How to choose the wedding photographer
1. Pay attention to the experience
An experienced photographer is, first of all, a specialist who can easily adapt to the most unexpected situation. For example, if it rains sharply. Or a trip to the city park will fail. Or the bride will break the heel and not be able to pose according to the planned scenario. In other words, an experienced photographer can easily adapt to any force majeure without compromising on the quality of the photographs.
A true professional is not afraid to lie on wet grass or a dusty road, climb a tree, or a drainpipe if this helps to make a super-frame.
It is believed that an experienced photographer can shoot in any style. Unfortunately, this is nothing more than a myth. A few units can equally well organize glamorously and, say, retro photoshoots. And it’s not a matter of talent at all … Agree – you rarely meet musicians who are in great detail familiar with all the nuances of quantum physics … So is photography – if you want a photo session, for example, in the style of Fine Art or Thrash Dress, look for a professional who works in this style.
It is also worth clarifying the moment regarding equipment – the primary and secondary. A professional always has with him a spare camera (in case of a breakdown in the main one), equipment for additional lighting (in case of cloudy weather or shooting in dark rooms), therefore he does not care about any force majeure.
2. Explore the portfolio
To begin with, any more or less respectful photographer (even a beginner) is very attentive to compiling his portfolio. Therefore, the absence thereof should, at a minimum, lead you to the thought of his professionalism.
If you still have a portfolio, you need to carefully study it. And in no case do not make hasty conclusions. After all, you must admit, a couple of “cool photos” can turn out even for a person who is far from the world of photography. But the professional’s portfolio is literally “stuffed” with first-class photographs!
Having looked at the photographer’s finished work, you’ll get a more or less clear idea of what directions he works in and which photos he gets best of all — staged or “reportage” (shots taken in the real mode of the celebration – without preparation and script).
A complete range of styles, as well as the presence of a bunch of the same banal pictures, does not make the photographer an honor.
3. Have a personal meeting
You should not finally approve the candidacy and say a joyful “YES” to the photographer before a personal meeting with him. Everything is simple here: it doesn’t matter how he is dressed, what kind of photographer he is, height, weight, gender, and religion – the main thing is that you feel next to him, like a fish in water, you can relax and open your inner world in front of the lens. Moreover, such sympathy must be mutual, that is, the photographer must also “feel” your couple.
Do not miss the opportunity to discuss the working moments you are interested in, pre-discuss the time and place of shooting. Quite often, photographers offer to arrange a “prologue” of a photoshoot even before the wedding – in order to film some preparatory moments (decorating the hall, buying rings, choosing wedding dresses, etc.).
In addition, a personal meeting will help the photographer get to know you better, “catch” the images of the bride and groom, so that you can plan your future photoshoot as clearly as possible.
4. Is there an assistant?
Alone in the field is not a warrior … The same story with the photographer. In the presence of an assistant, the work is much more coordinated, at least in most cases – shooting from different angles, insurance, help with equipment. Check if the photographer has an assistant, what is included in his functions, and whether his participation in the work will affect the cost of photo services.
Again, there must be a full understanding between the photographer and his assistant, and to make sure of this, it would be nice to invite a personal assistant and the photographer to a personal meeting.
Important: do not confuse the assistant photographer with the video operator. These are completely different services and combining them is incredibly difficult, if at all possible.
5. Pay attention to the cost
Miser pays twice. In the case of wedding photography, the avaricious pays once, but remains “with the nose”. Indeed, you must admit, if suddenly instead of the promised glamorous photos you get a stack of cards with banal processing in a publicly accessible photo editor and the result is absolutely not right for you, repeating the celebration once again will be extremely problematic.
At the same time, having paid a lot of money to a well-advertised photographer, there is a chance to get frank cheapness.
Adequately assess the situation. To do this, it would be worthwhile to study the prices for the services of wedding photographers in your city and focus on the average cost.
In addition, do not forget that the cost of the service includes several components. It could be:
• Hourly pay or one-time payment for a certain time of work;
• Pre-wedding shooting;
• Processing of all photos, or selectively;
• Printing photos (if so, then the cost will depend on print quality, paper, photo size, etc.).
If you kindly allow the photographer to use pictures from your wedding in his portfolio, you can even count on a small discount.
In order not to get into an unpleasant situation when paying for the services of a photographer, it’s best to discuss these points very clearly, and even better, to write down in the contract).
6. Make a contract
Let’s say right away – if a wedding photographer refuses to conclude an agreement, immediately refuse his services.
If the agreement is nevertheless considered, do not forget to pay special attention to the following points:
• Make clear the date and time you started shooting.
• Indicate the amount of the prepayment made (if any).
• Write down the photographer’s work time at the celebration.
• If you are supposed to pay hourly, indicate the cost of 1 hour, if the payment is for a certain time, indicate the total amount, but do not forget to specify the possibility of overtime and the principle of payment for “extra” hours.
• If the photographer has additional equipment, list it.
• How many printed photos you get.
• On which medium you will be transferred digitally photos (flash drive, disk, email, etc.).
• Forfeit for non-compliance by contracting parties.
After the shooting, do not forget to sign the act of work, which lists the existing claims or their absence.
If the contract form provided by the wedding photographer does not suit you, you are entitled to offer him your sample (compiled in person or downloaded from the Internet). As a rule, conscientious experts never refuse such an option for cooperation.
7. Find out the timeline
Do not start cooperation with a photographer who promises to hand over the finished work a week after the wedding.
Given the fact that it may take several hours for a professional photographer to process 1 photograph, it may take a month to prepare hundreds of photographs. Plus, do not forget – experienced photographers do not sit without work, so most likely your wedding is far from the only one (as a rule, an average photographer takes at least 2 weddings a week).
If you want your wedding photos to please the eye, be patient, and wait 25-30 days – that’s how much time it usually takes to deliver an order.
8. In what form will the result be provided
It all depends on your agreement. As a rule, the total cost usually includes a certain number of pictures printed in a professional photo laboratory, but if you wish, you can increase it by paying extra for printing.
It is also important to clarify how photos will be transferred to you electronically – on a flash drive, disk, via email, or via instant messenger. The fact is that photos dropped by e-mail can seriously lose quality (resolution will deteriorate, images will be blurred).
Also, be sure to ask your wedding photographer whether he is engaged in the manufacture of photo books – this is much more convenient than bulky albums with a dozen of the same type of pictures.
Where to find a wedding photographer?
Learn from friends
The easiest and most effective way is to collect the recommendations of friends. If one of your friends recently married/got married, be sure to ask them about the results of choosing a wedding photographer. It’s great if you yourself attended one of the celebrations and the photographer’s work impressed you very much – in this case, the choice is obvious. A painter that does not bother
Just say – you need to take into account only the reviews on the forums you personally verified! Today unscrupulous photographers can easily leave false positive reviews about their work on forums and sites.
One of the most effective ways to promote your services is to share the fruits of your work on social networks. And this is exactly what many photographers do – upload photos from a variety of photoshoots, thereby helping to make a choice in favor of one or another specialist!
If the photographer is sufficiently “promoted”, he has a well-proven base, filled out to the eyeballs of the portfolio, and the list of his services is not at all limited to the classic shooting of weddings, then he definitely has a website! Often, several photographers working in a kind of “tandem” come together and create a common website where you can see both their common work and individual “creations” of each.
It is the site that can most fully tell about all the features of a particular photographer.
Ideally, you need to look for a photographer for a wedding in several sources at once: after receiving a recommendation from friends, you must definitely study the information about the photographer in forums, find him on the social network and, lastly, browse his site (if he has, of course).
The main mistakes when choosing
Oddly enough, but all the unsuccessful wedding photoshoots became such precisely because of the wrong choice of the photographer. And the point here is not at all professionalism. Perhaps a spark did not run between you, perhaps you asked him an impossible task, asking you to shoot in an unusual environment or in an unfamiliar style. There can be many reasons for failure and fatal errors. We will name only the main ones:
• The pursuit of cheapness. Or vice versa – the choice of an unreasonably expensive wedding photographer. Both that and other options can appear very unsuccessful.
• Conclusion of a contract with a photographer that you didn’t like at a personal meeting – repulsive behavior, unusual speech, and too high self-esteem.
• Organization of a meeting with the photographer only the groom or only the bride. Remember: it is very important that both of you like this person, that you both find a common language with him – after all, you will have to work with him throughout the day (perhaps one of the most important, significant and memorable in life).
• Too unrealistic promises of the photographer. As we have already said, it is very problematic, and to be honest, it is completely impossible to hand over the finished order a week after the wedding. If the photographer claims that he can do this, most likely the photos will be of very mediocre quality.
• The presence in the portfolio of “hackneyed” photo-stamps such as “bride on the palm”, group photos “all in a row”, etc. Be prepared for the fact that such a photographer will endlessly “creative”, pull you, creating new “exclusive” masterpieces.
Of course, you are unlikely to completely avoid surprises and inconsistencies with the script, but if you choose a wedding photographer according to the above criteria, you can protect yourself as much as possible and keep the memory of your wedding day for many years.