Every day my phone rings from brides and grooms looking for a wedding photographer. For some of them, they’re looking for anyone with a camera… and a pulse.
For others, well, they’re a lot more discerning. They’ve seen their friends’ wedding photos and it’s made them realize:
there’s more to want out of a wedding photographer than simply being very good around a camera.
Here’s what wedding couples value in their wedding photographer:
If you’re not used to dealing with polished professionals, there’s a world of difference between someone who conducts themselves as a professional and the guy who treats his photography as a job. The difference gets seen in just about every way: it’s in the way they act, respond, speak and things they do.
That’s because the professional’s mind set is you’re the client and so they see their job is to take care of you. That means the entire experience, from start to finish, encompassing everything about them, everything they touch, is thought through for your benefit.
For the other guy, he believes his job is only about taking the pictures. It’s a narrow focus, thinking like an employee rather than as a service provider. So all the other aspects of running a professional service business are neglected, ignored or overlooked.
Photos that look like your cousin took them are common among wedding photographers due to the great crowd of lesser advanced photographers offering their services these days. People are accepting wedding assignments even when they lack basic knowledge about the work. Sadly, posts from wedding photographers asking elementary questions like these are all too common in photographer groups:
They want a pro who knows what they’re doing.
They’re also used to seeing better photography in magazines and cinema. They may not know the technical nature of what they’re looking at, but it registers on a visceral level nonetheless.
So beyond basic competence with a camera, the photographer’s skills in lighting, composition, and their ability to capture compelling emotional content rate very high.
And “Creativity” takes on a definition meaning more than simply a photo with a tilt.
“Photojournal” means more than taking a photo of a guest dancing or taking a photo from a different angle.
People talk about finding a photographer with personality – but personality is often overrated. Some of the better photographers keep to themselves and may even come off as not having much of a personality (even though they may). They simply don’t use the wedding day as a platform to strut their personable charm. Be that as it may, what’s better than personality is to have rapport with the photographer. Having that kind of bond goes a long way towards enjoying a connection, which is far more important than personality when you’re both wanting the same outcome for your wedding photos. A pleasant personality alone doesn’t get you there. My aunt has a pleasant enough personality. But you wouldn’t want her as your photographer, trust me.
We hear of photographers who make excuses for themselves all the time. They figure others will understand. So when life get crazy hectic for them with whatever circumstances and problems come around and those photographers get overwhelmed by it – and your photos get delayed by a month as a consequence, some photographers feel you’ll understand. I’m sure you would… but you still want your photos delivered on time as promised.
And you want your calls returned within a reasonable time. And you want to make sure things are taken care of in a timely manner without you having to be on top of it all the time too. Because you paid for that service. You didn’t pay to buy into the photographer’s personal chaos. A real pro pushes through their own personal struggles to deliver the promised results to their clients. They don’t have their clients suffer from their own life’s situations.
5. More than talent
Talent alone is never enough. It only goes so far. You want someone with working experience. Knowledge. Skills. And that’s just the photography part. You also want someone adapt at handling people and who can think quick on their feet in almost a Macgyverism fashion to get things done on the wedding day and who doesn’t get flustered when things don’t work out exactly as planned, which is often the case with a live event… such as a wedding.
6. Fair price
Some of the calls I get are from people looking to spend the least possible. Obviously, we all have a budget we’re working with. But locking themselves to the bottom layer of pre conceived pricing for wedding photographers naturally means being limited to only the caliber of photographers in that price range. People who refuse to pay more than what it costs to eat at McDonald’s will never experience the ambiance of a fine dining experience and the satisfaction of a great steak dinner. So, better than a photographer whose best feature is only their price, is a photographer whose best feature is their amazing photography at a fair and reasonable price. Because after the wedding you don’t end up looking at what you paid, you end up looking at what you paid for.
7. Someone who makes it easy for you
You can’t just wave a wand and have the results you want in your wedding photography without any involvement whatsoever but you can do the next best thing: find a wedding photographer who makes it all so easy for you, taking care of just about everything on your behalf. They’re more service oriented – and efficient. For example, I cut out legwork for my clients, which in turn gets them their wedding albums quicker.
8. Someone who’s different than the pack
A big complaint I hear is how so many wedding photographers look so much the same that all you have to do is swap in the heads because everything about their photos from wedding to wedding are cookie-cutter poses.
What stands out is the wedding photographer with a vision. Someone with a distinctive style. Then people sit up and notice your wedding photos are remarkable and not the typical same old.
Are you a discerning person? Here’s how you can tell. You:
**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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