As you may have seen, there seem to be increasing numbers of “wedding photographers” these days.
So how can you choose between them? Allow us to offer some advice. With over 20 years of experience in wedding photography, we have seen many photographers come and go.
Here are some questions you might wish to ask:
1. How long have you been photographing weddings?
In a world where there is little creative work available, the creative aspect of photography work seems very appealing, particularly when modern digital cameras appear to take care of the technical aspects. Each year it seems that a new batch of hopefuls take a photography course, and start up in the wedding photography business thinking that it is easy money on a Saturday afternoon. The reality, of course, is that running a successful photography business is much more challenging than it appears, and many of these new businesses do not survive in the long term.
2. Will you attend my wedding personally?
You will spend a lot of time on a very special day with your photographer. For this reason, it is very important that you feel comfortable with your photographer. Some studios will book weddings on the basis of display albums photographed by one photographer, and then send out a completely different (usually less experienced) photographer on the day.
3. Were the pictures on your website taken at a wedding?
These days it has become very easy for anyone to have a great looking website. If you take a close look at photography websites, you can see many which are filled with library pictures, or pictures from training courses, or from shoots with models. To summarise, these photographers show images on their websites which they could not reproduce on a wedding day.
4. Did you shoot the pictures in your display album? (at a wedding?)
Some album companies (including Graphistudio) will supply sample albums which are photographed by world class photographers in beautiful locations. We have frequently seen these albums displayed by photographers at wedding shows. Likewise, we have seen albums filled with studio sessions and model shoots. Needless to say, we show real clients, and real weddings in our display books.
5. Can I request some groups of family/friends to be taken on the day?
Many photographers will limit requests for organised group pictures.
6. Can I see some work by your second photographer?
Many photographers are using trainees/students/friends/etc. as second photographer. We believe that your big day deserves better, and prefer to use an experienced/qualified photographer, so that we can be sure of the quality of work we produce.
7. Can I see some complete weddings you have photographed?
Many photographers are using passwords to lock their client areas, making it difficult to review their work. Before booking, you should ask to see some complete albums or client galleries. When you are reviewing the work of a photographer, you should look for a few things:
- Do the pictures appear sharp and clear? (or fuzzy and unsharp?)
- Are they correctly exposed? (or dull and grainy)
- Is there enough variety in styles? (would I be happy with this for my wedding?)
- Are the important pictures covered? (make a list – eg, bride & mum, bride & bridesmaids, the hen girls, etc. You will be surprised how often even a basic picture of bride & groom together is missing!)
- Do the people in the pictures look relaxed and comfortable? (or stiff and awkward?)
- Finally- and most difficult to quantify – are there some special (wow) moments in the images?