Determining who should be your wedding photographer can be one of the most important decisions in the lead up to your wedding. Here are some insider tips on working out which photographer is the best fit for you and your future spouse.
Do your homework
Have you looked through their portfolio? Do you know what it is that you like about their work? Do you have a rough idea of their style? (i.e. are they documentary, or traditional, or are they serious or are they silly?) You don’t need to have an expert knowledge of photography, but pay attention to the vibe of your potential photographer, the moods that they capture, and their approach to weddings.
As a wedding photographer, meeting with clients who want something vastly different to what I offer can be one of the most frustrating experiences, and quickly dampens my enthusiasm for working with a particular couple. If you don’t know anything about my work, it’s probably wasting both of our time for me to meet with you.
Which leads me to the secret that no photographer will ever tell you:
Just as you’re trying to decide if I am the perfect photographer for you, I’m trying to decide if you’re the right client for me.
A good photographer won’t accept a booking from someone they clash with.
I need to know whether working with you will enhance my eeative ability, or hinder it. I want to produce my best work, and when I connect well with a client, the resulting photos are always spectacular. Think about it: wedding photographers only need around 40 clients a year to make ends meet, and we’re not interested in wasting our time with somebody who might turn out to be a bridezilla (or groomzilla!)
OK, so you’ve done your homework. But you still have some questions about how the photographer works on the day. This is great!
Some ideas of questions to ask include:
– What kind of techniques do you use to make us feel comfortable? If they can’t answer this question, my guess is they haven’t been shooting weddings for very long.
– What are your thoughts on other people taking photos as well? Some photographers insist on ‘unplugged ceremonies’ some don’t. You need to know this as early as possible.
– What format do my photos come in? Most photographers I know only hand out JPEG images, which are after the photos have been edited. It’s important to know if they’ll be edited, or if they’re giving you RAW files. (RAW is exactly what it sounds like: unedited, high quality photos.)
Meet in person [or on Skype]
Meeting is such an important step for connecting with your photographer. They are someone who will be spending your entire wedding day with you – a potential nightmare if you pick someone that you don’t get along with! Connecting with your photographer in person, or over Skype, is by far the best way to decide if you have a good rapport.
Often I meet with brides and grooms who tell me that they feel really awkward on Skype. Don’t worry, I used to be the same! During my first few Skype meetings, my hands would get sweaty and I would get nervous about what to say. Don’t stress about this, a good photographer will know how to put you at ease and keep conversation flowing.
Sleep on it. Twice.
Too often, I meet with couples who have already booked a photographer and then regret their choice. Rushing to choose, or feeling pressured to commit, doesn’t lead to great decisions. Talk together in private, think of any new questions that might come up – even take the opportunity to meet other photographers for a comparison.
If you’ve already paid a non-refundable deposit or retainer but you know you’re unhappy with the photographer you have booked, don’t settle for something that you will regret twenty years from now. Your wedding photos are priceless, don’t undervalue them.
Once you’ve chosen a photographer you’re really happy with, give your partner a high-five! You can relax knowing that you are going to have stunning photos of your magical day.
Henry Paul is an award-winning, Australian based wedding photographer. He has a unique ability to capture both the playful and the heartfelt moments experienced on any wedding day, and translate it into something artistically beautiful, and emotionally raw. For more information regarding Henry and his work, visit www.henrypaul.co.nz.