Six Things You Should Think About Before Hiring Your Wedding Photographer

I’ve had lots of people recommended by friends, clients, family,… who wanted to hire me just because they knew me… And, although it always is nicer to work with someone you know or has been recommended by someone you know, you should always check their work first! Someone being very nice DOES NOT mean they take good (or bad) pictures!

  • If the photographer has been recommended, ask the person who recommended him how they know him: have they hired him, is he family, a friend? If they hired him did they have any kind of problem, what did they like best about his work?
  • You should also ask yourself: do you like this photographer’s style? Every one has a different “eye” and you may love images someone else won’t! They are several different wedding pictures styles: Wedding Photojournalism, with a focus on candid shots, Artsy ones, with more experimentation, or a more Classic approach, with an emphasis on photo quality and more prepared (posed shots, etc…)… Each style has its peaks, but only you can know which style represents you best!!
  • Do you think this particular photographer will be able to make you look your best? Photographs quality is one of the most important aspect of wedding photography: dark or unfocused shots are not what you should be looking at in a photographer portfolio. However, I have found myself looking at technically perfect shots, but with the bride or groom looking awful: the photographer’s interest should not only be taking beautiful photos but also to make you look your best!!
  • It also is a big plus to see at least one entire wedding sample (lots of wedding photographers have a blog or blog section on their websites where you will find them). Anyone can make a 30 pictures gallery with nice photos after having shot several weddings. But do they deliver enough good pictures for one wedding? Look for consistency, not only that one stunning shot you can see on a lot of wedding photography websites!!
  • Ask the photographer what his policy is about cancellation, delivery time, etc… And remember: it is always better to ask for a contract, even if you know the photographer: this way they will be no ambiguities about any of these questions!
  • A lot of people base their decision on the price: it is important, and will be a big part of why you picked your photographer. Just don’t let it be the main reason why you choose one photographer over the other: there is no miracle here: if you want quality you will have to pay for it… And a $300 USD price difference may also be the difference between good and bad pictures!

I hope this article will help you find your dream wedding photographer and that you will have the most beautiful images to remember your wedding day!!!

A Wedding Photographer’s Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

For some time now, I’ve had a suspicion that all is not well in the Wedding Photography industry. I’m a wedding photographer and I know all the tricks of “the business”. I’ve also been on the other side of the business helping friends and family choose a photographer for their wedding (I prefer to party at my friend’s weddings!)

So, with some suspicions, I surveyed a lot of married people and was astonished to find that 71 % of people said they were not happy with their wedding photographer. This was much higher than I was expecting. Furthermore, an astonishing 85% of respondents said they should have hired a better photographer and would do so if they had their time again.

Read that again, 85% of people were so disappointed in their photos they believe they should have hired a better photographer.

Clearly, something is not right in our industry.

I think there are a number of issues, I think its partly bad photographers, partly good photographers not handling expectations well, and partly couples who aren’t, and have no reason to be, experts at understanding this industry.

So here’s a little guide, by a wedding photographer, on how to choose the right wedding photographer. Note there are a million other things to consider but these are what I think are the essentials, if you get these right you will be less likely to be disappointed.

1. Style

Style is in many respects the easy thing to get right. You’ve looked online, read magazines, started a Pinterest account so you now know that you either want a photojournalist style, an editorial style, a retro style. Most photographers will have one style that they stick with so choosing a photographer who shoots the style you want is as simple as looking at the style they normally shoot in.

2. Quality

The second, and in many ways most important, decision you need to make is about the quality of photographer you want. I’m not talking about style here (documentary, photojournalism etc), or cost, I’m talking about the quality of the photographer. How many great photos do they take across the whole day.

Here’s an attempt to capture the range of possible photographers for your wedding:

# 1. Uncle Tom. He’s always loved taking ‘snaps’.
# 2. Jane’s cousin Pete. He’s a keen amateur who might have even studied photography once.
# 3. A “professional wedding photographer”, found online.
# 4. A “professional wedding photographer”, found online.

Wait, aren’t #3 and #4 the same? No, no, and no! I’d say 50-80% of “professional wedding photographers” are nothing more than con-men and women who think buying an expensive camera makes them professional. Buying a scalpel does not make you a surgeon. Becoming a #4 professional wedding photographer takes years of dedication to photography. It takes commitment and passion and a constant desire to improve your art.

So how can you tell the difference between #3 and #4 professionals?

#3 will bambooz you with a flashy website full of good images from different weddings, they may have slideshows set to music, they will be slick. They will offer you champagne and expensive brochures.

#4 will bambooz you with a flashy website full of great images from weddings, they may have slideshows set to music, they will be slick. They will offer you champagne and expensive brochures.

Notice the difference? There’s a key difference there. #3 will show you images from different weddings. #4 will show you images (especially if you ask) from ONE wedding. That’s the key difference. A #4 photographer should be able to get good or great quality images across the whole day, not just one of two good images for the entire day.

At Mr & Mrs Wedding Photography our website is designed to showcase three individual weddings, one from a beach, one in a church, and another a destination wedding. We hope this gives our potential clients a feel for the quality across the entire day that they can expect to receive.

So, my #1 tip in choosing the right photographer for your wedding is insist on seeing images from one wedding. That will give you a feel for how many good quality images you are likely to see after your wedding.

Which leads me to expectations.

3. Expectations

The first thing to know is that photographers, even true professionals with years of experience, are not superhuman, they will not get award-winning, magazine quality images of every single aspect of your day from 8am until midnight. It just doesn’t happen. If you are expecting stunning images from sunrise to sunrise, you will be disappointed.

Most #4 photographers will give you consistently good images across the entire day and this is what you should be aiming for. There should definitely be some great images in there, the sort you will be proud to hang up on your wall.

I know of two immensely expensive US based wedding photographers. Both are at the top of their game, are in huge demand, and both charge over US$25,000 for their basic packages. I’ve seen a full set of images from a single wedding and I can guarantee you, if you paid that much money and expected every single image to be a prize-winning image, you would be really disappointed. Some images are truly magnificent, most are really good, a large number are just ‘snaps’.

If you end up with 5-10 magnificent images, 30-90 or so really good photos, and the rest nice snaps, then you should be happy.

4. Cheap

Cheap is always cheap. Repeat after me: cheap is always cheap. If you pick a photographer because they are cheap you can expect the quality of your images to plummet. This might be all you can afford/budget for but don’t expect miracles and don’t expect to be anything but disappointed (particularly if you hope to share the images with your kids and grandkids some day).

Do keep in mind though that your wedding is a once in a lifetime event (usually) and it might seem like a good idea to skimp on photography but really after the day is finished, apart from memories, all you have left is the photos. Imagine your grandchildren sitting down to look at your wedding album and seeing cheap photos. Is that worth it?

5. A recommendation from a friend

If you’ve seen you’re friends wedding photos (all of them) and like them then this might be a good way to go. However keep in mind a few things. 1) Did you see all the photos? 2) How long ago did your friend get married (has the photographer aged in energy or style) 3) Ask your friend what the worst thing about the experience with that photographer was – if they suggest irrelevant things like they didn’t like the package the images came in, then that’s probably fine, if the photographer missed a key photo, that’s not fine.

Don’t take a recommendation as proof that the photographer is everything you want for your wedding, refer back to points 1-4.

Conclusion…

Take these points as a starting point. There is way to find the right photographer for your wedding and I hope this helps in some way.

Professional Wedding Photographers – Advice on Choosing

Let’s face it getting married is one of the biggest and hopefully happiest days of your life. To guarantee that all goes according to plan, you want reliable professionals. Most of these wedding business exist to make sure the day itself goes well. The wedding photography, on the other hand, takes on a greater meaning in the days, weeks, month and even years that follow. It is important that your photographer is able to capture all that love and laughter and enable those happy memories to come flooding back with every turn of your wedding album page. So what are the advantages of hiring true professional wedding photographers for your marriage service and how do you tell them from the rest of the pack?

Reliability. True professional wedding photographers will have spent many years building up their reputation. Do you think they would let all that labour go to waste by being unreliable? Of course not. For a wedding photographer their number one priority should be to ensure they arrive on time. Having a fully documented “system” helps ensure that timings are known, and all photographic systems double checked. Once your memories have been captured they should be safely stored on different media, in different locations. Before booking ask your photographer when was their first wedding? How many have they photographed since then? What plans do they have in place in case of illness or transport breakdown? Finally, what do they do to ensure the safety of your images once they have been taken?

Quality. If you do something often enough, whatever that is, you should improve, makes sense, doesn’t it? But years of experience give couples like you more benefit than just better looking photographs. One benefit to you should be in the quality of wedding albums offered. The album considered by Wedding Photographers to be the best in the World is the story book album. This Album is usually hand made by craftsmen. So, before booking, be sure to ask if your photographer is a member of a professional body. In the UK this can be the M.P.A, the B.I.P.P or the S.W.P.P. Ask to see some testimonials, thank you cards or reviews on line. Ask how many years they have been using their albums for and why did they choose that particular manufacturer.

Organisation. Imagine having the best photographer in the world at your wedding. Now imagine that they have no rapport with you or your guests, so how are they going to get your guests in position for that photograph? For this reason one of the most important skills your professional wedding photographers must have is the ability to organisation. And the organisation of your guests has to be done in a respectful manner, rather than barking out orders! Being organised and efficient goes hand in hand, after all you don’t want to spend all day, away from your guests. And you certainly don’t want guests complaining about the amount of time the photographs took. Before booking did your photographer ascertain who at the wedding were the important people? Did they sort out a list of the photographs you want? Did they offer advice on how long the process would take?

Friendly. Sounds obvious, sadly, even some professional wedding photographers fail at this challenge. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is far easier to get your guests correctly positioned by asking them nicely, rather than ordering them around. Getting to know the whole bridal party and both families makes it a lot easier to get natural photographs. Who wants to be told to smile all day?! A laugh and a joke, a funny story and people smile naturally. Quite often I am asked which side does the Grooms button hole go. It’s not about being the photographer, it’s about being the go to wedding guy (or girl). Please do make sure, no matter how brilliant or how cheap your photographer is, that then have a personality that is easy to get along with.

Flexible. This indicates your photographers philosophy. Some photographers say these are my packages, pick one. Some say you can’t have a printable DVD. Some say, of course you cannot have photographs taken by your guests in my wedding album! And that hits the nail right on the head. They think it is their wedding album. A great wedding photography company should switch that around, it is your wedding and certainly your wedding album! Yes, packages should be available, but they should be more a la carte rather than fixed menu. Meaning you can swap parts around so that you get the exact service you want. Whilst you may not need this much flexibility, do make sure that your photographer is flexible enough to offer EVERYTHING you want.

Guarantee. Look for photographers that have been in business for a good number of years. Ten years of actually taking wedding photographs, easily beats 3 years doing a degree at University! Photographers with years of experience should be able to guarantee you reliability and quality. Your guarantees should even include things like turning up smartly dressed! Another important one is that your proof photographs will be ready to view in days not weeks or months!. Make sure that you have in writing, everything that you have agreed to.