As much as all wedding photographers think they are going to be the best photographer for every client who walks in their door, it’s a fact of wedding photography life that not all photographers are suited to photographing all weddings. So choosing the right photographer is super important. After the reception is over, the dress cleaned and packed away, you are home from the honeymoon and all that’s left are the photos. Photos that will be with you for a lifetime. Photos that hopefully you have made into an album that will become a treasured family heirloom for generations to come.
So how do you choose the perfect photographer for you?
I’m here to tell you it is fairly straight forward and comes down to 3 simple things. The 3 P’s. Personality, Pictures and Price.
Each of Personality, Pictures and Price have their own importance depending upon your circumstance but regardless of your budget the least important is Price. So I will start there.
How much you can pay for a wedding photographer varies enormously. How much albums cost also varies enormously. And so too does the quality. In wedding photography I believe you definitely get what you pay for.
Cheap photographers can be tempting but bear in mind the reason they are so cheap. Largely it is due to them being new to the industry. They are therefore likely to be using cheap camera gear unsuited to the rigours of professional demands and also unlikely to have backup equipment. A lack of experience also means they may be unable to deal with unforeseen circumstances, tricky lighting and a myriad of other problems. Then the images themselves may not be up to standard.
I see it time and time again where a bride hires a cheap photographer – and they actually like their photos – but if only they had paid a small amount more, they could have an astonishing better collection of images and a much better album. There are many photographers locally who will shoot a wedding with a cheap album for far less than it costs me just to have made one of the high quality Queensberry albums I supply. I know those cheap albums are a false economy too. I have had samples of them fall apart and images fade within a couple of years. The albums I supply will last long after anyone I shoot has passed away. They are forever and therefore the extra cost is well worth it. Please don’t let price be your primary consideration when choosing a photographer. Sure, it’s a factor, but don’t let it be the main one.
And that brings us to pictures.
What is the work like of the photographer you are considering? Look at complete albums of an entire wedding. Exact copies of what the bride and groom got. Not a selection of a handful their best work. These photos are forever. Simply put, do you like the work?
When looking at a photographers work, a quick tip or two. Avoid imagery that is super highly photoshopped. Avoid the trendy Instagram look. Trust me, you might love it now, but in a couple of years time it will be dated and a sad trend of the past. Classic strong imagery without the need for gimics is always in fashion. Have a look at this photo from the wedding of Jackie Bouvier and John Kennedy. It’s 60 years old this year. It’s beautiful, it’s classic. It’s a photo that could have been taken yesterday. It’s what I strive for in all my wedding photography.
Here’s one of mine. I was raining, the light was tricky, there wasn’t much room to move and I love that shot. It will be beautiful forever.
Then again you might hate this and really want the super photoshopped imagery – fair enough. There are plenty of photographers out there that will do that for you.
I cannot stress enough how important personality is. If the photographer is in your budget and does great work you love but you don’t click, don’t hire them. Simply put, the photographer is going to be with you for the better part of your wedding day. They should be the type of person you would love to have hanging around. Someone you would go to the pub with. Someone you’d have over for dinner and some laughs. Over the years I have made solid friends with a bunch of people whose weddings I have photographed.
I photograph the weddings of great, gorgeous, wonderful people. They are great, gorgeous and wonder because I think that way about them. A couple of times during my career as a wedding photographer I have met couples that I didn’t feel that way about and have simply and politely told them, “Sorry, I don’t think I am the best photographer for you”. It’s not them, it’s me. We’ve got to click. I’ve heard horror stories about personality clashes during weddings mostly because the couple decided to get a cheap photographer and they didn’t really get along.
Of the three factors of Price, Pictures and Personality, I think the single most important thing to consider when choosing a wedding photographer is personality. Regardless of how good the photographer is, if you don’t ‘click’ it will be reflected in the photos. And within a few months of the wedding the extra you might have to spend is quickly a thing of the past. But the photos are forever.
I hope that helps you in choosing the perfect wedding photographer for you.