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.

10 Things to Look for in a Wedding Photograph

Do you find yourself asking these kinds of questions?

How can I tell which photographic style I like? The images from all wedding photographers look the same to me, how can I tell the good from the bad? I noticed I liked images if the wedding dress is beautiful, but what else should I look for?

Wedding photography may seem overwhelming at first especially if you have no experience in visual art. There is good news though, the more you look at the wedding pictures the easier it is to tell a good wedding image from a bad one. By browsing a lot of wedding photography sites you will soon become an expert at selecting a photographic style that you like.

Here are 10 very simple suggestions that will help you know what to look for when you start looking for the perfect wedding photographer for you:

Story – Can you make-up a story in your head when looking at the image? Even in a portrait your imagination should starts working. You should be trying to guess what the person is thinking by the look in their eyes. The greatest example is the famous painting of the mysterious Mona Lisa.

Emotion – Does the image make you feel something? Do you connect yourself with the characters in the picture? Do you believe that the people in the image are happy? Do they look in love or they look like they were asked to create that strange pose? Great Pictures should evoke emotions in you even though you do not know the people in them.

Dynamics – Is there movement, motion, momentum in the images or the photographer’s entire portfolio consists of static posed shots? Is there any beautiful wedding moments captured? People tend to look their best when they are in action, not thinking about posing or looking in the camera. Capturing action also makes much more interesting wedding images.

Exposure – Are there details in the wedding dress or is it just a bizarre white shape? Does everything look dark and dreary? If images do not have the correct exposure no amount of Photoshop and post processing will make the image look right. This is an easy way to separate the Pros from the beginners.

Use of Lighting – Does the photographer use lighting creatively or just blasts every image with the direct on camera flash? It is great to have interesting lighting effects in wedding images like shooting into the light, flare from the sun, shadows, dramatic cinematic lighting, etc.

People’s Expressions – Is the photographer trying to capture emotion, expression, reaction or just presses the button at the awkward moment. For example when exchanging wedding vows there is so much emotion on the faces of the couple that if nicely captured, a viewer gets involved into that image just by looking at that tear running down a the bride’s face.

Does the Bride Look Beautiful? – Was the photographer able to capture her at her best angles, with her most flattering expression? Photographing bridal portrait requires a good amount of skill and a great eye. No matter what shape or size you are it is the photographer’s duty to find ways to photograph you well.

Variety – A good combination of wedding images close-ups, half-body, full body, details and establishing ambiance shoots should be present. It should be interesting to go from one picture to the next, if you get bored looking though their gallery this would be indication that their style isn’t for you. There should be an element of surprise in every wedding image.

Artistic Elements – Look for graphical elements, creative use of light, composition, reflections, and silhouettes. The photographer should be full of creative ideas on what and how to shoot. Every wedding image should be a small piece of art.

Post Processing – Wedding images shouldn’t be overly photoshoped but rather natural looking. The photographer also shouldn’t have to spend hours and hours retouching a single image. If a picture is taken right in the first place little retouching should be needed if at all.

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.