Picture Perfect 

Current photography trends include the documentation look of photojournalism, black and white film to captures emotion and focus on the subject, colored film to catch vibrant pictures which emphasize detail film, candid pictures, action photos, and the tried-and-true posed shots.

Videography provides continuing coverage of your nuptials and features special effects, such as music, interviews, and sound bytes, that creatively tell the story of your wedding. Couples wanting the best of both worlds often select a professional who can provide photography and videography services in a unified format.

When trying to decide who should document your wedding, be sure to consult with reputable professionals who have proven track records for producing high quality, creative work. While it may be tempting to cut corners on your budget by having a favorite relative or trusted friend photograph or videotape your wedding, it may be better to select a third party who has years of professional experience and access to the latest technology in their area of expertise. Though you may initially have to pay more upfront fees for these services, it will pay off in the long run as you savor timeless shots and priceless moments of your wedding for years and years to come.

Before making a final decision on a professional photographer or videographer for your wedding, be sure to confirm their qualifications, style and ability to work well with you and others. Find out everything you can about them, from their philosophy on photographing weddings and why they enjoy their line of work, to how many weddings they've photographed and what type of equipment they use. Be sure to ask for referrals and to view some of their recent clients' wedding albums.

It's also good to know if the person you consult with will be the same individual who will provide the actual service the day you get married, if they will be using any assistants or covering other weddings during the same time frame. Determine if they have a contingency plan for the unexpected such as faulty equipment or car trouble, their prices (including overtime fees and hidden charges), their cancellation policy, and how long your negatives are stored and if you can buy them. Last but not least, find out what kind of packages they offer and when you can expect the finished product to be ready. Many professionals now offer Internet services that allow the bride, groom and their guests easy viewing and ordering of their wedding photographs and videotapes. Be sure to consult with the professional that you hire regarding the availability of this popular service.

Next, it's time to sign a detailed contract that outlines every aspect of the services that you and your fiancé would like to have provided. No detail that the two of you have discussed is too small or unimportant to be left off this legally binding contract. Once the contract is signed, keep a copy of it handy for planning purposes. Be sure to have a follow-up meeting with your photographer or videographer before the wedding to address specifics such as the wedding day schedule and your photo suggestion list.

Consider adding some of these memorable wedding moments to the must-have photo list that you present to your photographer or videographer:

The Details. Still-life close ups of the important wedding details, such as the invitation, cake, rings, bouquet, decorations, church, reception site, and gifts.

The Wedding Dress. A dramatic must-have that showcases the dress, typically on a hanger, awaiting the bride.

The Preparation. Candid shots of the bride, groom and the wedding party getting dressed, to include such favorites as mom helping the bride with her dress or headpiece, a close up shot of the bride with her maid/matron of honor, the bride surrounded by her bridesmaids, the groom and his best man, the groom and all of his groomsmen, and the groom and his father sharing a special moment.

The Key Players. Various combinations of the bride and groom, the wedding party and guests of honor (grandparents, parents, siblings, children, etc.), sentimental classics including candid and posed pictures of the bride and groom with their respective parents, grandparents, and siblings, posed photographs of the bride and groom with both sides of their immediate families, the wedding officiant, the wedding party and each other.

The Wait. Candid photographs of guests entering the ceremony site and ushers escorting them to their seats, close ups of the groom at the alter as he waits for his bride.

The Grand Entrance. Full-length and close up shots of the flower girl and ring bearer walking down the aisle, the bride as she makes her grand entrance, pictures of the bride's father or parents walking her down the aisle and her father giving her away.

The Ceremony. Various photographs of the wedding party at the alter, pictures of the bride and groom saying their vows and exchanging their rings, readers reciting passages, singers and musicians performing.

The Kiss. The couple's first kiss as husband and wife.

The Happy Couple. Shots of the bride and groom walking down the aisle following the ceremony, entering the reception as husband and wife.

The Receiving Line. Pictures of the bride and groom and their families welcoming guests to the reception.

The Romantic Interlude. That magical moment when the bride and groom sneak a kiss, hold hands or exchange a laugh.

The Dance. The couple's first dance together as husband and wife, the bride dancing with her father, the groom dancing with his mother, candid shots of the parents, grandparents, wedding party and guests dancing.

The Food. Photographs of the wedding party at the head table, guests enjoying the fare.

The Cake. An all-time favorite of the bride and groom cutting the wedding cake, feeding cake to each other, as well as pictures of the groom's cake.

The Traditions. Candid shots of the bride tossing her bouquet, the groom removing the garter belt, the breaking of the glass, jumping over the broom, toasts, etc.

The Getaway. An eternal favorite featuring the bride and groom exiting the church, the reception or departing in their getaway car.



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