How to Pick the Right Wedding Photographer

Picking the right wedding photographer is a three step process:

1. Connect with the photographers work. Are you moved and captivated by the images or do they look like every other photographer you have looked at? Look at many sites and check the photographers blog to see current images in addition to just the best pictures on the website. Look for consistency by viewing many images from each wedding. Also look for pictures that have real emotional and romantic moments as they will mean more to you than a picture of yourself smiling at the camera.

2. Meet or talk with the photographer. They will be around you more than anyone else on such an important day. Go with your gut instinct on whether you feel they can be trusted with the emotions you will show. You must be comfortable and excited to have them cover your wedding. Try to see their work in print. Do their images look as nice as on the computer screen? Are you impressed with their sample albums of complete weddings?

3. Budget. Yes money matters but keep in mind the more distinctive the work, the more of an investment is required. Photography is the only purchase for your wedding that is forever, and will also increase in value to you over the years. Try not to settle, there is only one chance on this day and your images will be priceless in the future. Any amount spent today is a bargain for the enjoyment you will have for the rest of your life and future family members. If you have a very tight budget try not to focus so much on products. You have the rest of your life to get a nice album. Great images are a smarter first step.

Take care and I hope you have an incredible wedding!

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.

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!!