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Photography: Etiquette Q&A



I love the look of candid wedding shots, but all of my married friends have traditional, posed pictures. How should I choose?

Try mixing posed and candid shots to round out your wedding album. If you adore candids, hire someone who specializes in a photojournalistic style, with real talent for capturing emotional, spontaneous moments. Then, simply tell your photographer which posed shots you'd also like. Many portrait photographers can also shoot candids. Determine your priorities and choose a professional accordingly.

When should formal pictures be taken?

Photography session timing is up to you. Here are the options:
  • Before ceremony: This is an efficient suggestion, but it's out if you two don't want to see each other before the wedding. More and more couples choose to spend time alone pre-ceremony, but this can be a great chance to take family and wedding-party pictures when everyone's excited and fresh.
  • Between ceremony and reception: This is probably the most popular option; the newlyweds and wedding party gather at the front of the ceremony site and take pictures while guests wait outside or travel to the reception for cocktail hour. (Don't make your guests wait hours, though!)
  • During reception: Some couples steal away during the reception for photo shoots with the wedding party and family. Consider whether or not you want to take this time away from your guests.
  • Afterward: You might need to redo your makeup for a late shoot, and its feasibility depends on the party's length. The biggest advantage of a post-wedding photo shoot? No distractions or nerves.

    We're on a really tight budget. Is it smart to hire a photography student or ask an amateur photographer guest to take pictures?

    If you find a truly talented student or you've always admired your cousin's skill as a shutterbug, consider this option. Just keep in mind that if the photographer doesn't have wedding experience, you might not get great results -- and it might not be worth the savings.

    I'm concerned that my photographer won't take all the shots I want. How can I ensure perfect pictures without being a total control freak?

    Take the responsibility off your shoulders by giving your photographer a list of must-take photos in advance -- certain moments or people that you definitely want captured on film. Enlist a relative or close friend to point out specific people for the photographer. Here's an interesting idea we saw recently: A backdrop was set up in a reception room corner, and anyone could go there to have a picture taken with the bride and groom. This allowed groups of family and friends to take responsibility into their own hands.

    Color or black and white film -- which is considered best these days?

    There's definitely a trend toward black and white film at weddings. There's something dramatic about photographs in shades of black, white, and gray -- they tend to be very emotional and focus on the essence of the people portrayed in them. But color film will capture all the details you so painstakingly planned -- the peach roses, the intense coral of the bridesmaid dresses, even the blue of the bride's eyes. Your best bet is a combination of both.

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