Tips on How to Pick Your Wedding Photographer

Time to make that big decision!

Oh boy! So confusing! You just got engaged and so many things are running through your head. What date to get married on? Where to get married? Do we want to have the ceremony at one place and the reception at another? What wedding colors? The guest list? Oh my gosh, the guest list! Sounds like a lot of important decisions need to be made before the big day arrives.

You will probably start searching the internet, join a wedding web site, and buy a few wedding magazines. If you are lucky enough, you will live in a city that has a bridal show or two for you to check out. All of these things are an important part of the process and will help with choosing all of your wedding vendors and putting all the pieces together. One of the biggest of those decisions is going to be choosing the right wedding photographer. With that in mind, let’s look at a few things you should consider before making your choice.

One of the first things you are going to notice when looking for your wedding photographer is his or her’s photographic style or technique. Assuming that the photographer is technically proficient and capable, (which they should be, otherwise they shouldn’t be telling people they are a wedding photographer) the style of photography that you choose is a very personal decision. There are traditional or portraiture styles which tend to lean towards very posed, formal shots. These are very popular with Moms, Dads and grandparents. Very nice. Very traditional. There is the natural light and soft focus styles. These are very popular for weddings. Natural light style photography is pretty self explanatory. Your photographer will use the natural light at a particular location or setting to capture your photographs. This could be on the beach at sunset or next to a lake with the fog rolling over it. Soft focus style tends to be very dream like and romantic. Most of these techniques are done after the initial photographs are taken in the post production part of your wedding photography. Last but not least is the photojournalism style. This is very popular nowadays. Your photographer will capture you in the most natural settings throughout the wedding day. This style tends to look more like snapshots and less like the shots were posed for. It is nice to mix traditional portraiture and photojournalism to get the best of both of those worlds.

Your photographer’s personality is another big thing to consider. As you interview different photographers, you will be able to see if this is someone you are going to enjoy having around on the big day. Are they personable and friendly? Will they be able to work quickly with you and your entire families to get what you want? You want a photographer who is going to do great work and make it an enjoyable experience for the both of you and you families.

Is your photographer prepared for the unexpected? Does he or she have back up equipment in case of an equipment failure? I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. The last thing you want is for your photographer to come to you and try to explain why they missed that all important moment because their camera failed. Do they have a back up photographer in case they are ill or there is an emergency? You never know what life might throw at someone at the last minute but it is nice to know that your photographer has someone to cover for them or will assist you in getting someone if they have to bow out a day or two before the event.

Does the photographer you choose have good follow through and business skills? Do they answer your emails and phone calls promptly? It is important to get back with your clients within 24 hours or the same day if possible. Nowadays, unless you are stuck in the Sahara Desert with no wi-fi, there is no reason for a vendor to not get back to their client in a timely manner. After the wedding is over will you be updated and informed about your photography? How long will it be until my online gallery is up? How long will it take to do the post production on the chosen images? How long will it take to get my wedding album? Make sure your photographer is keeping you in the loop.

How much will it cost? Ahhh, the age old question. A good question considering how tough it is for people financially right now and how much a wedding can cost. You can spend anywhere from $500 to $5000 on your wedding photography so let us not forget the difference between price and value. Yes, you will have a budget for your wedding and only a certain amount you would like spend on your photographer. Keeping that in mind I think it is important to make sure that you try and get the best value for your money. Does the photographer your are thinking of using meet the criteria you have laid out? Do you like his or her’s style of photography? Do you like their personality? Are they going to be fun and enjoyable to have around on your big day? Are they prepared for the unexpected? Are they going to keep you in the loop and perform in a professional manner? If they are all of those things but just a little more expensive then the next photographer, then you might consider what you are getting for your money. Most wedding photographers are able to put together a package that will suit your needs. If you like one photographer but they are a little more expensive than another that you spoke with, you might try and adjust your photography package a bit so it falls within what you consider to be a good value. That might mean not getting the DVD of the images and only buying the prints you want online. It might mean having the photographer you really want for a shorter period of time on the wedding day. Most good photographer are more than willing to help you find a photography package that will work for you.

Well, there you go. Just a little food for thought for when it comes to making the big decision. It is a privilege as a photographer to be a part of such a wonderful event. Remember, your wedding day is one of the most joyous days of your life. Enjoy every moment leading up to it!

Wedding Photography Gear: A Check List of Equipment Every Wedding Photographer Needs

Being asked to be a Wedding Photographer is a huge responsibility! Someone has trusted YOU with capturing the memories of what could be the biggest day of their lives!

Have you got the right gear to get the job done?

Gear can be a bit of a sensitive topic and every photographer is different. Some prefer Canon, other prefer Nikon. Some prefer zoom lenses, others prefer prime lenses. And some photographers are just starting out and don’t know what they need. So, I have created this article to give an outline of the gear I take with me to every wedding and that I feel is crucial and could not live without!

Firstly I use Canon gear and ONLY use zoom lenses. A lot of my friends like to use prime lenses and we often have fun battling about the pros and cons of both options, and for me, I’m a zoom lens kind of guy.

The battle of the zoom lens Vs the prime lens

Here are 6 super important reasons why I prefer to use zoom lenses over prime lenses:

1. Firstly, I can shoot 95% of the wedding on just 2 lenses.

2. It saves me from having to shoot using 2 cameras.

3. I feel more prepared with a zoom lens to get ‘the shot’ when it appears in a split second.

4. It gives the look of my images more variety. For example, I can shoot the same subject while quickly zooming in and out, and the two images will look completely different.

5. It’s also just way quicker to use, instead of running in and out, I can simply just zoom in and out (within reason)

6. And my last reason is simply, this is the way I learnt to shoot weddings and just feel way more comfortable using zoom lenses. Again, everyone is different and everyone has their own style, so it’s simply just my preferred way of shooting a wedding

Checklist: 13 MUST-HAVE things for every wedding!

OK, so this bag (LowPro Pro Roller x300 AW) comes with me on every shoot. Check out what’s inside:

1. Canon 5D MK3 (with battery grip)

My trusty workhorse! An absolutely fantastic camera that does everything I need it to do to shoot weddings. There are definitely better camera’s out there, but for what I need it for, and at this price range it is the BEST!

2. Canon 5D MK2 (backup camera body just in case)

This was my old camera before I upgraded to the Canon 5D mk3. The perfect backup camera, which hopefully I will never need to use!

3. Canon 24mm – 70mm f/2.8 (series 2)

The lens I absolutely could not live without and most used in my whole kit. The series 2 is also a big improvement on the series 1, providing noticeably sharper images.

4. Canon 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 IS (series 2)

The second most used lens in my kit and another that I could not live without! This lens comes in two versions, with image stabiliser and a cheaper version without. If I could give one point of advice, it’s DEFINITELY worth forking out for the IS.

5. Canon 100mm macro f/2.8

I mainly use this lens for all my detail shots as the macro lets me get up close and personal with the item and also gives the images a super nice soft drop off. Just be careful to check your images on the back of the camera to make sure the thing that you want to have in focus, is actually in focus. If you miss by a millimetre, your whole shot will be ruined!

6. Canon 17mm – 40mm f/4

This is a great lens that I use to get a lot of my ‘epic’ shots. The wide angle is amazing and can give you some really dramatic shots. Also great when you’re shooting in a crowd after the ceremony and on the D-floor in the reception. Personally I couldn’t justify the additional $1500 for the 16mm – 35mm f/2.8

7. Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT flash

I just upgraded from the 580ex and basically can’t tell the difference. I’m sure there are more and better features, but I just use it on ETTL and bounce the light around. Works perfectly, as did the 580ex.

8. Spare camera batteries

Always bring spare batteries with you to every wedding! Luckily I have never needed to use them yet as I always charge my batteries the night before, but still for the peace of mind it worth having.

9. Canon battery charger

Also have never needed to use this on a wedding yet as everything is already charged, but it’s nice to have just in case you need to do some emergency charging. Remember with the battery grip you can charge one battery while still being able to shoot with the other in your grip.

10. Spare AA batteries and charger for Speedlite flash

Now these are probably more important than the spare camera batteries. I find I’m way more likely to run out of flash power, especially on some of the longer days, so a spare set of fully charged AA’s is a must!

11. Card folder with 1x 8gig, 2x 16gig and 1x 32gig sandisk memory cards

To be honest I should actually have 1 more card in my kit. I find it is best to have 1 card for every different section of the day, groom coverage, bride coverage, ceremony, locations and reception. That way if worst case scenario you end up with a corrupt card, you have only lost a section of the day, not the WHOLE day!!

12. Little baggie with lens cloth and elinchrom flash trigger inside

I find it just nice to have a little bag to put random little stuff in.

13. Business cards!!

Always thinking about marketing, so give out your business cards!!

Stuff I take to give my images that extra punch!

So apart from everything that is in my camera bag, a few extra bits and pieces make it on the list as well! These things are not crucial but I still like to take them to every wedding so I can use them if I want to.

1. Elinchrom Quadra – An amazing 400 watt portable studio flash unit that’s totally easy to use and transport. It also allows me to take some of the photos you see below. This flash has helped me define my ‘style’ as a wedding photography and I use it at almost every wedding. Remember, I don’t use assistants or second shooters on a wedding, but still easily manage use this flash without any headaches. Here is a link to the Elinchrom Quadra official site if you want to read more about it.

2. Dido Video Light – A super awesome warm light that I use almost at every wedding to create really moody shots. I use the light generally during the morning coverage at the grooms house and brides house, sometimes at receptions to get a bit of flare during the dancing, and if we go to any bars or clubs on locations. Works a treat!! Check out the effect below.

3. My trusty little step ladder! I use this 95% of the time for the group photo of all the guests after the wedding ceremony. A bit of a hassle to carry and travel with as it takes up a decent amount of room in the car, but a must have piece of equipment if you’re doing group photos. Without it you might be stuck standing on a chair, which doesn’t give you the height you need, or looking for a tree to climb.

4. Lastly, not exactly something you need to bring with you, but something worth preparing, always have enough petrol in the car to get you through the day.

Thanks so much for reading!

Thanks so much for reading my post about wedding photography gear, a detailed MUST-HAVE checklist of everything you need to take to every wedding!!

How Can You Look For The Best Wedding Photographers?

It is easy to find the best of everything on the internet and if you are looking for the best wedding photographers, you can use some of the search engines online and you will find many. You can also get a lot of tips online to know how you can choose one of the best photographers, but make sure when you do, you find one within your area. It will be best for you to look for a photographer in your own area because this will make it easy for the photographer to reach and depart from the venue in time. Here are a few things you can do to distinguish the best photographer from the rest:

A Good Photographer Will Have Reasons for His/Her Photography Rates

Some people just love to take advantage of the area and market. You might find many photographers who are new but have very high charges for wedding photography, just because the market for wedding photography in that area is high. However, high prices never guarantee a good quality service or product. When you talk to the best wedding photographers, they will have their fair reasons for whatever prices they are charging to the customers. Most of the times, it should be their experience and success rate or artistic style of wedding photography. They will back their pricing with some authentic proofs instead of just talking.

They Will Keep Things Clear

Pricing is a matter that is discussed between a customer and a seller all the time. When you talk to a photographer, you will definitely look into the pricing and discuss your options, which is a good practice. However, there are things that often get overlooked when you are laying too much stress on pricing only. To distinguish betweenthe best wedding photographers and the rest, always keep an eye on what information is you being provided to you. A truly professional photographer will tell you clearly about the fees, additional fees, his equipment, terms, conditions and his compliance to your requirements. You don’t want to know that you can’t upload a picture on your public profile unless you have the photographer’s watermark on it, do you?

Will Have A Nice Portfolio

While you are looking for the best wedding photographers, let your artistic side be a little active or simply have someone along who has a little photography experience and who could help you with your decisions. You should be able to make a good decision by looking at the portfolio of the photographer, but there is a tricky and clever way of evaluating a portfolio too. Don’t go for the individual artistic shots taken by the photographer. They have probably been picked from various albums, because they were the best shots. Look for complete albums; first photo to the last in order to get an idea of focus, concentration, consistency and constancy of the pictures.