12 things wedding photographers want to tell you, but can't #Advice#industry insiders#photography#wedding industry July 22 2013 | Guest post by Mike Allebach Photos by: Mike Allebach Welcome to Offbeat Bride! If is this is your first time here, you'll definitely want to click here to get a sense of what we're all about. All photos and tips that'll make you jump for joy are from Mike Allebach. Most wedding magazines will give you a list of questions to ask a wedding photographer. Stuff like: "Can you describe your style? What equipment do you shoot with?" Let's be real: Those questions are boring. And you probably don't actually care about the answers anyway. So I surveyed some brides and photography-friends, and put together a list of all those questions you really want to ask, and all those things we really want you to know. 12 questions to ask a photographer 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? Related Post 5 ways to get the best out of your vendors Weddings are typically organized by people who are not show business types and who've never been in the thick of planning or running an event... Read more 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? Related Post Don't want to hate your wedding photos? Here are the 11 things you need to do NOW The truth is, sometimes people wind up hating their wedding photos. While there's nothing you can do about it after the job is done, there... Read more 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 drink lots of water the night before. Take it easy at the rehearsal dinner. Wedding-day hangovers are not fun. 7. I keep hearing about "shoot and burn" photography. Sounds painful. What is it? Actually, yeah, it can be kind of painful. "Shoot and burn" is slang for photographing a wedding and burning it straight to CD without post-processing. It's usually super cheap — for a reason. Bad lighting isn't corrected, distracting elements aren't removed (hello, Speedo-clad photobomber!), and zits remain proudly on display. Digital files may be important to you, but find a full-service photographer who will edit the images and print reference proofs before handing over the digis. Related Post What do you do with your wedding photos after the wedding? What did you do with your photos after the wedding? Do you have them up in your house? Do you have an album? If you... Read more And please, don't let the digitals rot on your hard drive. As a photographer, I want you to proudly display your wedding photos. It makes me sad when I think of all the photos that never get printed. Don't hide your wedding photos! I tell my clients to hang up a large print or two — when you're having a crappy day, it's great to look up in your living room and see a photo of an awesome day. 8. Should we do a "first look"? And, um, what the hell is a "first look"? Related Post 13 first looks that will melt your heart (and your panties) If you're not already a sucker for a sappy, tearful, heart-smooshing first looks, we're gearing up to make you one. Grins, fist pumps, and of... Read more The first look is a chance for wedding couples to see each other privately before the ceremony. Two-thirds of my clients currently opt to do a first look. It's a great chance to get the wedding jitters out and spend a few minutes alone together. I find that first look photos tend to be some of my favorites. It's a real moment with real emotions. Honestly, it's also a great way to avoid stress on your wedding day. (Some of my couples even choose to get ready together!) And many of my couples get to enjoy their whole cocktail hour because they got all of the photos out of the way before the wedding. 9. Do I really need a second photographer? No one needs a second photographer, but they can provide you with more images and a different perspective. Many of the top photographers only work with assistants who carry gear and help with professional lighting. The best thing is to ask your wedding photographer to see how they prefer to work. You can get good results either way. 10. How far in advance should I book a wedding photographer? Many in-demand wedding photographers book weddings at over a year out. As it gets closer to your wedding date, it will be harder to book your first-choice photographer. If your favorite photographer is unavailable on your date, don't panic. Ask them for recommendations — they may know someone with a similar style and a lighter schedule. 11. You can Photoshop that, right? It depends. As a photographer, I want to get everything as perfect as possible in camera. Posing, location scouting, and camera settings can "fix" most things before I even click the shutter. If your uncle photobombs you, I'm going to retake the photo — it's much easier to get the photo right than to fix it with Photoshop. Many photographers charge for extensive editing in Photoshop, because it can be very time-consuming. 12. Should I tip my photographer? I get asked this a lot. There was a great article about tipping on Offbeat Bride. For photographers, "Tips are never expected but are always appreciated." Hopefully this clears up some burning questions about wedding photography — and makes it a little bit easier to find the perfect photographer for your wedding day. Hey photographers, what did we forget to include? Now's the time to divulge all! This post features Offbeat Vendors! Check out their vendor listing to see how they cater to Offbeat Brides: Allebach Photography Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Guest post written by Mike Allebach Mike Allebach (aka The Tattooed Bride Photographer) is a wedding photographer who also writes tips for tattooed brides, and has an unhealthy addiction to Taco Tuesday. http://allebachphotography.com PREVIOUS The adorable summer camp wedding that'll make you say "awww" at least once! NEXT Erin & Ryan's Northern Ireland roadtrip and homespun Appalachian handfasting Show/Hide comments [ 165 ] I recently got married and just got my wedding photos. Unfortunately, I have a double chin in most of our portraits :(! My advice to everyone seeking a wedding photographer is to pick one who is TALLER than you. That may sound silly but we had two photographers and 1 of the 2 was taller and photos that person took looked better than the ones the shorter photographer took. It's all about the angle, truly. Reply Great job getting a layer deeper! Time to share more of what actually happens! Reply Great article! Very good point on #7, definitely print!! Number 9 especially is brilliant! Less about the buzz word and pre conceived notions, and more focus on the photographer's storytelling ability makes a good match. Reply Thx for this great article. As wedding photographers in South Africa I can agree that woking well with your couple on the day not only creates a great vibe but is a definite creative boost while working on their weddings. Reply great article! all brides to be should read it! Reply What a great and informative article. It perfectly reflects photographers' point of view and I think it is very helpful and educational. Reply Thanks for nice effort. I am selling photography in different stock. I just earn extra and happy with that. Reply Awesome post wonderfully written and very helpful.Great work Thank you so much for sharing. Reply Fab post/article. I really enjoyed this post. I agree about 50 photographs for every hours coverage by the photographer. Reply I saw the perfect examples of the shallow depth of field, displayed at http://www.robertlondon.com, an NYC wedding Photographer. He took some great Riviera Maya wedding photographs for my friends! Reply We were looking for a wedding photographer in June in Boston. We visited wedgo.net site and leave a request. A day later we received a response from the 3 photographers! We looked at the portfolio and choose one photographer! Everything was very cool! Good equipment, accessories. We are happy that we have the best pictures from our wedding! It was not very expensive but professionally! Reply Great article. Definitely experienced much of what you speak of…. Reply I agree with you in the fact that most people underestimate how long it really takes to take and edit wedding photos. I recently took a photography class at my university and sometimes it would take around an hour to edit a photo to get the results I was looking for. It not as easy as taking out an iPhone and adding a filter, and I wish more people knew that. Reply John David Weddings is an award-winning Austin Wedding Photographer for wedding couples seeking romantic and modern wedding photography, bridal photography and engagement photos. If you are looking for the best Austin wedding photographer, look no further! Available for destination wedding photography worldwide. Reply I agree that it's a good idea to ask your wedding photographer how many photos you should expect to get. I also appreciate you mentioning that some photographers work over 60 hours a week and have thousands of dollars worth of equipment, therefore making each photo shoot somewhat pricey. I also think that once you think you've decided on a photographer for your wedding, set up a time to meet them to make sure that you like them! Reply It makes no difference how many, it's how well the story is captured. It's better to have 400-500 really great photos than 2000 haphazardly snapped and redundant photos. Reply I do not provide 50-100 images for hour and I am a professional photographer! This is unfair to suggest clients that if a wedding photographer does not provide 50 images is not a pro. Please consider to eliminate such unfair number. Reply Nice Article about wedding photogrphy. Wedding is a special occasion and this can be memorable only by the photography. Reply Such an inspiring post! Thank you for sharing this beautiful pictures with us! Reply Clients thinking that to wedding photographer is easy job. Post process is most hardest pard of work. And if clients are thinking that takes only couple hours. Reply The photos is beautifull Reply I’m getting married by the end of the year, and right now my fiancée and I are looking for wedding photographers. We’re planning to hire one of the London based wedding photographers that my sister recommended, though we’re not that sure if this is the right choice for us. But because of this well-written post, we now have a better idea of how wedding photographers work and how to pick the best one out there. Thanks a lot! Reply Being a professional wedding photographer myself, I'd just like to add to point number 5. Yes, you're not just paying for the photographer attending on the wedding day itself, but choosing and then editing the photos that best represent your day takes time. However, what you're really paying for is the photographer's eye – understanding of composition, light, getting great photos in difficult lighting conditions (whether through the use of natural light or flash), and most of all the ability to be friendly and to get on with everyone at the wedding. This is a people industry, and it's a real honour to be asked to photograph your wedding and mingle with all your family and friends (as well as working hard, of course!) I'd also like to add that most couples don't give a flying monkeys how much my gear costs, or whether I photograph their wedding with a top of the range DSLR, point and shoot or smartphone. I don't say to couples, "I'm expensive because I use a Hasselblad. Have you any idea how expensive they are?!" My prices aren't dictated by how much my gear costs (that's my problem, not my clients), but what they're paying for is the quality of my work and my dazzling wit and personality (ahem!) 😀 Reply Read more comments ‹ 1 2 3 Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy. Biz owners & wedding bloggers Please just use your real name in your comment, not your business name or blog title. Our comments are not the place to pimp your website. If you want to promote your stuff on Offbeat Bride, join us as an advertiser instead.