What should I be aware of when choosing a wedding photographer ?
Most wedding magazines will give you a list of questions to ask when choosing a wedding photographer. Questions like: “Can you describe your style? What equipment do you shoot with? what lenses do you use” ?
Let’s be real:
Those questions are pretty boring. And you probably don’t actually care about the answers anyway!?
So , I decided to speak to some of my past brides and a number of other Hampshire Wedding Experts to get their views. I have put together here what I believe is the ultimate guide to choosing a wedding photographer, enjoy !
The Big Questions!
Here is a list of questions you really want to ask, and all those things you definitely need to know.
1) So take recommendations from friends who have a similar taste to you.
Because if a friend who has been satisfied with her photographer, chances are you will be too. Venues recommend their preferred photographer. A reputable venue would only want to work with suppliers they know and can trust. Especially relevant to photographers as images are a great showcase or a sad reminder depending on the quality of the photographer.
2) How do I go about choosing a wedding photographer when there are hundreds in my area?
Firstly make sure they are qualified with either the British Institute of Professional Photography or The Master Photographers Association (BIPP or MPA ) Each set of letters should have a prefix of either L, A, or as I have F which stands for Fellow. This is the highest accolade a photographer working in the UK can achieve.
3) Make sure your photographer has indemnity insurance.
Should something go wrong, you need to be certain you are covered for all eventualities. Indeed all professionals should carry spares of everything from cameras to flash guns. Nevertheless kit can fail from time to time. Therefore a photographer that comes prepared & insured is a sign of a conscientious professional with your interest at heart.
4) Look on the internet.
Google makes things so easy these days. However make sure you look over at least the first two pages of web sites. Due to SEO & paid online marketing, as a result its not always the best that come up first. Make sure you’re meeting with the person who will be photographing your wedding. You need to build rapport. A sales consultant or studio owner will not be in at the deep end!. You have to like, trust and feel comfortable with your photographer. In addition you should like the person you are hiring as well as their images. Furthermore you’ll be spending a lot of time with your chosen photographer before and after the wedding so consider personality also.
5) How many photographs do I get?
Due to the reduced price of digital cameras & the demise of the darkroom, hobbyists seem drawn to wedding photography?? This has lead to the “spray and pray” approach. Consequently they shoot anything that moves in the hope of getting some good snaps. As you know its not the amount of photographs taken, moreover its the quality that counts. In simple terms; would you rather have one image that almost brings tears to your eyes or ten poorly taken snaps ?
6) What about different styles
Illustrative or journalistic. Modern or traditional? Personally I would advise on a professional that could do all of those styles rather than a one trick pony! So ask to see the difference from capture to finished image. As a result the difference should be amazing and indeed improve the quality of the photograph. Therefore you find hobbyists give thousands of, well … snaps however poorly taken & finished. As a comparison to a true professional that will provide quality. It makes choosing a wedding photographer all the more confusing. Since great photographers have style. Look for a quality that excites you, even though they are somebody else in the photographs ! So make sure you look not only at a portfolio but also at an entire wedding. Because consistency throughout the day is what is important. Any decent photographer should be able to create a “hot shot” but to produce a whole album over the course of the day is a true skill…
7) How can I make sure I look good in my photographs
I actually wrote a post on this very subject https://simonjohn.co.uk/look-good-photographs/
Simply relax and put trust in your wedding photographer. Also have a planning session the week before where you can discuss timing and create a picture plan for the day.
Leave some breathing room in your schedule so you don’t feel rushed — I recommend a minimum 25 minutes for family and wedding party groups and 30 minutes for the couple portraits. I tend to mingle and make lots of candid images too.
Get plenty of sleep and drink lots of water the night before. Take it easy at the rehearsal dinner. Wedding-day hangovers are not that much fun !
8). I keep hearing about “shoot and burn” photography. Sounds painful. What is it?
Actually, yeah, it can be kind of painful. “Shoot and burn” is slang for photographing a wedding and burning it straight to a flash drive without post-processing. Hence It’s usually super cheap — for a reason. Considered an amateur’s approach who generally has no understanding of lighting, posing or how to colour correct their files. Consequently bad lighting can’t be corrected afterwards, nor poorly caught expressions. Furthermore distracting elements are not removed, and that unfortunate spot remains proudly on display! Often people say that wedding photography is expensive. If you hire someone like I have described above, it could be one of the most expensive mistakes you are ever likely to make.
9) Do I get the files ?
Digital files should be important to you. However please find a full-service professional photographer who will edit & embed the files so they print beautifully. Indeed it is one thing viewing images on a shinny computer screen. However without correct profiling they will print without depth and detail. Don’t hide your wedding photographs. I tell my clients to hang up a wall portrait or two — when you’re having a bad day or its miserable outside, it’s great to admire a portrait from one of the most amazing days of your life.
10) Do I really need a second photographer?
Personally I would not work with one. Due to the fact I would be anxious they have missed something. That said they can provide you with more images and a different perspective. Many of the top photographers only work with assistants who carry lighting equipment,myself included. The best thing is to ask your wedding photographer to see how they prefer to work. You can get good results either way.
11) How far in advance should I be choosing a wedding photographer
Many in-demand wedding photographers book weddings a year or two in advance. As a result the closer to your wedding date it will be harder to book your first-choice photographer.
So if your favorite photographer is unavailable, don’t panic. Ask them for recommendations — they may know someone with a similar style and a lighter schedule.
12). You can Photoshop that, right?
Seems like a normal question nowadays. However, I want to get everything as perfect as possible in camera. Lighting, posing, composition and camera settings; before I even press the shutter. I have had very unhappy brides come to me with a set of images by a budget snapper. The pictures were blurred, over exposed and really badly framed & composed. In conclusion I had to give them the very sad news that the images weren’t recoverable. Therefore Photoshop can fix somethings, but it is not the answer to making images perfect. Photoshop and many of the other programs are simply the modern darkrooms of today.
Finally if you have enjoyed this post Choosing a wedding photographer take a closer look at my wedding gallery https://simonjohn.co.uk/wild-weddings/ It would also be great if you were to follow me on social media