Last month we wrote a blog post called “How to hire a wedding photographer“.  We answered the popular question, “What should I look for when I hire a wedding photographer?”.  We spoke about how the best wedding photographers will take the time to build a rapport with you and use experience and intuition to take an integrative approach to the day, so it best reflects the authenticity of you as a couple. The best wedding photography is more than a series of still pictures. It is a kind of physical poetry, portraying the essence of both people and place.  “It’s more than just using a camera.”  We got a lot of great feedback on that post with a follow up question:  “What should I ask when I meet with or interview a wedding photographers?”.  We thought that was a great question and got us to thinking…why not create a series of interview questions you can use to help you hire a wedding photographer!?

With Christmas, New Years Eve and Valentine’s Day being hot holidays for proposals, terms like #gettingmarried #love #futurebride #mbf #weddings #engaged #bride #dress #engagement #bridalcouture #luxuryweddings #ido #weddingideas #brides #nyc #bridal #bridalgown #weddinggown #loveofmylife #weddingphotographer have become hot trending topics on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as we are in the height of engagement season!

You’re engaged.  It’s time to plan!

There are so many things to think about!  Remember the 5 W’s from elementary school?  Well, they apply here.  There Where, When, What, Why and How of wedding planning.  Where will I get married?  When do I want this great celebration to happen?  What do I want the theme of this day to be?  Why are there so many people on this initial invite list?  Ok, perhaps that is not the case – but more often than not there is always a little bit of shell-shock when we first start jotting down all the names of the people near and dear to us that we want to celebrate with.  And last but not least, how do I want to remember this day?

The players of wedding day planning….

You will engage a lot of professionals to help pull off your wedding.  You may work with a wedding planner to help with all of the details or you may take on this planning yourself.  Regardless there are lots of players that are integral to the success of your wedding day.  From the dress and the music to the cake, the florals and decor each decision requires a great amount of attention and detail to create the atmosphere you envision. But in the end, what you will have when the cake is eaten and the shoes are off, are your images.

The majority of the images taken by a great wedding photographer will be moments you didn’t even know happened.  

As you are reciting your vows, listening intently to a speech, dancing on the floor or cutting your cake –  moments are occurring all around you that should be well documented.  These moments –  the intimate, the candid, the real are what round out the story of your day.  A great wedding photographer will have spent thousands of hours documenting over the course of a career and will instinctively know what to do with their camera, from a technical aspect, and on your day will be spending time seeking out those moments.

Intimate wedding photography | Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer

Intimate wedding photography | Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer

Intimate wedding photography | Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer

The photography from your wedding will be one of the lasting artifacts from the day that you and your partner speak vows and commit to a lifetime together.  With the onslaught of smart-phones and tablets, these days photography can be practiced by anyone, but it’s mastered by few.  You may have a friend or family member that is “good”.  They may even offer to document the day for you.  So you need to ask yourselves a very important question, “How important is wedding photography to us?”

For the couples we speak with, wedding photography is very important.  If you are one of those couples, we’ve come up with a few initial questions to help you during the interview process and selection of a wedding photographer.  Today we will tackle the one that we feel is most important to ask.

Question:   Is wedding photography your full time job?

Why it matters:  Great wedding photography requires a tremendous amount of time, resource and dedication.

The best wedding photographers don’t just show up, snap some shots and call it a day.  The best and most experienced wedding photographers will dedicate roughly 70 hours with each and every wedding.  You may think, “How is that possible?  My wedding day is maybe a total of 15 hours!”  At Images by Berit, we generally dedicate 60-80 hours per wedding.  Here is where the time goes.

The breakdown by numbers

Even before the wedding day, I traditionally will devote 10-20 hours to each couple.  We begin by meeting together so I can get to know you as individuals and as a couple while developing an understanding of your wedding photography needs and wants.  The meetings tend to last about 2 hours and we will do this at least twice.  In addition, most of my couples opt to have an engagement or pre-wedding photo session.  These sessions last about 2 hours.  Following these session I will spend at minimum 10-12 hours processing the photography and preparing it for you.  We are up to 16-18 hours and the wedding hasn’t even happened.

engagement session | NJ wedding photographer | Images by Berit

On the day of the wedding, I never limit my time.  Limiting my time limits my creativity and ability to capture every important moment of your day.  Therefore we will likely be with you from the very beginning of the day, documenting you getting ready with close family and friends.  We will continue to document throughout the day and won’t end until the band breaks down at the end of the night.  Our goal on that day is to capture every moment to help you see from beginning to end the story created on that day.  A typical wedding day is 15 hours and we love every minute of it!  Fifteen plus sixteen is thirty-one!  Doing the math?

Wedding Photography by Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer | Fiddler's Elbow | New Years Eve Wedding

Wedding Photography by Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer | Fiddler's Elbow | New Years Eve Wedding

Wedding Photography by Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer | Fiddler's Elbow | New Years Eve Wedding

Wedding Photography by Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer | Fiddler's Elbow | New Years Eve Wedding

Wedding Photography by Images by Berit | NJ Wedding Photographer | Fiddler's Elbow | New Years Eve Wedding

The days and weeks following each wedding is actually where the largest amount of our time and resource is spent.  This post wedding activity receives an additional 40 hours at minimum.  These hours are dedicated to reviewing each and every image taken (typically 2500-3000 images) optimizing each image, processing and preparing them into sustainable photography to be preserved for a lifetime.

Forty plus thirty equals seventy!  Give or take another ten hours depending the couple and event , we easily cover upwards of eighty hours per couple.

No opportunity for do-overs!

For everyday photos, you may be fine with a neighbor, a friend or relative, a general non­-professional photographer. However, when it comes to those “once­ in­ a­ lifetime” moments—when you’ve got one shot at getting it right—you want to make sure the person behind the camera is a proven full-time professional wedding photographer.  There is no opportunity for a  “do-over” on your wedding day.  No room for #photofail.

Remember, when selecting a wedding photographer to ask two questions:

“How important is wedding photography to us?” and then ask the wedding photographer you meet with “Is Wedding Photography your full-time job?”.

I am a certified professional photographer and wedding photography has been my full-time job since 1998.  If you are seeking a wedding photographer, I would love to learn more about your wedding photography vision and see how we can help.  Please contact us – we’d love to hear from you!

How to hire a wedding photographer – part 2!

Check out our next post in the series: “How to hire a wedding photographer!”