Photography is one of the most important aspects of your wedding, since the photos will remain long after the Big Day. So finding the best photographer to suit your needs is paramount. Here, three local wedding photographers offer their tips on finding and working with the best person for the job.
Marc Pagani Photography
Marc Pagani first started his career in wedding photography 24 years ago. At that time, he was assisting a wedding photographer and then shot his first wedding solo in 1997. Until 2013, he and his associate photographers were shooting about 50 weddings per year. However, he found that to be too many and now shoots about 25 weddings per year. Throughout his career, he has shot more than 850 weddings.
His best advice for couples seeking a wedding photographer is to look for experience in the field, a style that fits their needs and a personality that clicks with theirs. “I’ve heard so many horror stories from couples who based their choice on price alone, only to receive photos that were underexposed, out of focus or poorly composed,” he says. “It takes a great deal of experience and skill to create interesting, technically accurate images that fit the aesthetic the couple is looking for. Also, more than most other vendors, your photographer spends a great deal of time with you on your wedding day, so you want someone who has a relaxing, pleasant presence.”
To help make a decision when choosing a photographer, Pagani says it’s important not only to ask basic questions about photo packages, pricing and availability, but also to ask about their approach to shooting a wedding, their experience level, and whether or not they have backup equipment and photographers in case of an emergency. And when it comes to the Big Day, he says to be sure to allow enough time for the shoot.
“Confer with your photographer regarding the day’s schedule,” he says. “A good, experienced photographer will know how long each aspect of the day will take to shoot and can help you plan accordingly.” 1216 N. Galvez St., 504-343-5364, paganiphoto.com
Beebe and Corine Tran got their start wedding photographers in 2005. According to Corine, it was tough to start their business with their first major challenge being Hurricane Katrina. “In the beginning, Beebe alone would shoot around 60 to 75 weddings per year, but that was when we were younger and didn’t have children,” she says. “Now we each average 50 weddings per year, which leaves us time to be parents on the weekends too.”
Her best advice when seeking a wedding photographer is to look for someone whose style you like and whose portfolio is consistent. “Look through their blog posts to see more wedding images from one wedding,” she says. “This way you can make sure the collection of images from each wedding looks consistent. Also look for a photographer that has great reviews and comes recommended not only by past brides but also other wedding vendors.”
In order to ensure a successful wedding shoot, Corine says it’s important to stay on schedule, make sure your wedding party members are cooperative, take sunset and lighting into consideration, and find the best locations. “Listen to your photographer’s suggestions,” she says. 3814 Bauvais St., Metairie, 504-352-0225, studiotran.com
Lauren Carroll Photography
Lauren Carroll first began second shooting weddings with an established photographer in 2009 while in college. She shot and edited for him for three years and gained a lot of experience in the field. Upon graduation, she transitioned into being a full-time wedding photographer and now shoots about 35 weddings per year.
When seeking a wedding photographer, she says it is important to resonate with their work and find value in it. “A spark should go off like, ‘This is the one,’” she says. “Looking through their portfolio, reading reviews and setting up a phone call or meeting are great ways to get acquainted with their style and flow.”
To ensure you and your photographer are on the same page, Carroll suggests going over the timeline for the wedding day, discussing the lighting situations for the ceremony and reception, editing turn-around time, if a second shooter is provided, what the travel fees are and if they have access to the high-resolution files or if there is an additional fee for the download.
Other tips Carroll suggests include basing the timeline around the sunset to get the best light. “If they would like natural-light portraits and ceremony photos, I always recommend starting the ceremony a little before the golden hour,” she says. “Bride and groom prep locations that have big windows or pretty balconies are also ideal. Another great tip is to do the first look, [which] provides effortless natural-light portraits and relieves any stress after the ceremony.” laurencarrollphotography.com