Choosing a good wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you make when planning your wedding.
First and foremost, hire a professional photographer. A professional wedding photographer will be competent, experienced and well equipped. They are trained, talented, and able to handle the fast pace and stress involved with wedding photography. The abilities to move quickly, problem solve, and think on their feet are invaluable. A professional wedding photographer will have years of experience not only in dealing with the technical aspects of photography such as lighting and equipment, but also in posing, working well with people, and knowing the flow of events that will rapidly unfold. They have experience in dealing with problems and are capable of handling them. Their experience enables them to work well not only with the bridal party and family members but also with the clergy and other wedding service professionals hired for your wedding. You can relax and enjoy your day with the confidence that everything will run smoothly and all of your important memories will be captured.
The most important thing to look for when hiring your photographer – you should absolutely like their work and style. Photography is a very emotional and visual medium. Do not hire someone out of desperation or only for price point. Just like you know when you find that perfect wedding dress, you’ll know when you find the photographer suited to you. You should be very comfortable with them. Talent, skills and style come with experience. You need to personally view work samples and albums. Check out their website. Make sure the work you see displayed, whether it is on a website or from viewing sample albums, was done by the photographer you are speaking to and if you hire the company, you will get the photographer whose work you want. That last statement is very important. You don’t want to fall in love with the style of a particular photographer only to have a different one from the same company show up to photograph your wedding. Equally important is that you are comfortable with them and confident in their abilities to provide you with what you are seeking. Good wedding photographers get along well with people and will make others comfortable. It will show in your photographs. They are creative, well mannered, appropriately dressed for the occasion, courteous, and respectful. Their personality should be warm and friendly, never arrogant or demeaning.
How to find right wedding photographer
At first it may seem like an impossible task to find the photographer who is right for you. One of the best resources at your disposal is word of mouth. Ask your friends, family members and co-workers for their advice and referrals. They can provide some of the best information to you from their past experiences and observations. Bridal shops, local wedding service vendors, and wedding related businesses can often guide you and be great sources to help you. Any professional will tell you that the best advertising they have is “word of mouth” advertising. When they do a good job and clients are satisfied, the word spreads. Their reputation is built upon their work and past dealings with clients. It is this reputation and cumulative experience that becomes their greatest asset for future business. Many professional photographers will advertise in your local yellow pages and phone books. Often website information is also listed within these display ads. You can then visit their website to see if you like their work before calling them. This is also a handy way to check work style if you are out of town and/or state and planning your wedding long distance.
Why hire a professional wedding photographer
Do not try to save money by having “Uncle Joe” photograph your wedding. There are many reasons for this. It isn’t fair to put that kind of pressure on Uncle Joe. Imagine how horrible he would feel if something went wrong. If something does go wrong or malfunctions, then what? Is he bringing two of everything just in case that should happen? Professional equipment is expensive and the photographer should ALWAYS have backup equipment in case of accidents or malfunction. Having a nice camera does not qualify him to be a wedding photographer. He can’t be a guest and enjoy himself while performing a job at the same time. Did you invite Uncle Joe to your wedding as your guest or to work? Make no mistake about it, wedding photography is demanding and requires constant thought, observation, creative skills and good equipment.
Try not to let price be the determining factor
While price will most probably be a concern for all components in your wedding planning, it should not be the determining factor for your wedding photography. You will find all price ranges when researching and checking. Each photographer will have their own unique system and packages and each will offer different services and items. You can not compare apples with oranges. You must evaluate different photographers and their prices based on the combination of their work, personality, and creativity coupled with the physical products and what you will ultimately receive. The total value for all of these factors will be your final summary for each individual photographer. Only then can you decide which one is best suited for you. Some of the factors to consider in relation to various pricing are fees and expenses which the photographer incurs as well as the talent and skills of the photographer. All of these expenses are figured into the pricing of various packages offered by the professional. A photographer who uses professional grade equipment, film, processing labs and album companies can not be compared to a photographer who uses consumer grade equipment, regular film, super market film processing and discount store album supplies. Again, it’s like comparing apples and oranges. When you speak with and personally meet with the photographer, these factors should be discussed. The quality of work and supplies, talent and personality of the photographer can be evaluated at this meeting. Always meet the photographer in person when at all possible before hiring them. Questions should be answered completely and to your satisfaction. You should receive copies of any contracts and receipts for services purchased through the establishment. Documentation reflecting everything included in your purchase, reprint pricing, and other services and options is also important to have and retain for your records.
You have put a lot of time and much effort into planning your wedding day to make it memorable, special, and beautiful. The day will fly by in the blink of an eye and be gone all too quickly. Memories will fade and the only physical thing that you will have to re-live and remember your day will be your photography and video. Choose wisely!
Article by Diane Maxwell Photography
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