Deciding on Which Wedding Photographer Is Right for You

First of all, the single most important thing about the photographer you hire is just how well you as the client and he/she as the service provider get along. Its important that both parties be able to communicate comfortably, the reason why I say so is because if both parties get along then the quality of communication between them is sufficient for both parties to understand their needs, fears and desires. This goes without saying if you’re a photographer, especially if you’re a photographer who makes their living out of photographing people. If I were an animal or pet photographer, it’d be most important that I get along with animals…

The next most important thing is, obviously, the quality of the photographers work, and this is a very subjective topic. What one person regards as good photography, is not necessarily what everybody else would consider good, this explains why there are so many wedding photographers who are quite frankly bad photographers (or not real photographers at all) but still seem to make boat loads of cash doing it. If you’re happy hiring someone who creates mediocre imagery by over-photoshopping their pictures, by all means hire them. On the other hand if its important to you that you continue to admire your wedding photographs years later, then try to look for someone who creates work that really impresses you.

In order to spot someone who claims to be a wedding photographer but is actually just a poser, or not experienced enough, there are a few things to look for in their work that are telling signs. These are a few of them:

  1. Look for pictures that were taken with head on flash. In other words, a picture taken with the flash while the flash is attached directly to the top of the camera. What this does is create unflattering light because the light from the flash is coming from the same direction from where the picture is being taken from. It requires quite a bit of experience with a TTL enabled flash to bounce the light from the flash off of walls and ceilings effectively thus creating a more flattering appearance of those photographed.
  2. Look for pictures that look as if the wedding took place in dark room. It requires experience to balance the light coming out of the flash with the ambient light in the room. An amateur will underexpose the ambient light in their exposure making the background in the image pitch black, which is very ugly.
  3. Poor cropping is another sign of inexperience. If you’re not a photographer this might be a little difficult to spot, but if the important elements in the image are not arranged in a nice way in the picture, the photographer is probably not experienced.
  4. The Decisive Moment. This is an obvious one, if a lot of the pictures have people in them that were half way through blinking their eyes at the moment the picture was taken, don’t hire this person. Being able to see a moment in which a good photo can be taken and then taking the picture at that exact moment, is a skill someone is born with, if this person does not have this skill, don’t hire them.

To finish off, the most important factor in photography is, LIGHT. If the photographer can prove a beautiful and flattering style in their use of light, you will most likely end up with wedding photographs that you’d want to brag about. And as a photographer I can tell you, that it is very satisfying if you find out through the grapevine that a former client of yours was bragging about their wedding photos.

Keep your wits about you and don’t just sign with the first photographer you meet with.

How To Choose A Wedding Photographer For Your Wedding

How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

As your wedding day is booked, the venue, the car, and all those good things that make your wedding day a day to remember, and in that list one of the most important things to remember to do is to book the photographer. It is his or her duty to capture those precious moments on in your wedding photographs that you will have for the rest of your life. But when it comes to choosing your photographer how can you be sure you have found the right one?

Interview Your Wedding Photographers

A good photographer will know how to get the best from the wedded couple and their guests and will be able to select the best light and backgrounds for the photographs. When you meet a photographer who may potentially be the photographer for your wedding, ask about creativity and his or her suggestion for creating the wedding album in terms of style of images. The photographer you choose has a role that goes beyond simply taking pictures. A good photographer will know how to create opportunities and scenarios that will create interesting and fun images. Remember, your idea of fun may not be the same as your photographer. For example, at a recent wedding I photographed the Bride was picked up and held by the Groom and the Groom’s Men and the Father’s of the Bride and Groom while she reclined in their arms. This is a common image, but not one that I personally would ever suggest as it is just not my idea of either a nice image or a fun thing to do. However, it is what they wanted and I was happy to go along with the show.

Your Photographer’s Personality

This brings me to the next important thing to remember, the wedding is your day, not the photographers, this is a day for you to have fun and have a good time. People relate differently various personality types. Choose a friendly wedding photographer that can make you smile, one who can sense the mood of the guests and allow things to flow naturally and with a sense of joy for the occasion. This will make photographs look more natural and relaxed.

Try to have a pre-wedding photo shoot, this will help you to understand your photographer and more importantly him to understand you and how you feel in front of the camera. With the exception of your partner you will spend more time with the photographer than with any one else on the day of your wedding, so make sure you can get on well with him or her.

Evaluate Portfolios

What is the most beautiful picture in the world? You may have an answer, but another person may disagree with you because the answer is subjective. The old saying is true ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’ The portfolio of any good wedding photographer will look good to most people; you must make sure it looks good to you. Look at their portfolio to make sure that the photographer’s style reflects your own style and creativity. If a set of images or a sample album looks good, ask to see all the photographs from that wedding. If the photographer has visited you at your home and this requires a seconded visit, then so be it.

Get Estimates

Most wedding photographers suggest different “packages”, allowing you to select a deal that will best suit your budget. Compare the pricing packages of several photographers to find your best option for evaluating the price along with all the other factors, including quality of their work, reviews by other clients, their flexibility and personality. Don’t just go for the cheep and cheerful option either; you are paying for talent and ability.

A Flexible Approach

A photographer should be flexible with their timetable for the day. Make sure that they will be around through both wedding and reception if you need them to be. A good photographer will only book one wedding on any one day, as he or she will know that things can go wrong and the photographer may need to stay a little longer.

As a photographer I have taken guests to the reception because the taxi has not arrived. Gone and collected gas and balloons to decorate the hall, stayed later than anticipated (recently by six hours) because there has been a problem with guests or family and the photos would not have been taken if we had stuck to the original agreement. For all of these things there was no extra charge, as it is all part of the service that a photographer should provide if he or she is both flexible and personable.

Check The Paperwork

There are three or possibly four things it is worth checking with your photographer, and dare I say you should ask to see the evidence of. I can only speak from a British Photographers Point of view on this as other countries will have different organisation and rules, but still check!

First, check the photographer’s Public Liability Insurance Policy, if Great Aunt Agnes trips on the tripod and fractures her hip is the photographer covered?

Second, check the photographer’s Professional Indemnity Insurance; if the photographer looses all your photos can you get compensation?

Third, is the photographer a member of a professional body like the British Institute of Professional Photographers? Ask to see his or her ID

Fourth, is the photographer’s car covered adequately with breakdown cover? If his or her car does not start will they get to your wedding?

Finally, if you do find you need help with those little extras like taking guests to the reception venue, ask if the photographer’s car insurance covers business, because if not, then your guests will not be insured to travel in the car.

5 Things Couples Must Consider When Choosing Their Wedding Photographer

Planning a wedding can be quite overwhelming and as your ‘to do’ list keeps growing, it is easy to make rash decisions when it comes to some of the most important aspects of your special day. Choosing the right wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will have to make as it is the photographer that will capture some of the fondest memories of the big day.

There are 5 important considerations that you need to take into account when choosing your wedding photographer so that you can be assured that he or she will be there to capture every moment of this big day and provide you with quality photographs.

The Experience and Portfolio of the Photographer

Every photographer that you interview should present you with a portfolio so that you can look through the photographs of weddings that they have attended and photographed. Browsing through these portfolios will give you an idea about the style that they work with, and whether the style of photography is more or less what you are looking for in a photographer. Take your time as you go through each of the photos to get an idea about how thorough the photographer is with his or her shoots. What types of pictures were taken throughout the day? Was there a nice variety of couple shots and shots with family and friends? Did the photographer do a good job in choosing poses for the various pictures? How many of the pictures were posed and how many were candid?

Who Is Going to Be Taking the Photographs?

When couples meet with a photography agency, many of them assume that the photographer they speak to will be the one who takes their pictures on their wedding day, but this is not always true. There are many companies that work with multiple photographers, and some of them even contract work to freelance photographers, so you will need to ask your photography company about the photographer that will be working on your wedding shoot. If you are going to sign a contract, make sure they stipulate who will be taking the photos.

The Cost of the Shoot and the Printing

While some photographers charge for their services by the hour, others will charge for the entire shoot, so you need to know exactly how much you are going to pay at the end of the day to ensure that you are not overcharged. If the photographer is charging by the hour, make sure that you are aware of the cost of the printing or whether you are paying for the whole package. When I first considered starting a photography business this was the one area I personally found the most difficult to get right, as I wanted to price myself appropriately!

Candid or posed photographs

There are many photographers who are extremely flexible with their choice of styles, and they will shoot just about any types of photographs you want on your wedding day, but this is not true of all of them. There are those photographers who will refuse to take candid photographs, and if this is the style you are looking for, then you need to know what to expect before they show up with a camera in hand on your special day. Be specific about what you are looking for, and do not be afraid to disagree with a photographer when discussing your wedding photos; after all, it is going to be one of the biggest days of your life.

Deposits and Cancellations

Preparing for the worst is what wedding planning is all about and this is no different when it comes to your photographer. Read the fine print of the contract and make sure that you are aware of the procedures if the photographer fails to show up on the day of the wedding, especially if you are going to be paying a deposit. In the event that your chosen photographer cancels on the last minute, make sure that you are aware of who will be taking their place, or if there will be a replacement at all. Never rely on promises or spoken agreements between you and your photographer, because courts will only be interested in what was written in the contract.