The 10 Biggest Mistakes Made When Choosing a Wedding Photographer

There is one thing that every couple must do when planning a wedding, and that is finding the right photographer. This may not be as easy as you think, as a lot of things depend on the photographer. You want to make sure you make the best decision since you will only get one chance at this. Having someone who captures this priceless day is important. So make sure you do not make the mistakes listed below when you are searching for your wedding photographer.

1. Having the Thoughts that All Photographers are Equal

As you know, no one is the same as anyone else. This is especially true when it comes to photographers. To get this point through, think of your favorite sport, and now think of the top two players. Notice how these players are both great, but have their own style.

2. Choosing a Photographers Based On Their Price

Choosing the cheapest or most expensive photographer, does not guarantee you they quality. You may choose the cheapest photographer and get the best quality, or choose the most expensive and get the worse quality.

3. Thinking the Right Gear With Get Great Results

Just because the photographer you choose carries around the best equipment, does not mean they are an expert using it. These expensive cameras come with a lot of great features, but unless your photographer is skilled on the equipment, these features mean nothing,

4. Letting Friends and Relatives Take the Pictures For You, and Expecting Professional Results

It is always nice to have your friends and family take pictures at your wedding, but remember that taking professional pictures needs experience. Even if your favorite Uncle does have the best camera, if he is not experienced, these pictures will not be professional.

5. Cutting Your Photographers Time

A lot of times we want a lot in a little bit of time. If you want family pictures or pictures of the wedding party, make sure you schedule time for it. If you try to get everyone together and rush the photographer to take the pictures fast, you are more than likely going to get bad results. Know who you want pictures taken of, and make time for it. Make sure you tell your photographer the must have pictures well in advance. Having a time schedule will give your photographer and chance to organize and take great pictures.

6. You Entertain Too Many Photographers

Though price shopping with a number of different service providers is often a good idea, with photography this is not necessarily so.

A good photographer often has an already established client base and relies more on word of mouth than on advertising or on overly competitive prices. Many quality photographers will not even consider lowering rates for a price shopper. While it is important to get a good price and to stay within budget for photography services, it is even more important to have a professional experience and a high quality product.

7. You Sign the Paperwork Without Looking it Over First

It is not only one of the biggest mistakes but also one of the most commonly occurring – many people do not read the paperwork provided by their photographers. If a couple is serious about getting the best photographer, they need to take the time to read the contracts. Also, any items that are discussed between the photographer and client must appear in writing.

8. You Do Not Trust Your Own Instincts

A couple may get the feeling that an offer from a photographer is too good to be true, then will ignore that feeling in order to get a good deal. It is more important to trust those instincts; if something seems fishy, it probably is.

9. Lack of Professionalism is Ignored

A person who is planning a wedding has a long list of items to attend to, so it can be easy to ignore small things, such as a photographer who is dressed unprofessionally or behaves in any way other than a business-like fashion. It may seem unimportant how a person is dressed at the time of procuring their services, but if you attempt to picture this person in the midst of a wedding ceremony and formal reception, you may understand why professionalism is vital.

10. You Do Not Make Inquiries Into the Sample Album

Amateur photographers may attempt to piece together a sample album from multiple weddings, showing only one or two of the best shots taken at each wedding. A professional photographer will show a sample album with shots obtained at one wedding, showcasing the ability to capture multiple excellent photographs during the event.

It is also important to ask the photographer about the wedding; ask specific questions about techniques used or about the wedding itself so that you know for certain that the photographer is showing a legitimate sample album rather than one obtained from another photographer.

Which Wedding Photographer to Choose

Choosing a photographer may be a daunting task, and staying within your budget may be even more cumbersome. You may consider asking a friend or relative to photograph your wedding for you; this is sure to be a bad idea for many reasons. A professional wedding photographer knows how to produce the best results in capturing all the moments by having years of experience and photography knowledge.

Finding a wedding photographer is a very easy task due to the number of photographers out there. There are numerous ways of going about finding one and many things you should take into consideration. The best way of course is being referred from another couple that got married recently and had their wedding photographed by a specific photographer. Please take note that by “photographer” I mean a specific photographer and not photographic studio with multiple photographers. Always be sure to find out who will be photographing your wedding.

There are numerous other ways to find a wedding photographer including news papers, billboards, the phone book and of course the internet. Over 70% of wedding photographers are sourced online. There are however a few things that you should know about searching for one on the internet.

1. Take Your Time
The first photographers you will find are mostly because of a large advertising budget. There is nothing wrong with this, but you should look at all available options.
2. Be Specific
When you use a search engine your search criteria should include your “state” and “professional wedding photographer”. The quotes will eliminate all general photographers and narrow your search to only wedding photographers. I recommend using Google.

Now that you know how to find a wedding photographer, which one do you choose? There are three primary factors that will determine which photographer to choose; style, price and personality. Style and price can be found on their website and is our starting point.

1. Style
There are many different style wedding photographers. Different examples are traditional, candid, formal, photojournalism, etc. Some photographers offer only one style, but the best photographers can offer all of these styles and would normally incorporate them into your wedding day coverage. It all depends on your requirements and needs. When viewing a photographers portfolio, remember that these are all his best shots. Always ask to see a full wedding coverage.
2. Price
You can spend anything from $500 to $10,000 on a wedding photographer. A good guideline is to spend about 10% of your entire wedding budget on a wedding photographer. Most photographers have packages that will include everything from the coverage to the album and final prints. Other photographers have complete al la carte pricing; if you are on a tight budget this is probably the best way to go. You will be able to select just what you want and can afford.

I would suggest buying your own wedding album and putting it together yourself. The cost of buying an album from the photographer is usually double the actual cost. Then of course doing it this way you can get it when you want and when you can afford it.

Considering style and price select your three top choices and schedule a meeting with them. There should be no cost for this. Before you meet with them you should pretty much want to hire them from the information that you have gathered about their style and price.

3. Personality
You want to meet with them to see how they present themselves and if your personalities match. You want someone that is personable and nice so they will get along well with you, your family, and friends. Never make an immediate decision, go home and think about it first and wait until you have met with all three. The meeting should be casual, discussing your wedding day in general. Never get sold on services that the photographer is trying to sell you at this point. Remember you have already decided you like the work and price before you got there, so there is nothing for the photographer to sell to you at this point. Just meet with them and get to know them.

Once you have made your decision, contact the photographer and let them know. Don’t forget to contact the other two photographers to let them know that you have decided to use another photographer and thank them for their time. Go over the details on the phone with the photographer you chose and get them to write up a wedding contract for you to review and sign. Do not pay a deposit until you have reviewed and signed the contract. Read the wedding contract very thoroughly; everything you are suppose to receive should be written down and have the price and payment schedule. Always make a very clear note of their cancellation policy.

Congratulations! You have a found your wedding photographer and have one scheduled. All you need to do now is schedule to meet with them about a month before your wedding date to go over the details again……and show up for your wedding!

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.