Making the right decision when choosing the photographer to capture your wedding day is a big deal. There are so many good photographers out there; and some who are probably misrepresenting their talents. Here are some tips to help make the choice a little more clear cut.

Traditional or digital photography for my wedding

In recent years, new methods for producing photographic images have evolved. The digital age has entered everyone’s household language, and digital photography has become a popular choice. For the average person, a digital camera offers a simplistic way to take pictures and share them instantly with family and friends. The instant gratification of seeing the images you’ve captured is very exciting. I’m often asked what the difference is between shooting an event in digital or film and is one or the other a better way to go. In choosing a photographer for your Pittsburgh wedding, it is a difficult choice at times trying to find someone to fit your budget and knowing you will get the results you desire. There are digital cameras on a professional level that have caught up to the quality of traditional professional equipment. There are many good photographers out there that use either traditional, digital or both and understand the differences in their equipment and quality of images produced. Good talent behind the lens and the quality of equipment and images produced are marks of a good wedding photographer. A word of warning though, there has been a surge of those entering the field producing disappointing results. In some cases, the ease of digital uploading images and inexpensive lesser quality machine prints has convinced some to enter the field of wedding photography with little technical experience and the lure of making money on the weekends. In other instances, the ability to shoot a high volume of pictures with digital media has made some photographers forget how to take their time on an important shot and get it right the first time. The artistic expression is lost in the effort to shoot everything hoping you will like at least a portion of what was shot during your event. As tiring as it can be that day, getting the photos beautifully done and the time it takes to do so are well worth the tired cheeks. There is a balance between worrying about arriving to the reception late, and allowing enough time for the photographer to get the shots you hope for.

Talent behind the lens

When I make a recommendation on whether to go digital or traditional, I usually tell people, no matter what equipment a professional photographer uses, just remember beyond the film or digital pixels, your images will be as good as the talent behind the lens. Ask to see examples of their work, and while in contact with prospective photographers, note how you feel you’ve been treated. The first impression is always a good indication of how the rest of the job will go. I think good first impressions and seeing good quality work is most helpful in making a judgment about which photographer to choose. Remember, you will be spending a significant amount of your budget on just the pictures. The dress will be put away, the tux will be returned, the cake will be gone, but the images you choose will always be there and should last a lifetime. Don’t forget the old saying…”you get what you pay for”. I continue to shoot with the best quality film, since I believe, in the end, it gives me the greatest control and produces the sharpest enlargements. I combine the current digital technology to get the best of both worlds. My film is color balanced when it’s developed and my images are digitally scanned to offer clients the most in choices, but when it comes time for prints, the negatives, not the scans are used to produce the highest quality image on lifetime, non-fading papers. This may be a point to consider when finding out what kind of prints the photographer you choose will offer you.

Consider an engagement session

As good as home ink jet printers have become, remember that those papers do tend to fade in a short amount of time. You may want to find out from your photographer if the prints you receive will be ink jet prints, prints from a machine lab (such as many one-hour-labs), or prints from a high quality lab with Endura papers that will not fade or be smeared or stained by fingerprints. Some of the top wedding photographers in the country use traditional film in the same way I do, and combine the digital technologies to offer their clients the most in choices, touch ups, and custom work. Perhaps one of the best ways to test a photographer against your expectations is to arrange an engagement photo session. You will invest a relatively small amount, have a professional image for the newspaper and your family, and you will then know what to expect. Remember a superior image is created by one who brings together the knowledge and experience of their techniques and their style of artistic expression. My goal has been to provide you with valuable information in your pursuit of quality photographs of your most important day, whether you are making your choice based on budget, quality, or style.

By Laura McGinnis

Photo by DelPrincipe Photography

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