How do you find a wedding photographer to trust with your wedding? Once you start looking, its all a bit bewildering- there are just so many! But with a little preparation you will be far better equipped to judge what you are looking at – and it is so important that you invest that time at this stage, and don’t just wish you had done so later.
It’s easy to pick out the really bad, but differentiating the averagely good from the really good can sometimes be harder at first glance. There is a lot of difference between someone who knows how to use a camera and can take some great shots, and an experienced professional who can deliver a beautiful wedding. The trick, of course, is to spot one from the other…
So instead of being wowed by pretty websites try considering separating up the parts and marking them on four criteria:
The Style -The Person -The Experience – The Product.
Just start looking at websites. What kind of photography speaks to you, and makes you say ‘THAT’S what I want”?
Be sure to look closely – are you sure that the beautifully posed images you’re looking at are from real weddings? How much of your wedding day will be absorbed by the photographer to create them? Do you prefer a relaxed photojournalistic style where very few people know the camera is there?
Above all else, make sure your chosen photographer produces images that make you feel something.
Weddings are demanding and stressful and Hard Work. The only way to do it successfully is to be truly passionate about what you are doing. It takes a special kind of person to photograph 40+ weddings a year, and remain creative and excited about their job; to not only tenderly capture the most intimate of gazes as vows are made, but to organise 150 people for a group shot and keep everyone laughing; never forgetting there’s Only One Chance to get it right.
Professional photographers take their business and their profession seriously – this is no ‘hobby money’ for them. They charge a fee based fairly on their overheads, experience and expertise.
Quite simply, it takes experience to understand and anticipate the Wedding Day. But it also takes experience to understand and anticipate the needs of the couple before and after the day too – good old-fashioned Service.
Employ a novice building their portfolio, or a part-timer who has a ‘real life’ job with other commitments, by all means – but make sure you do so knowingly, and pay accordingly.
A professional photographer is the only wedding supplier to work the whole wedding day, from before you slip your dress on all the way through to the dancing shoes. A good wedding photographer will have attended potentially 100’s of weddings, and is something of a wedding expert by default – and will gladly share the vast amount of ‘insider’ knowledge they have gleaned along the way. That alone can be worth a fortune.
They understand the investment they need to make in each wedding, the amount of time they need to put into planning, in meeting you, in visiting the venue and everything else. Turning up an hour before the ceremony with your order of service clutched in their hand, and just following you around from there doesn’t really cut it.
What you ‘get’ should actually be your last decision criteria. If the first three aren’t right, no amount of goodies in section four will make your wedding photography better. Ultimately, the photography has to be at the heart of your decision. You have ONE CHANCE to get the images to put in your Wedding Album that will be looked at for generations to come. Get those images right, and all will be well. Get them wrong, and no amount of photo shopping & special effects, nor parent albums, DVD’s, Guest books and personalised calendars will correct them for you.
If the photography is great, the album can wait a year.
Think about these points as you interview your photographers, and you should be well on the way to choosing the right Wedding Photographer for you…
1 – Does their style of imagery ‘sing’ to you? Is it creating a unique story for each wedding, rather than a formula with different people in the same shots? Is it making you shout that this is the way you want YOUR wedding photographs to be?
2 – Do you immediately warm to the photographer? Is he passionate about what he does? Above all – do you trust him? Do you totally believe he can handle whatever your day brings him, with a smile on his face and a calm, relaxed manner?
3 – Is the business a professional one? Does the photographer run an established practice, does he provide clear contracts, detailing the obligations and undertakings of both parties?
4 – If you remove all the peripheral ‘product’ from your package, would you still be happy just with the photography you expect to receive?