I was reading an article on The Knot (10 Steps to Finding a Great Wedding Photographer), and it got me thinking about how many first-time bride and grooms have NO IDEA what makes one photographer different from another. It sounded like a perfect blog topic. Here are a few things that can help you in your search, and check out the article above for other good suggestions!
Let’s start with the basics – style. Most photographers these days do what is generally referred to as journalistic style. They cover details, candids, and more casual portraits. This is the style I shoot. There are also standard portrait photographers (very formal) and artistic photographers (really depends on their style).
These days, what you also need to think about is the editing style. While I do clean editing (tones not adjusted), photographers have a wide range of options to finish their photos with. Most recently, light and airy (mint-green tint) and moody (deep tint) are popular. While I personally love the moody look, I stick with clean because I fear these edits will go out with the times (as trends usually do), and you’ll be looking back 10 years from now wondering what you were thinking!
Next, another huge difference to think about – quality. Let me start by saying that I started as an amateur. We all do, actually, but if photography is important to you, which it should be, going with someone who is amateur because they are $1,000 cheaper is not worth it. So, how do you tell the difference between the two? The easiest things to look for are where the light is and what is in focus. While I think this may literally kill me (JK), I am posting some photos of mine circa 2010 to compare them to photos from this year.
See the heavy shadows in their face? (And the horrible tilt?)
A pro won’t do that unless it’s an artistic shot.
Also, this photo is completely out of focus. (Yes, I actually delivered this image to my first ever wedding. Yikes!)
Pro’s will make sure the focus is sharp on the subject.
If you do your research, which you should, ask your potential photographer what gear they use, and if they shoot in manual. Manual means they control all of the settings verses Auto – letting the camera do the work.
One of the biggest differences in photographers is their personality/vibe. A wedding photographer is the one vendor that will be with you all day, and in your face nonetheless. You must click with your photographer. It is imperative for a comfortable day for you and them. This means you should at least chat on the phone with your potential photographer or better yet, meet with them. I’m not going to lie, I have left consultations hoping the couple didn’t call me. Sometimes there just isn’t a connection, and a forced connection makes it harder on both parties.
Do make sure that you will be getting the photographer you clicked with for your big day. Some of the bigger photography companies have multiple photographers, and the one you consult with may not be the one working your wedding. It never hurts to ask!
Having knowledge is power when it comes to choosing the right photographer for you. With the advances in technology, pretty much anyone can be a “wedding photographer.” I just don’t want you to look at your images a year later and wish you had looked into more options. Your wedding photographs are your first family heirloom; you don’t want to mess that up!