All bridal magazines and web pages that belong to wedding photographers have at least one article on how to choose your wedding photographer. There is piece upon piece of advice piled onto these articles to show the groom and the bride the best way to pick out their wedding photographer. While most of this advice makes sense and is definitely useful, it might also make sense to inform the couple how NOT to pick their photographer. After all, we do learn from other’s mistakes, don’t we?
In all my experience as a wedding photographer, I have come across thousands of engaged couples. Their choice is so often dictated by criteria that one really should not use. Here, I list seven mistakes that couples often make when they are out choosing their wedding photographer.
- Wedding Vendor Referrals as Reliable Guides: Do not let other professionals in different fields guide you in your search for a wedding photographer. Many times, the vendors might have an agreement between themselves to refer each other to couples. They might not even know how the other person works. It can sometimes be an honest referral. If you trust the professional, go ahead and check out their referrals. However, sometimes, you might have a DJ who refers you to a photographer that they have previously worked with. This might be because they were at a couple of weddings together and they were fond of each other’s personalities. However, do you suppose the DJ ever saw the final album of the wedding? Not likely.
- Looking Through Their Album of “Greatest Shots”: Many wedding photographers will show you their compilation of best shots in an attempt to lure you. However, all those photographs might be taken from 50 to 70 different weddings. Anyone carrying a camera can take at least one good shot in a wedding! You will be far better off if you judge them based on complete wedding albums. They should be able to show you at least 4 to 5 wedding albums from start to finish. In this way, you will have an idea of how your own wedding will look in photos.
- Selling Themselves Too Much: Each wedding photographer you go to will be telling you all their positive traits. They should do this, in order to sell themselves. However, you need to look for photographers who are more interested in getting to know you and your requirements. A good wedding photographer will ask you questions about your demands from the photographer and your preferred styles of photography. If they focus more on asking you questions regarding your wedding and your requirements, they are also more likely to listen to your instructions and deliver according to your desire. If, instead, all you get is a long speech from the photographer, find another photographer who cares about your wedding more than his portfolio.
- Picking the Wrong Personality: This is something you just cannot afford to go wrong with. The photographer will spend the entire day at the venue of your wedding, and you will probably be in talks with him all day about the kind of shots you require. If your personality and that of your photographer do not match and if you both do not get along, your special day might be ruined entirely. If your photographer is bossy or rude, it can also be a problem for your guests. When you are selecting your photographer, pick someone who you can get along with.
- Choosing A Family Member to Shoot Your Wedding: Video cameras and cameras are available so easily these days, it seems like everyone has one in their hands. However, that does not mean that any relative of yours who has a camera can shoot your wedding the way you want to remember it. In addition, there is the issue of file back up. Is your relative knowledgeable about backing up your photos correctly? Does he or she have the required hardware? A professional videographer or photographer will have a portable external disk that they will use to back up their photos. At the studio, the photos are transferred to the main system before being backed up on yet another drive. After this, 2 DVDs are burned with the photos as additional back ups. The photographer will then only erase the original cards on which he or she recorded the wedding. Otherwise, there is a fair chance of losing out on all your memories if the hard drive gives way.
- Being Obsessed with the Equipment of the Photographer: A good photographer can even use a medium quality camera to produce amazing images of your wedding. If the photographer you are considering spends way too long discussing his equipment and how it is the latest in the industry, you might not be looking in the right direction. Look for a photographer who does not depend upon his camera equipment to do his work successfully. You need to find a photographer who can show you good samples of his previous work. After all, the final result is what you will get out of the deal. If their photos look good and there does not seem to be anything else wrong with the photographer, you can safely assume that their equipment will be up to the task.
- Not Being Clear About the Pricing: If the photographer cannot give you a clear idea about the packages or the prices, keep searching for one that can give you a comprehensive explanation. It is best to go with package pricing, especially if it is flexible. This way you can estimate your final bill more accurately. If you go for à la carte prices, you might get confused and quite surprised with the final figure. Sometimes, you might even be under the impression that a particular feature that you want, such as a wedding album, is included in the price package, only to discover that you will have to pay extra for it. At the same time, avoid photographers who offer rigid packages. This photographer will not be willing to be flexible with you about certain features that you wish to customize. Try to find a photographer who can offer you something that fits your budget, while also giving you all the features that you absolutely must have. If none of the packages have the exact things you need, see if the photographer will let you customize a package according to your desires.
Do not get intimidated by this list of mistakes that people often make when they look out for a wedding photographer. Instead, see if it helps you to understand the requirements that are truly important. When you pick a photographer, make sure you like his style and his previous samples. With the initial consultation, get to know your photographer and develop a rapport. If need be, you can also ask for references. Talk to these past clients and get an idea of how he conducted himself at their weddings or events. If everything checks out, you can make an informed choice about your wedding photographer.