Thanks to Mike Allebach for the right up!
1. How do I pick a good photographer when there are hundreds listed in my area?
First, look for a forum or blog that appeals to your style. Obviously, if you're an Offbeat Bride, you're in the right place — I receive my best clients through the Offbeat Bride Vendor Guide. The photographers listed are both gay-friendly and accustomed to photographing offbeat weddings.
Once you've got a few favorite photographers, narrow it down to a handful of favorites, and set up a time to meet them. Make sure you're meeting with the person who will be wielding the camera at your wedding, not a sales consultant or studio owner. You have to, like, trust and get along with your photographer — that way you can leave the magic of photo making in the photographer's hands. Not only should you like their images, you should also like them! You'll be spending many hours with them during your wedding day.
2. How many photos do I get?
The wedding photographers I surveyed typically deliver 50-100 photos for every hour of coverage they provide. Four hundred photos may seem like a lot, but your wedding photographer is preserving all those little details and the moments you missed while you were mingling.
3. I love those photos with the blurry backgrounds. How do you get that look?
You're talking about shallow depth of field. Photographers get that look by using professional lenses that are able to focus tightly on the subject.
4. I found one photographer whose images look soft and pastel, one whose images look clean, and one whose images look like they were shot on old film. What's the deal?
Every photographer has a different way of editing their images using computer software (the high-tech version of a darkroom). This is called "Post-Processing." Most photographers do some basic lighting and color adjustments, but you can also use editing software to create a unique look. Three popular styles right now are:
Clean: lightly processed to appear natural
Matte: a low-contrast look with muted pastel colors, similar to vintage film
High Contrast: a vibrant look with rich colors that pop
It doesn't matter which style you go with, as long as you love it!
5. Why is wedding photography so freakin' expensive?
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This is the question I see most from brides on the interwebs. Wedding photography seems like easy money — work for one day and rake in the cash, right? But most full-time wedding photographers I know carry over $15,000 worth of wedding gear and often work 60-hour weeks. (Remember those 800 images from question #2? It takes several full days just to edit those.)
Add insurance, taxes, software, advertising, albums, repair, shipping, and studio expenses, and many photographers end up making less than minimum wage for the first few years of their career.
6. How can I make sure I look good in my photos?
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Relax. Trust your wedding photographer.
If you're relaxed, it'll come through in your photos.
Leave some breathing room in your schedule so you don't feel rushed — I recommend a minimum 30 minutes for family and wedding party photos, and an hour for the couple portraits.
Oh, and get plenty of sleep and drin