9 Tips For Choosing A Wedding Photographer
BEST WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHERS ALBANY, NY
Learn Great Tips For How To Choose A Great Wedding Photographer!
Throw out every piece of advice you've read or been given on how to choose a great wedding photographer!
As one of the Best Wedding Photographers in Albany, NY, I've never met a bride that didn't want a great wedding photographer, but most admit they're not sure what makes a photographer great.
Naturally, most brides turn to the internet for help.
While you can find valuable information online, much of the advice is just plain horrible.
In this article, we are going to provide you with 9 amazing tips for choosing a wedding photographer.
The biggest regret among brides when it comes to their wedding photography is hiring a "cheap" photographer. In fact, over 80% of brides would plan their wedding completely different if given a second chance.
“The Bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory.”
9 TIPS FOR CHOOSING A GREAT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Personality is one of the most overlooked details when it comes to hiring a professional wedding photographer. It's also one of the most important details to consider.
While your photographer may have a great personality,it doesn't guarantee your personalities will mesh. However, it does provide a greater opportunity to form a meaningful connection. Your photographer spends the entire wedding day by your side, so it's critical that you like them. A good rule of thumb is to imagine being friends with your photographer. If you like their personality to the point you can imagine being friends with them, the chances of having a great relationship are far greater.
Personality also plays a huge role in the success of your photographs. If you connect with your photographer, you're going to instinctively be more trusting and engaged in the picture making process. But if they rub you the wrong way, that too will reveal itself in your photographs.
2. Trust & Comfort
I could have combined trust and comfort with personality, but they're so vital to the success of your wedding photography, that they deserve their own spotlight.
Many photographers believe that when you pay them money to photograph your wedding, they've already earned your trust. But that couldn't be further from the truth.
Trust, in any relationship, is earned over time. It's not any different for a wedding photographer. Photographers earn your trust through exceptional communication, working together (i.e. engagement session), and demonstrating their professionalism.
If you don't or can't trust your photographer, you're never going to feel comfortable with them - this will greatly impact your photographs. When we don't trust people, we don't let them into our life. We don't feel comfortable being around them and we're guarded. If you don't trust your wedding photographer, these same feelings will be evident in the images.
3. Photography Style
Google "how to choose a wedding photographer" and you'll find thousands and thousands of websites offering advice on how to choose a wedding photographer.
One piece of advice you'll find on every website deals with "photography style." You will be instructed to choose a photography style and ask potential photographers how they describe or define their style.
How can this be bad? Isn't photography style important? The short answer is yes.....and no.
Every photographer "views" the world through a different set of eyes. Every photographer "feels" the world with a different heart. Even photographers with the exact same photography style are going to have a great disparity between their images. We all compose our images differently, we all feel the scene differently, we all use light differently, and we all tell the story differently.
Therefore, if photographers with the exact same style are going to produce completely different images, how beneficial is photography style?
That being said, a photographer's style is very important. But this is something you can discern by viewing the actual photographs they create.
As you view their work, ask yourself these questions:
Do I like how they compose their images? Are they interesting? Do they tell a story?
Do there images make me feel good?
How do the people in the photographs look? Do they look happy? Do they look comfortable or do they look awkward?
How does the editing/retouching of the images look? Does their skin look like plastic? Are colors represented well?
Can you imagine your wedding by looking at the images?
These are the questions you need to answer and this is a practical way of placing an actual value on a photographer's style.
[DISCOVER: OUR PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE]
Many couples looking to hire a wedding photographer want to know how many images they're going to get. The average photographer will take between 3,000-4,000 images during an 8 hour wedding. Many couples ultimately choose one photographer over another because they are going to give them more images. For example, Photographer A is delivering 400 photographs, but Photographer B is delivering 800.
It's important to first understand why photographer's take so many pictures over the course of a wedding. Many of the images we take are duplicate and triplicate images because we need to account for closed eyes, unflattering facial expressions, lighting issues, camera focus issues, etc.
So, that leaves us with these considerations.
Quantity Versus Quality
The photographer promising to deliver 1,000 images in 1-2 weeks is serious cause for concern. How much attention are they really giving your images in post-production? They're only doing basic post-production. They are not giving you "completely" edited photographs. They are running the images through a program that automatically applies some basic effects. They make a few tweaks here and there, but that's it. They're not taking the time to remove blemishes from your skin or lint from your clothing or distracting elements in the background.
These are your wedding pictures, they should be as perfect as possible!
These same photographers will do their best to convince you they fully edited the images, but I assure you they didn't and don't.
Delivering A Premium Product
Our philosophy believes the post-production process is just as important as capturing the actual images. One without the other is not a complete product.
At Jeffrey House Photography, every image we deliver to our clients is managed with our Signature Production. Every image requires its own unique attention and we scrutinize every image accordingly. Our clients deserve the absolute best!
5. Google; There's A Whole World Beyond Page 1
We have been lead to believe the only Google results that matter are those found on the first page.
But, if the truth be told, the page one results have practically nothing to do with the quality of the business. It has everything to do with marketing budget, and how long and how well the website is optimized for search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.).
I won't go total geek and get into the in's and out's of SEO (search engine optimization), but quality SEO is based on hundreds of criteria, none of which account for your photographer's personality, their ability to earn your trust, photo quality, editing quality, etc.
Do yourself a favor and expand your search beyond the first page. Take a little extra time to research and learn about all of the options available. Your wedding will thank you!
6. Beyond The Portfolio
Along with photography style, every online resource will tell you that you need to view the photographs from a "full wedding."
I understand where they're coming from. They want you to see more photographs than just the "best of" found in a portfolio. But, part of what makes a photographer great is being able to effectively solve problems.
If you want to see images beyond the portfolio, I highly recommend you ask to see a variety of images from each part of the wedding day (i.e. - getting ready, ceremony, reception, and the artistic portrait sessions). Every wedding is different and every wedding presents its own challenges. Couples will find it far more valuable to see the images created by a photographer in varying situations.
And don't hesitate to ask your photographer about the different photographs they present to you. Ask them what challenges they faced while photographing that wedding and how did they overcome them? Most photographers likely won't anticipate questions like this. But how they respond could certainly give you some insight into their ability to handle pressure situations.
One last point for looking at images beyond the portfolio. Many photographers dedicate a lot more time perfectly editing their portfolio images. They don't accurately reflect the photographs you'll receive from your wedding.
Every image on our website is the exact production process we use for every image delivered to our clients. Be sure to compare the portfolio images to the non-portfolio images. Do you notice a disparity between the images? If not, don't hesitate to ask the photographer if they edit their portfolio more thoroughly. While they may try to give you a slick answer, this question may catch them off guard and cause them to tip their hand if their being less than truthful.
7. Wedding Packages
When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, be sure to fully understand the specific features included in their wedding packages. Many photographers fill their packages with "fluff" to make you feel are warm and fuzzy, but eventually you realize their packages didn't have much substance.
You don't want a wedding package filled with useless features or products. The features most commonly preferred include:
Two professional photographers
Length of photography coverage
Wall displays (canvas prints)
When you choose a wedding package, you want to make sure the products and services are of actual value to you. Most photographers are more than happy to adjust a package or customize a package to meet your specific needs.
When it comes to hiring a wedding photographer, there are three rules about contracts:
Never hire a wedding photographer without a contract
Never hire a wedding photographer without a contract
Never hire a wedding photographer without a contact
That was easy.
I make light of the topic, but there have been many, many couples that hired a photographer without having a contract in place. Most of them didn't end well. One couple paid around $1,000 for their photographer and was promised the digital images on a CD following the wedding. Long story short, their photographer demanded an additional payment of $2,000 for they would release the images. The couple was left with no option, but to pay the $2,000.
I don't want to see any couple have to experience this kind of awful situation. Get everything in writing.
People take pictures, not cameras. So, how important is equipment?
Beautiful pictures can be created using even the most basic of cameras. But don't be fooled by anyone who tries to convince you that equipment doesn't matter. It does!
Let me explain.
I drive a Volkswagon Jetta. I love it. But it's not a Mercedes.
And if I had a Mercedes, do you think I could drive it as well as a professional driver? Could I get the most out of the cars performance with my "average" driving abilities?
The same holds true with photography equipment. They make great "consumer" grade equipment, but there are reasons it's not considered "professional" grade.
What does professional grade photography equipment offer that consumer grade doesn't?
In the hands of a professional photographer professional grade equipment offers:
More creative control
More consistent results
Better low-light performance
So, without having the knowledge of photography equipment, how do you know what to consider or what to look for?
Let's take a look at some quick and basic details that will pretty much tell you everything you need to know!
All cameras have an image sensor. This part of the camera essentially makes the pictures. Here's the part that's important. Cameras are considered to be a "crop" sensor or "full frame."
The "full frame" cameras have larger sensors; therefore, the pictures your photographer takes has more data. This not only allows for more creative control, but the larger sensors produce slightly sharper images.
Even more important, the full frame sensor performs better in low-light situations, which is a common when photographing weddings.
The key term with lenses is aperture. Simply explained, it's a mechanism in the lens that controls how much light is let into the camera.
Apertures are based on a number - for example, "f 2.8" or "f 5.6" or "f 22." All lenses have an aperture range, not just a single aperture.
An aperture of "f 22" means a smaller hole and less light is allowed into the camera. It also means that when you take a picture, not only will your subject be in focus, but much of the background will also stay in focus.
An aperture of "f 2.8" means a big hole with a lot of light being let into the camera. Now, when you take a picture of your subject, they will be in focus, but the background will go "blurry." This is a creative effect referred to as "bokeh."
Choosing a wedding photographer can feel overwhelming. You try to compare photographers by scrutinizing their portfolios, but after a while all the pictures start to look the same. It becomes almost impossible to differentiate between photographers.
However, these 9 tips provide you with a pragmatic approach for choosing a wedding photographer perfect for your wedding!