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Thread: What to look for in a wedding photographer?

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    Member CapnBloodbeard's Avatar
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    What to look for in a wedding photographer?

    Morning all!

    Been rather quiet photographically lately, hence I've disappeared from the forum for a bit -new job, so I've struggled to find time to do anything with my camera.

    Anyway, my query is about being in front of the lens, not behind it!

    So next week my fiance and I are meeting with a couple of wedding 'togs to try and plan for next year's wedding. We've looked at a heap online and narrowed it down to a few we like, so we'll meet up to see who we connect with.

    So, does anybody have any tips in helping us finalise our decision? Anything to look out for, ask for, anything to avoid?

    What's the best way to get an overall sense of the photographer's work (as opposed to just their best 20 shots in their online portfolio)?

    Also, what would be considered a fairly decent type of album to ask about? For instance, one of the photographers we're meeting only offers an 8"x8" album, which seems very underwhelming and could possibly be a deal breaker (of course I know I can organise my own album, but wouldn't I get a better result with the photographer?)

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    Darren
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    Good read - the price isn't so much an issue. Of course, we do have a budget but we're able to stretch our budget to be able to look at the 'togs whose work excites us

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    My suggestions would be as follows:
    Ensure you get along with the photographer, and feel comfortable with them. Its absolutely no good if you feel uncomfortable with them, or nervous when you are around the photographer - it makes it harder for them to take the best photo of you, and makes it harder for you to enjoy your day. After all, enjoying yourself is what your wedding is all about.

    Choose someone whose style you like - as not every photographer suits every wedding clients desires - check if they have actual prints from weddings and can show you really nice shots that they have taken and how they look in print. Ask them for testimonials or previous clients you could talk to about how they found the experience and what their opinions are (word of mouth is a very good tool). Watch out for over-processed photos or poorly processed photos, as they will probably reflect the end product.

    Ensure you have in writing what you want exactly from the wedding, so that you don't end up with order snafus after the date. Check when you are paying, and for what. Also ensure you have a firm date for when you will get to see your photos and receive a disk of copies.

    Ask them to show you their gear, and ensure you aren't just getting some schmo with a DSLR, but someone who knows how to use it - ask them a curly question if you feel inclined. Ask them how they will cope if anything goes wrong with their camera gear on the day. Ask them how they back up your photos to ensure disaster doesn't occur.

    Above all, realise that photography isn't everything with your wedding. You are there to enjoy the day, so make sure thats your first priority .

    NOTE: If you are having a videographer, make sure you talk to the photographer about it, as they can really make life difficult if things aren't sorted out prior to the date.

    Hope this helps .
    John
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    ask them if they use UV filters

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    Haha, sorry, gave that one a miss.

    We've narrowed it down to two...tough working from there! We'll have to spend a bit of time working through the online albums and pages of both, methinks.

    One issue is that we prefer the albums of one to the other (though it isn't make-or-break). Just wondering, how feasible would it be to give the album a flick and source an album more to our taste later on?

    Of course there is an advantage to using the photographer's album as they'll offer their expertise in a layout, but if we decide that their album really isn't worth $1000-2000 (or more!!!), how feasible would it be to find something awesome ourselves and organise it?

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    You may find that the photographer makes a fair bit if margin from the album so if you don't take it then the package price may not come down as much as you think

    Never the less if you use something like momento pro you can certainly design and print your own albums at cost

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    There are always a range of packages with or without albums, hence considering this as an option

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    Remember that the images belong to you, so you should negotiate a set of fully edited photographs in digital format. My advice is to make the album yourself. Nearly all of my clients nowadays just want a DVD of images, however I always insist that the client has a handful of prints. If you do pay for prints, make sure you're getting decent prints, not inkjet prints.

    Don't waste your time looking at a portfolio of photos that have been taken from various weddings. Anyone, even a poor photographer could scrounge at least one decent shot per wedding, so if they've done 15 weddings, they could show a reasonable portfolio. Ask to view a entire wedding. This will show you the true calibre of the photog, whilst helping to manage your own expectations; not every shot at a wedding is gold.
    Last edited by TOM; 13-07-2012 at 9:15am.

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    Hi Tom - fortunately the photographers we're looking at do provide he disc of fully edited images (and from their perspective, what's the point in offering a half-finished product?)

    Good advice on the wedding / portfolio, and it's one I kept in mind. I figure that any idiot can come up with 20 great shots to show on their portfolio, it's the photographers showing blogs / digital albums of entire weddings that I've particularly paid attention to. I'm more interested in what he or she accomplishes through the entire day than whether he can pull off one or two good shots.

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    Ask them how many images they deliver fully edited. I suspect they will take many more images than they actually edit and hand over on disc. Some will edit 200, some will edit 400 or some other number, most would not edit 2,000. If you work it out, a one minute edit of every image taken will take a very long time. How many images can you edit fully in one minute?

    Tim

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    There is another aspect here, and its not about quality, quantity, price or gear. It is PERSONALITY! You need to pick someone you feel comfortable with. Someone who's personality will mix with yours, your bridal party and your guests. No use getting someone who is great on paper but comes across as the biggest tosser on the planet.

    So when considering which one of your finalists, think about how you relate to them as a person, as well.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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