Weddings: the MEMORIES (Photography)

Hi guys! It is sadly monday again 😦 Time really flies by when I am on leave. Sighhh.

Thank you for the overwhelming response for the post Weddings: the WHERE! I was super duper happy that it helped (albeit abit) all fellow bride-to-be! 🙂

Do also check out 12 Steps to a Wedding for an overarching idea of how to even start with wedding planning (for the non-professional) heehee.

So today, as much as I would like to dive straight into the most complicated part about bridal boutiques and DIY, I decided that I will talk about actual day videography and photography first because as I have mentioned, they are LIMITED goods!!!!

Moreover, I personally feel it is THE MOST IMPORTANT SEGMENT of the entire wedding (yes, more important than the actual venue!) because I will eventually get old and my memories will fade with time, but having good photography and videography will enable me to capture the beautiful moments of us with those closest to us on that one special day 🙂 It is like a time-turner for me to keep and I can be transported back to that day I said “I do”. Another reason I think it is damn important is also because I think I will definitely be the kind that look at my photos and video every wedding anniversary, every time we quarrel and when my kids are growing up and want to see how pretty mama is when she was skinnier 😀

I will talk about photography and videography in separate posts!

Just a disclaimer: I am a complete photography and videography noob ie I really don’t know all the technicalities of photography or videography. So if you are an insider who knows your stuff, this post may not be so helpful to you!

5 steps to choosing your ACTUAL DAY PHOTOGRAPHER

1. Look through many many portfolios of various photographers online to know what kind of photography style you like

  • I guess if you can sense my style, I generally am the kind of girl that has a list of what I want and then I go to the store to get what I want (although I still get caught up with window shopping too heehee), but for photography, I can tell you honestly I am very very clueless
  • Hence, I will strongly recommend you look through many many many online portfolios of the various photographers
  • From my more non-professional point of view I generally sense a few types of styles when I was researching:
    • Emo (LOL): ie the editing and all are more black and white and the photograph framing itself shows alot of emotional moments (below is a work of Chris Ling International Photographers) 2907_p_01.normal
    • Classical: no heavy editing with very natural colours (below is from Blessed-I photography) 16789_p_74.normal
    • Classy (different from classical): It really features the very “atas” feel and always takes the bride until she look like super model in her gown haha ( below is from Darren Francis Photography) 16208_p_wedding_day_by_darren_francis_007.normal
    • Happy and warm: I know all weddings are happy but I feel like a little skip in my heart when I see these photos!
      • Okay, I got to admit this is my personal favourite! That was exactly how me and my fiance felt when we saw the photos of Chris Chang Photography! Kelvin & Cheryl AD EH-32.JPG
  • I sound damn unprofessional but this is exactly how I feel when I look at the photos heehee
  • You may have different emotions when you see the exact same photo as me, so you should go forth and look at tons and tons of wedding photos instead of surfing instagram!!
  • Tip: You should look through the photos with your partner so that you both can discuss what makes this photograph beautiful to you so that you both can find a common style that you like! 
  • Tip: Make sure to ask your photographer to show you their other works which are not featured on the website or online portfolio! I find it best to look through the AD of a couple from start to end in order to see the consistency of the photography style and quality! 

2. Meet up with your photographers!

  • I never knew the importance of this until our wedding photographer Chris told us that we should meet up prior to us signing up with him
  • It is important for you to feel comfortable with your photographer as you will be spending alot alot of time with them on your actual day
  • I am very camera shy but after the meet up with Chris, both of us felt comfortable talking to him!
  • Tip: You should convey how you actually envision your wedding photography to be like before signing up so that there can be a discussion of whether he/she will be able to deliver the wedding photos you envision. Your photographer should also get a chance to know you both as a couple
  • Tip: Your photographers can be a super great help on your wedding day especially if you are not sure of certain traditions ie should you throw flower bouquet now or later? etc etc. as they have seen alot of weddings! More than any of your relatives likely, so they can be really great advisers and help! 🙂 

3. Professionalism (advice taken from Chris Chang Photography)

  • As you correspond with the photographers, there are a few things I tend to look out for as well and also recommended by Chris in his article:
    • Punctuality: is he/she late for the meetup? You won’t want to get a photographer who turns up late and miss your make up!
    • Prompt response to queries: definitely do not want your photographer to MIA after the wedding (then you cannot get your photos!) or right before the wedding when you want to run through the events with them!
    • Flowery promises: anything that sounds too good to be true is likely too good to be true. I have had encounters with photographers who promise lots of things such as free drone shots etc. only to realise it’s because he/she had a term and condition of me signing both AD photography and videography with them

4. Look at their reviews!

  • I am a typical kiasu singaporean and I believe the general reviews will give an idea of how working with them is like on the actual day
  • Most will have Facebook accounts that you can see reviews, other places to search are also the sgbrides forum

5. Budget Budget Budget

  • As always, I repeat this 3 times because it is so important!!!
  • Do discuss your budget before signing and paying the deposit for your wedding photography (and videography)
  • As you go and do your research on photographers and videographers, you will realise that quite alot of companies offer both services as a combo package (by both in house photographers or they have a photography company they work with).
  • Tip: Do be open with your photographer (or videographer) about your budget constraints to see if they can work out a package that suits your needs to keep within your budget, for eg, I have heard of photographers/videographers who offer a lower price for less hours if the couple has budget constraints and only need for eg. 8 hours of service instead of 10 hours, or some of them even waive the early morning arrival fee! 
  • Tip: Have a brief idea of how many hours of actual day photography you need by planning an estimated schedule of your actual day events as the packages can differ alot in pricing! 
  • Tip: Most companies offer both photography and videography and they generally come with good discounts if you sign up both photography and videography with them. It also makes the worry of your photographer and videographer not working well together get thrown out of the window! 
  • Tip: Same goes for prewedding photo shoot! Most photographers are happy to give a combo discount if you take their prewed photoshoot with AD photoshoot 

4 things to consider about wedding photography

1. Extra costs that are generally not included in your package!

  • Morning arrival cost: generally charged by per hour depending on photographer
    • Tip: Do discuss with your photographer whether you are likely to need them to come earlier (generally cut off time is 7am) and some photographers will be happy to waive this if it is not too far off (ie. 630 etc) 
  • Extra hour charges
    • Have a brief idea of how much is each extra hour charge and closer to your wedding date when your estimated timeline of your actual day is out, do check if there is a need to do extra hours (ie you signed up for 8 hour package but you actually need 10 hours)
    • Tip: if you do have extra hours from your package that are not used, most photographers I have seen at weddings so far do not mind taking extra shots at scenic places with your sisters and brothers on the actual day during rest time! 
  • Overseas surcharge
    • If you are having a whimsical wedding in Bali or Phuket or anywhere else overseas, do also check what is the actual final cost (ie ask for nett price) if you intend to bring your photographer from singapore!

2. Important questions to ask them!

  • Ask how their hours are calculated
    • Most wedding photographers do not include rest time (in between the first and second part of the wedding) as part of the hours in the package however, most of them require a minimum “rest” slot of for eg. 2 hours or 3 hours before they stop counting the hours, so do check with them!
  • Taking the table-table wedding lunch/dinner shots
    • I have heard of photographers who are too “atas” to help take these “simple” shots on the actual day which left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth no matter how good the food tasted!
    • Tip: Do have a plan of the sequence of taking photos with each table once your table arrangement is out so that your photographer and your best man is in the loop! The best man generally helps to hasten this long and arduous process by preparing the next table. This will also allow you to plan the best route so that there is minimum movement for everyone (including your parents who has to be there in the photo with their guests!). It is important to check with the photographer where is the best angle too! 
  • Family shots
    • Most photographers will be happy to help do family portrait shots during your wedding day!
  • How many photographers on the actual day
    • This is something I asked Chris when we were meeting up with him and we were asking what is the difference between 1 and 2 photographers
    • From my humble understanding, if you have 2 photographers, you generally can have more angles on the actual day to choose from as at any given moments, there is only 1 angle that the photographer can choose out of the many possible angles
    • To be very honest, I think you are not losing out if you only have the budget for 1 photographer, but if you do have the budget, 2 photographers is like buying 2 perspectives of how your actual day went (for eg. when you say your vows, they can capture both yours and your SO’s expression)
  • How long after the wedding can you get the photos
    • Some take really really long! So do ask so that you won’t be left impatient 🙂
  • Do you get all photos returned?
    • super important to me
    • but generally this is a given
  • Do we have to “pose” alot of shots?
    • Do ask what is their style of photography and ask if there will be alot of times that you need to “pose” for them to capture the photos
    • I generally don’t like to capture these kind of “pose” moments because it is quite unnatural and totally spoils the actual day flow of events!
  • Ask if they have worked with your videographer before (esp if you are getting separate videography) and how was their collaborations
    • you wont want to get a photographer and a videographer who are at absolute loggerheads with each other!
    • they have to work together on the actual day quite a bit to make sure both your photos and videos have good angles!

3. Professional Photographer VS Bridal photography

  • You know how the bridal boutiques always have this actual day photography and videography package?
  • I only got to know that there are differences between professional photography and bridal photography when my SIL was told that she had to top up a difference to get a professional photographer
  • Bridal photographers are generally photographers who take your bridal boutique prewed shoot. They capture really nice posed photos but generally have less experience in taking candid shots (ie no need to pose and capture the moment) which are important in actual day wedding photography IMHO
    • Disclaimer: “bridal photographers” may not be an actual term but that is how I understand it from the bridal boutique
  • While professional photographers are the ones you see from Chris Chang Photography, Chris Ling International Photography, Moomedia, Lightedpixels, Androidsinboots, etc. who generally are good in taking candid shots (not posed)
  • Tip: If you are happy to “pose” for shots on your actual wedding day, then you could save some money by engaging those bridal packages for actual day photography and videography

4. Price Tiers

  • After researching and contacting a million photographers, I realised there is a sort of tier in terms of their pricing:
    • Lower tier: generally you can get full day services for less than 1000SGD
    • Middle tier: can range from 1000SGD to 2000+SGD
    • High tier: definitely 2000SGD and up!
  • IMHO, it really doesn’t matter which tier the photographers’ pricing are as long as you like the photos! A new photographer starting out will generally cost lesser to engage them but it does not mean they give you lousy quality photographs!
  • Tip: Look for budding new photographers! They generally have good service (as they are passionate and are building their portfolio) and they cost less too! 
  • Tip: Try to look for companies who only focus on photography and/or videography instead of bridal boutiques as I feel if they can’t do them (photo and video), there is no reason they will survive in this industry because it is all they have! 

That’s about all I can think of when I recall my experience in choosing my own wedding photographer!

Many people, including my friends and parents were shocked at how much I spent on my wedding photography and videography, but as I have explained to many, this is one of the most important things I will spend on for my wedding because once the moment is over, I can’t recreate it exactly the way it was.

Photography captures that moment in a split second to make it forever.

Moreover, photography is not as simple as taking a camera and clicking away, because it involves framing, capturing the right moments, knowing the sequence of events, experience acquired through the many years of photography and sacrificing weekends for weddings, post-event editing (which can be alot of work and takes skills!!!). I personally came back with aches and pains after taking just a short half day shoot for my future sis-in-law’s solemnization lunch (and I still missed many important moments due to my inexperience)!

Many thanks to my wedding actual day photographer Chris Chang from Chris Chang Photography for his insider tips! 🙂 Do check out his works at Chris Chang Photography and check out his blog too for more tips! 🙂

Do quote ‘notepadscribbles’ to get 100SGD off your package when you sign up with Chris Chang Photography! 🙂

That’s all for today! Will post on videography next (hopefully within this week!). Decided to separate the 2 as the post was getting too long!

Happy browsing all the happy wedding photos 😀 (of complete random strangers LOL)

Please share, like and favourite if this post helped you, thank you! 🙂

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