Wedding photography is a huge decision that couples should not take lightly. Our recommendation is to put your money where your memories are. Do your research and select professionals that are a good “fit” for you. Communicate with your selected professionals so they know exactly what you are expecting. Share your ideas and thoughts. It’s better to be over-prepared than rushed or caught-off-guard on the day (both for you and your photographer).
You should be very comfortable with all of your chosen wedding professionals. This is especially important with your photographer because you will be spending a lot of time with them. Take the time to get to know the people you’re working with. It will be worth the extra effort – we promise!
Speaking of getting to know people, here is some information about the amazing & talented husband & wife team at Lens On Life Photographic Expressions (www.lensonlifephoto.com).
Who are you, and what is your business?
I am Paul Rice and my wife Eve and I operate Lens On Life Photographic Expressions out of Chatham, Ontario although we tend to shorten it to LOL.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you get started?
I’ve been doing photography since my teens (back when digital meant a calculator – and we weren’t allowed to use them in school either). I cut my teeth in 35mm and medium format (120) film and naturally progressed right along into digital like everyone else. We started Lens On Life about seven years ago when we saw a need for quality, unique and artistic wedding and portrait photography that wasn’t being met by the glut of new DSLR owners. Our goal at every wedding is to showcase the beauty, the family, the love that is being shared that day not just record the event. We put the same effort into our portraiture. No, we aren’t going to sit you down on a stool in front of a painted backdrop and snap a shot of you with your “Say Cheese” smile. We’d much rather capture an environmental shot of you with your family, in your element – it says more about who the person in the picture really is. A farmer on a tractor, a woman tending her horse, or a young family in a tickle pile – those pictures speak to us. So, No, I guess we don’t do passport pictures.
Like many I’ve started to return to my roots in film. I won’t say that film or digital is better as I shoot both – but they are definitely different and each has their own peculiarities, strengths, and looks about them. I shoot a lot of my personal work on film and have started integrating it into our engagement sessions and plan on adding it into our wedding work alongside our digital work. I’ve even started to dabble in large format film photography (you know, the big cameras where the photographer ducks under a black sheet). As a gearhead though, two of biggest draws to film photography for me, besides the look of the resulting shots, are the sound and the feel of a mechanical camera. It stirs my soul to heft a real camera and listen to the clap of a mechanical shutter and ratchet through a film advance. Awwww.
What is your favourite part about your job?
We get to spend the day in the middle of a celebration of love – what’s not to like? We love being a part of a couple’s big day and we have a lot of fun doing it and our favourite part has to be the connections we make. We’ve had families where we’ve been lucky enough to photograph multiple weddings, engagements, maternity and baby sessions. It’s awesome to see families start and grow and change. My all time favourite part of wedding and portrait photography though, is when in the middle of shooting, I’ll turn the camera around for a quick preview to a nervous bride who insists she “can’t take a good picture” – and she squeals in delight. My day is made right there.
What sets your business apart from your competitors?
I’d like to think our work and our vision set us apart from others but we also strive to be the LEAST stressful part of your wedding day. We keep things light, are very easy going and work with you to make your day special. Happy people make happy pictures so we try to do our part before we even pick up the camera. One of the most common comments we get after a wedding (besides OMG WE LOVE THE PICTURES) is “You guys were so great to work with – we had fun”.
What is the most important thing a potential client should consider when comparing photographers?
You need to look at and consider the quality of the work, the reputation of the photographer(s) as both photographers and business operators, their photographic style, and does that style suit your personal needs for wedding photography. Saving money is great but photography, like most artistic endeavors, is charged at a rate relative to it’s demand and demand is driven by quality, unique work. There is a reason someone is offering fire sale prices and unless they’re your best friend or relative it’s not because they are doing you a favour – it’s because that is the premium that their work can garner. Not everyone has an interest in artistic wedding work, some simply want the event recorded and that’s okay. I have suggested to those people that before they opt for the $300 discount wedding package – spend NOTHING! Get your friend with the camera or your uncle who is volunteered by your aunt to shoot it for free. You are getting the same quality work and if that meets your needs then why waste money. Sounds harsh but think about it. (Yes I have told this to people).
What are some important questions for a potential client to ask a potential photographer?
Ask about gear. I’m one of the first to say it’s the photographer that makes the picture not the camera, but the gear is still pretty important. Do they use pro quality gear or consumer grade? Either one isn’t a killer question until it’s followed by the next – Do they have BACKUP gear? Today’s consumer cameras take great pictures but they aren’t built to take the use and abuse that pro gear is and GEAR. WILL. FAIL. Consumer grade gear is just going to fail faster/sooner than tough-as-nails and properly maintained pro gear. Remember there are no do-overs on wedding day. The photographer can’t call a time-out while they run back to the studio (or worse, start phoning all over creation) trying to find a replacement camera, lens, flash, video light, memory card, power source, etc, etc, etc. Twice we’ve had flashes fail only to be dropped into the bag to be dealt with later, a new one put in to service, and our clients never even knew it happened. We will not add to the stress of a wedding day.
Ask about timing. When do they start and end. Is it flexible? When their time is up do they pack and go or can you arrange to pay for extra time if the party is running longer/stronger than you thought.
Ask about turn around time. This can sometimes vary with the time of the season but find out a rough idea of when you can expect your photos to be retouched and completed and follow up on.
Ask what they recommend for shot ideas and how much time they would like for prep photos, formals, etc.
They should ask YOU if you have any special requests or ideas. Do you have any surprise announcements, dances, or events planned so they can plan accordingly. They should ask you to make a list of those you want in formal shots, at least as a starting point, so that no one gets forgotten.
(Also – ask them what their meal choice is. Please feed your photographer as we’re generally with you between 8-14 hours without a break).
Anything else you’d like to add?
You spend a lot of time and money picking out the perfect dress, venue, caterer, and hopefully your potential spouse for a once in a lifetime event. The photos of that event will be the keepsakes that last long after the party has died. Make sure it suits your needs and the vision of your wedding.