You may have heard the saying ‘hindsight is a beautiful thing’. Indeed it is. Having been through the experience of ‘assisting’ in planning our wedding day, living the reality of the planned day and now reflecting back some years later I have been pondering if “I was to do it again, what would I give greater consideration to or do differently?”
You're probably wondering why I used the word assisting? It is because I was exactly that…an assistant LOL. My wife was pretty hands-on and we did get a lot of help from our family too. Apart from the self designated duty of penny counting and pinching, one of the duties assigned was to secure a photographer. At that time I had no clue what to look out for - I didn’t know what photography style we liked and disliked. The only photo collection that came to my mind was from my parents wedding back in the 80’s when my dad rocked the ‘Fro and mom rocked the big window glasses - ironically...I rock big window glasses now (so because of that big window glasses rock heavy OK!).
We secured a photographer and he did do a decent job. The years that followed, my interest in photography increased and now I shoot weddings. Now there a tonne of things that I know now that i wish I knew then hence - “hindsight being a beautiful thing”. Based on my experience on picking a photographer from our wedding day and now being a photographer myself I would like to share with you some tips on things to consider when picking your wedding photographer.
1st tip - Find a style of photography that most resonates with you
Photography industry is a difficult one as it is not regulated by any authorities and the beauty of photographs is subjective. Some love black and white images because when one strips away colour only emotion. Others love colourful images as the colours are seen to capture the vibrancy of the event. There is no right and wrong this is down to preference.
The current trends in styles at the moment seems to me to be;
Traditional posed photography
Documentary, un-orchestrated photography
Fine art photography
The preferred style differs between couples, others love to floss for the camera yet other prefer not knowing the camera is there and the photographer acts like a ninja to document. Further still others love post processed ‘artsy’ images. There are also some that prefer a balance between the three.
To try and figure out which style you like, go onto social media platforms such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Create mood boards with photos you like and keep them on your phone. When you approach a photographer ask them to have a look at their work to see if their style matches what you want. There are so many photographers and I guarantee if you look around you will find one that delivers a consistent look/feel with what you are after. Which leads me to my second point… ask to see sample photographs first please!!!
2nd tip - Ask to see samples or previous work first
So often I get phone calls asking if I am available to shoot weddings and or events. Unless it is a repeat client, I always politely ask if they have seen some of my previous/recent work. If not I send a collection from my most recent work.
There is nothing worse than feeling of disappointment after you have paid a photographer your hard earned cash only to receive a collection of pictures you are not happy with. In a way this dovetails with tip one...if a shooter consistently shoots in a certain way and edits pictures in a consistent manner the likelihood is your collection of photographs will be of the same quality Visit their their website, read the testimonials and see their previous work.
3rd tip - Pick a photographer you get along with
People are different - fact of life. On your special day the likelihood is the bride will spend time with the photographer from the crack of dawn till after dark. It is important you ‘click’. The importance of social graces is important. As much as the wedding is a great day - I can tell you from experience after you have been on your feet all day and your cheeks are hurting from smiling hearing someone continually saying ‘Cheese’ can get on your nerves. Equally a rude photographer will upset you. So meet up with your photographer - go for a coffee or something and see if they are the person you want to document your wedding.
4th Tip - Ask about copyrights and compare packages
There are plenty of people who have fallen foul of the legal issues around copyright. Basically the copyright for images by law are retained by the photographer unless they let you have the copyright within your contract/agreement. Make sure you ask this question before signing a contract or paying any deposits. This can be part of the exercise of comparing the different packages offered by the photographers you have approached.
Whilst writing about photographs - let me mention that quantity of images does constitute quality or betterment on another. There are some photographers whom we can ‘spray&pray’ photographers they will take 500 shots of the same scene. Which is fine I suppose to make sure people are not blinking etc but be careful of paying for more images that will be filled with 500 pictures of the same scene… Some may then offer you a package with a crazy-stupid amount of photographs...like 1,000+ pictures as I have seen a few weeks ago.
From experience I find that I tend to consistently deliver a fully edited collection of photographs between 350 - 500 from a full day of shooting depending on the size of the wedding party and guests. This covers all the processions of the day so based on this I think this is reasonable. Each of these photographs will be edited individually. This process can easily take an extra 40+ hours. So remember you are not only paying a photographer for one day’s work but also for the time that he or she is the studio editing pictures. All this will be factored into the pricing.
If quantity is what you want - it may to the detriment of quality. But if it is quality you are after then don’t be put off by those who offer less images than others. Striking that balance can be difficult.
So have a look at the packages being offered in tandem with the quality of the sample photographs.
5th tip - Be organised and book early
If you see a photographer that can delivery the images you like - book them. There is nothing worse than having to settle on a 2nd choice photographer because you could not be bothered picking up that phone or paying a nominal deposit to book the one you want.
That's it for now! Hope this helps...