Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the biggest decisions you need to make before your big day. Many factors affect which photographer you should choose. Style, personality, and price are just a few of the factors to take into consideration.
Edward Crim is a local expert on wedding photography, as he has been one of the leading wedding photographers in the St. Louis area for over 20 years. Crim invites you to come along on a wedding in order to learn about wedding photographers and what you can expect on the day of the event.
Today Crim is shooting a large wedding in downtown St. Louis. “What I do on the day of the wedding depends largely on what the bride wants,” says Crim. “The bride is really my primary client.”
The wedding is at 1:00 p.m. Crim’s day begins with coffee and donuts at his home studio.
10:55 a.m. – Crim packs up his gear. “I always pack two,” he says. There is two of everything—two cameras for him and his assistant, two flashes for each camera, etc.
11:16 a.m. – Jenny, Crim’s assistant, arrives. She has her long hair pulled back, ready to work. She grabs a cup of joe from Crim’s kitchen counter.
11:20 a.m. – The gear is stowed in Crim’s brown sedan and ready to go. Crim’s overweight cat is on the front porch, bidding him farewell.
Crim says he will usually arrive at the ceremony site about an hour and a half before the wedding. “Typically in St. Louis what I will do is meet at the place where the wedding is going to be – typically a church – and get photos of the bride and her parents individually and together. Usually [I get] individual photos of the bride with each of her bridesmaids. And I’ll do the same thing with the groom before the wedding.” Bringing his assistant makes this process much easier, says Crim, especially if the bride doesn’t want to be seen by the groom before the wedding.
11:30 a.m. – The groom and his men are having brunch at the groom’s house. They are dressed and ready to go. Crim dons two cameras and snaps some candid shots of the boys.
11:45 a.m. – The sedan pulls up to the church, which is just barely beginning to fill with energy. Crim and Jenny grab photographs of the church exterior and the close-up shots of the flowers when they arrive.
12:00 p.m. – The bride and her family arrive, apologizing for their tardiness. Crim snaps photographs of them coming into the church with their dresses and accessories in tow.
12:12 p.m. – Jenny follows the bride and her bridesmaids to the changing room to capture candid shots of them getting dressed.
12:14 p.m. – More family members start to arrive, and the energy in the church builds. Crim takes some posed shots of the groom and his men in the church.
“I know when to step up and take charge to get the photos and when to fade into the background,” says Crim. “That’s very important.” As more guests arrive, Crim steps back and lets the groomsmen relax and get into place. Crim smiles, “You do not want a camera Nazi on your wedding day, thinking that it’s all about him and getting photos. Your photographer is your servant. He’s there to get what you want.”
Greg and Katie Berger chose Edward Crim to shoot their wedding back in November. Katie Berger says that they chose Crim over another photographer primarily because of his personality. “We’ve been to weddings where photographers were totally in the way,” says Katie. “But even my mom said ‘I didn’t even notice he was there unless we needed him to be there.’”
Katie Berger’s husband Greg Berger nods, adding, “We decided early on that we wanted to go with an independent because Katie had had some experiences at other weddings with conglomerate companies who were relatively rude and impersonal… And I wanted someone who was independent because I knew they were going to care about it—it was their product.”
12:45 p.m. —Edward Crim and his assistant are in their places at the front and back of the church while the guests are seated and the wedding party begins to line up. A live string quartet begins to play.
“As the bride and her bridesmaids and the others are coming down the aisle, normally I’ll cover that,” says Crim. “My assistant is in the back getting last-minute shots of the bride and her dad, and the bride from the back as she’s coming down the aisle. We try to cover the event, pretty much from all of the angles.”
1:00 p.m. – The ceremony starts, and the guests quiet down to watch the processional. Crim takes photos of each person coming down the aisle, while maintaining a low profile.
1:15 p.m. – The vows are read and the rings are exchanged.
Crim says that during the ceremony, he is careful to follow whatever rules are put forth by the ceremony site. “Depending on where the ceremony is held, I may be able to take a couple of flash pictures during the ceremony,” says Crim. “So we’ll get close-ups of the bride and groom during the ceremony, usually without a flash. And then pictures of the ring exchange with flash if it’s allowed.”
1:55 p.m. – The recessional finishes up and guests start to leave the church. “After the ceremony we’ll get photos of the bride and groom coming back down and the interaction that happens,” says Crim.
2:07 p.m. – In lieu of a receiving line, this bride and groom have opted to take family photographs in the church. Crim steps up and takes command to get the shots as fluidly as possible. Photo after photo is taken in rapid succession. Jenny helps coordinate relatives and tell them where to stand.
After the church, Crim says the bride will usually want to go somewhere else for photos – maybe Forest Park or Keener Plaza. “There are a number of great places to go in the St. Louis area that make for very attractive photos,” says Crim.
3:40 p.m. – The wedding party piles into their bus. They follow Crim’s sedan to Forest Park.
4:10 p.m. – The party and photographer arrive at the park. Since it is Saturday, there are numerous other wedding parties taking pictures also. The first stop is the Grand Basin in front of the Art Museum. Crim and Jenny direct the wedding party on where to stand, and then let them have fun.
“We try to organize some brief things that photograph well with the wedding party that are fun to do,” says Crim. “People are sometimes amazed that I will get down, in my suit, on the ground to get the angle that I want. I’ll climb up on something (that I’m not too likely to fall off of) to get the angle that I want shooting down. We really, really work hard to get the photos that look great.”
4:30 p.m. – Crim leads the wedding party to a more isolated gazebo in the park where they take more photos, without the hustle and bustle of the Grand Basin.
4:45 p.m. – Everything is packed up and the caravan heads to the reception site: The City Museum.
Crim explains that by this point, he is shooting mostly candid shots. “We try to capture things as they’re happening,” he says. “The bride’s dress being bustled. All the things that go on in a party of happy young people.”
5:00 p.m. – The reception begins and the bride and groom are introduced with their wedding party (sans one 16-year-old bridesmaid who consumed too much alcohol on the bus ride over).
5:16 p.m. – Everyone takes their seats for the toasts and the dinner. As a courtesy, the bride and groom remembered to assign seats for both Crim and his assistant near the center of the room by the head table.
6:00 p.m. – Dancing begins with a live band a colorful light show. Crim maneuvers around the dance floor with his camera held above his head, snapping lively photos of the dancing. Jenny is nearby, prompting the flower girls to strike cute poses.
6:46 p.m. – The couple cuts their cake, while smiling for the dozens of cameras in the room, including Crim’s camera.
“The whole idea about the photos on the wedding day is to show the whole event,” says Crim. “It’s a private record for you to keep. To show all of the family, there are my friends from college. Things of that sort. And then the record of the day as it goes on—where did we go? What did we do? What did the cake look like?”
7:15 p.m. – Crim does one more impromptu photo shoot with the bride and groom as the reception and dancing continue in the background.
7:35 p.m. – After capturing all the photos that the bride wants, Crim says goodbye to the couple and prepares to leave. He has the large task of uploading and reviewing photos ahead of him.
“After the wedding day, my schedule is this: I try to have all of the photos done and a proof book ordered by the week following the wedding,” says Crim. “Once the proof book is in, I notify the couple that it’s ready to pick up. If they’ve purchased the rights to the images on a disk then I have that disk ready and a written release letter for them so they can have them printed wherever they want.”
8:10 p.m. – Crim comes back to his studio and unloads his gear. The overweight feline greets him with a nuzzle. Jenny collects her paycheck and goes home, still full of upbeat energy.
Crim says that before choosing a photographer, a bride should see samples of complete weddings that a photographer has done. “My recommended way to start, and the internet really helps with this, is to look at different photographer’s work,” says Crim. “What’s this photographer’s style? Do you like this style? Does it capture the things that are important to you?”
By viewing entire weddings a photographer has done, Crim says you can see if the photographer leaves things out. For example, did he fail to get pictures with Grandma? “You may not think about that when you’re looking for a photographer, but it’s going to be important to you later,” says Crim.
Secondly, Crim says it is important that you meet the photographer in person before deciding. “What’s he like? Could you stand to spend a whole day with her?” Crim asks. “The personality of the photographer that you’re going to have is going to affect your day for better or for worse.”
Crim says that price should be the last thing a bride looks at. “Price tells us a lot about the quality of the work that you’re going to get,” he says. “A really inexpensive photographer probably is not going to give you really what you want. But it’s not necessary to go to someone who charges what a new car costs to have fantastic photos that you’ll always love.”
Knowing what to expect from your photographer and taking the factors of style, personality, and price into consideration will give you peace of mind on your wedding day. With the right photographer, you can rest assured that the memories will live on forever.
Interview – Edward Crim
Interview – Greg and Katie Berger
Web – http://www.edwardcrim.com