Triple B caught up with Washington, D.C. based photographer Leonard Poteat to get the insider scoop on capturing those must-have wedding day images to make you swoon. Poteat is a former fashion photographer and simply passionate about his craft. Read on to learn the right questions to ask a potential wedding photographer before you book them, why word of mouth is still important and how to guarantee a shot of Grandpa getting down to the Cupid Shuffle at your reception!
Black Bridal Bliss: Do you primarily work with couples getting married in the DMV area?
Leonard Poteat: Yes, my wedding base is couples that live in the DMV area. However, I have worked outside the DMV in places such as New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. I am constantly seeking to broaden my scope of clientele.
BBB: Are you open to doing destination weddings?
Poteat: Very open! I have one in December 2010 on the island of St. Marteen. My destination packages are reasonable. In addition to the wedding package fee, I just ask for travel and hotel expenses to be covered.
BBB: Good stuff. So what is the approximate wait time to receive pictures back after the actual nuptials (providing proper payment has been made)?
Poteat: In the past, I would work to get a couple their pictures in one month’s time following a wedding. That has taken a toll on me. Now, I let my couples know that it will take me a maximum of 3 months to complete their wedding portraits. And longer if they are getting a personally designed wedding album to accompany the images.
BBB: Do you work with any assistant(s)?
Poteat: I do work with assistants. Many of my couples pick the packages that come with a second or even third photographer. This is done of course to ensure everything is captured on that day. I strongly encourage this approach, as it’s best to have more than less of beautiful images. And with all the little details that happen, so much can get lost with just one photographer.
BBB: Do you also shoot engagement sessions?
Poteat: Yes. I use them as my “introduction” to the couple. It gives me a chance to see what type of couple I have…and see their comfort level in front of the lens.
BBB: What are the top three mistakes couples make when booking wedding photographers?
· They book on price and not on talent.
· They don’t ask to see samples of the photographers work in print as well as online. Sometimes a picture can look amazing online, but printed…It can look quite bad. It is all about how the image was shot, the resolution and the ability for that picture to be framed in a large scale and not look distorted.
· They have a vision of their wedding that’s clearly not the style of the photographer and risk having a difference of opinion when the images are taken. Look at the work of the photographer and decide if that’s your style.
BBB: What are the best ways to choose a wedding day photographer? (The Web, word of mouth, bridal mags…)
Poteat: My business is 90% word of mouth. People want a reference for something so important to them. The Web is good for following up on that reference.
BBB: What are three questions every couple should ask a perspective photographer before booking them to shoot their nuptials?
· Ask for samples of the photographer’s work in person. (online and print)
· Ask what type of equipment the photographer uses and if they’re comfortable in low-light settings.
· Ask about their comfort levels with situations that may clash with the comfort of the couple.(i.e. gay wedding, multi-cultural wedding, etc.)
For more information on Leonard Poteat (including details on how to book him), visit his Web site here.
Be sure to check out this video containing gorgeous images of a wedding Poteat recently shot!