The art of picking the perfect wedding photographer

One of the most important decisions you’ll make while organising your wedding is selecting the right photographer for the day. After all, these shots and memories will last a lifetime, so it’s essential that you make the best choice for you.

According to experienced Melbourne-based photographer Greg Demaria from Dolce Vita Photography, a photographer’s job is to showcase the beauty and happiness of the day.

“My favourite part is seeing the emotions in the couple and I always look forward to capturing someone’s special day. It’s the most important day of their life and when I give them the end product, I can see how it affects them when they see their photos. That’s the most satisfying thing for me,” he says.

It seems that working in the wedding industry is in Greg’s blood, whose father Joe, has been in the industry for 30 years as an award-winning videographer. In fact, Joe taught Greg the art of working behind the camera when he was 15 years old and Greg would assist him at weddings as a weekend job.

“Working with dad was awesome. I was thrown in the deep end at an early age, but it shaped me into who I am today. I learnt how to deal with people, understand different cultures and I learnt about the the technical side of things like composition,” explains Greg, who then went on to study photography at college and work at several high-profile photo studios.

Now, almost 20 years and 1000 weddings later, Greg is running his own business, Dolce Vita Photography, in Melbourne. Here are his five tips for choosing the right photographer, getting the best value package for you and ensuring that he or she captures the most wonderful parts of the day.

Take the time to study their work

It pays to take the time to research the right photographer for your wedding, says Greg. Make sure you check out the photographer’s portfolio, carefully consider if the style is what you’re after, then suggest meeting him or her.

“If you’re looking for someone to shoot your wedding, narrow it down to your top three or five photographers. Keep your list as short as possible. Choosing 20 to 30 potential wedding photographers will just make things even harder. Choose your top five photographers, then study their work and research them,” he advises.

Be sure to read their Easy Weddings reviews – and, of course, look at their Easy Weddings profiles and portfolios.

Be aware of pricing – and what’s included, as well as what’s not included

There are hundreds of wedding photographers in any city and it can become quite overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start and you don’t know much about pricing, warns Greg, so it’s really important to ask lots of questions and do the research.

For example, if you want a photo album, ask about minimum page requirement, what kind of printing is involved and how much you’ll be charged for it.

Ask if retouching is included and if you’ll receive hi-res files, Greg suggests.

Like Dolce Vita’s offerings, you may find a photographer who will actually offer you the opportunity to get a digital preview of the album so that you can select the images you’d like for your album.

Make sure you get along with the photographer

Of course, it makes sense to choose a photographer who has a fabulous sense of style and can offer you a great package, but if you don’t get along with him or her, it might not be a great experience – and it might show up in the photos, too.

After all, you’ll probably spend much of the day with your photographer, who is quite likely going to start snapping shots of you from the moment you get your hair done to later on in the evening, when you’re tearing it up on the dance floor with your bridal party. So, it’s really important that you have a good rapport with your photographer, who can make you feel comfortable in front of the camera.

“It’s a very personal thing and most photographers will be able to tell stories about brides who have gone to other studios whose work is great but they’ve done a switch mid-way purely because they couldn’t get along with the person who was supposed to shoot their wedding originally,” says Greg.

“So it’s important to meet with the actual person shooting your wedding before the day, because you spend the whole day with them and you’re working around them all day.”  

Have a pre-wedding meeting

It’s important that you catch up with your photographer before the wedding to discuss the schedule and timeline of the day, says Greg. Tell your photographer what you’ve got organised so he or she can work out how to fit around your plans.

For example, if you’ve got your sleek limo booked for a certain period of time, your photographer will probably want to ensure that you all have enough time to get some great shots with your vehicle, says Greg.

“This is when we finalise all the details of the wedding date to ensure the day goes smoothly as possible. Timing is one of the most important factors of a wedding. If things run late, then it’s like a domino effect, you’ll feel pressured and you won’t get to enjoy everything,” he says.

When Greg discusses these details with the bride and groom, he’ll suggest a time that he shows up to the bride’s home in the morning, then give her a list of the things that she should have ready when he arrives. For example, Greg will probably shoot the finer details of the event in the morning, so the bride should have her flowers, jewellery and shoes ready when he arrives.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

You may have organised your wedding down to the very last detail, but unfortunately, there are things that you just can’t control, like the weather and the traffic on the day.

“Many brides want a fairytale wedding and from the day that they set the date, they’re all about creating that fairytale and wanting it to run perfectly, but it’s important not to lose the essence of the day,” explains Greg.

“If something goes wrong, they can become really unsettled and not realise that this day isn’t all about the photography. Yes, it’s important to go on location and get the shots, but the whole essence of the day is that you’re marrying the person you love. So enjoy it. And that way, when we do the photography, we can capture that feeling, not the stress.”

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