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Ask the Experts: The Photographer

“Any place that’s small and dark is hard to shoot in. And venues with too many mirrors are a nightmare, frankly.”


Christian Oth

What’s the best way to choose a photographer?
If you don’t already have your heart set on one, look at two or three. Make sure they show you photos from entire weddings. If they can’t do that, then there’s something wrong. Decide if you like the design of their album. And if your photographer-prospect’s office is a Starbucks, then definitely check references and ask harder questions.

How do you feel about videographers?
There are only a handful that I’m comfortable with. The guy that’s on top of my list is Paul Korver. He has another company, Paper Tape Films, where his trained associates shoot very impressive work.

What should a couple discuss with a photographer early on?
The timeline, in detail. I’ve never gotten a “do-not-shoot” list; however, I was made aware of a potentially explosive situation with recently divorced parents.

How is the cost of photography broken down?
There are a few elements to consider: the photography itself, the delivery of the proofing products, and the album. We have a few photographers who start at $5,500 for up to 1,200 photos, and for a standard eight hours. Albums start at $1,850. Budget for the album later, as it’s done months after the wedding. If you decide not to order a proof book, you can save up to $1,000.

What’s the additional cost of a second shooter and when is one necessary?
They start at $1,750. A second photographer is a necessity at 120 guests or so. It’s nice to have pictures of both the bride and the groom getting ready, and one photographer obviously can’t shoot both. Here’s a tip: Avoid unnecessary clutter in the room because it shows up in photos. The second shooter also helps at the ceremony when you can’t move around too much. There are some houses of worship that restrict where the photographer can stand; for example, Saint Thomas—though it’s an incredible-looking church.

Which reception venues do you find especially beautiful?
The New York Public Library is unusual and grand, the University Club, the Metropolitan Club. In terms of hotel suites for getting ready, I like Hotel Rivington’s penthouse and Soho House.

Where are your favorite places to shoot portraits outdoors?
The obvious spots are in Dumbo at the park by Front Street, under the Brooklyn Bridge; and at the Central Park Conservancy at Fifth Avenue and 105th Street. Another spot in Central Park (a secret that I will give away here) is by the Sixth Avenue entrance. There is a two-minute walk along an elevated path that opens up to a beautiful view of Central Park South.

Shooting formals can get hairy. How do you manage?
I try to take them at least an hour before the ceremony. If you take them after the ceremony, take the pictures far enough away from the cocktail-hour venue so you don’t have someone who’s bored wander over for a drink. Ask your caterer for a tray of Champagne during formal portraits so people feel less antsy.

How do you appease self-critical brides?
If you’re a blinker, don’t worry; we shoot enough to edit those out. A double chin isn’t visible if the camera angle isn’t low, and if you have big hips, turn a bit sideways. But don’t make my life harder by getting a dress that accentuates them.

212-634-7949; christianothweddings.com

Camera Photo: Courtesy of Canon

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