Unlike the cake, your wedding photographs will last a lifetime. In our three part series, we aim to help you get one of the most important items crossed off that to do list!
What should someone look for in a wedding photographer in my opinion, will vary from person to person depending on what your criteria is for booking a wedding photographer, but essentially there are some key things to consider to ensure that the photographer you book lives up to your expectations, and you are not disappointed with the results.
Certainly in this economic climate one of the key criteria for most people is cost. Whereas previously people would contact me and ask about my style of photography, how long I would be with them on their wedding day, album styles etc., the first question that is asked almost every time now is “how much is it?” It is understandable under the current circumstances, but I have found that more people are cutting their photography budget when planning a wedding considering it to be less important that other aspects of their wedding.
Couples possibly believe that a lot of guests will be taking photographs anyway so to cut the budget of the professional photographer is where they will save money. This is a big mistake, which you may think is what I would say being a professional photographer myself, but if you really think about it the photographs, apart from the rings, are the only reminders you will have of your wedding day. Ensuring you get the right photographer to capture the day as you want it, to not only meet but exceed your expectations should be high on your priority list.
I have heard so many times stories about people who have compromised on the photographer and when they have seen the results have been very disappointed; disappointed to tears in some instances. Cutting the budget to go for a cheaper photographer is likely to mean that you are compromising on the photographs you want, and ultimately there is a strong possibility that you will be disappointed with the results. Just because a photographer may have a website and and advert in a publication does not necessarily mean they are a professional, or even any good. Cheap photography is typically just that, cheap!
The photographer should have a body of work showing their style of photography. Their style should be a style you like. If all you are wanting are some formal group shots after the wedding ceremony and will be happy with just that, then there is no point booking a photographer who is a photojournalist photographer who stays with you all day. If you want to simply enjoy your day and spend your time with your guests, then do not choose a photographer who will spend hours posing you for photographs in positions that are completely unnatural.
Every photographer has their own unique distinctive style. A lot can be very similar and a lot of photographers follow the crowd to create exactly the same as the next photographer. To ensure that you get something different to your friends, you ought to look for a photographer who has their own distinctive style, who tries to be different from the norm, and who works in a way which is conducive to how you would want them to work on your wedding day. Style matters, so don’t choose a photographer simply because they are available and you can afford them. If you do not consider their style of photography you may well be disappointed with the results.
A good professional photographer should be able to handle any situation whether it be an ultra-bright sunny day, a dull rainy day, snowing, a very dull dark venue, candle lit situations, or whatever situation presents itself on your wedding day. Very often no matter how much preparation is done by the photographer there is a situation that occurs that the photographer has to deal with and a good professional should be able to photograph in most situations without having to excuse the fact that they were not able to capture something because it was “too dark”. Often the first dance will simply be lit by only the disco lights, though if there is a videographer present they may use a video light. A photographer needs to still be able to produce the results no matter what. A body of work to show you of different parts of a wedding day in differing situations should be expected when you visit a photographer as it is no good for someone just to be able to take great photographs only if the lighting is as they like it.
A well experienced photographer will and should have lots of testimonials to show you, in the form of cards and letters. Simply having testimonials on their website is not necessarily something you should trust wholly, though can assist you in making a decision to arrange to go and see a professional photographer. If there is no hard written evidence of thank you cards and letters then there is a possibility that the testimonials on the Internet may be bogus and simply being used as a marketing tool. Testimonials are a significant guarantee that the photographer has consistently produced good results, and should be considered more credible than any qualifications. A recommendation to a photographer is also a very good indicator especially if that recommendation comes from a previous client. Not all recommendations are from clients simply from other businesses or from friends and relatives of the photographer, but for a past client to recommend a photographer is as good a way of finding a reliable photographer as any. You still have to consider their style and cost to ensure they fit your requirements, but at least you have some reassurance that the photographer has done work of a standard that someone will go out of their way to recommend them.
Pop back for part two next month and find out why two are not always better than one!