(Featured picture of Rita: by Petra Dajka / Willow visuals.]
Hey guys! Today we have the huge privilege of meeting up with Rita Miklan, a Helsinki-based photographer specializing in lifestyle wedding and portrait photography. We love her dedication towards the profession and her eye for details. Enjoy the interview!
TH: Hello Rita! Can you tell us more about yourself and your profession as a wedding photographer?
Rita: I’m from Hungary, and I fell in love with Finland when I was really young. I moved here in 2009 and started my business in 2011, but I have been doing photography since 2006. I do portrait photography – which includes wedding, maternity, newborn, engagement, and boudoir photography.
TH: Do you have any tips for couples to tell whether a wedding photographer is reliable in Finland?
Rita: First check the website. Is the website up to date? Are there photographs on the website? If there is social media, are they active on those accounts? Are there recommendations on their social media accounts? You can also check for reviews.
Next, it is important to look for a contract, because a reliable photographer will always want to sign a contract with you. The photographer runs a business, and there is a need for both parties to understand the terms and conditions well. This is so that there is an unambiguous understanding of what I am offering as a photographer, and what they are buying as a client.
After all, the clients are paying quite a bit of money, and there is a need to protect both parties from malpractices and bad consequences. Some essential terms include payment schedule, liabilities, use of the photographs, what happens if the clients cancel, what happens if a tornado comes…
My contract is not that long actually, it is just a few pages, and the purpose is to ensure that both myself and the client are on the same page. This is so that couples know:
-what they are getting;
-when they are getting it;
-when and how they are making payment;
-how many photographs to expect; and
-how many hours I am approximately putting in as a professional wedding photographer.
Signing a contract is there to clarify expectations and to be clear about what the photographer is offering at a given price. The contract exists also to protect the couple. If there isn’t a contract, basically the photographer can cancel anytime without any consequences. Also, regarding the use of photographs, I keep the copyrights, so the contract is to communicate that as well.
Signing a contract protects the client as much as the photographer.
TH: As a side note, do you give raw photographs to your clients?
Rita: No, but I give them high resolution, edited photos.
TH: How can a couple choose a photographer that is most suitable for them?
Rita: I actually make it a point to meet up with the couple so that I know who they are, and they know who I am. Of course, there is a lot of information about me online, but what the personal meeting does is to establish a personal connection.
You know, especially for wedding photography, it is good to meet with the couple and see if you can communicate easily, or have a good feeling about each other. The couple will be working with the photographer for a whole day so it’s important that they like who they hire.
It is also important to like the style of the photographer. There are some couples who choose a photographer based solely on the price. While prices are important, because nobody has unlimited budget, I wouldn’t recommend to make price the sole consideration. It’s important to pick someone who’s style you really like.
To sum up: Be okay with the price, the photographer, and the style of photographs.
TH: What percentage of a couple’s wedding budget would you recommend them to spend on wedding photography in Finland?
Rita: It really depends, I would say anywhere from 5-15%? It depends on a lot of factors, such as how many guests you have, how highly you value the wedding photography, and your priorities.
To me as a wedding photographer, wedding photography is about memories. After the makeup is taken off, the flowers wilt, and the day is gone, it is the memories of the wedding that stays.
However, I do understand the struggle couples face over budget. You know, if you are holding a big wedding, a huge part of the budget goes into the venue, the food and the drinks. And then you have to think about the decorations, and sometimes the flowers can get really expensive. And if you are hiring a wedding stylist, they can of course help you with the decorations, but that would add to the costs too.
Of course there are unexpected costs too that were previously not taken into consideration—such as the mailing costs of invitation cards, for instance. Postage alone can go up to hundreds of Euros, for example.
So the percentage of budget spent on wedding photography really depends on what the couple’s priorities are.
TH: Have you had any funny/out-of-the-world requests from couples before?
Rita: Haha, not really! But as a creative, sometimes we ask couples to do funny things! This is why it is important for the couple to trust the wedding photographer, because what seems strange to the couple might turn out really well on the photos.
TH: What are common mistakes that couples make regarding photoshoots? Can you give some examples?
Rita: One of the mistakes made is not during the photoshoot, but during the planning of the photoshoot and it’s not leaving enough time for portraits. I encourage couples to allocate more time for taking their portraits, because then it would give me more time to be creative, and them more time to relax. If there is not enough time, the experience might be stressful and rushed.
Another common mistake would be the insistence on perfection. To be honest, most weddings do not go according to the original plans—things often go off the rails. It is more important to enjoy your wedding day as it unfolds.
TH: What are some of the common misconceptions couples have about wedding photographers/ wedding photography?
Rita: One misconception is that wedding photography is easy, and it is just taking photos. Actually, it is much more than just taking photos.
The process of a wedding photographer starts with a lot of preparation already well before the actual wedding day, and there is a lot of work also to be done after the wedding. It actually is time consuming and takes a lot of skill. As a wedding photographer you have to be a bit like a wedding planner yourself and keep a lot of things in mind. You are also responsible for your whole business which can be really complex.
TH: What matters most to you as a wedding photographer?
Rita: It matters to me to keep on improving my skills, to learn more and more about wedding photography, and also about the aspects of running a business. I often attend photography workshops, and conferences. I don’t think that a photographer is ever done learning.
It also matters very much to me to care about the couple I am working with. I think that no wedding professional is in this business only for the money — at the end of the day we have great passion towards the couple we are working with, and it is always a huge privilege to be a part of their big day and life journey.
TH: You mentioned that you also do Boudoir and maternity photography. Can you tell us more about these? Because they tend to be rather intimate photoshoots, aren’t they?
Rita: Yes, especially these two categories of photography.
When a woman comes in for a photoshoot, usually they haven’t been photographed that much. In fact, on many occasions they haven’t been photographed at all by professionals.
Therefore, it is important for the professional photographer to answer any doubts they might have and make them feel comfortable. It is important to me that the photoshoot goes on ideally as the client has envisioned it. It’s really up to them if they want to do nude photography, or wear lingerie— what is important is to be comfortable. It’s not something you would do everyday.
It is important that these women trust me and they are relaxed. This is so that I can do my best to photograph them in a way that shows off their silhouette at the best and most classy angles.
TH: What are some of the places you would recommend a couple to visit for their wedding photoshoot in Finland?
Rita: Finland is a beautiful country! If the couple likes nature, Finland is a really great place to be — there are forests and nice lakes everywhere, throughout the country. In Helsinki there are a couple of nice spots as well in the city centre, for instance the white church. Near Helsinki there is also Porvoo, which is a great town to take photographs at.
TH: Can you show us the most memorable wedding photo that you have ever shot, and let us know the story behind it?
Rita: It would be this photograph taken in Hungary.
Initially, this precious couple did not find it necessary to have wedding photographs taken for them, and I was invited as a guest to their wedding. This was because the bride was 6 months pregnant at that time, and she probably had other things to worry about apart from the wedding ceremony and wedding preparation process.
However, I insisted on taking their wedding photographs because the bride is my really good friend. I see myself as a person who values friendships, and I was happy that I could be part of their big day and give them these photographs as a fond memory of their marital union.
TH: Thank you for your time and useful tips today, Rita!
Rita: You’re welcome, and thank you for having me!
We hope you have enjoyed the interview with Rita! This interview is part of The Hieno Bride’s series.