Top Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer.
When choosing just who should be photographing your wedding there are some key pre requisites to look for. You seriously do not wish to choose a photographer who will not give you a record of the memories of what should be one of the best days of your lives.
1. A Wedding Photographer should have a solid range of both technical, creative, interpersonal and organisational skills. We have seen some great photographers who have phenomenal technical skills, however are not great organisationally, and/or have difficulties communicating a concept , or even putting a group together efficiently and effectively. On the other hand we have come across many photographers with the gift of the gab, and only elementary photographic skills!
2. Your Wedding Photographer should be able to convey a style which you like, and be able to be flexible in being able to cope with a range of different pre requisites from the documentary through to themore structured group photography, the details around the weddingand even the going to the extent as to understanding how to use the environment and how to incorporate the wedding couple and their party into the scene in the most effective manner. You should very much meet your Wedding Photographer well before your wedding, get on a wavelength, and make sure you get on. It is such an important day. If you have the slightest apprehension as to the confidence you may have with a person who is going to be with you on such a special occasion, you shouldn't enter into an agreement for them to photograph your wedding. You need to be assured that you are going to enjoy the whole day, and in some ways the Photographer can be the continuity and glue that keeps things on track.
3. Two cameras, at the very least is a must. Two cameras should capture the key components of a wedding. In the old days of film it was seen as an essential. Now with digital photography, and the ease of card corruption it is an absolute must! We have had a few rare examples where we have cards corrupt, and have been totally at ease, due to our policy of cameras backing each other up for the most important areas of a wedding. We have also never lost key wedding images in the digital era, and that's because we take precautions, and prepare well. The photographer who turns up at a wedding with only one camera, and little other equipment would be a huge concern.
4. A Photographers personality is essential in your day being enjoyable and being smooth and streamlined. You don't want a dictator, nor someone who is too passive. You should require your photographer to have the skills to know when to be a fly on the wall in a documentary sense, and then to be able to also organise and time manage certain situations. A great wedding always flies by in relation to time. You do not want your photographer monopolising you, or the limited time you have with your friends and family. Your wedding photographer should be a superb communicator, a great trouble shooter, and should be a person who is adaptable, flexible, firm but still patient. A good sense of humour, and emotional quotient is helpful too! I know the job description is that of a superhuman, however there are such people around.
5. If you are to put a value on your wedding, you need to ensure your memories and photography are in the right hands. With the web, Facebook, and Instagram there all sorts of people taking, and showcasing their wedding photos. Some websites have a few great images taken on the most perfect days, and which showcase only a few weddings. Tread warily there! Look for a photographer or studio which has undoubted experience, that has albums or coffee table books to view, who has a track record, has won more than a few awards ( although that is not the be all or end all!) , has a back up plan, (should a photographer become ill (it has happened), and can provide quality, creativity and service.
6. Wellington and New Zealand has the harshest light in the world. We also have very dynamic and changeable weather patterns. You are treading on dangerous ground if you choose a photographer who can't handle and understand a variety of lighting variables. After the people at a wedding, the light is the most important feature for a photographer. We have harsh blue sky days to horizontal torrential. We have everything in between too. Make sure you view a photographers work on not only a good day, but also a poor one, and that they understand how to use a range of lighting tools. A photographer who loves only available light, and has only that option available is not a photographer you should be considering for your wedding!
7. Your wedding photographer should have an industry background, and at the very least have an affiliation to one of the three recognised New Zealand photography organisations. They should continually be aware of, and up skilling in wedding photography industry techniques and trends. They should not be rusty, and should be photographing weddings regularly. They certainly should not be photographers who are unfamiliar with weddings, and all they hold. We have seen results by some forensic, medical, advertising photographers and others where the end result has been a lot less than what has been desired. Ask for recommendations and testimonials. The best wedding photographers hardly market, as they are largely booked on referrals. A biggie is also ensuring that you sign a contract or agreement that is fair reason and equitable to both parties. A contract is protection for both parties, and maintains a professional relationship. If you are not offered a contract to look over and agree to, you should be seriously worried!
8. Your photographer should not be a fad. You really don't want your photos to either date or fade. Ensure you make sure who you are choosing, and the photos they take will last the test of time. Many a wedding couple has been caught out by using a photographer who has lovely images on display, however cannot deliver the same quality and creativity week in week out. Be very wary of display photos depicting only the bride and groom, with no wedding party or guests. We are very aware a number of photographers past and present have used models to profile their abilities. Shooting models on the perfect day, and documenting an actual full on wedding are two totally different areas of photography.
9. Wedding Photographers should be agile physically and mentally. Most weddings go at pace. You need a wedding photographer who can think on their feet, and also be fit enough to handle the physical demands of the day. A photographer should not be a concern to a Bride and Groom on their big day, in any way shape or form.
10. Your Photographer should be a trouble shooter, able to resolve most problems, and be able to keep the wedding on the straight and narrow. We carry safety pins, panadol, lollypops, a first aid kit, and a sewing kit. All have been used! A good photographer is the relaxant, the pill, that has the experience, expertise, historical knowledge andcommunication skills to ensure you have a memorable and happy day for all the right reasons. A good command of hair and makeup has been a saviour on a number of occasions too!
Ultimately being a good, or great Wedding Photographer holds a great deal of responsibility. Wedding Photographs are legacy, history and art all tied up in one day long event. They document a hugely important milestone. Your photographer needs the goods to rise up and conquer all the requirements of such a special day.