A Wedding Photographer’s thoughts on choosing the best wedding photographer for you.
Part 1 of ?
Being a wedding photographer, I’ve spent more time than the average person pondering over what a wedding photographer should do, and what the ideal photographer brings to the table.
It’s more than just photos. Obviously this is where you start. As a photographer myself, I get sort of a skewed view of the photographic world. I tend to hear only from people who like my work. I’m sure that there are folks at there that really don’t like my style, my lighting or the way I tell wedding stories, but its nice in that I really don’t hear from them! Assuming you are hunting around through photographers’ websites, looking at portfolios or cruzing through pintrest, ideally something in a photographers portfolio is going to resonate with you quite quickly, when it does, its time to dig deeper.
Packages, pricing and prints oh my! I used to be that guy. A B C or D, choose your package. I really don’t know why it is that photographer offers their services in packages. Think quick, when was the last time you purchased a product or service in a package? I’ll give you 10 seconds…. I can’t really think of an example myself. Maybe carpet cleaning, or something along those lines. I think its perhaps a way that a lot of photographer bamboozle their clients into spending a lot of money, without really knowing exactly what they are paying for what. Wedding photography costs a lot. It doesn’t seem to matter if you have $200, $2000 or $20000 to spend on wedding photography, if that’s what you have to spend, the chances are that to you, it’s a lot of money. Wedding Photography is one of those areas that we stretch our budget, in order to get someone better. Likely, the package idea is a hold over from a previous time, when you purchased prints, back in the film days. It was different then of course. A photographer would shoot your wedding, then hold your negatives in a sort of hostage arrangement, while you struggled to choose your favorites, like your children or something, and abandoned the rest for lack of funds, or interest. How sad. But today is a new day, and with the digital era, we now get a lot more photos, and we get to receive them all! Well, maybe all of them.
How you receive your images, is big question. Do you get everything, are they high resolution, are they watermarked, how many? These are all common questions that I answer every week. My take is that you should be receiving digital files, high res, without watermarks. But you don’t need “all” of them. On an average wedding, I shoot around 1100 photos. From that, I boil them down, and pick out the best, usually ending up in the neighborhood of 300-500 final images. Those are then carefully colour corrected, post-processed and all together made to look their best. The thinking here is twofold. Anything more, is too many. Unless you’re a photography buff, and are used to pouring through scads of images on a regular basis, it’s just too many. You’ll tire, your eyes will likely glaze over and you’ll miss the gems that are really in there. Having edited hundreds of thousands of photos, I’ve developed a keen sense of what a great images is, and which one you can do without. Let your photographer do this part, it should be part of the package. The other half of this situation is that I don’t want photos going out into the world, that I’m not happy to put my name behind. It’s a matter of professionalism, and the quality of the body of my work. Not every photo is great. Even the best photographers in the world regularly take clunkers. But you don’t get to see them, nor should you. When you start to climb into the higher ranks of photography, photographers constantly try to do creative things with light, pushing the envelope ever further. The majority of these attempts are not perfect; they are steps along the way. A particularly tricky shot might take 6 shots to get right. You’re interested in number 6, not 1 through 5. If a prospective photographer is telling you that you’re going to get everything they shoot, alarm bells should go off! They have poor quality control, what else is going to be lacking?
Since this is getting long, I’m going to call it there for now. Watch for Part 2 soon.