There’s no question that knowing how to choose the right photographer can be a daunting task. Today’s market is saturated with talented people (and not so talented) and it can be overwhelming sorting through the jungle of blogs and portfolios all closing in on you. Our goal here is to help bring you into the clear and find some breathing room in making this decision.
Of course there’s the obvious matters like budget and style. There’s been plenty written about that. If you google “how to choose the right photographer” you will find tons of pages that start out naming those two things as the most important considerations.
We’re going to differ slightly from that crowd. Not too much, but in what we think is a small, but crucial point.
:: ?? Do you feel like you can TRUST them ?? ::
We are not talking about ethical trust, but rather artistic trust…
We understand that you’ve planned, dreamed, stressed and searched for just the right person to capture your magical day… and you don’t want them to mess it up. So here’s the thing – do you feel like you have to tell them how to do their job and micro-manage to make sure it gets done right? If so, then why spend the big money for a professional? The point of hiring a professional should be to take that stress off of your shoulders and let them do their thing. I would say, don’t look for someone who’s style you like; look for someone who’s style you’re COMMITTED to. Someone who, in your mind, can’t take a bad picture. Someone who can take nothing and turn it into art. Someone you can TRUST.
When you feel like you can totally trust them to just do what they do and know that it will be beautiful, you will be more at ease and it will also be a big empowerment for them to know they have your trust.
“But how do I know what style to choose so that I CAN trust them?”
Great question! I’m glad you asked. Let me help narrow your search by first helping you understand a few terms you’re likely to find commonly used by photographers
PHOTOJOURNALISM – This is probably the fastest growing style of modern wedding photography. It could also be called “documentary style”. Basically it’s primarily candid photography intended to capture the details of natural emotions, the environment and atmosphere in an unobtrusive, first person perspective. Just like a reality show, the goal is put the viewer right in the middle of whats going on and feel like a part of it instead of like an outside observer. Modern wedding photojournalism however, is a little more progressive in the sense that it also blends this natural, candid style, with very intimate and beautiful portraiture. You could probably expect to receive a high volume of photos (over a thousand) capturing every aspect of your wedding. (FYI, this is what WE do)
TRADITIONAL – Most photographers today use this term in an almost negative sense, but it just means the type of photography you would expect 20 or 30+ years ago. Very posed, “smile at the camera and say cheese”, type of photography. Lots of websites offer you lists of specific photos to have taken. A traditional photographer probably has they’re own list which they’re used to checking off at every wedding so that their work always looks the same, but with different faces and places. Many images are staged to “look candid”, but they’re really not. You could probably expect to receive maybe a hundred or a couple hundred photos.
FASHION/GLAMOUR – This is the total opposite of both traditional and photojournalism. It’s what you would expect when looking through… a fashion magazine. extremely posed, lots of special lighting and post processing to make you look like a model. You could probably expect to receive less than a hundred photos.
None of these are bad. Neither is better than another. It’s totally a matter of you deciding which one suits you. When browsing through portfolios, which style could you see yourself in? Which style would you feel comfortable enough to TRUST the photographer to capture who you are in a genuine, authentic way?
Here’s a tip: don’t go against your own style when choosing a photographer. Look for a photographer who will compliment who you and your fiancé are and what the both of you have planned for your day. Going against your own style is a recipe for stress for both you and your photographer. If you have one thing in mind and your photographer has another thing in mind, someone is going to have to compromise to satisfy the other, and that’s not what you want. You DO want to feel like they know you and you’re both on the same page for the vision you have.
This is a good juncture to bring up the matter of budgeting. There are lots of people, websites, blogs and magazines who are going to tell you to try to haggle for the lowest possible price…
It’s not like buying a car where you’re just getting a product. You’re hiring a person or people for their time and talent. They didn’t become a professional overnight and they didn’t win your trust and commitment by being lazy. The bottom line is, photographers work hard. They have homes, families, and expenses just like everyone else and they don’t get a salary.
Haggling tells the photographer that you don’t value them or their work; that they’re just a commodity undeserving of appreciation or reward. Yes, this is a business and we’re doing this to make a living, but any photographer who believes in their own work and art isn’t just simply looking to get hired by anyone. They’re looking to get hired by the right people who believe in them as well. They’re interviewing clients just the same as clients are interviewing photographers. Haggling is a sure fire way to scare off a photographer who could’ve worked wonders for you.
As I’m sitting in a local market cafe typing this, I keep glancing over at this small sign placed by the door.
I couldn’t agree more.
To state the whole matter simply, the relationship between you and your photographer is crucial to accomplishing your dream. Good wedding photography doesn’t just happen when you pick someone because they take nice photos. You need to spend some time getting to know them and becoming comfortable with them. That’s exactly what our engagement sessions are all about.
Hopefully we’ve been able to help you understand how to choose the right photographer. Now that you’ve read it, look through our work and determine for yourself if you think you could trust us with your wedding day. If so, let’s chat. Let’s get to know each other and be friends.