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How to Pick Your Wedding Photographer

By Brenda Lanig, PhotoArt

Selecting a wedding photographer for the most wonderful, memorable day of
your lives can be one of the most important decisions you make as a couple.  Just as soon as
the date is set and the venues are booked you should start the hunt for the best  photographer available.

A photographer can USUALLY only work one wedding a day so it stands to reason that they are often
booked a year, even eighteen months in advance.  If the Photography company/studio employs more than
photographer, make certain that you know who will be YOUR personal Photographer.

 Here are Five “P’s to help you answer all your Questions.

PERSPECTIVE: A professional photographer with real life experience in photographing weddings will have a clearly defined style of his/her own.  A photographer’s style develops from their perspective -or the way he/she “sees” the subject, action and light around her.  There are two basic styles or perspectives  that are employed to capture your special day in imagery.  The best photographers probably use both traditional formats, as well as a photojournalistic approach to cover all aspects of your wedding, pre-ceremony, dressing rooms and preparation, as well as the reception and celebration.  The traditional format encompasses many of the formal poses and well-known photographs common in albums.  The photojournalistic perspective allows the photographer to capture so many of the candid shots, that more fully tell all the behind the scenes, or sideline moments, raw emotions and action  in the room.  Those shots are rarely staged or posed. Often, the album includes more images to tell the “story”.  Your album should reflect your preferences in style and perspective.

PORTFOLIO: The depth of your photographer’s experience will be evident in his/her portfolio.  You should be able to see examples of the albums offered, a complete wedding, as well as many different examples of brides and couples to show their actual depth of experience.  If a photographer’s portfolio or website has a few images of the same faces, you might wonder about the depth of the photographer’s experience in shooting weddings.  Two of the most challenging areas of photography are sports and weddings.  Those two events don’t slow, pause or re-enact the moment.  Both are stressful and challenging- as well as very rewarding!

PRODUCT: In comparing packages of services and albums, you must be certain to compare “apples to apples“.   This is a phrase commonly used to emphasize a fair comparison between two items.  In selecting a photographer, you should be clearly acquainted with the product offered: meaning what is in the package and how does it directly compare to the other photographer’s package.  Many photographers now will allow you to purchase the CD/DVD of the best images from your wedding.  Others will include it in the package.  If this is important to you, then it is a valuable consideration to be able to have printing rights to your images.  Some photographers post your images on their website for viewing or purchase( per copy) directly from the photographer.  If this convenience is important to you, then you should check the availability of such a service and compare the actual cost of ordering prints and enlargements.  There are many style and qualities of albums so comparison is tedious.  Simply put, you must decide if the album offered meets your expectations.  Many brides/grooms are familiar with the “traditional frame and mat” album.  The new albums on the market are hardback press printed coffee table books, or Custom Flushmount , usually bound in leather, metal or a photocover.  All are designed, printed and bound for you.  Some photographers only include proof books in the wedding package which are not actual photos but printed pages of photos from which your place your order. 

PRAISE: Check out the photographer’s reputation.  There should be a reference list of happy clients available to you.

PERSONALITY: Interview your potential photographer to see if he/she is likeable and eager to work for you.  No one wants a grouch around on the most memorable day of their life.  If a photographer truly loves his/her work, you will recognize the joy and real desire to serve you.  You should be clear about the role you expect your photographer to take, either as a director of the event, an aide to help the day flow or a quiet observer, simply documenting the day.  A really good wedding photographer will be able to adapt to the moment- as well as your preferences.

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By Brenda Lanig, PhotoArt

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