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What should you look for in your wedding photographer?
01/02/12Here are some straight forward questions and possible answers to think about when booking your wedding photographer.
Should you go with the first photographer you see?
As with all things purchased 'shop around' on the internet, in literature and at fayres. Talk to as many photographers as you have time for and draw up a short list. Do not make a decision in a rush.
What do you want from your photographer?
Have three criteria in mind when you meet your short listed photographers:
1. a person you can get on with
2. artistic style (see question 10!) and
3. technical ability
You can evidence 2 and 3 by studying the pictures on their websites, in albums and in their studios. If you like their work then ask them how they describe their style and does that ring with what you are looking for. Whether they are someone you trust and have confidence in really requires you to meet them and leads onto the next question.
Are they personable, friendly, enthusiastic and also professional?
Meet your photographer and make sure they are a listener, taking in your needs and hopes for your photographs. The best photographers get the best photographs because they take time to get to know you and then you might begin to relax and let your feelings and thoughts show through. So if they feel like the right person for the job they probably are!
Are they value for money?
You may have a style in mind but probably not an unlimited budget. Do not let your budget totally dictate who you eventually go for. Remember, these picture, you hope, will be with you for the rest of your lives! Look hard at their websites and think about whether there is a timelessness to the images. Always meet your photographer to look at the quality of their albums.
Should you let a friend take the pictures?
A professional photographer is not risk free but they have experience and expertise on their side. Letting an enthusiastic friend or relative take your wedding pictures may seem a nice idea but they will be under a lot of pressure to not let you down, and may not enjoy your wedding they way they might. Equally, they will not be in any of your pictures either! Professional should also be carrying professional indemnity and public liability insurance, so there is at least some redress even if the photographs do not succeed. Also they will be a member of a photographic association or society to which you can refer, and if necessary complain.
Should you meet your photographer before the wedding?
Absolutely! It would be best to have an engagement portrait done, and many photographers do this for free. Photographers know they will get better pictures for you if they know you a little and you are relaxed when they take a picture of you. Look for someone with a sense of humour whom your family and friends will warm to.
Should I go with a recommendation?
If someone else was happy with their photographer then include them on your shortlist, but do the research. Your tastes may be different to other peoples. A photographer probably has many testimonials on their website and it would be good to follow up on one or two of these with a phone call. The photographer should have people who would be willing to reference them.
How do you decide which package to go with?
Have a list of things that you want photographed and make sure these are included in whatever 'package' the photographer is offering. Pricing is not always transparent so ask lots of questions about inclusions and exclusions.
A CD or album?
You can of course have both! If you go for a CD make sure you know what resolution the files are. If you just want them for a computer then 72 dpi (dots per inch) is fine. If you want to print them then go for at least 300 dpi or you will get very poor quality enlargements. I would strongly suggest you always go back to your photographer for albums and prints. A professional will guarantee the quality of printing and their reputation depends upon a satisfied customer who is going to recommend them to others. High street printers are not taking personal care of your images and and have a limited professional investment in your pictures. Albums can be of many sizes and they can be digital storybooks or matted or surface mounted. It is all a matter of preference and cost. The greater the choice the photographer is able to offer you the better for you and your pocket.
What style, reportage or classic?
Many photographers will have a preference for style and some are more adaptable than others. Often it is a mixture of photojounalism, reportage and relaxed group shots that people want. If you want to know what the difference is please contact me and I will discuss them and help you decide which fits your particular needs and hopes for recording your wedding in beautiful images.
Best wishes in getting the right photographer for you!