What to look for a in wedding photographer

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What to look for a in wedding photographer
20 August 2020
in Photography, Wedding

Thinking about or looking for a wedding photographer and wondering what you should be looking for? Particularly as there are so many out there and of course just so many individuals with a camera nowadays.

Love their images: In some ways, the most obvious thing is to like them and the type of images they produce. Those are not necessarily related. It’s quite possible to like them, but not like their images, just as much as it’s possible to love the images but not like them and that is important. ~Why? because if you don’t get on with your wedding photographer it’s going to be a lot harder to produce those lovely smiley images which you will have for the rest of your marriage/life and even beyond if they become part of a family heirloom. Believe me, a false smile is noticeable and there is likely to be plenty enough that will be stressful that day and a good photographer will be aware of this and doing their level best not to add to it.

Fake?: Sorry to say but check the images you have fallen in love with are actually the photographers. In this internet day and age, there are some unscrupulous few who are copying images and pretending they are theirs

Style: What type of photography do you want? Formal shots only? Reportage of the day? Coverage of the bride and groom getting ready? Coverage of the reception? First dance? etc. How long in effect do you want them to be there?

Second Camera: Find out if they will have a second camera or more with them (you can ask them to hire one as part of their fees). Even if they don’t use it, it’s kind of critical as added insurance they will be able to take photos and not be struck inoperative if their one and only camera fails. Besides which I always find it easier to have both cameras on me with different lenses as it saves having to change lenses and missing important shots or those great unexpected unrehearsed moments that occur.

Wedding Rehearsal: Talking of which will your photographer come to the wedding rehearsal and/or doing a recce of the wedding and reception locations or of the local and other areas for photo locations? It’s useful for the photographer to see what the working space is like and an idea of the constraints not just lighting, but also where to position themselves and with the agreement of the minister or officiant. An example is a wedding I did in a very old church with a narrow aisle and pillars before the altar. This rather restricted the view of where the wedding couple were going to be standing and to take some of the shots required. I also arranged with the vicar to change position to be in front of the couple at a convenient point but without disturbing the ceremony. As it was he didn’t actually see me move and wondered if I had…

A photographer talking to the minister also has its advantages. There are often places the minister/vicar does not want anybody or certain people to go. Likewise they also often know of good vantage points for catching moments and occasions during the ceremony.

Flash or no flash: Will your photographer be wanting to use flash (a strobe for the technically minded) during the ceremony? Are YOU happy for them to use flash? Flash produces it’s own problems apart from being intrusive (everybody sees the flash going off and it can disrupt the atmosphere). I personally don’t like using flash during the ceremony for that reason and do my best to avoid using it unless for technical reasons it’s unavoidable. Flash also changes the light quality and how it falls. Used correctly it can be great at enhancing or even making a plain image stand out. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true and a photographer will be literally as well as figuratively thinking on their feet on how to best use and position the flash.

Editing Photos: Will the photographer be presenting you with edited images or just the SOOC files (Straight out of camera)? A good amount of the time a photographer spends on the creation of the images is in the editing and this can easily be 2-3 times or more than the actual day. The human eye is a curious thing and sees things quite differently to what the camera catches. From simple crops and removal of the odd blemish to total workovers of the image.

  Farmed out? Also to be aware of. Does the photographer do their own editing? Some farm-out their images for others to edit. It gives the photographer more time to work on something else, but it also means that the image may not be edited as the photographer envisaged it.

Digital images and Wedding Albums: What are you wanting from the wedding apart from a record of the event and hopefully some great photos to share? Is the photographer offering just the digital images? Do you want an album? Many photographers have a one or two specialised wedding album companies they work with who don’t sell to the public and these albums are gorgeous – definitely family keepsakes. However, it’s not just the printing, it’s the composition of the images and please do ask if you can choose which images and approve the layout of what is going into the album.

  Wall prints: Likewise there are a few framed print specialists who also don’t do direct to public sales.

Things going wrong/Insurance: Nobody wants things to go wrong and in most cases nothing does, but things can go wrong. What policies does your photographer have for such things? Does your photographer have professional insurance? It’s not something I’ve come across regularly, but some locations have asked for proof of insurance before allowing the photographer to take photos there.

A family or friend?: With the proliferation and availability of cameras and increase in general in photography there is every chance there is a member of the family who you could approach to do the photography, but do keep in mind the earlier points and what you want out of a photographer. And also remember that whoever does the photography is going to be focussed on their job.

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