How do I pick my photographer
If it’s your first wedding and the first time doing this it may be worth reading on to help you identify how to pick your photographer at this stage.
You may be hunting around for photographers but struggling to know what to actually look for so ive wrote a small guide to assist your search even if it’s not me you want. It’s all about finding the person for you at the end of day.
Do you like them?
Yes! you have to like your photographer, you are going to be spending a lot of time together and it’s important to know you will work well with them,
it’s important they make you feel relaxed and at ease as it will show in the photos if your not – Natural smiles = Natural photos = better photos. the most important factor though is how they make you feel! can you be your self and natural around them on the video calls at least? if not then we are in to some serious trouble.
What is there communication with you like
A wedding photographer’s highest priority should be communication with you and you should never have to chase suppliers to give them business, if you struggle to get responses at the booking phase then how difficult are things going to be come the week before your wedding. You simply dont need that sort of stress.
Responding to clients should in my view, be the number one priority after physically taking the photos them selves.
Your queries should be answered too with in 24 hours at most.
Below this section is a large list of question’s I have answered based on what clients tend to want to ask me, feel free to use all these questions when speaking to other photographers and get as much as you can answered before committing.
Do you want military precision, or laid back attitude?
Some bridge & grooms want every picture, perfect whilst some prefer a more laid back approach to the day, pick what works for you. Neither is wrong or right it’s just about finding the personality that matches your needs for the day.
If you have never had a wedding photographer before it’s difficult to appreciate at this stage why personality matters at all and it’s not until your wedding day you realise just how much your wedding photographer becomes involved in your day. There is a small section further down on “what does a wedding photographer actually do” to give you a more in depth guide if you want to learn more. But for now let’s sum it up. They’re going to be in your space at bridal prep, There going to be hovering around the room at the ceremony, they will be directing your guests for group shots and for your bridal & groom shots. ultimately he’s going to be around you a lot and the last thing you want is arrogance, rudeness and a big ego as it could just upset you.
Take time to understand if your wedding photographer listens to your needs when you first speak to him.
A photographer who starts giving you deadlines and giving you 6 hours to book to take advantage of there 20% discount off packages isn’t exactly the best start, take it easy and dont fall in to the trap off pushy sales tactics. It’s an important decision for you and good/busy photographers dont need to force sales down your throat.
Awards “aint all that”
There are some fantastic award systems out there for wedding photographers to be recognised dont get me wrong, but there is also a lot OTHER award systems out there that are just barely worth talking about and so many categorisations with so many different levels of awards it dilutes the worthiness of awards these days.
You can have over 30 different awards for a wedding photographer for one body, from gold/silver/bronze divided in to regions/sub regions and country.
Check the credibility of the company who has issued the award if it’s the sole reason for your attraction before proceeding, but ultimately your entire decision should be based on the photos and the personality.
Do you have specific needs?
Are there certain photos you want? can your photographer do them? – Just make sure as not all photographers have the same technical skill and it would be unfair to ask your photographer to pull certain shots out of the bag that he didn’t even advertise or mention on his website. Don’t just assume a photography can do any shot.
What Backup equipment do they have?
So so important, your wedding day needs to be treated with the upmost respect and your photographer and other suppliers must have backup equipment for your day. Multiple camera’s and multiple lens is a bare minimum must. But set your expectations accordingly, A cheap wedding photographer may be cheap because he doesn’t have these things and that’s how he keeps his prices low. But if you go low you must be willing to accept these risks.
If he arrives on the day to pull his camera out of the bag to find it’s smashed or failed he isn’t going to have much of a chance of finding a replacement that quick
Are they insured? what if something your photographer does causes injury to your guests, it also covers them against theft. Should the day before the wedding the photographers house gets robbed his insurance will likely dispatch him new equipment with the hour so he can keep working.
The fine print
Does the photographer give you all your images? are they all edited? Will there be additional fee’s?
will the photographer charge you extra for your images digitally after? Even though you have already paid for his services you may find the images are not even included.
Make sure you have a contract and read it through.
Turn around time
a BIG pet peeve of mine is long turn around times, some take 8-12 weeks to turn around images, the faster the client gets the images to me. the better! What good are your images 4 months after your wedding. You’ll have probably lost interest then and if it takes that long to get the images how long will it take if you want amends making. My personal target is images should be returned with in 14 days where possible.
Black and white mania
Be mindful of an album full of black white photos, it can spell a sign off photos taken badly – a good trick in photography is to black and white a photo if its amazing but lacks colour or quality. But this should only be used to save those amazing shots and should make no more than 10-20% of the album.
But when half an album starts containing black and white photos it may spell issues.(particularly at night or during the party photo’s. This is when photographers struggle the most.
Check your price includes vat
Some may add vat on when you get the invoice that you wasn’t expecting.
In fairness though many photographers don’t do this but its something to check. But I have found from experience a lot of other wedding suppliers tend to price things without vat and then throw it on there after to your surprise.
In depth technical ability
If you really want to go in detail then here is a more in depth analysis of what to look out for, for some this may be too much information. so feel free to brush past this if you’re starting to nod off.
Is there any blur behind or in front the subjects in photos?
if not then it may suggest cheap equipment – some photos may be taken intentionally with no background blur, but if no picture has blur behind them then it may spell cheap equipment. A photographers ability to “blur” the background is a key skill using the equipment they have to be able to give eyes focus to the main part of the picture.
See a quick sample below, look how the 2 heads at the front of the image are blurred and your natural eye is look at the dad reading his speech
Are the dresses overly white – can you see the detail in the dress? if not then it suggests over-exposed photos/bad technical skills.
Look at 2 pictures below to understand this more
The first picture appears ok at first but as you look at the right hand bride you will notice her dress is very white and what we call blown out. It’s very border line to acceptable standards.
As soon as the brides stepped to walk through the confetti , a cloud hiding the sun disappeared and all light conditions suddenly changed but thankfully on this occasion I was able to quickly adjust the camera to remedy this.
White dresses in photography can be a bit of a pain as they can gleam so much light off them so make sure observe these levels of details.
if you see the below photo you will now see the difference as both brides dressers are beautifully detailed and we can see everything clearly.
Are the images too bright or too dark – Poor technique again.
Are the images grainy? – Night time/dark images tend to suffer some graining due to limitations of a camera – but a lot of good photographers can remedy this in editing – some grain is acceptable, but heavy grain on a lot of darker images can spell issues.
Night time – dance floor shots and the disco at the end are when levels drop the most and photographers have to work the hardest by means of flash or other technique, check how these images come out and if they’re acceptable to your taste.