April 28, 2015 JT

What should I look for in a wedding photographer?

What should I look for in a wedding photographer?

In short; quite a lot. But the things you’re looking for might not be the things you should be looking for.

Many people go out looking for the most expensive because they believe they must be the best, just hire someone a friend recommends or are on such a tight budget that they choose on price.

It’s not a photographer’s job to voice everyone into place and control the flow of a wedding – if you need that (and many weddings do) you have ushers or you can hire an MC.

None of these are good reasons to hire someone. This is your wedding day, it’s one of the few days of your life you’ll look back at in years to come and remember the way you looked at each other during the speeches or the look of elated fear on the grooms face as he turns to see the dress on her future wife walking down the isle.

Many people don’t understand what a good wedding photo is – in fact some see it as an unnecessary evil they have to endure. I’d like to take this opportunity to explain why it’s important to really think about who you have shooting your photos.

It’s not a photographer’s job to voice everyone into place and control the flow of a wedding – if you need that (and many weddings do) you have ushers or you can hire an MC. Believe me, they are FAR more effective.

A photographer’s job is to record moments during they day. They might be formal shots of the bride & friends, or your guests balling at the hilarious best man speech.

So when it comes to choosing a shooter, bear this in mind.

You also need to love their work. So make sure you have a good look at their previous work. If you aren’t sure, book them for an hour to see if you think they’ll be right for you – I do this for free if you’re interested in booking.

When it comes to how images look, please don’t confuse an effect with a style. Anyone with a copy of Lightroom can make an image black and white, apply a vintage effect or make your day look a bit sunnier. There’s nothing wrong with these practices (I do it myself), but they aren’t what make a good photo.

Look at their shots – it’s hard to have any real emotional attachment to shots of someone else’s wedding but look at the people. If they look staged or false then they usually are. Is that how you want to remember the biggest day of your life? I doubt it.

Smiles are good sign – you have to be on the ball to catch one. Or (and you might need to actually shoot people to notice this) the moment when you’re shooting people walking up to the church: most will, shyly look down when they see the lens pointing their way. Is that pointing at me? A few moments pass while they are gazing at the gravel in front of them, then they look up…

As their gaze retracts to see where the 70-200mm lens is pointing, what they don’t realise is that their face is usually in the perfect position for a portrait shot… ‘click’.

It took me numerous weddings to actually ‘get’ this. But it makes for such a nice shot and I’d recommend it to any trainee (or Pro) photographer.

I digress, what should you look for in a photographer? Someone who’s work you love, and someone you can have around during a very long day. Simple as that.