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By: Bob Brichmann

Not everyone can jump right in and be a wedding photographer. There’s so much to it. Beware of the beginner. Anyone can create a cute, flash-filled, slick web site. Search for experience. Do you want to be the guinea pig bride for the newbie photographer?
Holly Ireland Photography
Experience has a price. Experience, though, shows in the quality of your pictures. Your photos are your memories. They are the documentary of your biggest day. This is what your children and grandchildren will inherit and remember you by. You don’t want to cut back on this aspect of your wedding budget.
Pricing is really all over the map when it comes to professional wedding photography. Experts agree that you should raise an eyebrow to anyone charging $1000 or less for a full wedding package.
You can expect to pay more for multiple photographers and engagement sessions. Your end product will impact your budget. Do you simply want a disk of pictures or do you want the full blown, retouched coffee table photo album? Are you providing album gifts to both sets of parents?
Yes, you are paying for the photographer’s artistry the day of, but after the wedding they are putting in serious hours of post-production. There’s retouching and picture cropping. There’s the production and selection process revolving around your proofs. There’s the assembly of the album(s). Hours and hours of expertise go into making each client happy in the end.

Professionals in most of the wedding fields always strive to stay current with their skills, their equipment, trends and their devotion to their craft. Photographers are no exception.
Membership in organizations such as PPA (Professional Photographers Association) and WPPI (Wedding Portrait Photographers International) validates many as professionals. It demonstrates ones commitment to excellence and continued education. These groups stage annual conferences that offer education on new technologies, techniques, advances in post-production practices and trends.
In other words, the true professional is constantly learning. They are committed to providing the best quality they can and that you deserve. Hobbyists or retired Uncle Bill with the new digital camera rarely show this kind of commitment. Why take the chance with an amateur with your wedding day pictures?
Don’t forget to check for membership in local organizations and the Better Business Bureau. What is their service record like in the community?
Check for a business license and proof of insurance. What is their back-up contingency plan? Are they a legitimate business? Ask them to give you a couple of references of past brides to check in with. Are you meeting them at a studio or a taco shop? Be wary of someone asking for a large deposit up front or a high-pressure sale pitch. If that happens we suggest you walk away. Also be aware of pricing that is too good to be true. The old saying goes, “you get what you pay for!”
Holly Ireland Photography
Event Variables
So much goes into shooting photography on the wedding day that we take much of it for granted. We think it’s just point and click. That’s the difference between you shooting a picture with your digital camera and the professional documenting the day.
Candids, camera angles, shadows, sunlight, lowlight conditions all of these factors weigh on the professional. They are trained to deal with these.
Photographers know you want a mostly photojournalistic approach to your day, but you still need some family formals. They know how to corral family efficiently and politely for those group photos. They know how to make the bride and her bridesmaids that much more comfortable to coax that extra emotion from them for that special photo.
They know when to capture that emotion from mom and dad as you say your wedding vows and dad clutches mom’s hand.
Amidst the sea of other shutterbugs flittering about your event, they can tactfully navigate around them and still get the shot! It’s what they’re trained to do.
Professionals will know the nuances of your ceremony site or facility. They know how to work with (not against) the other wedding vendors to make the event run that much more smoothly. They know how to follow a timeline.
Eisenhower Photography
The biggest difference between an amateur and professional photographer may lie in the continuity of their work. You know to expect the best when you hire a professional. There’s less uncertainty. You and your family have peace of mind.
“The biggest regret from my wedding was my photography. I was talked into using a family member who simply handed me a disk after the wedding. My photos sucked. It makes me so sad that I don’t have good wedding pictures,” admits recent bride Aubrey.
Don’t make the same mistake as Aubrey did. She may have been misguided into thinking she could save some money with one of the crucial areas of her wedding.
Family and friends remember the party. The professional photographer chronicles it for you with a keen eye, a grace and an ease in doing what they do best capturing moments that will make you smile every time you look at your pictures and reflect on the Big Day.
Your memories are worth the expense!

By: Bob Brichmann

Magical photographic moments do appear during the course of a wedding.

These moments may be spontaneous, artistic, semi-posed with a stunning sunset backdrop or may even happen by accident. More often than not, though, the artistic and experienced eye of your photographer is what is truly needed to find the “best shot.” It’s generally not just one shot, either. It could be a sequence of pre-ceremony shots of the bride primping and getting ready. It might be the capturing of the groom’s nervousness before the ceremony with his groomsmen trying to lighten the mood. Perhaps it’s several shots of the parents or grandparents embraced on the dance floor – lost in the moment. Maybe it’s the toss of the bouquet?
“You can’t capture a connection, unless you have a connection,” professes photographer Betsy McCue of La Vida Creations. Engagement sessions can be a crucial tool to ensuring photographic success for a wedding. Each party gets to know each other and a relationship is built. The groom starts to lower the typical “I hate pictures” guard. The bride warms to the moment. “Getting to know them as people enables us to relate with them more easily. Comfort equals better pictures. We can capture the essence of who people really are, especially once they start to drop their guard,” adds McCue.

There are many incredibly beautiful locations around San Diego to shoot engagement sessions and/or wedding day pictures: the Hotel Del and its beaches, Luscomb’s Point at Sunset Cliffs, The Marston Houses’ gardens near Balboa Park, anywhere in Balboa Park, Wind-N-Sea beach, the Mission Bay areas around The Dana and The Paradise Point Resorts. Photographer Jen Bosma is also a definite fan of engagement sessions. She’ll try and meld to what the couple is looking for and strives to relate to her clients. “I want couples to be comfortable in front of the camera. I’ll encourage a groom to whisper in his bride-to-be’s ear and get her giggling. This warms them up. Maybe a cute little piggyback ride down the beach lightens the mood,” shares Bosma.
Amore Wedding Photography
Most people are slightly uncomfortable in front of a camera. It’s the photographer’s job to ease that angst. Compliments go a long ways. Relating to them on their level often does the trick as does speaking their lingo. The photographer is often a liaison on the day, especially early on, between the bride and groom. The groom has not seen the bride so he’s nervously asking how she looks or is feeling. The bride may ask how he looks in his tux or suit and they reassure her he looks really handsome. This gets both parties excited with anticipation and drops some of that photo guardedness. “My philosophy is don’t make it happen, let it happen. Every bride is beautiful in my eyes. Don’t be aware of me. Be aware of each other. Get the two close, let them interact and capture them,” offers photographer Joseph Guidi from The Studios of Joseph Guidi.

One key aspect in getting the best shot is allowing the professional to use creative lighting techniques. Shadows, natural lighting, unique angles…these are not necessarily new ideas, but perhaps with a more modern thought process. Use the twilight creatively. Everyone is used to sunset photos, but there are other periods of daylight that lend themselves to some creative shading. A professional photographer can coach you through this. Another benefit to hiring a pro to get the best shot is the overall expectation difference between bride and mom (or bride & groom vs. family).

“Mom has a totally different expectation. She needs the classic, full length, back of the dress shot. Brides want ‘photojournalism’ with minimal posing. We have to connect with both and capture both,” explains photographer Jared Bauman from Bauman Photographers.

Clarifying the volume of family shots expected versus candids ahead of time saves everyone a whole world of hassle. The best is generally a mix of both. Every bride is beautiful. Some may have some less than photogenic qualities. Your professional photographer can overcome this with their expertise and various techniques.

“Shooting down generally offers a more flattering angle if the nose is an issue. It hides into the face. Analyze the bride’s features and plan from there. Thicker arms…consider veiling them a bit,” says Guidi.
Body positioning can be very important. Without over-posing, some simple instructions can create some memorable shots. Turn your foot this way. Lift your chin this way.

Make-up and hair are always an important issue. You can be the most beautiful girl in the world, but make-up is almost always needed to enhance the day – for photography’s sake. Ask your photographer for recommendations or look through San Diego Style Weddings Magazine for make-up professionals.

“Water based is generally the safest choice. There’s less chance of a reaction. Make sure they are a licensed esthetician and know what they are doing,” states Melanie Littlewood from Hair and Makeup Artistry by Melanie.

One of the other more important and understated factors to getting the best shot falls back on the eye of the professional. When all is said and done, they know what to shoot and when. They have that creative eye. You’ve seen this when you’ve interviewed them and their work. They may shoot you smiling with mom through an open side window of the church prior to the ceremony and you don’t even know they are there.

They might semi-pose you to bend a certain way so the twilight bounces off of you just the right way.

They might coach your interaction to a degree, but be yourself. Capturing the two of you in your own comfort zone is what will provide the best shots.