When it comes to finding and booking the perfect Wedding Photographer it can be a daunting task.
here are my 10 top tips you should be considering...
1. Have you seen at least three or four entire Weddings from start to finish.
Some photographers out there seem to only show their 'Hero Shots', which is fine but wouldn't you rather see the whole story, and what you might expect to receive.. I know I would.
2. Do they have at least 2 or 3 pro camera bodies and a selection of different lenses and back ups.
It doesn't happen often but kit can go wrong and the last thing you want is your photographer saying his camera has packed up, so unfortunately he's had to sit this one out.
3. Do they shoot RAW.
Okay so you might be thinking this means something else.. but it is referring to how the images are recorded in camera. It gets a bit technical here but the main reason for shooting RAW is the quality is second to none and gives the photographer more control over your images when it comes to editing. But it also means they have to do more work, have bigger memory cards and bigger expensive hard drives.
4. Meet Up before you book.
This might seem obvious but I have had people book via email and not even call me. I take a lot of bookings from all over the country and abroad and I always try and insist on at least a phone call or Skype. It's one of and if not the most important thing to click with your photographer, making sure you are on the same page with what you want and expect from them on the big day.
5. Are there any hidden costs.
The last thing you want is to be hit with another bill at the end of the day or when you get your photos to only find out that you have to pay extra for the privilege to see them, get watermarks removed or pay for higher resolution versions. Believe me, I have heard and seen it all.
6. Do they know the Venue or do they visit before the big day.
I personally think its imperative to at least visit and know where you are going to be shooting on the day. If I'm not able to do this then I would arrive a few hours early and scout all locations making sure I know my routes and explore nearby. For example, I could turn up on the day of your Wedding and get fantastic pictures but unless I had been there before I might not have realised theres an amazing back drop 100 yards down the road which could be the killer shot.
7. Ask them if they do an Engagement shoot.
Now you might be thinking 'I don't even want an engagement shoot', which is fine. My wife even said to me when we were looking for a Wedding photographer, 'Why on earth would anyone want an engagement shoot, it just seems cheesy'. And you might agree but actually it doesn't have to be, it can be a great way to spend some time getting used to being in front of the camera. Also getting to know your photographer and above all getting some fantastic photos and having some fun.
8. What if....
Now you would think if they are advertising themselves as a Professional Wedding Photographer they would be surely shooting on professional or semi professional cameras and they take every step possible to make sure your images are safe.
Well not always, I have seen 'pros' turn up to weddings with entry level kit, which is fine if that is reflected in the price and you are aware of this beforehand.
There is no reason why they might not capture some amazing photos, because of course you aren't paying all your hard earned money for some guy with all the gear and no idea either.
You book them because you love their creative eye, their personality and you know your once in a lifetime memories are in safe hands.
What you might not know is that a pro and semi pro camera these days is capable of recording on dual cards which I think every pro should be using. With such precious cargo it shouldn’t stop there either, personally I use multiple ‘Raid’ HardDrives which piggy back each other for storing my clients images.
I grew up shooting on film and absolutely loved it and still do, but there was so much risk of loss. Luckily when I started shooting Weddings over 11 years ago digital was good enough to work with but most cameras only had one card and if that card became ‘corrupt’ you had to pray you could recover it. It is a rare thing to happen and has only happened to me twice in my career and fortunately I was lucky enough to be able to recover them.
With your images being one of the most important records of your day and of course no way to repeat it! I believe this should be standard practice.
9. Do they include retouching and how do they go about this.
You might be thinking, well I don't want my images retouched, I love the natural look. Which is perfectly acceptable. The only thing is, say on the day there is something in the back ground of your beautiful image and there was no way around it other than to remove/alter in post production. Can they and are they willing to do this. Another important point to note is do they process/edit each individual image. The reason I say this is because most digital images will have completely different colour balances and levels. I have seen photographers batch process entire weddings, and wonder why the bride complains that the bridesmaids dresses weren't that colour in the first place. Digital photography is an amazing thing and it doesn't just finish inside the camera, it takes knowledge and experience to get the best out of it.
10. How many images.
This can be a tricky one, I personally think 300+ is a good number to work to. The last thing you want is to be swamped with hundreds upon hundreds of images that are either fairly similar to each other or that just don't make the cut. You should be able to have absolute confidence in your photographer to be able to deliver a selection of edited images which have encapsulated a wonderful, complete story of your day.