One of the most common and unfortunate mistakes couples make is hiring a family friend or an enthusiastic relative to photograph the day. Some may even ask guests to take as many photos as possible with the hope of piecing together an album composed of candid shots, most of which are unusable. Keep in mind that even with the proper equipment, photographing a wedding properly is a daunting task requiring significant experience, the finesse’ to be virtually invisible, and most importantly the talent and artistic vision to capture the memorable details and emotions of your wedding day. It is certainly not a job for the faint of heart.
How, then, does one choose an accomplished, professional wedding photographer? The key items to consider are your personal preferences in photography, your budget for the event, and the professional relationship and chemistry you have (or don’t have) with the photographer.
Wedding photography is usually classified as traditional, photojournalistic (candid), and artistic. There is a wealth of information online regarding these categories, if you would like more explanation of each. Although some photographers may declare that they are “hardcore photojournalists” (the current buzz-word in the wedding photo industry), I believe that a good wedding photographer must be able to do all the styles equally well. It is important to review a good selection of the photographer’s work, and you should loveto.org/”; most (if not everything) you see. You should insist on viewing complete wedding albums to see how your final album could look. If you don’t feel an emotional connection with the photos, you need to interview another photographer.
Couples also either under-budget for their wedding photography, or they try to shop around for the cheapest package, forsaking quality. As with any creative service, with most photographers you normally “get what you pay for.” If you see an all-inclusive package with albums under $2000.00, the quality of all the products and services is usually poor. If the package is above $5000.00, you should expect 2 photographers present, at least 8 hours of coverage, and high-end wedding albums (along with some extra items, such as proofs or parent copies). Make sure you compare apples to apples when reviewing various wedding packages, since they can be confusing. In most cases a typical wedding photography budget would be in the $3000.00 – $6000.00 range. Don’t treat your wedding photography as an afterthought – photographs are the most enduring and viewed remembrance of your wedding day (more so, even, than a video recording).
Make sure you feel a personal connection with your photographer. Some of the best photos of the day are usually taken “behind the scenes” as the wedding party prepares for the day, when you will be interacting with your family and friends. You should feel comfortable inviting the photographer “backstage.” As a wedding photographer, I regularly get invited to see the most intimate parts of the wedding day that are normally not visible to most guests or even family. Your photographer should be calm and assertive and have a positive energy about them. Make sure he or she shows a genuine interest in you and your family. Do not hire a photographer that makes you feel that your wedding day is just another job for them. Your photos would certainly reflect that.
Written and published by: Michael Graham Photography