Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Hopefully you’ll only get wed once and it’s no surprise that for many people this is the most precious and important day in their lives. Good wedding photography will help capture this perfect day forever and will serve a a permanent reminder of your big day. With expectations high it’s little wonder that for many brides choosing a wedding photographer proves to be a painful and angst ridden experience.

Masters of diplomacy and tact the wedding photographer must work with great speed, confidence and of course technical competence. A great one will quietly and effortlessly fit into your day without without creating a scene, a poor one will obsess, embroil you in their anxiety and even upset your wedding guests. Thankfully out of the many weddings that I’ve been lucky enough to attend or have a part in, almost all of the photographers have fallen into the ‘good’ category. Sadly though there have been one or two exceptions in recent times. At these weddings the photographers exhibited all the negative attributes mentioned above, but worst still the end results were quite awful and totally unacceptable from a so called professional photographer.

Since the massive boom the wedding industry has witnessed in recent years, the lure of big money has proven irresistible to many photographers and hence the industry has seen a big influx in the number of budding wedding photographers. It has attracted many part time or previously amateur photographers into the profession, each one wanting a portion of this big fat wedding cake. Trying to weed out the good from the ugly can prove difficult so here are the issues that I would recommend you consider before making your choice.

Photographic Style. Each photographer will either consciously or naturally develop their own unique way of shooting. Some may be skilful enough to adopt a number of styles depending on the desires of the client whereas others will become famous for having a very particular look. Therefore the very first consideration when choosing a wedding photographer is to browse and ultimately decide on the style of work you most warm to. Be it traditional, contemporary, black and white, reportage, quirky or whatever, try to narrow down the style of photography you think best reflects you, then focus your search on photographers in your area that display this style.

Finances. How much cash can you realistically afford? Only you can answer that one but try to set a budget and stick to it. There will always be temptations to up the spends, especially if your friend hired the celebrity photographer for her wedding day, but try to avoid this. There are thousands of wedding photographers out there each one with a different fee structure, so there will be one that both caters to your budget and artistic sensibilities.

Photography Folio. Just about everything you want to know about a photographers artistic and technical abilities can be easily discovered by closely studying their portfolio. A first glance a photograph may look great but take a closer look and you might find awkward facial expressions, cut-off limbs, unpleasant colour castes, poor shadow detail or bleached out highlights, especially in the brides wedding dress. Really take the time to examine these details and don’t just be blinded by the how nice the bride looks or how ugly the brides mother-in-law looks.

Affiliation and Endorsements. Every trade these days has its professional bodies and the photography industry is no exception to this. In fact the list of so called professional bodies has in my opinion become a bit of a joke in recent years and no longer automatically denotes the quality of a photographer. It does however at least suggest a dedication to their trade but in no way does it guarantee either artistic or technical excellence. Customer endorsements are therefore a much more reliable source of recommendation and if you can speak to the customer in person, then all the better. Try not to simply dismiss a photographer whose style you like just because they have no affiliation or customer endorsements. They may be relatively new to the profession and therefore what they lack in experience, they can really make up for in passion and hunger!

Face to Face. After technical and artistic ability surely the most important aspect of any wedding photographer must be their like-ability, do you actually like them? The only way you are going to tell this is by good old fashioned face to face contact. Ask them to visit your house or pop into their studio, whatever way get to have a cup of tea and a good chat. You’ll be amazed by how much you’ll find out about them. After all, wedding photography can be a very intimate experience and one that is best enjoyed with someone you both like and trust.