You have seen it on practically every wedding photographer’s web page and in bridal magazines. It seems that everyone wants to give the bride and groom advice on how to choose a wedding photographer. Most of what I have read is sound and useful advice, but I thought it might be helpful to write an article that explores this in more detail. So lets look at the mistakes brides and grooms often make in choosing their photographer.
Over the past 25 years I have had the opportunity to speak with well over a thousand engaged couples. I am always surprised by some of the criteria many of them use to choose their wedding photographer. Here are the top 7 mistakes I feel many brides and grooms make when selecting a photographer for their big day:
1. RELYING ON WEDDING VENDOR REFERRALS. This may be the worst mistake of them all. Many wedding vendors trade referrals with other wedding professionals with no real knowledge of the other’s work. And yes, many times it’s an honest referral based upon working a few weddings with one another. But how much can a DJ, for example, really know about the quality of a wedding photographer’s work? Often times this type of referral is just based on the fact that the DJ has worked with the photographer at a number of events and liked him or her. Did the DJ ever see the final result? Did they see the wedding album? Probably not.
2. JUDGING A PHOTOGRAPHER BASED SOLELY ON A “GREATEST HITS” WEDDING ALBUM PORTFOLIO. There is nothing more misleading regarding a photographer’s talent than looking at a sample wedding album that is a compilation of their best shots at 50 different weddings. An album such as this may be useful in understanding just how great an image they are capable of producing, but that’s really all it tells you. Ask to be shown an album of one entire wedding from start to finish. A good wedding affordable wedding photography should be able to produce a number of complete albums, which will give you a better idea of how your own wedding will be photographed. Virtually anybody with a decent camera can get one great shot per wedding!
3. PAYING TOO MUCH ATTENTION TO THE SALES PITCH. Every photographer can tell you great things about themselves and so they should. But in your initial wedding consultation, look for photographers who are interested in YOU. A good photographer will want to know the types of photography styles you are interested in and what you are looking for in a wedding photographer. A photographer who asks you lots of questions about your wedding and your preferences will probably also be more likely to listen to you and have a better sense of what you want. If the wedding meeting is just one long lecture from the photographer, move on to the next photographer. Find someone who cares.
4. NOT ASSESSING THE PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSONALITY. This is a biggie. You will spend the entire day with your photographer. If you don’t get along with him or her, it can ruin what should be the happiest day of your life. Rude and bossy photographers can also cause problems with your guests. Find a photographer who is easy to talk to and who you can establish good rapport with.
5. CHOOSING “UNCLE BOB” TO SHOOT YOUR WEDDING! With digital cameras now in practically everyone’s hands, there seems to be a lot more “wedding photographers” out there. The fact that a friend or relative is good with his new digital camera does not mean he can handle a wedding. And what about file backups? Does your family photographer know how to do a correct backup, or even have the proper computer hardware to do it? In my business, I bring a portable hard drive to every wedding and the images are uploaded and checked on the spot. When I get back to my studio, the images are uploaded to my main computer and then backed up on an external hard drive. Once that is complete, 2 back up DVD’s are burned. Only then will I erase the cards I used for the wedding. You don’t want your memories to go up in smoke along with a burnt out hard drive.