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By: Kristen Castillo

You’ve been dreaming of your wedding day all your life. Now the big day is approaching and you want to capture every special moment with top notch photography. Photography technology is getting better and better all the time which means you and your groom will benefit big time with amazing images and an album that showcases your wedding in style.
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Digital Days
Just five years ago, photographers were divided about digital. Some relied strictly on film; some shot exclusively in the digital format; others shot a little bit of both formats. Nowadays, digital dominates the field of photography, especially when it comes to covering weddings. “Digital is far superior in workability,” says Paul Douda of AP Studios. “You’re able to take thousands of pictures.” With digital, photographers can shoot lots of images quickly and they’ll get results on the spot. Digital allows a photographer to shoot as many images as he wants and to see the results right away, which is a great way to make sure he gets the shot he needs. Shooting on film isn’t so easy or so rewarding in the moment. After all, film is expensive, must be kept in a controlled climate and needs to be developed after the wedding. Film is more time consuming and not as user-friendly as digital. “Digital has given us a lot better quality and flexibility with what you can do with the end product,” says Betsy McCue of La Vida Creations Photography. Digital technology means photographers can review photos during the event and change direction if needed. More light? Less light? Different composition? With digital, photographers can download images to their computer and start tweaking images, such as cropping and color correcting, right away. With film, images need to be developed and then scanned for editing.
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Photo Style
“When it comes to shooting, it’s become a mixture of photojournalism with fashion,” says Lynnette Coalson of Abiding Image: Photography by Lynnette Coalson. “You see a lot of brides and grooms turning into models the day of their wedding for their portrait sessions.”

Modern photography styles are more varied than ever. Photographers used to shoot portraits and posed shots as their primary focus. But that’s changed with the times. Now photographers are creative and less structured about their craft and they work with brides and grooms to shoot the ceremony and reception in a style that’s suitable to the happy couple.

“Most people know what they want,” says Yasmine Wooten of Photography by DeShun who says un-staged, un-posed photos are the most popular wedding style. Many couples crave candid photos. The style is all about capturing people and events in an un-posed manner such as guests laughing while dancing or kids having fun eating wedding cake. “Different times call for different styles,” says Douda who tailors his shooting to the mood of the moment.

After all, the ceremony is more serious than the cake cutting and a photographer knows how to approach each moment with the right emotion and style of shooting. Photojournalism is a popular style of photography where images are captured as they happen in an unplanned fashion. There are no do-overs or posed shots with photojournalism. Think of a photojournalistic photographer as someone who documents the moments of the day the same way a news photographer would document a news event in an unobtrusive, fly-on-the-wall approach.

“What attracts people to us is a photojournalistic, relaxed portrait style,” says McCue. “It’s all about capturing connections to people.” No matter what style your photographer uses, make sure you’re comfortable with the shooter and his style. Consider an engagement session with your photographer to increase your understanding of how the photographer works. McCue often includes an engagement session in a photograph package to “build trust and get the couple comfortable with us,” she says.
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Incredible Editing
“Couples really want digital effects,” says Wooten. “Brides and grooms are looking for bright colors by increasing saturation, black and white contrast to look glamorous and darks are really dark,” says Wooten. “Darkened edges really center the focus and pop a little more.”

Images can be edited digitally with more pizzazz than ever. It takes a lot of time, but the payoff is worth the effort. “There is a lot that goes into post-production,” says McCue. “Basically for every hour you shoot, you have two hours of post-production.” Photographers like Wooten shoot lots of photos at each event. She and her husband DeShun shoot about 1000 to 1500 photos per wedding. Then they review those images and decide which ones are the best. “Every single picture the bride and groom sees is edited,” she says. “Every picture is important. It should be finished.”

Douda agrees, saying he delivers between 400 and 600 images for each wedding he shoots. “Every image gets processed,” he says. “Taking a whole bunch of pictures allows me to work the scene.”
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Online Services
Once images are edited and finalized for review and purchase, they’re ready to be enjoyed by couples and their guests. These days, technology allows photographers to share the images online through web portfolios on sites such as www.pictage.com and www.zenfolio.com.

“You can view and order online and guests can leave comments or view a slideshow too,” says Wooten who uses Zenfolio. “It’s really beautiful.”

“It’s such a great service to our couples,” says Pictage user McCue. “We put all the images online and they’re ready to go.” Online services allow couples to enjoy their wedding images any time they want (You can check the pictures while on your honeymoon, at your office or at home in your pajamas!) Plus you can proof pictures, order prints online, and view a slideshow of images.

The best part of online images? “The bride and groom don’t have to manage ordering for their family and friends,” says McCue. “Plus guests get to see the pictures.” McCue says she and her husband Jeff, give brides and grooms event cards on the wedding day to be distributed to guests. The 3 inch by 5 inch event cards provide login info for online photos. “We tell the story of their day through photos and use our blog to share what we enjoyed about the day,” says McCue.
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Amazing Albums
After the images are shot, edited and proofed, the next step is creating a fashionable album. Albums are usually completed within six weeks. “We pre-design albums for couples,” says McCue. “We give them a starting point, choose images we feel tell the story, and then they can go through and swap out the images.”

“The album is presented online in a slideshow process,” says McCue who notes all proofing is done online. She says each album spread comes out as one print which is printed on a flush mount, leather-bound album.