Not All Photographer Are The Same After a date is set and a venue is picked for your ceremony and reception, the next move most couples make when planning their wedding is selecting a photographer. The problem isn't finding a photography but rather finding one you can trust with one of the most important events of your life. You might be attracted to a few photographers because you like their work, but shooting a wedding is so much more than just a few great pictures. Whether or not you are my client, it is so important to me that you have beautiful wedding photography. No one realizes how important their wedding pictures are until they are sharing their album with their children or their grandchildren. As time goes by, my pictures become more and more important to me. The things that might not be important now, like pictures of the grandparents and parents at the reception, are the things you'll wish were captured 10 years, 20 years, or 50 years later. Photography is so much more than just knowing exposure and composition. A major factor in wedding photography is capturing the emotions of the most important people in your life.
Settling with Cost/Quality Understand, when you settle with cost, you are settling with quality. A photographer who knows what they are doing will not sacrifice cost because they know what their work is worth. The money you pay for your photographer isn't just the 8-12 hours they spend shooting on your wedding day. They have poured hours into educating themselves on lighting techniques, composition, and on how to run their business. They've also spent countless hours researching which equipment is the best for their style, and they've spent even more time practicing with that equipment to make sure they can capture all of the important moments. When a photographer starts off, they might know all there is to know about lighting, exposure, and composition, but they lack experience. Wedding photography is so much more than just the technical side of how to create a great picture. Photographers need to know when to capture the moment and how best to capture the feelings and emotions of the event. That takes a lot of time and practice. When a couple finds a photographer who is confident in capturing the moment, the couple will not only have beautifully exposed, well-lit images, but emotional images as well that resonate deep within them. I lacked that ability in my first few weddings. I didn't lack that ability because I didn't know how to take a good picture, but rather I lacked that ability because I lacked experience.
Finding “that” photographer So, how do you know a wedding photographer is right for you? One thing I think you should look for in a photographer, no matter who you are, is confidence. If your photographer believes they can produce beautiful pictures, no matter the situation, then you've found someone who is confident in their work. To help ensure your prospective photographer has good reason to be confident, ask the photographer how many weddings they've second shot and how many weddings they've been the lead photographer. Maybe your photographer has only shot 3 weddings on their own, but they have second shot 20 weddings. Photographers can learn a lot while second shooting that might translate into ability to capture your wedding well. Another important question to ask a prospective photographer is to see a full wedding. The images on their website are going to reflect their “best work”. You want to make sure your photographer can capture in all types of lighting. Just because a photographer can take a good picture outside in sunlight, it doesn't mean they can handle a dimly-lit reception hall. If they aren't willing to share a full wedding, I would recommend looking somewhere else. Another thing you should consider while you are looking for a wedding photographer is presentation. Photographers will charge more because they create an experience that is fun & exciting for the client. They might do this with amazing products and/or client gifts. Photographers who have good presentation invested money in these things because they want to stay in business. The way your product looks, client care (how much time it takes to respond to email, how long it takes to get your pictures, etc), and how they present themselves are huge factors in presentation.
No matter who your photographer is, you can rest assured that photographers who want to stay in business work very hard to produce good work. You can be confident that your pictures will be the best work the photographer was capable of producing.
Consider this a list to add to your “knot.com” list:
- How long have you been in business?
- How many weddings have you shot? (if they've been shooting for 2 years and have shot 30+ weddings, it shows that other clients find a lot of value in their work and probably recommended them.)
- How do you light the reception?
- If they say they use a “pop up flash” or only shoot natural lighting, run. They will not be able to capture your reception, especially if it is outside after sunset or in a dark reception hall.
- Listen for words like external flash, bounced off walls, or off camera flash.
- When you ask to see a full wedding, pay close attention to the reception. Which is usually the most difficult to capture, but a skilled photographer will do it well.
- Don't be afraid to ask why you should go with them instead of another photographer. When a possible client asks me that question, I don't get annoyed. I get excited, because I get to talk about how I'm going to pamper them with great products and a great experience. I can tell the couple that I'm absolutely confident that I can give them beautiful images as well as great coverage. If you can't believe in your photographer, how can you believe in the photography?
I know I am not everyone's photographer, but I want everyone to have good photography. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions! I'm an open book.
Just so you can see where I've come from, here's a few images from my first weddings with ones recently (being super vulnerable here):
First I'd like to say. Nice logo. Seriously. I know it was terrible. I knew even then. Also, I studied photography for 6 years before I shot my first wedding. 6 YEARS. See how important experience is for wedding photography. I also want to say, Thank you. Thanks to those who were willing to take a gamble on me. Without that I wouldn't be shooting weddings. Everyone needs their first 10 weddings. The thing is, I should have second shot a lot more than I did. I always encourage those starting off to second shoot at lease 10 times before shooting your first wedding. That was my biggest mistake.
My first wedding. One of the getting ready shots.
I want to exceed expectations in every wedding I shoot. Now I can proudly give over images to the clients and know they'll be excited about them.