There are a ton of photographers out there as you may already know. You want your photographer to be someone that shoots events regularly and if you are getting married, you want a wedding photographer. Please trust us and do not hire a photographer if weddings aren’t their “thing”. Let me take a moment to justify this….Thank you! We have had a few weddings over the years that have had issues with their photography and this year there have been two. In most of these circumstances clients have regretted hiring their friends or friends of friends, or accepting gifts from photographers that don’t usually shoot weddings. Some clients have careers that utilize vendors such as caterers, bands and photographers but in a different capacity and these vendors welcome the chance to work on a wedding in efforts to build their wedding experience and portfolios. As you can imagine, it will be substantially more awkward to be upset with your wedding photography one day soon than it would be to tell such and such a person that you have elected not to work with anyone in your personal life or work life. You can explain that you both have many work related friends that could otherwise be wedding vendors and together you have made this choice.
Just like a good wedding planner that remembers everything under the sun and does a whole host of small to large things automatically, a photographer that is skilled with weddings has their own list of things they do automatically to help with your wedding photography. Things like peeking into the reception space before they begin shooting the day of the wedding to see if anything has changed since their site inspection. Oh, they have done a site inspection if they have never worked at the venue or your home before! Maybe there is some object placed someplace that would potentially get in the way of the best vantage point for shooting speeches so before the wedding starts there is enough time to rearrange things a bit. Maybe the lighting co placed a light to hit off some band equipment and this light ricochets off of some other place that doesn’t help photography. Instead of complaining to the wedding planner or client that the lighting is bad, they nicely ask for it to be altered and with enough time to do so.
A good photographer is aware of the timeline and do small things to help along the bride, getting her dressed by the last possible moment so that the timing doesn’t fall behind. They speak up and take control nicely when necessary and otherwise are like a fly on the wall you don’t mind having around on your special day. They are always awake and self-aware, taking in the changing light and the changing environment, thinking creatively about how to make the most of the given circumstance. They look for cool perspectives to take photos that are not so trite. They also have a way to make you relax more than you otherwise would be on your wedding day.
Other routine things a wedding photographer will do is shoot your invitation if its left out for them, shoot your wedding gown before you put it on, your bridal bouquet before it gets soiled, etc. They will help you pose the right way, naturally, so that your body looks its best. They will make sure your face doesn’t have odd shadows that don’t work for photos.
Formalities - I check in with the person about to give a speech and let them know we are ten minutes out and if they are still okay with this. The evening before I have talked about the flow with the bridal party at the end of the ceremony rehearsal as well and there was an email to this effect also. On the day of the wedding, before a formality, I also look for the parents and couple to make sure they are still in the room, and I look for the photographer and videographer. A good photographer is keeping on top of these details on their own. They won’t wander around the venue or farm, or take a bathroom break fore even a second without checking in with someone. If the vendor meal is served right when the entrees are done being served to the guests, the photographer knows there may be a speech or two about to take place so they are not going off to eat their hot meal because their contract states they eat only a hot meal. They eat when they know they are not going to miss any important moments. Seems logical but.....
Photography is subjective of course. A photographer captures a perspective, a composition, and is not entirely responsible for the attire, aesthetic, nor location. You want to keep this in mind when looking at photography. Certainly there may be something to be said for a photographer that seems to shoot events and couples similar to yourselves but it’s not everything. For instance, if there is a couple with tattoos, the photographer isn’t responsible for these tattoos, so their photography isn’t necessarily edgy, modern or creative. You will have your photography for the rest of your lives to refer back to and reminisce. Do you really feel you will like stylized wedding photography twenty years from now?
You may love another couple’s wedding photography however if you don’t personally like that photographer and feel comfortable around them, then you may not end up with the same caliber of photos as that other person.
It is worth spending a little bit more if you are on the fence between one photographer and another. Look at what you are spending on everything on the whole, are these additional charges actually that much more in the scheme of things? I have seen simple, relatively modest weddings look drop dead gorgeous in photography and stunning weddings look flat and boring in photography.
The photographer has to be genuinely excited about your event or wedding. This does not mean that your wedding is the wedding of their century necessarily, but a person who genuinely is always excited about their role and seems to have good energy on the whole, and understands that the photography is personal to you and its in their hands.
Okay off the high horse. In the end, follow your gut always and don’t wait on booking!
XO Ashley D.