Choosing the right photographer to capture your wedding
If you’ve been browsing though the websites of numerous wedding photographers, you’re probably a little overwhelmed by all the information and details thrown at you. So many photographers and so many different offerings. Still, it’s an important task – to capture your wedding day. And if you think about it, the wedding photographs and portraits are not only for you and your family, but also for your children and grandchildren one day. It’s part of their heritage too. It’s really that important.
Allow me then to help you with some advice on what to look for in a wedding photographer. Now, clearly I have a vested interest here – I’d love for you to have me as your photographer. But the advice is solid and might help you with this big decision, however you decide.
There are a number of things you’ll have to balance to make this decision about a wedding photographer – whether you like the style (and personality) of the photographer; whether you like what they offer; and of course your own budget. So be sure to balance all these things to figure out to choose the photographer that will best portray your wedding day how you want.
Does the photographer’s style match your vision?
Photographers tend to develop distinctive look to their work over time. And that’s good. I certainly have my own style and approach. Going through a photographer’s online portfolio will give you a clear idea of whether you think it matches how you want your own wedding captured. Ultimately, you have to be happy with the photographs you’ll have as a memory of your special day.
- The portfolio must be consistent
Do the photographs have a certain coherent look to them in how they were photographed and then processed? It’s an important facet to wedding photography – that the images look consistent as you page through an album or a gallery.
- Versatility & experience
Your photographer should have the versatility to adapt to what you want for your wedding photography. And conversely, the photographer should also have the experience to help in planning the wedding day timeline, and help with advice where necessary.
As an aside, most wedding venues require the photographer to have appropriate business insurance. Checking whether a photographer actually has insurance, is an easy way for you to weed out those who are serious about their business and craft, compared to fly-by-night photographers who might not last.
- Ask to see entire weddings!
With weddings that are so filled with emotion and energy, it is relatively easy for anyone with a camera to get a few outstanding images. What you as the engaged couple then need to see from photographers you’re consulting with, are entire galleries – not just a few selected images shown on the blog or in a gallery. This will quickly reveal whether the photographer is a professional capable of consistently delivering while working under pressure.
Here are a few complete wedding galleries that I have photographed – they will give you an idea of the range of photographs you could expect on your wedding day.
Also feel free to check out the wedding photography gallery for more wedding-day eye-candy. This gallery and my wedding photography blog will show the consistently high standard of photography that you could expect for your own wedding.
Is your wedding photographer all kinds of awesome?
Meet the photographers in person if you can. Or do a Skype session. You’re going to have a much longer working relationship with the photographer than any other wedding vendor, from the engagement photo session, all the way past your wedding to designing your wedding album. Is this someone who is warm and personable? And will everyone, from a little flower girl to a grandparent, take to this person?
You really have to like your wedding photographer, and be confident that he / she will be fun to work with, and be able to keep things in motion on the wedding day. So definitely get a sense of who your photographer is, and whether the photographer is someone you’d love to work with on your wedding day.
The difference between ‘editing’ and ‘retouching’ a photo
There is a difference between an image that has been edited, and the same image that has been retouched. For me, an edited image has the colors and exposure corrected so that skin tones look good. Editing affects the broad controls for a photo – exposure, color, contrast and saturation. The overall image needs to look really good. Even then, the photo might need some detailed retouching in Photoshop. This includes skin blemishes. There might also be exit signs that could be removed. There might be various extraneous things which could be fixed to make the photo really shine.
Here is an example that will illustrate the differences:
My clients will never see the out-of-camera photos – only the edited ones which show what it looked like at the time.
But this photo hasn’t been retouched yet. It looks pretty good, but can be improved.
This level of retouching is done for print orders and albums only, since it takes a fair amount.