MISTAKES COUPLES MAKE CHOOSING A PHOTOGRAPHER
Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions any wedding couple will ever make. Yet many couples make serious mistakes in choosing their photographer, and must live with regret and disappointment the rest of their lives. Maybe they didn't realize how important their photographs would be for them after the wedding. Maybe they didn't understand the vast differences in experience, skill, and artistic style of wedding photographers. As a photographer who has photographed weddings full-time for nearly 25 years, photographing over 900 weddings, I have known couples who understand the importance of this decision, as well as those couples who take this decision far too lightly. So, you might ask with so many photographers, how do we weed through them and choose the photographer who is best for us? How do we keep from making mistakes in choosing our photographer. That is the purpose of this article. I don't post this so you will choose us, I post this so that you will choose the best photographer for you and your wedding day.
MISTAKE #1 (Waiting too long to start the process of finding and booking a wedding photographer)
Most weddings take place on weekends, and there are only 52 weekends in a year. Weddings generally occur from May through October, which cuts available weekends down to about 25. That means that the best wedding photographers have extremely limited availability. Waiting too long to start searching for and booking your dream wedding photographer is a big mistake, because they could already be booked by the time you contact them.
MISTAKE #2 (not checking the photographer's experience)
Many couples make the mistake of not asking how much experience the photographer has photographing weddings. But, do you really want someone learning to photograph weddings at your wedding? There are many difficult situations that wedding photographers must deal with, from less than ideal lighting, less than ideal locations. An experienced wedding photographer will be able to create beautiful images no matter how difficult the lighting, or how ordinary the location.
MISTAKE #3 (not asking to see the images from an entire wedding)
MISTAKE #4 (Price Shopping)
One misconception many couples have, is that a wonderful camera will make anyone a great photographer, but that simply isn't true, the camera is only a tool. The finest cameras in the world are useless in the hands of an inexperienced and untalented photographer. Photography is an art form, and when you hire a photographer you are hiring them for their vision, their artistic style, and their ability to photograph your wedding in a style that you love. It is up to the photographer to properly compose images, to find the best locations, to understand how to use light and shadows to create incredibly three dimensional images. It is up to the photographer to capture from the best angles, so that subjects look fantastic, to deal with less than ideal lighting situations and still create incredibly beautiful images, to deal with less than ideal locations and still create beautiful images. To have an understanding of how to properly enhance photographs, so that you will look great, yet won't look fake.
It is so easy to price shop for wedding photography today, all one need do is search for photographers online. But, while the budget is important, price shopping makes the thing you are shopping for a commodity, but not all photographers are the same, not even close! If the quality of your wedding photographs is important to you, but price alone is your only consideration, you will regret not hiring the photographer that would have photographed your wedding in the artistic style that you love, capturing your wedding day the way you envisioned it. Photography is an art form, and great photographers put a lot of time, effort and skill into capturing incredible works of art, yet doing it in a way that doesn't interfere with your wedding day. Great photographers don't stop there, they spend countless hours enhancing your images so that they look spectacular. Sure, you can always find a cheaper photographer, but you must ask yourself these questions, why are they cheaper? What corners are they cutting? How talented are they? How experienced are they? Are they going to be fully committed to photographing the wedding? Are they going to be fully committed to properly enhancing my images so that they are perfect?
MISTAKE #5 (not asking what services are included, and what you must pay extra for)
Some photographers have a cheap base price to lure you in, and then charging extra for everything. Want retouching, that costs extra. Want the high resolution files, that costs extra. Want a pre-wedding planning session, that costs extra. Travel to your wedding costs extra, even when it is close to the photographer’s business location. By the time you add up all the extra costs, the photographer you thought was a good value, might end up costing as much, or more than the better photographer that you loved.
MISTAKE #6 (Not talking to or meeting with any photographers)
Many couples look at photographers websites, after finding those whose style they like the best, request pricing, and then will choose the photographer with the lowest price, without ever talking or meeting with any photographers first. But, I believe this is often a big mistake, because you most likely know nothing about any photographer without talking with them. What kind of personality they have? How passionate they are about wedding photography? How they approach photographing weddings? How much real wedding photography experience they have? How knowledgeable they are about weddings and wedding photography? As I said at the beginning of this article, there are vast differences between photographers. So, do yourself a favor and talk to any photographers you are considering, ask questions, and listen to what they have to say, because this will reveal much about their passion for wedding photography, and how concerned they are about your photographic needs. Talking to photographers will help you to determine how experienced they really are, by how knowledgeable their answers are in response to your questions.
MISTAKE #7 (Having a family friend photograph wedding)
If I had a dollar for every time a couple told me, that they decided to have a family friend photograph their wedding to save money, then I would be a very rich man. And, if I had a dollar for every time a couple told me that they made the worst mistake of their life by having a family friend photograph their wedding, then I would also be rich. I think couples feel comfortable saving money having a family friend photograph their wedding, but this usually is a big mistake. A professional will be committed to YOU and your wedding day. They are guaranteed to show up on your wedding day, no questions asked. Every year we have many couples contact us at the last minute to see if we are available to photograph their wedding, because a family friend backed out on them at the last minute. Sadly many couples end up with nothing, because all the best photographers are already booked. Please do yourself a favor and hire a professional.