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The Terrifying Truth About Wedding Photography!

Tips For Choosing A Wedding Photographer

By Jeffrey House Photography

 

71% of brides were dissatisfied with their wedding photographer!

85% of brides would hire a different photographer if given a second chance.  

As a professional wedding photographer, I personally find this disturbing.  It's heartbreaking to imagine that so many brides won't have the wedding experience or memories they deserve.  I believe a large part of the the problem is the internet.  There are so many resources available online, but how do you tell what's useful and what's a complete waste of your time?  

In this article, I'm going to provide you with tips for choosing a wedding photographer.  However, first I want to share the tricks, ploys, and deceptions couples often fall prey too.

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5 TRICKS, PLOYS, & DECEPTIONS TO AVOID

1.  The Cheap Photographer

The "cheap" photographer has been on the rise for several years now.  With the availability and affordability of DSLR cameras, and the explosion of social media, too many amateur photographers are posturing themselves as professionals.  

Anyone can create a business page on Facebook, add some photos to it, and call themselves a professional.  Does that mean I can call myself a "chef" because I cook dinner?  

The cheap photographer can be difficult  to detect in many regards, but I have a rather simple way of identifying them.  Go to www.costofwedding.com.  This is an independent site designed to help couples with the planning of their wedding.  You provide some basic information, including your zip code, and they will provide you with the average cost for planning almost every detail of your wedding.  The costs you see aren't estimated, it's what couples in your area really spent on their wedding.  

When reviewing the data,  be sure to add up all of the applicable costs as many  of the details are broken out by service.  For example, wedding photography lists the costs for an engagement session, CD/USB wiht photos, etc.  

In the Albany, NY region, the average couple will invest $2800 - $3,000 on their wedding photography.  If another photographer promises to deliver you everything the $2,800 photographer is for $1,000 - run and fun fast!!  Cheap photographers are masters at over-promising and under delivering.  They promise you champagne and caviar, but deliver sparkling water and crackers.  Unfortunately, you won't realize it until it's too late and you're left heartbroken.  Their photos are poorly composed, improperly exposed, blurry, and key moments from the day are missing.  They also tend to do the bare minimum when it comes to editing, if they even edit them at all!  

The only way to offer these cheap prices is to cut corners.  Are you willing to gamble on which corners will be cut?

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2.  Price Is Your Sole Focus

Isn't this the same as a hiring a "cheap" photographer?  At first glance, it feels that way, but it's not.  

Let me explain.

A "cheap" photographer is deceiving you and making you believe they can deliver the same products, services, and quality as a true professional - but for a fraction of the price.  You choose them because you can't justify spending twice the money for the something you believe to be the same.  

However, when price is your sole focus, you're not considering what you're really getting for the price or you convince yourself it's the same.  

You want a photographer for 8 hours and the most you are willing to pay is $1,000.  Maybe you can't or don't want to pay the "average" price for a wedding photographer in your area.  However, if this is the case then it's best to prepare yourself to experience disappointment - especially if your wedding photos have any meaning to you.  

"Exceptional talent doesn't come cheap and cheap talent isn't exceptional!"

3.  Hiring A Photographer Based On A Recommendation

I'm guessing you just read that and thought to yourself, "Is he crazy?  Word of mouth is the best way to hire anybody!"

I would agree with this sentiment in most circumstances, but not wedding photography.

Believe it or not, the quality of a photographer's photographs has very little - if anything - to do with the quality of your photographs.  

But wait a minute.  Your friend used this same photographer last year for her wedding and the photos were amazing!  In order for this to make sense, we need to understand what actually makes a photographer great.

Great photographers have the ability to form meaningful connections with their clients.  A meaningful connection that consists of having a great personality that harmonizes with your personality.  They are genuine and they are capable of earning your trust.  They make the process of creating photographs fun and make you feel completely at ease.  

There is a direct correlation between great photography and meaningful connections.  

Imagine for a moment - your own comfort level when speaking with a close friend versus a complete stranger.  Your body language and the information you share will be completely different.  Would you instantly share the most intimate details your life with a complete stranger?  

Wedding photography is very similar.  If you trust your photographer and feel comfortable with them, you are much more open and engaged in the profess.  But if there is something about your photographer that rubs you the wrong way, it's a restricted and closed-off relationship.  All of these feelings will ultimately reveal themselves in your photographs.  

While your friend may have had a wonderful experience with a particular photographer, it's likely they were an excellent "fit" for each other.  A recommendation is a good place to start, but keep an open mind and make sure you choose a photographer that is right for your wedding!

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4.  Temptations

Earlier, we touched on the large volume of online resources available to couples planning a wedding and how I personally believe the internet is the driving force behind steering couples down the wrong path. 

Many of the online wedding resources are nothing more than distracting "temptations."  They make couples believe  they have to incorporate all of these extravagant details in order to have an amazing wedding.  Once you get sucked in by these sites, it's very easy to lose sight of what's important to you and your  wedding!

Many couples find themselves in situations where they spend so much money on certain details, they have to cut costs on others.  Couples will often immediately look to their wedding photography to cut costs.  It's no coincidence that scrimping on wedding photography is also a brides biggest regret year after year.  

I love sites like Pinterest and when used correctly, they are amazing tools!  They can provide you with tons of inspiration.  But wedding photographers an attest that many couples use it to define their weddings.  For example, brides will approach their photographer with a packet of literally 20-30 "posing ideas" and then ask them to re-create these images.  

Everything we see on Pinterest is not from a real wedding.  Many of the photos were created using professional models, complex lighting arrangements, and the perfect location.  Unfortunately, real weddings have very strict time restraints and do not allow professional photographers enough time for this level of production.  

And keep in mind - if you want to hire a photographer to "re-create" another photographer's images, you're going to eventually be very disappointed.  You would be much happier hiring that photographer.  

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5.  Expectations

I can't recall who deserves credit for this quote, but it was once said:

“99% of our problems are due to poor expectations.”
— Unknown

When you step back and really think about it for a minute, it's true.  So, what expectations should you have when it comes to your wedding photography?

Every Photograph Is Not Going To Be "Award-Winning"

You should expect your photographer to capture consistently good photographs for the entire wedding, but if you expect to be delivered 500 award-wining photographs, you're going to be extremely disappointed.  

There are several top wedding photographers charging in excess of $25,000 for a single wedding.  Many of their photographs are excellent, a handful are brilliant, and good portion of them are somewhere between okay and good.  The top wedding photographers in the world will tell you that you should expect between 5-10 beautiful images, 50-100 very good images, and the remaining in the okay category.  

As a wedding photographer, there are many time when we can create amazing photographs, but there are many other times when we are capturing, documenting, and creating images that tell a story.  These images typically won't "wow" you on a consistent basis.  It's very likely you will still love them, but more for sentimental reasons - a beautiful moment between you and your partner during the ceremony or an embrace from your parent.  

Two sides to every process

When it comes to choosing a great professional photographer, there are definitely some qualities you need to consider.  But, there are also some actions you need to avoid too.  Hopefully this article opened your eyes to some new perspectives and you find it useful.  Best of luck with your search for a wedding photographer!

 

do you know someone who fell victim to these tips, ploys, and deceits?  share you story with us!

 

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