I am often asked what brides should consider when choosing a photographer, so I decided to post this to answer those questions.
How to choose a wedding photographer
Often overlooked, wedding photography is perhaps one of the most important decisions you will make in the arrangements of your wedding, the only tangible memories will be the photos and making sure you choose the right photographer is very important.
Choosing a photographer with a good 'eye' and a style and vision that matches your own, can be the difference between stunning photos and disappointing bland images. You will only being doing this once, so it's best not to leave things to chance. I often hear about brides's biggest regret is a lack of thought when choosing a wedding photographer.
Wedding photography is an art form and one that should be left to a true professional. It’s about telling the story of your day through photographs, and not just capturing the day’s events. in a haphazard fashion.
When choosing a wedding photographer you should consider a full time professional who you can trust and not a ' weekend' shooter' most professional live and breath photography, they photograph in a superior technical way, use correct lighting, and composition and care about the precise post production and retouching of your images.
It really is a 'case of chalk and cheese' with a full time pro and a part time amateur, just by viewing the photos on websites, the difference is obvious to see.
A full time professional will tell the brides story with beautiful images, images that will have the WOW factor while also documenting the finer details of the day, 'weekend shooters or hobbyists' generally do cheap deals and burn to CD and call it 'wedding photography' while the professional will retouch all the photos and present them to you in beautiful albums.
When looking at wedding photographers work,ask your self ,do they show fun,romance? Great moments are often crafted by skilled photographers, when viewing a photographers work, they will show you the finest photos at this stage, judge them on what you see. It's easy to take three or four amazing photos at each wedding but taking 200 or more excellent and unique photos at one wedding is a different matter, you should have an instinctive feeling and really like the photographers work, the photos should move you in some way.
Try to see as much work as possible from a photographer, you will be able to understand the style and whether or not it suits your needs and expectations for your wedding. Choosing a photographer on price alone is ill advised can can result in disaster, bad photos, poor production and upset all round.
If the photos you view are flat, too dark, too light, no detail in the brides dress, group shoots look messy and not well organised, bride and groom looking awkward or uncomfortable,strange backgrounds, poor composition, no WOW factor on important bride and bride and groom shots, then it is likely the person who took the photos is not a professional.
There are exceptions to this rule of course in some photojournalistic styles, where people are not expected to be looking at the photo or posed, but an a general rule, look for these elements when viewing.
Make sure when you are booking a professional that you :
Ask to see insurance certificates
Ask is the photographer a full time professional or is this a part-time addition to their full time job?
What is the photographers background and experience ?
How long have they been in business ?
Do they supply a contract with the booking ?
Do they ask you what photos you want taken and in what style ?
Do you feel a good rapport when first meeting the photographer ?
You will have to work with this person on the most important day of your life, so it's important you feel comfortable with the photographer.
It's true there are photographers charging practically nothing for their wedding photography, the old adage that 'if it's too good to be true, it probably is' is so applicable to this area of wedding photography,but remember that once the photos have be taken, if your not happy there is nothing that can be done to mend the situation and the pictures can't be taken again.
The professional photographers day at your wedding is not just about organising group shoots and motorwind shooting anything that moves, a professional will be considered in his photography and will endeavour to capture important moments, create beautiful images of you together and create a record of the day that will live on for years to come and will become a family heirloom for your children and grand children.
An album can be kept forever, in my experience brides who choose the CD only options generally end up with it in the drawer or get inferior prints from local chemists etc, that don't do justice to the photos taken, the album is an important consideration that will be kept in your family on the bookshelf for years to come, unlike a CD which will be forgotten about in a drawer, how often have you taken photos on your compact camera, downloaded to your computer and never looked at them again, your wedding photos deserve better than that.
Another important consideration is obviously the personality of the photography, who wants a grumpy, bossy so and so upsetting guests, the photographer you choose should take control of the photography in a polite and courteous manner and display his professionalism at all times.
Remember good photographers are often booked in advance so try not to leave it to the last minute to get the person you want,
Once the cake is eaten, the dress put away, and the honeymoon over, the only thing remaining is the photos, you will only have once chance to catch those special moments, there are no retakes or second chances, and that is why you should consider photography to be one of the most important investments of your wedding, choose a truly professional photographer with a proven track record who will do fantastic photos and get the results you want, it's too important a day and the photos too precious to leave to someone who you don't trust 100 percent.
Paul Cooper is a professional wedding photographer based in Cheshire helping brides realise beautiful wedding photography throughout the UK and Internationally.
1 Northwich Road
Knutsford Cheshire WA16 0AB