We’ve all seen these lists before and most of them contain some really valuable information. As a Richmond wedding photographer, I just thought I could add my two cents. I hope you enjoy it!
- Personality – Have you ever been stuck on a long plane flight with someone that talks your ear off and you just wish they would spend the rest of the flight in the luggage compartment? Imagine spending 12 hours with this person and their rehearsed jokes on the most important day of your life! How about the opposite? Have you ever tried talking to someone where it felt like you were pulling teeth in order to get them to contribute anything to the conversation? Imagine that same person organizing your family photos after the ceremony! Personality matters! Whomever you choose to be your wedding photographer needs to be someone you connect with. Someone that you feel your friends and family will enjoy being around. Someone that is confident, assertive when they need to be and most importantly, fun! Leave Debbie Downer at home, your wedding day needs to be filled with positive energy and a laughter!
- Natural Light Shooter vs. Artificial Light Shooter – Trust be told, a photographer can’t exclusively be one or the other the day of a wedding. There are times during a wedding that require the use of artificial light like the reception or at night. Make sure your wedding photographer is comfortable with both and has examples that you like in their portfolio.
- Low Light Photography – Sorry, I’m going to do the “geek speak” a bit here and get more technical. Most churches don’t allow the use of flash or artificial light during the ceremony. Make sure your wedding photographer is using a full frame camera with lenses that allow them to shoot with a low aperture so that they can keep the ISO in their camera as low as possible. High ISO equals noise. It’s as simple as that. Having a good camera that can control high ISO with a reduced amount of grain or noise is a huge plus! Black and white conversions can help to mask this in post-production but do you really want all black and white photos from your ceremony?
- Style – Everyone has a different style. Do you connect with your photographer’s style? The last thing you want to do is choose someone based on their pricing and expect them to change their style to suit your desired look. That’s a recipe for disaster and all but guarantees that you will be disappointed with the final images. If you enjoy modern and dramatic images with a high-fashion flair, don’t hire someone that is a wedding photojournalist exclusively. The soft vintage look achieved through the use of photo filters is a style that you see often today. If that is a style you connect with be sure to choose a photographer with that style.
- Full-Time Photographer vs. Part-Time or The Family Friend – Everyone needs to start somewhere. Just be sure that you know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line. The benefit of using a part-time photographer or a family friend is that they will more than likely offer reduced pricing. It makes sense, they are still building their portfolio and experience. The downside is that their offerings will also be reduced. They won’t offer wedding albums, guest books/sign-in books or large prints. They also will have less equipment than the full-time professional and most importantly, less experience. Nothing trumps experience. The longer someone does the job, the better they become. I know that I am a much better photographer today than I was when I started. Do you really want someone to be learning the day of your wedding? Choose someone that is comfortable in all situations and knows how to handle adversity when it is thrown at them. There are no easy buttons to push on the day of your wedding!