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DEVELAN, CA Wedding Photography, Wedding Portraits, Choosing a Wedding Photographer, Wedding Videography

DEVELAN, CA Wedding Guide


Photography / Videography
Portrait Photographers; Wedding Photography & Videography; Commercial Photography; Video Production Services

Choosing who will capture the best day of your life and how they will do it is an important decision.  After all, this is the element that will last longer than anything else from the wedding day.  You will look at pictures and video from your wedding for many years to come.  Make sure you like them, and they are something you want to share with family and friends.

Finding the right professional to capture your wedding and preserve it for a lifetime is one of the more expensive elements in the budget.  Resist the temptation to reduce the expenditure by asking a friend or family member to handle the job.  While they may be good a photographer, they won’t be able to dedicate the time or effort required to properly capture a wedding.  The equipment they use may be limited and you will miss out on a lot of great opportunities.  Looking back after taking this route, many couples wished they had given this responsibility to a professional



Choosing a Photographer
Portrait Photographers; Wedding Photography & Videography; Commercial Photography

Consider the following when choosing a photographer.  Ask questions to eliminate surprises and find a photographer who will give you what you want.  This is your day and it should be captured how you want to remember it.

Where to Find One
:  There are a number of photographers so you want to be choosy.  Start by searching MyYP.com, the Valley Yellow Pages local online directory, to find photographers in your local area.  It contains a variety ready to capture your special day and ensure you have memories to admire for years to come.

Book Them Early:  Quality photographers have a limited schedule, so book early to ensure you get the one you want.  Start this process shortly after selecting a date and securing a venue.

Start Your Investigation:  Before scheduling interviews with photographers, get a sense of their style.  Many photographers have online sites to review and determine their sense of style.  Narrow the selection of photographers to three or four and schedule an interview.  Ask family, friends and co-workers if they are familiar with any photographers and who they recommend.  Once the list is determined, make an appointment to meet and review their work.

What to Ask Them:  Develop a list of questions to review with them during the interview.  This will provide a good indication of their personality and what it will be like to work with them.  If they are impatient or uncooperative, don’t waste your time.  They should be willing to provide the time to ensure you are happy and feel comfortable.  Here is a list of questions to consider.

  • Do they currently have anything scheduled on the wedding date?
  • How many weddings do they shoot on the same day?
  • Weddings require a time commitment and scheduling too many weddings in one day can rush the experience.  Make sure you are comfortable if the photographer has more than one wedding, or look for someone else who will dedicate the day exclusively to you.
  • Do they require a deposit to secure the wedding day?
  • How many weddings have they shot in the last year?
  • Do they photograph weddings exclusively?
  • Are they familiar with the venue chosen?
  • If not, will they visit the venue prior to the shoot and if so, will there be an additional charge?
  • Do they charge a fee to travel to different locations?
  • Are they the only photographer for the company?
  • Will they be the one that is shooting the wedding?
  • If they say no, find out who will and continue to work only with them.  Many studios have a large staff or hire freelancers to shoot the wedding.  Ask to see their work exclusively to not be fooled or end up with someone you are not comfortable with.
  • What photographic style do they prefer?
  • Do they prefer to shoot in color, black and white or both?  Is there an additional charge for black and white?
  • Will they be using an assistant?
  • How will they be dressed on the actual wedding day?
  • Will they work with a videographer?
  • Do they use digital, film or both when they shoot?
  • What type of cameras and lenses do they use?
  • Is photo correction or retouching included in the price?
  • Where will they develop the pictures?
  • Insist they use a professional lab.  Many photographers keep costs down by sending the pictures out to another facility.  Ensure the wedding pictures are of the highest quality and only a profession lab is utilized.
  • Will they provide the negatives after the wedding or do they offer a digital high resolution CD of the pictures?
  • Will the pictures be available on a website?  Can guests order pictures from this site?
  • Can a set list of shots be provided?
  • When will the proofs be available to review?
  • What is the pricing for additional copies?
  • What is included with their wedding packages?
  • Will they bring back up equipment?
  • What happens if they are sick on the day of the wedding or cannot make it?
  • How much time will they need to shoot the wedding?  How much of their time is included in the fee?
  • At what point do they start charging overtime?
  • What is their cancellation policy?
  • Do they mind if guests also take pictures?

Review Their Portfolio

When you meet photographers, ask to see their portfolio.  Ask specifically to see the albums of three weddings they have recently worked.  This provides a strong idea as to their style and method of capturing a wedding.  Make sure you like the look. These are images you will look at year after year, are their images ones you would hang on the walls?  A photographer’s style is unique and something you individually admire.  If they are unwilling to show their work, move on, don’t waste the time.  A photographer should be proud to showcase their work.

Traditional or Journalistic Style:  Most likely, you already have a preferred photographic style.  Some photographers shoot in a traditional, posed style or a more photojournalistic style, which captures a candid, what is happening in the moment type of style.  Perhaps you prefer a mixture of both styles.  Whatever style you choose, choose a photographer that delivers that style.  Their work will demonstrate their style. are by reviewing their work.  Discuss expectations up front, prior to signing a contract.

Find the Right Personality: It is important to like the photographer and not mind spending time with them. They are the one vendor you will spend the most time with the day of the wedding. Make sure you respect them and enjoy their company. They should have an outgoing and upbeat personality that friends and family follow when asked to gather for pictures. Look for someone who is patient, can roll with the punches and is willing to listen to you. This is your special day and they should be accommodating. They should be reliable and not add stress to the day. If, during the interview, you don't mesh or they bug you, continue looking. Choosing the right personality will ensure you are happy with the result.

Black and White vs. Color: Traditionally, intimate and emotional moments of a wedding were captured in black and white. Black and white images provide a clean look and elegance that directs the eye to focus on the subject. Color images are best for capturing the reception, flowers, food, etc., where color is the primary feature. After spending time selecting the color palette for apparel, flowers, cake, etc., make sure the pictures capture the final look and beauty. A combination of both black and white and color shots is ideal for capturing the essence of the wedding. If shooting with film, two separate cameras are be needed, which could increase the costs. A change from black and white to color on a digital camera is as easy as flipping a switch. Work with the photographer to discuss the shots you want in black and white and the ones in color. Discuss any additional charges and make sure they are covered in the contract to eliminate hidden charges.

Allow for Time: To fully capture the beauty and elegance of the day requires a significant time commitment. Don't short change yourself or the photographer by allowing only a half-hour or an hour between the ceremony and reception for picture taking. Additional time may be required if you travel between the ceremony and reception. Allocate a good two hours to capture the bride and groom photos, along with those of the wedding party. Account for this time by leaving a two hour space between the ceremony and reception, or schedule picture taking two and a half hours before the ceremony. If opting for the latter, allow a half hour to refresh before the ceremony and avoid being seen by guests.



Must Have List

Before taking pictures, sit down with the photographer and determine the must-have shot list.  If the photographer has extensive experience with weddings, they can provide a list of the traditional shots.  Review the list to ensure you make the best use of photographing time.

Save additional time by preparing your own list using a traditional shot list. Highlight the most important shots and compare lists. Use this list to review prior to meeting with the photographer to ensure you are comfortable with the final shot list and save time.

An additional list can be provided to the photographer to capture exclusive and custom shots.  Keep the list short and include no more than 10 custom shots.  This could include a special picture with a favorite aunt or cousin, fraternity brothers, or a childhood friend.  Any pictures you definitely want captured should be planned for in advance so they are not missed or forgotten on the day of the wedding.

Choosing a Wedding Album

Included in many photography packages is a traditional wedding album.  In some cases, this is an a la carte item you will need to pay for separately.  Determine the cost in advance and select the wedding album, prior to finalizing the contract.  There are many albums to choose from and depending on its importance, it could determine which photographer you choose. Include this item on your list to discuss with the photographer to avoid being surprised by this extra cost or not receiving one after the wedding.

A new trend in wedding albums is to use your digital photos to create a custom book or magazine.  A number of companies allow you to upload your images and use their software to create a custom wedding album.

Choose from a variety of looks and album covers to create the style you want.  The companies then print and bind the books, based on the quantity you select.  This provides a great alternative to the traditional album, keeping costs more in line and allowing for copies to be given to close family and friends.



Get It in Writing

For every vendor you secure, develop a detailed contract to protect you from hidden costs and ensure you are getting what you pay for.

The photography contract should include names, dates, times, exact number of hours required, locations for shooting, name of the photographer, number of assistants, types of cameras used, types of shots (black and white, color, or both), back up camera equipment, number of photos taken, purchased and when they will be ready in proofs, date you will receive final album, fees for going over time, reordering prices, deposit requirements, cancellation policy, etc.

View vendor contracts as a protection document to ensure you receive the desired services for the payment you provide. Don't be afraid to ask them to include certain protections or negotiate with them to remove language or items you don't agree with.



Choosing a Videographer
Wedding Photography & Videography; Video Production Services

Along with the timeless still pictures of the wedding, consider adding sight, sound and motion to the lasting memory of your day.  Video has come a long way over the years. Adding a videographer to the wedding ensures you relive your moments, hear the spoken words, and watch the faces of loved ones as you became one with your groom.

Where to Find One:  Begin your search by looking in MyYP.com, the Valley Yellow Pages online local directory.  It contains a wide variety of videographers ready to help plan your special day, ensuring the sights and sounds are captured for many years to come.

Book Them Early:  As with most vendors, availability for quality vendors may be limited.  The earlier you book, the better.  This is specifically true for a videographer, as pricing for the market is not solidified.  As technology and techniques advance, the prices can fluctuate the longer you wait.  Booking early ensures you lock into pricing at the time you booked.  Someone who books the same package six months after you could pay more for their package.

Review a lot of Sites:   When searching for the right videographer, review their websites to preview sample reels and get a feel for their style.  Determine whose style reflects the look you are hoping for and narrow down the list to the top three or four.  Review several reels, as this is a new category and you will learn who has a stronger film-like quality and is more capable in their editing skills.  Become familiar with different styles and techniques and learn what you want incorporated into the final video.  Ask for references from your family and friends to help narrow the search.  Check for a recommendation from the photographer. They may have someone they like professionally and works well with them.

What to Ask Them:  During the interview, ask them a series of questions to help get a feel for their personality and professionalism.  Take good notes and review each answer to find the one that is right for you.

  • How long have they been filming wedding videos?
  • Are they available on the day of the wedding?
  • How many weddings have they done in the last year?
  • Have they ever shot a video at the venue?
  • What is their traditional style for shooting a wedding video?
  • Will they coordinate with the wedding photographer?
  • Will they review the venue prior to the actual wedding day?  Is there an additional charge?
  • Will they be the videographer who will handle the wedding?
  • If not, ask to work directly with the one who will be shooting the video exclusively.
  • Can they provide references from weddings they have shot?
  • Any videographer should be happy to provide references.  If they are unwilling, don’t hire them.
  • What do they offer in terms of packages?
  • What are the prices for the packages?
  • What a la carte services do they offer?
  • How much shooting time is included in the package?
  • What will be the length of the final video?
  • What type of video equipment will they be using?  How new is it?
  • How many cameras will they use to shoot?
  • How many assistants will they use?
  • Who will be doing the final editing of the video?  What is the typical editing process like?
  • What special effect techniques do they typically use?
  • How do they plan to handle sound for the video?  What types of equipment do they plan to use?
  • What will they do to ensure the vows and the ceremony are captured cleanly?
  • How do they plan to handle the lighting for the video?  What types of equipment do they plan to use?
  • How many copies will be provided?  Can additional copies by ordered?  If so, how much will they cost?
  • Can the original copy be purchased?
  • What type of deposit do they require?  When are the other payments due?
  • What is their cancellation policy?

Finding the Right Personality:  Just like the photographer, make sure you gel with the videographer on a personal level.  They, too, will be with you the entire day.  It is their job to stay out of sight when needed, as well as be front and center to capture some key moments throughout the wedding.  You need to feel comfortable and enjoy their presence.  If during the interview process they rub you wrong, move on.  Choose the one that will help make the day more enjoyable, not increase the tension.

Review the Portfolio:  Ask to see DVDs of three or four weddings the videographer has recently handled.  Look at the footage and imagine if this is how you would like your wedding captured and reviewed for years to come.  While watching the video, pay particular attention to techniques unique to each videographer.  Ask yourself these questions as you watch:

  • Are the images clean and clear?
  • Is the lighting right or are some images too dark?
  • Can you hear everything that is being said?  Do you like the sound quality?
  • Did they capture the key moments?
  • How was music used and did it add to the overall affect or overpower it?
  • Were the transitions smooth?  Did you like the special effects?

Video quality has advanced over the years and the final product should look like a film not a camcorder home movie.  Make sure the videographer encompasses the latest technologies and is an expert in what they do.

Pricing: Due to the variety of options and skill set difference of each videography company, there is no standard pricing for this marketplace. Prices vary depending on the level of package provided, the number of editing hours, music incorporated and special effect techniques used. Base your decision on a combination of quality and price. As video is an art form, you may be happier if you skew toward quality rather than price. The flowers wilt, the cake eaten, the reception taken down, but the video will be around forever. Choose something you want to see more than once and watch with your children and grandchildren.

Technology continues to improve and while it is available now, it will cost you. High-definition filming is available and can make the video look life-like, but expect to pay for it. HD requires special cameras and filming equipment, as well as special editing equipment. Videographers will incorporate this into the final price. If a quality video is high on the list of must haves, look into having it filmed in HD.

Special Packaging: Along with a standard package for the ceremony and reception, consider some special elements a videographer can add to the wedding.

Photo Montage: Provide the videographer with photos of you and your groom from birth, childhood, teenage years, dating and engagement shots to create a photo montage set to music. This provides a unique and romantic element that can be shown at the reception or played on a loop at the guest book table for guests to watch.
Love Story: A story of your romance and engagement is recreated in a video format. The videographer sets up a separate shoot; prior to the wedding to film the couple individually and together to talk about how you met and special moments you’ve shared. This provides an extraordinary canvas to tell your own love story, to be shared with guests at the wedding reception. Once it is finalized, it can be incorporated into the final wedding video, as well.
Heirloom Video: Perhaps you have video from your parents’ wedding or the groom’s parents’ wedding that can be incorporated into yours. If you have old home movies of when you were kids, look into having it added into special videos to view throughout the reception.



Get It in Writing

Be sure to review the videography contract thoroughly to ensure everything you expect and anticipate is covered.

Look to ensure the contract specifically details:

  • Names, dates, times, locations and contact information
  • Detailed explanation of videography package purchased.
  • Total number of cameras and equipment being used.
  • Times of filming and elements that will be included.
  • Final length of the video, type of sound and lighting used, hours of editing and specifics about the process, and type of special effects used.
  • Detail the final costs, payment schedule and overtime charges.
  • Identify the cancellation policy and what refund would be available.
Covering your bases eliminates unexpected expenses and ensures you receive what you are expecting in the end.




Protecting Your Pictures and Videos
Portrait Photographers; Wedding Photography & Videography; Commercial Photography; Video Production Services

If properly taken care of, pictures and videos will remain around for hundreds of years.  Take the time and care needed to protect your investment and guarantee one of the greatest days in your life is captured for a lifetime.

Most pictures deteriorate due to storing in the wrong environment.  Pictures exposed to direct sunlight, damp environments, extreme heat or cold will fade and crack over time.  When storing your pictures, place them in photo boxes, photo albums, sleeves and picture frames to keep them safe from the elements.  It will require time upfront, but as you look back at your cherished memories they will be preserved in their original quality.

If all or some of the pictures were captured on film, properly storing the negatives will ensure they will be around for years to come. Photographers generally provide the negatives in a protective plastic or other protective to covering to eliminate the chance of fingerprints or dust reaching the negatives. Try not to touch negatives directly as fingerprints leave oils that can create a smudge mark or spot when reprinted. Dust and other particles can permanently scratch the negative that will appear in the reprint. When they are stored, place them in a cool, dark and dry environment.

Modern technology has provided additional methods of protecting digital and video images.  Keeping digital photos and video images stored on CDs, DVDs, computer hard drives and memory cards ensures your electronic images are secured and protected.  Make multiple copies or use several of the devices above to provide a back up copy in case one gets lost or damaged over time.  Store them in a safe and protected space so you can go back and create additional copies, or look back and remember your dream day.

 
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