Wedding Advice

Having been the photographer for over 200 Nova Scotia weddings I feel I may be able to offer a few insights into the process, and suggest some answers to the questions I am most frequently asked.

HOW DO I CHOOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER?

It is surprising how often I am asked this question, considering that my answer could so easily be biased! (Pick me! Pick me!)

No, seriously; Great wedding photographs take a lot of work. Great photographic moments rarely happen by themselves, more often than not they are created by the photographer. Many factors need to come together to ensure that the pictures taken on your wedding day are a true and beautiful representation of the bride and groom's personality and the special moments of the day.

Good communication is probably the single most important factor in ensuring good wedding photographs, you should choose a wedding photographer who not only can demonstrate technical mastery of the work but one who is able to anticipate and create the moments that will tell the story of your wedding. Halifax and Nova Scotia in general present many wonderful opportunities for exceptional wedding photographs.

Ask yourself 'Is this photographer's style what I want or not?" Choose a photographer you can trust, a photographer with integrity, a photographer you can talk to and who will listen to what you are telling them.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS IMPORTANT WHEN PHOTOGRAPHING A WEDDING?

Getting the shots the bride and groom want. I try to be guided by the bride and groom to set the style of wedding photography that they want, whether it is the classic style that's required, an 'editorial' approach, or a mixture of both. I shoot throughout the day and capture candid 'off the cuff' moments as well as more formal shots.

HOW LONG WILL YOU STAY WITH US ON OUR WEDDING DAY?

I don't tend to limit myself in terms of hours preferring to shoot from at least two hours before the ceremony (usually at the place where the bride and/or the groom are getting ready) until the first dances at the reception. But essentially I am there for you from whenever you want me to start until whenever you want me to finish.

DO YOU EVER PHOTOGRAPH MORE THAN ONE WEDDING IN A DAY?

No. I devote all my energies to a single client on any given day.

HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHS WILL YOU TAKE?

I usually shoot between 600 and 1000 photographs.

HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHS WILL WE GET TO SEE AND WHEN WILL WE GET TO SEE THEM?

I will present you with between 120 and 250 6x4 prints as well as the digital files within about 10 working days of your wedding. 5x7 prints are also available on request. For most weddings there are many more digital files than I print, ending up with 300 or 400 digital files of your wedding photos is not uncommon. These will be the best images from the day.

HOW MANY PHOTOGRAPHS WILL WE NEED FOR A REALLY GREAT ALBUM?

That’s entirely up to you but most people find 75-100 is plenty.

DO YOU GIVE YOUR CLIENTS THE NEGATIVES/HIGH RESOLUTION DIGITAL FILES?

Yes. Many wedding photographers retain the negatives/digital files or only give out low resolution digital files forcing their clients to go to the trouble and on-going expense of having to constantly return to them to obtain prints of their pictures. The advantage of giving you possession of the negatives is that it allows you and your family to make up as many wedding albums as you wish without this extra inconvenience.

CAN YOU RETOUCH NEGATIVES/DIGITAL FILES?

I can modify images in Photoshop and then print from the digital file for an extra fee. To retouch film images I use a Nikon 5000 ED negative scanner and there is no appreciable loss in picture quality.

WHICH CAMERA DO YOU USE?

I use Nikon professional cameras, Nikon speed-lights (camera flashes) and usually carry at least 4 lenses all of them made by Nikon. I have been using Nikon gear since 1991. I can shoot either film or digital depending on the requirements of my clients. My current camera ‘roster’ includes a Nikon D3, a Nikon D700 a Nikon F4 and two Nikon F90s. I always take more than one camera on a shoot so there is a backup in case of mechanical breakdown or malfunction. As to lenses I usually have a 50mm F1.4, 60mm F2.8 macro, 80-200mm F2.8 and 17-35mm F2.8.

WHAT IS YOUR CANCELLATION POLICY?

If the cancellation is up to one month before the wedding then the deposit is not refundable. If the cancellation comes within one month of the wedding date I ask for the agreed final fee.

HOW MUCH TIME WILL YOU NEED FOR PICTURES

The simple answer is 'the more the better' As a photographer I'm happy to go anywhere the bride and groom would like but it is important not to underestimate the time taken by travelling to and from your chosen photo venue (or venues) and to allow for it.

Some couples in Nova Scotia are choosing to have their wedding pictures done before the ceremony. While this is certainly an option it's important to remember that the vast majority of people are quite tense on their wedding day until the knot is officially tied. This is completely understandable and if you're thinking of doing this, it's vital to ask yourself if this will work for you. The more relaxed you are, the easier it will be to achieve great wedding photographs, but if you don't find it easy to put stress aside, taking pictures right before the ceremony may not work for you.

On the other hand, doing wedding pictures first thing in the morning can be ideal. Most places are deserted, particularly in Halifax, there is no pressure of time and the early light can be very beautiful.

Time of day also plays an important role. If your wedding takes place in June the hours of daylight will be much longer than if it takes place in October. On a cloudy day the evening light will have left the sky roughly half an hour before it would on a clear day. Pictures taken in twilight or dark can be wonderfully atmospheric - but if you were hoping for pictures in daylight it's important to consider this.

WHAT WILL WE DO IF IT RAINS?

It is important to have a default venue for your wedding photographs in case of rain. The weather in Nova Scotia can be extremely unpredictable and the availability of covered public spaces is very limited. Sometimes hotels have interiors that can make good photographic backdrops and if your reception is at a hotel or if anyone you know is staying at a hotel it might be worth asking the management what spaces could be used for photography in case of rain. Most of the good hotels in Halifax Nova Scotia will try to help with wedding photography if they can. The nuptual venue itself can sometimes serve as a makeshift wedding photography studio, many churches have very beautiful interiors for instance. If you know anyone with a beautiful home it might be worth asking them if they wouldn't mind letting their home be used for wedding photography in case of bad weather.