The stresses of organising a wedding are well documented. Understandably many brides are overwhelmed by their own high expectations as they strive for perfection in every detail. Choosing the right wedding photographer to shoot this big day can contribute to this stress as they have the incredibly important job of capturing every moment of this major life event.
Masters of diplomacy and tact the wedding photographer must work with great speed, confidence and of course technical competence. A great one will quietly and effortlessly fit into your day without without creating a scene, a poor one will obsess, embroil you in their anxiety and even upset your wedding guests. Thankfully out of the many weddings that I've been lucky enough to attend or have a part in, almost all of the photographers have fallen into the ‘good’ category. Sadly though there have been one or two exceptions in recent times. At these weddings the photographers exhibited all the negative attributes mentioned above, but worst still the end results were quite awful and totally unacceptable from a so called professional photographer.
In recent years wedding photography has increasingly become a very lucrative industry and as a result has attracted a mass surge in photographers all wanting a slice of the pie. Relatively inexpensive digital camera gear plus the onset of the digital darkroom have no doubt contributed to this phenomenon but also the shear number of photographers training and entering the industry at all levels is staggering. So here is a list of considerations when trying to weed out the good from the bad.
Technique and Style. Traditional, formal, casual, gritty, contemporary, quirky or documentary; the array of different photography styles and techniques are endless. Each photographer will either consciously or naturally develop their own unique way of shooting, therefore it's up to you to decide on which style of photography most appeals to your personal taste. Once you've found a style of photography you love then try to focus down your search to photographers in your area that exhibit this style. Remember though that some of the more ultra trendy styles can look great today but look very very dated tomorrow.
Finances. How much cash can you realistically afford? Only you can answer that one but try to set a budget and stick to it. There will always be temptations to up the spends, especially if your friend hired the celebrity photographer for her wedding day, but try to avoid this. There are thousands of wedding photographers out there each one with a different fee structure, so there will be one that both caters to your budget and artistic sensibilities.
Portfolio. Study the photographers portfolio, pay particular attention to the details, a cut-off train from the brides wedding dress will annoy you for ever! The details are where many bad or inexperienced photographers will really fall down. Things to look for include, cut-off limbs (yes it does happen), poor detail in the highlights such as the brides dress or harsh skin tones, poor shadow detail with unpleasant muddy dark tones, nasty colour castes such as shots taken in the church and unnatural or over posed facial expressions; say cheese!
Professional Membership and Customer Endorsements. A common misconception is that because the photographer is a member of a prestigious professional body or that they have a multitude of letters after their name, that they must be good. Sadly this isn't always the case and I could name and shame a few photographers local to me that should be struck off of any such list. The problem is that membership to these societies is optional and unlike in other professions where membership almost guarantees a certain level quality and code of conduct, sadly many photographic societies mean precious little other than the photographer pays an annual subscription and displays a basic level of technical competence. Customer endorsements, if to be believed, are always a much better reflection on the photographers actual abilities in the real world.
Face to Face. After technical and artistic ability surely the most important aspect of any wedding photographer must be their like-ability, do you actually like them? The only way you are going to tell this is by good old fashioned face to face contact. Ask them to visit your house or pop into their studio, whatever way get to have a cup of tea and a good chat. You'll be amazed by how much you'll find out about them. After all, wedding photography can be a very intimate experience and one that is best enjoyed with someone you both like and trust.
Photographers Northampton with over 14 years experience of professional photographic practise. Supplying high quality creative photography to Kettering , Wellingborough, Corby and all Northamptonshire.