You want to have your wedding photo’s on display around the house, perhaps an album or photo-book with all your beautiful memories right there in front of you. You deserve nothing but the best that you can get and afford, you want wedding photo’s that you can look at and cherish for the rest of your life. There are lot’s of wedding photographers out there and most of them will do a very good job but occasionally things can turn out less than satisfactory, I have seen it happen. Here are a few things to look for when deciding on a photographer to help in your decision making and to minimise the risks.
- Look in the yellow pages, go on-line, bridal magazines where ever you may find a photographer for your special day. Make a list of photographers that you would like to interview and make an appointment. There are many great web sites advertising wedding photography services and the web is probably the best place to start but remember with most web sites, you are seeing just a few of the photographers best photo’s.
- Work out what sort of coverage you would like. The cheapest start out as just ceremony coverage and the cost goes up from there. Talk with the photographer and ask for a costing, if there are any hidden charges, what options are available and work out a package that suits you. Remember, photography isn’t cheap but neither are the other things that go with a wedding such as flowers, cake, reception, rings and the list goes on but the photo’s will give back a lifetime of memories.
- Ask the photographer if there is a backup plan if for some reason he cannot make it on the day. Who knows he may break a leg the day before but you don’t want to have your wedding compromised and why should you.
- Make sure the photographer is using professional equipment. Having the latest full frame digital cameras would indicate that the photographer is serious about his work. A good photographer can make good pictures out of just about any camera but the latest and best will give them a much better chance of capturing those precious memories.
- The best images are captured in RAW. RAW is the image data captured straight out of the camera sensor and is later taken into a post production software programmes such as Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop where the skills of the photographer are put to work. Weddings can present photographers with tricky lighting situations such as the bride’s white wedding gown and the groom’s dark suit. Shooting in RAW will allow better manipulation of exposure and white balance afterwards. If the photographer is a JPEG shooter, I wouldn’t recommend them. Shooting JPEG is quicker, cheaper and in most cases easier but JPEG throws a lot of useful information away and the images may be compromised such as the fine details on the wedding dress. Further discussion on RAW files can be found in Tech Notes.
- What sort of style do you want. Photojournalistic is the current style of most photographers these days where they capture the day as it happens, but it requires the photographer to be switched on and aware. You don’t want the photographer to miss important details such as the giving of the rings or the kiss because they were too slow or not prepared. This is your wedding and you want it to be perfect. You are relying on the photographer to get it right.
- Is the photographer professional in their dealings with you? Are you comfortable with them and have they been prompt and courteous. Is the photographer listening to you. The bride is the decision maker and it is so important that the photographer is listening to what she is saying.
- Is the photographer a member of the AIPP (Australian Institute of Professional Photographers). Being a member of the AIPP means that the photographer is bound by a code of ethics in their dealings with you and that you may have some redress if things do unfortunately go wrong.
- How long does the photographer hold the original image files and are they suitably backed up in case of hardware failure. I have seen original wedding images lost because the photographer was doing things on the cheap. These valuable images are lost for life now and it shouldn’t have happened. All images should be backed up in at least 3 locations or more. Do you want the photographer to provide you with a copy of the original images on disk. Most photographers will not do this unless you are prepared to pay, ask them and how much do they charge for providing the images but remember, if the original images are shot in RAW, they will be unfinished and you may not even be able to view them on your PC without special software. Talk with your photographer about this.
- The cost of a wedding photographer can range from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars and more. I have heard of wedding photography costing over one hundred thousand dollars from some of the best photographers. How much can you afford. Photographers who work from a studio will have higher overheads and therefore cost more. The photographer working from home may be just as professional but his overheads will be a lot less and therefore his quote will most likely be cheaper. It is up to you, go with who you feel comfortable with and who you can afford.
Remember, your wedding is one of if not the most important days in your life. You are relying on the photographer to capture those special memories that you will cherish forever. – Peter