It was Saturday night and we just got done photographing the Hora, a celebratory dance where the guests raise the wedded couple in chairs in unison. Afterwards as guests were finding their seats for dinner, I looked at my partner ~ my wife with a huge grin on my face and whispered how much I love being at this wedding. For me it’s a total joy to be present in the moments on such an occasion, totally devoted to making sure that their day is photographed so beautifully and thoroughly that nothing is missed. That those moments are there for a lifetime and then some.
So you’re engaged! Congratulations! You have a lot to do to plan an amazing wedding experience for you, your families and special guest.
If you’ve done some looking you’ve noticed that there are 100’s of photographers in South Florida alone! So where do you start? Try:
- Venues that you are considering will have a preferred vendor list. Most likely these photographers would not be on this list without having established a great working relationship with the venue team and have a proven track record!
- Wedding planners stake their reputations on great vendors that do amazing by their clients. A great planner will intuitively match you up with photographers that are a good fit with your personalities and wedding style.
- Family and friends that have already had a wonderful wedding experience will be more than thrilled to recommend a great photographer as well as other wedding vendors that gave them a great experience.
Now you have 2-3 photographers that you really love their work you should definitely meet with them.
This article will cover the skills that are essential to a great wedding photographer. If you thought finding a partner for life was hard just wait til you start looking for your wedding photographer!! So what to look for:
Personality ~ A professional wedding photographer is commissioned to not only capture the personality of your wedding but also to be engaged with family and friends throughout the wedding experience. Your photographer will most likely spend more time with you on the wedding day than any other vendor and most of your guests. That personality needs to have the skill set to navigate the many subtle nuances that may exist at weddings i.e. family dynamics, surly guests. Ever have a great meal at a restaurant and the waiter was a jerk?
Expertise ~ A professional wedding photographer should be so intimate with his equipment that it’s second nature thus allowing the professional to focus on being in the zone or a sixth sense in capturing real moments. That great camera doesn’t take great photographs. It is only a tool, the artist behind the camera gets those moments. Ever watch a photographer at an event and they keep looking at their screen and at the same time there are moments happening but not being photographed because the photographer lacks the confidence to stay focused on the moments? So how can you know what their expertise is? Well ask questions. How long have you been a photographer? How many weddings have you shot in your career? The answers will give you a good sense of where they’re at in the command of the medium.
Quality vs. quantity ~ You want great photographs and when meeting it’s important to stay focused on the photographer and the quality of the their art. It’s easy to get carried away with a package that includes everything you think you want. Enlargements, wedding albums are all great but can always be created at a later date. “It’s not a great deal if you don’t love your photos.”
Experience ~ So far the interview has gone well…they have a great and engaging personality, they’re mastery of the medium isn’t in doubt and the quality is beautiful! What of their experience in their chosen field? Are they full time photographers? Or is this a weekend warrior hobby? Quite often I’ll have associates/students that will come along to a few weddings and they always have the same comment ~ “Wedding photography is a lot harder than it looks!” But of course! There is an art to what we do…not only are we responsible for telling a great love story, but in doing so we are also responsible in many ways to guiding and moving the day along as the couple desires. All the meetings and attention to a timeline…the day normally doesn’t go exactly as planned i.e. timeline delays, hair/make up issues, wardrobe malfunctions, wedding party behind schedule…things happen and what was an hour photo session to get your wedding party and family portraits done is now just 15 minutes. An experienced wedding photographer will get it done and not get flustered by the hiccups in the day. Now here’s a great tip ~ ask that you see one or two weddings from start to finish…every shot presented! Is there a weakness in the coverage?
Associate photographers and assistants ~ No matter how wonderful you’re photographer is, you’re going to want a thorough coverage of your wedding experience. Having a second photographer allows for an expanded story-line. I feel that they are obvious moments at every wedding but with the moments they are also reactions that should be captured. Now an associate and an assistant are two different positions. I always bring an assistant that allows us to have one thing in our hands ~ a camera. The assistant is also a great second eye looking for details during family portraits i.e. white cuffs just right, exposed bra straps hidden, etc. They also are responsible for lighting and taking care of our equipment.
I hope this gives you the tools to help in making a great decision regarding your photographer!
One more thing ~ make sure your photographer loves the wedding experience so much that there is nowhere else they would rather be than at your wedding on a Saturday night!
Stay tuned as I’ll be following up next week with great questions to ask a wedding photographer.
Love to share!!!
Roy ~ Contact Me!