A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
One of the first things we hear from new photographers’ is that, “Wedding photography is so much more difficult than I anticipated.” Of course it is, that’s why you want a professional wedding photographer shooting your wedding. Our goal in this article is to make sure you get the most qualified and skilled Oregon wedding photographer for you.
The following suggestions are based on areas that you need to pay special attention to during your interviews with the professional photographers. These aren’t things that you can really get a feel for by simply asking a question. We recommend that you read these suggestions first, then click on the section called, “Twelve Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer,” for more specific ideas on what types of questions you should be asking.
EXPERTISE: TECHNICAL AND CREATIVE
An artistic and creative professional wedding photographer can’t produce a beautiful final product without being educated and experienced in the technical side of photography. People are usually stronger in the technical area or stronger in a creative and artistic environment, but your professional wedding photographer must be equally at home in both these areas to meet the demanding requirements of the trade.
Technical skills will allow the wedding photographer to capture properly exposed images regardless of the situation. However, having strong creative skills will direct the wedding photographer to a unique approach by viewing the possibilities distinct to each bride’s personality and situation. In the rare wedding photographer with those skills you truly have a professional wedding photographer using the photojournalistic approach, and your photographs will be memorable, unique, and breathtaking.
2. PERSONALITY: INTERPERSONAL SKILLS
The wedding photographer’s interpersonal skills are extremely important. If you feel comfortable with him or her, and share who you are openly, he/she will capture the essence of your personalities in their photography. Is the wedding photographer open, friendly, and honest? Does he/she have a sense of humor with an air of professionalism? You are going to be spending the most memorable day of your life with your wedding photographer. To put it simply, do you like him/her?
3. EXPERIENCE: ARE THEY FULL TIME PROFESSIONALS?
As important as technique, creativity, and personality is, finding an experienced wedding photographer is crucial. Are they professional wedding photographers or is this their “spare time hobby?” Be sure to find out how many weddings they have shot and how recently.
Some of the best and most conscientious wedding photographers we have met are experienced landscape or family photographers, but recently evolved as wedding photographers. If you love a photographers style, but have concerns about his/her experience as a wedding photographer, ask to see a portfolio from their collection of wedding images from each wedding event they have shot.
When I interview applicants for photographer assistants and associate photographer positions, we evaluate their level of experience based on how many weddings they have been the lead photographer, i.e., they were not supervised or directed by another professional photographer. This is the criteria we use:
• One to five weddings: Inexperienced.
• Six to ten weddings: Amateur, but would qualify as an assistant photographer.
• Ten to twenty weddings: Knowledgeable.
• Twenty to thirty weddings: Experienced.
• Thirty one plus weddings: Professional, would qualify as an associate or lead photographer.
4. QUALITY: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Stay focused on the actual quality of the work provided. We realize that many people are working within a budget. Remember you can always purchase an album, or additional prints later, but you can’t change the quality of the photographs taken at your wedding.
If you need to cut something from your package in order to make if affordable, then start with the products, get less prints, get the album next month or next year, but stay with a good professional wedding photographer who will take the photos of your dreams. Lastly, always keep at least two photographers in your package if at all possible.
5. ASSISTANTS: “WHY DO I NEED MORE THAN ONE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?”
If you were to look at a wedding written up like a novel, there is a primary story line, the bridal party, surrounded by side stories that are happening simultaneously. As an example, during the wedding ceremony, the focus is obviously the bride and groom. But, there may be many other situations occurring at the same moment, such as, focusing for a moment on mom as the bride walks down the aisle, a child’s smile, reflections of candle light, etc.
Your photographer simply cannot be at all those important places at the same time. So we use at least two wedding photographers, each with a different focus. For example, the lead photographer focuses strictly on the bride and groom. The second wedding photographer would shoot the reaction shots from the family, guests, etc. A third (when needed) would simply be constantly surveying and moving around the venue to capture unique compositions.
While we recommend two photographers regardless of the size of your wedding, we tell clients that it is a basic requirement if you have 100-200 people at the wedding. Having multiple photographers enables the team to cover a larger area and capture special moments with your guests at the event. If you expect more than 200 guests at your wedding, at least three photographers would be a minimum suggestion.
Now be sure to click on: Twelve Questions to Ask Your Wedding Photographer for more information.