3 Wedding Photography Tips That Every Chicago Bride Should Look For

As a professional wedding photographer in Chicago, coming from South Florida, the things that stand out the most are the wonderful four seasons and architecture. Chicago has some of the most wonderful city backdrops for every season, and if nature is what you're looking for, there are plenty of parks that make you believe you're in a meadow. The exciting thing about four seasons is the variety of photos one can get. This is also applicable to all of Midwest and Chicagoland area, which I photograph if my couples have their wedding outside the city of Chicago.
Since many of you are wondering how to choose a wedding photographer and what exactly to look for when hiring one, I decided to share some of my points of view and advice.
When it comes to planning your wedding you have so many things you need to take care of, and so many expenses, that you tend to look at the price tag instead of looking to the quality of the services you need for your big day.
Unfortunately, that happens when choosing your wedding photographer also, but it can be avoided with a few simple steps. These are a few wedding photography tips for brides to be.

Cost Expectation and Quality
First and foremost, please forget about the price tag. At least for a while. Do not choose your wedding photographer thinking about saving money. Choose the person you feel the most comfortable with from the first minute, the one who has the patience to share the knowledge, tips, explains in detail, and is able to provide high quality work. Because more important than cost, is quality, especially when it comes to memories from your big day, that would last you for a lifetime.
As a guide, the cost can vary, depending on the location, the length of the wedding, the number of shooting locations, and other details unique to each wedding.
Regardless of the package you choose, you will know exactly what you will receive back, when and how.

1. Preparation
From the moment a contract is signed, I start the preparations for the wedding, as we all know, preparation is key in every project.
A few months before the wedding, I get in touch with the bride and groom to set up the engagement session. We need to get that finished in order to have photos for save the date, invitations or anything else needed.
A couple of weeks before the wedding I double check the information for times and locations for ceremony, reception and wedding party photos.
I time the driving distances between home and locations for the wedding and make sure I allow myself more than needed time between each venue.

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Not one day’s work. Even though the wedding is only a day long, every future bride out there should know that the work does not begin when the wedding starts, nor does it end when the wedding is over. As I mentioned above, there is preparation involved. Then the big day comes along and everything needs to be perfect.

My style of photography is mixed between photojournalistic and traditional. I know most couples these days like the "reportage" photography, however family and friends are more used to the traditional, posed type. Because of this I do both and everyone is content.
I try to deliver more than asked for, therefore I arrive at the bride's house earlier to make sure I have enough time to photograph all the important details such as flowers, invitations, rings and wedding dress. Once at the ceremony location, I get the groom and his groomsmen. The ceremony will be covered from every possible angle, covering bride being walked down the aisle and groom waiting for her, along with the rituals of the ceremony. Once that's finished, I get the leaving shots as well as posed shots in front of ceremony location with the family. From there, we go to the wedding party locations, that have been previously chosen by the couple and all permits have been taken care of. When entering the reception area, I focus on the guests arriving and getting shots of everyone enjoying the cocktail hour, while the bride and groom get ready for their introduction. Reception, including speeches, toasts, first dance and cutting of the cake are all covered. Throughout the reception, I always make sure that there is at least one photo of every couple there, and photos of the bride and groom interacting with their guests and dancing.
Once the wedding is over, the real work starts. And that means hours and hours of transferring data, editing photographs, putting together the wedding album, creating the online versions uploading files, while making sure I do not miss any other appointments and I get everything ready on the pre-established day.

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2. Post Production
I personally believe that every photo I deliver to my client has to be the absolute best. I use only digital cameras and equipment, all Canon, always having back-ups in case of emergency, therefore the post-production has to be done accordingly.
Once I get all images in my computer, I go through all of them and edit them for best printing quality, working on contrast, luminosity and color.
The files that the couple gets, just a few weeks after the wedding, are always digital and in high resolution, on a USB along with the copyrights. About 150 photos will be put on line in the client gallery so that friends and family can see them and download them for free, if so desired.
Depending on the package chosen the couple and I work on the wedding album together to ensure total satisfaction.
Prices vary from package to package, but all include a full day shooting (10 hours), covering the bride getting ready, ceremony, wedding party photos and reception. If you don't need so many hours, than our hourly rates are $145.00, and you can customize the wedding day as needed. Either way, your photos will come out looking great and on a quick turnaround.

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3. Delivery

Truth or dare: you get what you pay for
When choosing your wedding photographer make sure you read the reviews, look at her/his portfolio, before looking at the price. And do not let yourself influenced by it.
Think about it this way: your wedding day is one of the most important days in your life. The photographs, albums and these memories will follow you for the rest of your life and maybe you will leave them behind to be admired by your grand-grandchildren.
Pay attention to quality, to what the photographer has to offer as a professional, but also to his vibe as a person. You will be spending at least one day with that person guiding you and preparing the frames for certain shots. You need someone you can trust, someone patient, who knows what he/she is doing, and positive in case of stressing moments.  Keep in mind that these are just a few wedding photography tips and ideas that I suggest, and hopefully they help you as each wedding is unique and special in its own way.

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Listen to my radio interview about wedding photography in Chicago here