A MOMENT WITH HAUTE WEDDINGS – A professional’s guide to choosing the perfect photographer for your wedding day and how to decide on the best package, setting and timeline for photos you will love and cherish forever.
When it comes to your wedding day, investing in a photographer to capture your most significant moments is essential. While different styles and budgets can dictate your preferences, there’s so much more to consider than just an Instagram feed. We spoke to talented duo Julia and Cameron from Haute Weddings, who shared their advice on finding the right photographer for you and what to consider before and on your wedding day.
How far in advance should we look at booking a photographer?
While we are not here to try and create any FOMO, after you have your date and venue secured, your photographer should be one of the first things you book. Many other photographers, like us, will have bookings for lots of dates up to 18 months in advance. So, to make sure your pick of a photographer is free on your date, get in touch early — especially if you are after a popular weekend date in the summer. That said, don’t let that rush you into any old choice. Make sure you are in love with your photographers work first! If you are planning with a tighter time frame, don’t let that hold you back from enquiring, many photographers will have dates free.
At HAUTE, we take bookings up to 18 months in advance and often find ourselves taking last-minute bookings, sometimes only two months before the date.
When do we start our photography package, and what time should we ask the photographer to arrive?
Ah, the nerves around the getting ready shots, we love it! We generally say we need around 3 to 4 hours to capture the getting ready stages of a wedding. Work backwards from your ceremony time or first look time, which gives ample time to capture both the girls and the guys getting ready, including your details, accessories, stationery, the getting ready stages and some solo portraits before the ceremony. Sometimes travelling between the girls and guys while they get ready can be a factor, so choosing locations close to each other is always great.
Lastly, you may not know your timeline or location for your wedding day when you book your photographer, so make sure your photographer is flexible to upgrade or downgrade your package later when you have your timeline ready.
How do we know what to include within our photography package?
It may seem a little counterintuitive, but don’t choose your photographer solely based on what they include in their package; by that, we mean, don’t choose a photographer who includes 600 photos over the one which includes 500 just for that reason. Quality of art will beat quantity every time. After that, it all comes down to what you value in your photos, how you dream and imagine them. Would you love to capture all the little details you’ve planned? Make sure your photographer has enough time to capture them in the morning and before the reception. Would you love to capture your friends and family enjoying the party?
Make sure your package includes enough time for your photographer to stick around at the party for a while! At HAUTE, we also have many options for albums and prints that you can include in your package. All our packages come with a beautiful little box with a selection of prints for you to keep; however, there is always something special about seeing a large fine art print on your wall or turning the pages of a beautifully designed album. We highly recommend adding some physical products to your photography package. Don’t let your wedding photos just sit around on a hard drive!
Should we get a second shooter, and what are the benefits of having a second shooter within my package?
Each photographer will have a different thought on this. Some photographers like to work solo as they feel a second person gets in the way. Others rely on having a second person for certain moments. We love having two of us there on the day and feel that it provides a lot of value for our couples. We can sometimes be in two places at once, we can assist each other when we need it, and we have two angles to choose from in some important moments. We are also total romantics and love to connect with our couples over their love stories. We feel it’s such an advantage being a couple ourselves, and the dynamic between us and our couples is really helpful when it comes to the photos on the day.
I feel very uncomfortable in front of the camera; how do I make sure our photos are candid and not posey?
Firstly, you are so not alone in feeling this way. We hear this from so many of our couples all the time. Connecting with your photographer will play a big role in how you feel on the day. If you like them and they like you, you’ll naturally relax on the day, and you can just be yourself when you are out taking photos. Our goal is always to spend a little time before the day chatting with our couples so that on the day the ice is broken, we can laugh and have fun, and we can capture who you truly and naturally are.
We, of course, give direction and get you to stand or look in specific ways, but we don’t overdo the posing. We keep you moving, having fun, and enjoying each other’s company. Previously, many couples expressed their nervousness before the day, and then after our shoot times, they all mentioned how it was so much easier and more fun than they thought.
With so many options for photography, who do we pick, and how do we choose?
It’s overwhelming how many styles, levels of experiences, and price ranges there are in the wedding photography world. Also, Instagram really messes us up, making it so hard to judge a photographer’s true quality; dive deeper than just their 30 curated photos. Our advice would be to first look around the internet before reaching out and deciding on anything. Don’t just book the photographer who shot your friends’ wedding; look around and see what is out there, see what resonates with you. Choose something timeless. There are always trends in weddings and wedding photography. While something stylized may look cool to you now, will your future-self, love it too? Deep dive into your photographers’ portfolios.
Don’t just take a photographer’s Instagram at face value; follow through to their website, look at some full weddings they have shot, and ensure they shoot the whole day well. One of the things we pride ourselves on at HAUTE is shooting the entire day consistently, seeking out good light so that your wedding photos tell a consistent story and are not just a bunch of one-off shots.
What are three things that are often overlooked that result in poor quality photos?
Locations - many couples don’t consider how their getting ready location will affect their photos. Dark, small, and cluttered rooms are going to look exactly like that. Ensure you choose locations that have lots of natural light and lots of space.
Time of day - it’s common to plan the biggest photoshoot in the middle of the day after the ceremony, which is often one of the worst times of the day to shoot during the summer season due to the light. We always recommend planning as much time to shoot at sunset as possible, which will result in the best light and the best photos.
Reception seating - often, couples don’t consider where they sit during the reception. Ensure your photographer will have a good chance to capture amazing photos of you enjoying your reception and speeches by making sure there is room in front of you and that your table decor does not completely block your faces. Also, consider what will be behind you; a radiator or fire extinguisher on the wall will not be the best look.
Does lighting affect my photos? What are ways to enhance the quality of the photos, and what should couples consider early in the planning stages, such as different reception lighting?
Lighting is the number one thing that determines the quality of your photos, but we don’t expect you to be light experts: that’s our job, so chat to us about it all. We love when couples ask where they should do their champagne tower, where they should get ready, or when the best time to shoot is.
Here are some quick tips:
- Choose a getting-ready spot with a lot of natural light.
- Spend as much time shooting at sunset as you can.
- Choose a reception venue with a white or light ceiling, as this allows for amazing flash photos once it gets dark.
With all of this said, one of the most enjoyable challenges of photographing wedding days is working with the light that is available to you on the day. We adapt; we find creative and beautiful ways to use the light wherever we are.
How to avoid those squinty-eyed ceremony photos?
Our best advice would be to hold your ceremony in a lovely, shaded area, not a half-shaded area, a completely shaded area. This will make everything so much more comfortable for you and your guests and make your photos a whole lot better. If you’re holding your ceremony in the sun, consider having the sun angle in from behind you so that you are backlit.
Your best piece of advice for couples when it comes to wedding photography?
Sit down and think about what you value when it comes to your wedding photos and what you will do with your photos after the wedding day, and make your choice of photographer, locations and timeline based on those hopes and dreams.
Julia and Cameron are the creatives behind HAUTE Weddings. Together, they live between New Zealand and Europe, photographing weddings with a timeless and elegant nuance. Describing themselves as true romantics, Julia and Cameron work seamlessly together as a team to bring a couple’s love story to life by capturing every wedding day moment from beginning to end. What’s more, HAUTE Weddings goes beyond the brief to understand and get to know a couple before their big day to ensure a comfortable, enjoyable and memorable experience in front of the camera.
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