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12 Things Photographers Want to Tell You But Can't

12 things wedding photographers want to tell you, but can't

All photos & video by Allebach Photography

Most wedding magazines will give you a list of questions to ask your 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.

1. Should I get an engagement session?

Yes, an engagement session is a great way to meet your photographer and get comfortable. Many people have never had professional photos taken by a photographer.

For the more adventurous couples we recommend a Couples Boudoir experience. It's like a sexy engagement session but lots more fun. We are the #1 couples boudoir photography location in the United States. Book your Couples boudoir experience here.

2. 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 LGBTQ friendly and accustomed to photographing offbeat weddings.

Take a look at their Instagram. Here is my Couples Boudoir and here is my Wedding Instagram

Tattooed Bride Photographer in New JerseyWe are the Tattoo Wedding Photographers!
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.
Philadelphia Engagement in a Cave by Allebach PhotographyDon't you want wall art after seeing this?

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 (what we do at Allebach Photography)
  • 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!
Elmwood Park Zoo Wedding Norristown, Pa

5. 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.

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6. Why is wedding photography so freakin' expensive?

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.

Asbury Park, New Jersey Wedding Sunset7. How can I make sure I look good in my photos?

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.

Cigar Smoking Groom and Groomsmen8. 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 DVD or USB 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.

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.

Couples Boudoir, Boudoir & Wedding Photographers9. Should we do a "first look"? And, um, what the hell is a "first look"?

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.

Winterthur Delaware Wedding Photos10. 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.

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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 and a lighter schedule.

Boardwalk Trash the Dress New Jersey11. 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.

Lansdale Boudoir PhotographerShould 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.

See if we are available for your wedding date here! Contact us today and we'll check your wedding date.

Tattooed Bride Photographer Guy - Mike AllebachPost written by Mike Allebach of Allebach Photography.

Mike Allebach (aka The Tattooed Bride Photographer) is a wedding photographer who photographs colorful wedding in the Poconos, Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem, Easton, Philadelphia and has an unhealthy addiction to Taco Tuesday. Book your wedding, engagement or boudoir session here. Sign up for more wedding tips in the box below.

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