The Officiant presiding over their wedding ceremony made a little joke. The couple getting married laughed.
Right then the photographer dove in to get their reactions and “shot gunned” the scene.
That’s when a photographer fires a sequence of shots hoping to capture something.
In the halls of the church, it sounded like this:
“CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK!”
Instantly the priest spun around, furious at the loud noise and abrasive intrusion.
He reprimanded the photographer for being invasive and directed him to move yards back, warning him that one more outburst, one more distraction – and he’d require the photographer to leave.
Moral of the story?
Don’t make the mistake of thinking the only thing to consider when hiring a wedding photographer are the photos.
There’s more you have to look at. You have to look at their level of professionalism:
1. The photographer’s depth of experience is what gives them knowledge and insight to know what to do in different circumstances they’ll encounter on your wedding day.
Make sure your wedding photographer has that experience.
In our little example the photographer ought to know there’s a certain decorum to maintain at a ceremony. You absolutely have to get the photos but you also need to respect the event.
It’s not one at the expense of the other. The photographer ought to know the best way how to do both.
2. They must know how to navigate your wedding day.
How well versed is the photographer with your type of wedding?
I was a guest at a wedding and during the ceremony where just when they were about to put on their rings, from far back in the venue an audible “oh [expletive]!” rang up. Their wedding photographer had gone to the rear of the venue for a different view and now suddenly realized he was in the wrong spot at the wrong time — and caught completely unprepared for what came next and yards away. He literally ran up the long aisle to the front.
All eyes turned to him.
The problem was he simply didn’t know what was to happen next in the ceremony.
And his inexperience put him far away from where he needed to be at that crucial moment.
He wasn’t familiar with what happens – and that affected how he performed. And how he performed affected the wedding.
3. Does the photographer fit in with you, your family and friends?
There are photographers who use questionable language, mannerisms and humor which may fit in just fine with some people and some weddings, but maybe not so much everyone else. You don’t want someone saying or doing something which they think is okay and fun, but everyone else thinks is crude or inappropriate. They won’t be laughing.
4. People skills.
The wedding photographer is typically involved with most of the wedding day, so they’ll be interacting with almost everyone at your wedding. Actually, its probably more than a possibility. It’s almost impossible for a photographer to go through a wedding day and not interact with anyone at all.
That means the photographer has face time where he or she needs to say and do the right thing with not just the two of you, but also with your family members, with your guests, with your officiant, the banquet manager, event coordinator, musicians, wait staff… because how they talk to and handle everyone — and how they handle themselves — will either help or hurt your wedding day. How? They can add enjoyment to the day – or they can mar your experience (as is painfully evident in that bit about the officiant I mentioned earlier). They can either make friends of the other vendors and help promote a mutually beneficial experience where everyone helps each other, all there to make your day wonderful, or they can think they’re the most important person at the wedding and turn off every one else which then undermines everyone’s efforts.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of arrogant or prima donna wedding photographers who disrupt the wedding, are curt with guests, act abrasively towards the other professionals on your team, drink on the job, defy the officiant’s instructions. Photographers have even been known to make a little flower girl cry.
We’ve also all heard stories of photographers who fumbled and dropped the ball, gave lip service to the wedding couple, blamed others when they couldn’t handle things, make excuse after excuse for their own shortcomings and failures. They knew not what they do. On top of which they don’t handle their inexperience very well.
Flush out those types when you’re interviewing photographers.
Additionally, your wedding photographer needs to know:
And did I mention great customer service?
You could sum this all up by saying choosing your wedding photographer isn’t merely about finding someone handy with a camera, but about finding the right person who acts, walks, talks — and works — as a true professional.
As you can see, it’s not just about taking wedding pictures.
You want a truly great experience from an equally great photographer so no bad memory about the photographer you hired stains your wedding day. You want the most meaningful, beautiful images you could possibly have. Find a photographer with a vision of what wedding photography can really be like for you.
Most wedding couples looking for that caliber of photographer might enjoy what I can do for them. Call me at (646) 543-1321 or reach out to me about your wedding here.
**G.E. Masana (portrait artist and Huffington Post contributer) As Seen In HUFFINGTON POST | MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS | THE KNOT | NEW YORK MAGAZINE | BRIDAL GUIDE | BRIDES | STYLE ME PRETTY | ELEGANT BRIDE | GRACE ORMONDE | WELLWED | TOWN&COUNTRY **
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