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I'm sure by now you have learned that there is no shortage of photographers. They are popping up everywhere. People are buying consumer level DSLR cameras, taking a few photos at family gatherings and presto, they are suddenly a professional photographer. As a bride to be I imagine at times it becomes a little overwhelming. In this blog post, I will attempt to give you some guidance on choosing a photographer to document one of the most important days of your life.
First things first. Figure out what your budget will allow you to spend on a photographer. Please don't skimp on the photographer. You figured I would say that because I am a photographer. That's not why I say that. Ask yourself what will you have left to remember your day in ten years? The dress will be packed away, or sold. The cake will no longer exist. The table decorations are usually messed up and rearranged as soon as your guests sit. Twenty ears from your wedding day when you are helping your daughter plan her day, what will remain of your wedding day?I can go on and on, but I think you get the idea.
You will probably no doubt have a list of photographers whose work you like. From there you will narrow it down by price, then photographer's availability and so on.
Look at the photographer's work several times. Look at it closely. Are the eyes clear, does the skin have a nice tone void of green, not overly yellow, does the skin look real? Are the faces in focus? I hate Instagram filters that soften the skin to resemble plastic. I don't use Photoshop filters. I hand edit my skin to remove or subdue imperfections but leave the texture for a beautifully realistic look. Do you like the photographer's style? While you may think the images are well done as far as lighting, composition, tones and so on do you like the style? Don't hire a photographer and then send him or her 50 Pinterest pins to emulate. In fact, most experienced photographers hate when clients send them pins. We know that lighting, wardrobe, scenery and quite frankly the subject/s at the time the pin was shot can not really be copied. We can try, but experienced photographers rarely promise exact replicas.
You probably wonder why wedding photography costs what it does. Most of you think how hard can it be to walk around all day and push a button on a camera? First off it's exhausting! It's 8-10 hours of documenting a once in a lifetime event. There is no re-shoot if something goes wrong. Not to mention the hours, and hours of editing once the shoot is finished. You see the new high megapixel cameras are awesome! They pick up detail like nothing in the past. However, they also pick up every little imperfection. They pick up imperfections that most of us don't even notice with the naked eye. Like I said above, myself and every other competent professional photographer edits by hand without the use of fake looking filters. One wedding can take 50-80 hours to edit. Some even longer. There are many factors that play into the editing process. Most technical boring stuff. Another reason photography costs what it does is the photographer's cost of doing business. Having the correct wedding gear is not cheap! You know how you see the beautiful images with the blurred backgrounds and creamy soft highlights? The good ones are shot with lenses that range from $2K-$3K. That blur can be added in Photoshop, but it's very, very tricky to make it look real. Then you have the camera bodies. Most churches don't allow flash or off camera lighting during the ceremony (I hate on-camera flash), you have to have a camera that shoots well in low light without picking up a ton of noise. We call that high ISO capability. Cameras that perform well in low light start off minimally at about $2,400.
Speaking of having the correct gear to shoot weddings there are a couple of things I want to warn you about. Make sure that your photographer has at least two pro body cameras, and lenses. Just like anything else cameras can fail. You HAVE to make sure they have a backup. Make sure your photographer's cameras hold two memory cards, and that they shoot and copy. In other words what they shoot on memory card A is copied onto memory card B. Memory cards can become corrupted too! Most of the new wedding photographers that are charging very little really aren't equipped to shoot a wedding so beware. Another thing I have been seeing a lot of lately on social media is new photographers are not using their images to show their work. Not all of them, but many are either stealing or buying stock images to represent their work. As a photographer, I have learned how to find out where the image originated. It's sad and highly illegal to steal images.
I have much more to say on this topic, but for now, I will let you absorb this blog post. Subscribe to my blog to be notified of new posts!