6 Cues from a Wedding Professional

Obviously, unless you are a professional in this area, how do even know what to look for here? You may not know exactly how to look for the signs of a skilled artist and business owner, but I will give you a few clues to look for as you are talking with various studios:

(Continued from Part One)

4. Shorten your photographer list = More personal = Better deal

You probably didn’t expect a science lesson but unfortunately you’re gonna get one.

Studies have found that the typical human brain cannot hold more than 7 pieces of information at one time (Hence, a 7-digit phone number). So if you’re, say, walking to work and chewing gum at the same time, you can’t possibly be comparing 10 photographers on top of that. In fact, try it, and you’ll be lucky not to end up walking into traffic.

Speaking seriously, the one word I hear from brides most often is “overwhelmed.” You all know there is a lot of planning to be done, and far too little time, no matter how much you’ve set aside. Some people try to rise to the challenge by over-booking themselves. They have to quit their jobs and hire personal assistants just to schedule all the vendor interviews.

Limit your meetings to a very short list of photographers whose work has wowed you online, or in a brochure. Also, do these in person. Most of the time, photographers are willing to give you better deals when they know you’re not just shopping them on the internet. Use the interview just to get a sense of personality, and rapport. Can you connect with this person? (See Point #5 – in Part 2) How do they deal with questions and follow-up? Make sure you express your thoughts to the photographer, and take note of how he or she responds to your ideas and suggestions.

Finding a great photographer doesn’t have to be the most serious task of your life. Know yourself, don’t overdo it, and have fun.

Source: Nelson Rodriguez

5. The Use of Lighting

Light is the heart of a photograph – the medium a photographer “paints” a picture with. It’s EVERYTHING.

Now, sometimes a photographer cannot control the lighting in your wedding (i.e. your ceremony is held at 1pm with the sun glaring with stark shadows, or the church is very dimly lit) But, you need to know if they can manage the poor/challenging lighting situations and transform your photos into something beautiful.
With enough skill and experience, the best photographers will work with natural light sources rather than flash.

This is where Getty trained me extremely well. I worked for 6 years for Getty Images (the world’s largest image agency) and traveled around the nation shooting for their clients, Nike, Sega, the Oakland Athletics, SF 49ers, and we were DRILLED on lighting – how to master it. I ran into some of the most challenging and surprising lighting situations (and celebrity athletes) I’ll ever see!! This makes shooting a wedding like a walk in the park – no matter what your venue looks like, inside or out, it will be something I am prepared for.

You want a photographer who is an expert in how to find beautiful light no matter where they go.

6. You don’t really “connect” with the photographer

Once you have determined the photographer(s) you are considering (by their work and the samples they show you) you must now think of the actual day and how close you will be working with this individual. The personality of the photographer should match you and your party. Hey, do you like the person?

Part of this problem can arise if you only converse with the photographer via email or the phone. Or, if you’ve sent a blanket email out to 10 or 20 different photographers in search of the lowest quote (then we run into issues previously discussed in <a href="Return to Part 1” target=”_blank”>Part One of this article – see #1 and #3)

This all may sound kind of simple and ridiculous to put so much weight on this, but if you have never worked closely with a photographer for any length of time (most people haven’t), you’ll quickly learn otherwise.

If you love their work but don’t really “gel” with them, forget it. Choose someone else. Most photographers worth their salt will also insist on getting to know you before hand.

If you are not comfortable with who you work with, you will not be comfortable when the photos are taken and as a result, you will not get the best photographs.
Why take a chance? It is not worth it.

NOTE: Most brides are happier if they go with their instinct and intuition on this one.

Consider this last thought:

When faced with eminent disaster that destroys homes or the possibility of such a disaster, everyone grabs their most prized possessions, which always includes their photographs.

They don’t reach for their wedding dress, or frozen cake or even copies of their wedding invitations, they take all of their photographs, and they are lucky and if they can.

Return to Part 1

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