterward, let them piece together all the sentimental and joyous moments into one creative and romantic story. Shoot-Only photographers tend to be less accountable and will likely miss shots necessary to the flow of your album. Couples also say they rarely have time after the honeymoon to create an album.

10. MATCH THE PHOTOGRAPHER TO YOUR EVENT. Remember, your photographs are the only thing remaining after the wedding day ends. There are no re-takes. Why get married on a million dollar yacht and hire a budget photographer? Your photographs should look great and be representative of your event.

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