A professional photographer is NOT necessarily a wedding photographer. True wedding photographers are able to tell a “story” with their photographs.
If you have the opportunity to attend a Bridal Show, you will have the chance to meet several wedding photographers with a variety of sample albums for you to look through. This is a great way to compare the different styles and approaches that are used for wedding pictures. Another helpful way to aid in your search for the perfect photographer is to ask friends for their wedding albums and compare the work of each of their photographers. Here are a few tips to help you assess one photographer’s work over another:
- Look closely at all group shots. Check the background. Are the faces shadowed?
- Are the bride and groom shots flattering? Do the poses look natural?
- Are the shots lit properly? You can tell by skin tones – are they too light or too dark?
- Are the sample photos creative? Are they all posed? Are some of the shots candid?
- Do the photographs tell a story of the event?
All of these elements indicate the talent of the photographer. The correct use of lighting, shadows and background settings give dimension to the pictures and help make the subjects in them look more attractive.
Hiring a professional wedding photographer can be very expensive. If you choose to spend less, you might consider hiring a talented amateur photographer instead. Contact the local colleges or universities to see it they have a photography instructor or talented student who may be interested. Also, you can check the local high schools, extension classes, the YMCA or the local camera shop. Ask to see a portfolio since you probably will not have access to any references.
Videotaping a wedding is not as easy as it may look. The ceremony should be discretely recorded. Guests should not be aware of the videotaping activity. A professional videographer will know how to set up the lighting so there will be no distraction during the ceremony. Check with the wedding site as some churches do not allow videotaping during the ceremony.
When viewing a videographer’s work from other weddings, watch an entire recording. This will let you see how talented he or she is at creating a story of one wedding. Sample tapes, which usually consist of selected shots from several events, do not give you a story from beginning to end.
Never agree to hire the photographer to do the videotaping in addition to taking pictures. The two skills are very different and cannot be performed by one person at the same event. If the photographer you hired is employed by a company that also has videographers, check out their work. The company may offer a special discounted price if you contract both through them.
The day after your wedding, your memories, photographs and videos will be all that you have left. If you have saved some expense but are disappointed with the photographs, your savings may seem very insignificant.