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Expert Advice: How to Get The Best Pictures on Your Wedding Day

8 great tips on how to get the best pictures on your wedding day from industry photographic pro, Paul Barnett. We’ve  all heard the harrowing stories, or at least have second hand knowledge, of a less than great wedding photography experience.  The digital photography revolution that a decade ago turned Kodak’s home base of Rochester, New York into a ghost town has spawned multitudes of both fabulous as well as horrific wedding photographers.

In an effort to bring clarity to this quagmire, Paul Barnett asked 35 wedding planners in 6 major markets—San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Dallas & Miami—to list the top wedding photography complaints from both their clients as well as their own professional interactions.

1.  Unprofessionalism

Poor business skills, phone calls or emails not returned. Most commonly, this lack of communication with the client accrued after the deposit was paid.

“She seemed like my best friend during the initial meeting, but after signing the contract, my calls and emails were never returned!”

Use only a well-referred photographer that has your wedding planner’s stamp of approval. Search reviews on Google and look for repeated red flags.

2.  The Inflated Ego

The photographer behaved as if the day was centered around his artistic endeavor.  He did not work as a team player with the wedding planner or other vendors. His vision of the “perfect shot” often did not take into consideration the client’s taste or desire.

Bring this concern up during the interview process. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions, such as, “Describe your perfect shot.”


3.  Bad Timing

The photographer was not able to photograph large families in a timely manner. He ignored the wedding planner’s time line and took too much time photographing the bride & groom, thus delaying the start of the reception.

It’s best to have a final wrap-up meeting with your photographer prior to the wedding day. During that meeting, walk through the timeline, and map out locations and specific time slots for family & group photos. Always be sure to include your wedding planner in any timeline discussion.


4.  Social Grace or Lack Thereof

 This was a big one! Here’s just a small sampling of the feedback:

“ Without his camera, he stood in line to congratulate us after the ceremony!”

Most of these red flags can be avoided by just meeting in person with the photographer. It sounds obvious, but many studios employ a handful of “protégées” and simply say “the photographer” will arrive on the wedding day.  Before blindly hiring your photographer, consider the fact that this person will be with you and your family for several hours on your wedding day!  

5.  Slow Delivery

Simply put: It takes way too long to see the proofs after the wedding

FYI, Speedy delivery time for the digital proofs is under 10 days. Average is 10-20 days, beyond 30 days is ridiculous! Read your contract. If a delivery date is not specified, ask. 

6.  Missing Subjects in the Photographs

There were tons of shots of my really pretty bridesmaid, but there is not one shot of the groom’s parents. Where’s Grandma?!

This can usually be avoided by clearly spelling out ahead of time exactly what your expectations are. Provide a punch list of family members. Be specific! Tell your photographer who is your favorite uncle, your best friend and if needed, the relative to watch out for.   


7.  Too Much Photoshop

The common complaint: Blown out, manipulated color that misses the real version.  Many hours are spent deciding on the perfect shade of periwinkle. Blow out the color, or over-saturate in Photoshop and the mood and flavor that was painstakingly crafted is completely changed.

When looking through the sample photos, ask yourself if these will hold the test of time, or if in 10 years you’re going to look back and say, “wow that’s so 2012!”

8.  Over or Under Editing

Ah yes, post production… The most common complaint was receiving a DVD with too many redundant shots. The edit was superficial at best, and left the bride and groom overwhelmed. The opposite, however, was worse… the over-edit.  The “story of the day” was thin, with many wonderful moments either missed or deleted.

When interviewing a photographer, ask to see not only a complete wedding, but ask to see a complete set of proofs. Ideally, a set of proofs from a wedding similar to yours and shot fairly recently.

We hope you found this advice to be beneficial! Happy Wedding Snapping.


Paul Barnett Photography


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