Wedding Photography – How to Choose the Right Photographer For Your Special Day

The style of wedding photography you like is what you should go for and how the price should never be your main deciding factor in your choice of wedding photographer. If you are engaged and planning on getting married, then you are going to be in the market for a wedding photographer. This article will explore how you, the bride and groom, can make a better and more informed decision about choosing your wedding photographer.

We will look into the style of wedding photography, what you like and how you have to see examples, how the price should never be your main deciding factor of wedding photographer and we’ll go into photographer insurances.

A simple search for “wedding photographer” or “wedding photography” on the internet will bring you millions of pages of results for you to sift through. So how do you start? By making your search more specific. You can turn your search “local” by including your city/town, You can turn your search to “style” with words like classic, wedding photojournalism, contemporary, this works great if you already know your style of choice. Word of mouth from friends, family and co-workers can be really useful. If they can give you a good recommendation of a wedding photographer they have used then check out the website. See if you like their work.

With the internet, most photographers have a website, visit it and look around. Seeing their work is a must. Every wedding photographer has their own style and their own artistic talent, but if at this stage you don’t like the style of photography, or if you don’t like the post processing of the wedding photo’s then you will most likely not like the photographs of your wedding day. This has to be a more important factor than the price.

A lot of people spend a lot of money on their wedding day. The only thing that you really keep are the memories. If you are on a budget, why not go for a non-album package now and get your photographer to design your album in a year. This way you will get better wedding photography now and get the album later.

Make sure your wedding photographer is fully insured. A number of things can go wrong on the day, and not always the photographers fault. He may be ill, memory cards can frazzle, he could knock someone over in his car: many things can happen, but if your wedding photographer is fully insured for public liability and for professional Indemnity then any problems can be sorted out. This can include scenarios like flying everyone back to the wedding location in order to get the group photograph taken again.

Now you have some more information on How to Choose the Right Wedding Photographer For You. Get the style you like first, if you’re on a budget then pay more on the photography, the album can wait and just ask what insurance they have and I am confident that your wedding photography will be to your liking.

Wedding Photography Myths

1. I can’t afford a professional wedding photographer If you have a wedding budget, then you can afford it. Plan to designate 10% towards your photographer for a basic service. If you require more options, such as all-day coverage or an expensive album, consider increasing that percentage to 20% or more. Many photographers, including yours truly, offer a gift registry option to help cover a wedding package or even funds for extras beyond the big day, such as that album that seems a bit beyond financial reach at the moment. Anything is possible. If your ideal photographer seems beyond your budget, let them know. They might be able to tailor their services to meet a lower price, particularly if the date is either coming soon or in the “off-season.”

2. Digital photography makes the job easier In some respects, yes. No more clumsy film changes. Easier to spot errant camera settings, check results of lighting setups on the spot, etc. Digital photography still requires a significant amount of post-wedding work to achieve professional results, however. In the days of film, this would be performed by a lab (with the costs passed on to the client), and the photographer could go about shooting more weddings or spend week days shooting in the studio or working in their “day job.” Most digital photographers handle their own post-production work, however, and need to include allowance for this time in their package prices.

The busiest photographers can afford to outsource the post-production work or hire staff to perform it instead. In this case, however, you’ll likely still be paying a premium for the busy photographer’s valuable time. Realise your photographer also needs to account for time spent before the wedding in consultation, visiting clients and venues, doing any pre-wedding shoots and associated processing and printing, readying themselves for the day, etc. Finally, the apparent “ease” of digital photography means most photographers shoot significantly more images and spend considerably more time at weddings than during the film days. This reality actually increases the time and therefore the costs in post-production. One day of wedding photography can occupy a decent professional photographer for a full working week.

3. Digital photography is cheaper than film photography Digital storage is cheaper than film, archiving is easier, and nothing is wasted if you just delete a frame. It’s free, right? That’s only a portion of the equation.Digital technology also means that a camera’s lifespan is much shorter than film cameras of only a few years ago. Technology becomes outdated quickly, and the disposable mentality of modern manufacturing ensures that a photographer will simply purchase a new model rather than replace a worn-out shutter after 150,000+ frames.

The same can be said for high-end computer equipment required for professional digital imaging. Acquiring proper gear to do professional work requires more financial outlay than it did a few years ago. Keep in mind that for a professional, time is money, and the post-production work referenced above in number 2 requires more time of the photographer than was required in the days of film. Finally, the other costs associated with running a business don’t discriminate between digital and film: overhead, staff, insurance, pension, paid vacation. A freelancer must factor in all of these costs when charging for their services.

4. Our snaps can just be fixed in Photoshop to make them look “professional” Photoshop can indeed cover many sins. Clean up the rubbish and balance the lighting in formal portraits? Clone out the busy and distracting background elements? Open the groom’s eyes? No problem.Unfortunately, it becomes a problem when one has to apply this practice to 500 photographs (or considerably more in some cases).

Creating professional results from problematic images takes a large investment of time, when it can be accomplished at all. Hiring a professional retoucher to “fix” amateur photos can end up costing as much as hiring a professional photographer in the first place. The right professional photographer will be able to control a scene with selective framing, composition, and lighting. Professional lenses will ensure sharp, detailed images without resorting to drastic digital sharpening to create an artificially sharp look. Your images will enlarge beautifully without requiring a digital artist’s skills.

5. Competition in the photo market is fierce, so I can shop on price and expect similar results Make sure you ask lots of questions and look at actual prints and albums before you even begin to decide. A weekend snapper shooting with entry-level kit might be able to produce reasonable looking images on your backlit computer monitor, but large prints will suffer in comparison to similar images taken with professional-level gear. The cheaper photographer might not have the proper insurance to cover themselves and any staff working with them should something happen.

The cheaper photographer might not have back-up equipment to cover them in case their primary camera fails or a lens breaks. The cheaper photographer might not have an appropriate colour-calibrated monitor to ensure colour fidelity, plus proper contrast and detail in your images. The cheaper photographer might not be able to deliver your product within the time specified, if indeed they can stay in business long enough to deliver at all.Most bargain photographers underestimate the cost required to do business and stay in business. Be certain of your choice before you hand your budgeted funds over.

6. An album doesn’t really matter to me. I’ll be happy with the photos on a disc. How many of your own digital photos make it beyond the memory card? Or see any light outside of the “Photos” folder on your hard drive? Think very carefully about what your wedding photographs and the associated memories will mean to you after the day has passed. Will 4×6-inch prints from Jessops suffice? A mass-market digital book?Of course albums decisions don’t necessarily need to be made before the wedding. A professional photographer will generally store and archive your image files so they may be accessed later for enlargements and albums.

Check with your photographer, however, as some will only keep files for a specified time frame. Also, make a duplicate copy of your disc and store it in a safety deposit box, just in case. If the bargain photographer you hired can’t afford to stay in business, or the photographer suffers from some sort of catastrophic data failure or theft, you might find yourself a year from the wedding without his or her support to fall back on.

7. I don’t need an expensive wedding album. I’ll just use Jessops or Blurb. The digital album industry exploded just a short while ago, and now consumers have a dizzying array of choices for their snaps and professional photos. If you’re happy to have your wedding book match your vacation snaps in terms of build quality, design, and longevity, then take your pick. Most services have an online design application to make it easy to design and order your book.A basic wedding album doesn’t have to break the bank, however, and your photographer will know some cheaper options, even if they don’t advertise them in their own materials. Don’t forget the gift registry idea mentioned above. Ask your photographer if this is a feature they can add, and you just might be able to afford that luxury 12×18-inch 40-side leather-bound book.

Still confused on some points? Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your photographer or any other wedding professional. We are in business to provide great service, so it’s in our interest to make sure our clients are well-educated. Best of luck out there.

Starting A Wedding Photography Business – A Six Step Plan

It takes a special person to carve a successful career in photography. You need to be artistic, good with people, and have a good business sense. If you keep your company small you need to be able to turn your hand to everything in regards to running a business and being a photographer. To become a wedding photographer you also need to enjoy working under pressure; as a wedding generally costs a lot of money, you will be expected to produce stunning work, people will be running round (often stressed) trying to organise everyone, putting you under time pressure- whilst others will be heading for the bar as fast as possible, making it very difficult to get everyone to participate in the group shot! Unfortunately this is often seen as your fault if you don’t get the shots that the Bride and Groom wanted, even worse if you actually don’t get ‘Uncle Phil’ in any shot as he couldn’t be prized away from the said bar!

However, the prospect of an exciting and lucrative career still calls. So where do you start from here?

Step One – Training.

This should, without doubt be your first port of call when even considering a career in Wedding Photography. The initial investment in a good Wedding Photography Course will pay for itself a thousand times over by giving you the tools to succeed and most importantly to point out the common (often costly) pitfalls to avoid. A good course will spend time shooting on location, so you can start to learn how to see a good shot and learn how to work with tricky lighting conditions, you should also spend time on the business side of being a wedding photographer, covering the set up, sales and marketing, album design etc… Finally you also want instruction in cataloguing and keywording all them images you are going to have, in RAW file workflow and post production of images. This will give you a thorough grounding in all matters relating to your Wedding Photography Business.

Step Two – Business Planning and Setting Up

Once your training is completed you will then have a very clear idea in mind of the target market you are aiming for. With this knowledge you will now be able to make a start on your business plan. A business plan is the most important thing you can do when setting up a business and I recommend doing one at least each year during the lifetime of the business. I really cannot stress the importance of a good, thorough and well thought out business plan; not only will it further strengthen in your mind what you want your business to be, it will also identify any potential problems early on and enable you to act upon your findings.

You will then need to sort out your company formation (sole trader, LLP or LTD) and also your trading name, then set up your bank accounts, insurances, business stationery, your contracts of engagement / terms and conditions etc… There is a lot that goes into the actual set up, but take your time and do it properly and it will save you the time in trying to do all or some of it later on, when you are busy with Weddings.

Step Three – Equipment Acquisition

It is now I would suggest any equipment acquisition you had in mind to be done. The reason I would suggest waiting until this point is thus; for one, you will have completed your training course and had plenty of chance to ask your tutor what equipment they would suggest you need based on your aspirations and budget and for two, you will now have a much clearer idea of the budget you have available now after you have completed your business plan. If your budget has altered dramatically and now you feel unsure what equipment you should buy now with the new budget in mind, go back to your tutor and ask. A good training company will offer advice after the course event, so make the most of it! If at this point you really don’t need the equipment, I suggest you wait until you have got bookings coming in and buy the equipment from your profits. It is best not to spend too much money if you don’t have to in the early days.

Step Four – Building Up Your Portfolio of Images

I am frequently asked “Can I use the images taken on courses for my portfolio, website and for advertising?” I always advise against this. You need your own images to advertise your own business otherwise you could run yourself into trouble with trading standards by using images created on courses. A much better way is to offer your services to a more established photographer as their assistant for the day. You maybe able to get your camera out and take some shots yourself- however even if you don’t it will be a great insight to the real workings of wedding photography and it will increase your confidence even more. You may have to travel a bit, as a photographer local to you most likely will not let you through their door; as after all you intend to operate in the same area, you are a potential threat to their business. So be prepared to travel for the experience. Another good way and guaranteed to get you images you need is to go back to your training company, as many offer ‘Portfolio Building Days’. Here they will book locations and models for you and make available to you lighting equipment should you need it. You then get to create the shots you need, without them being set up by someone else. It is a more costly option, but can help you to get established in the early days until you can replace these images with your own on the job shots.

Step Five – Your Website

Great care must be taken over your website design as this is undoubtedly your biggest selling tool. You don’t want it to look too homemade and above all it needs to have lots of beautiful images on it. It amazes me when I see photographers’ websites with very few pictures, as after all it is the stunning array of pictures that will ultimately get you the booking! You need to make your website easy to navigate, with your contact details or a email form so that potential clients find it easy to get in touch with you. You also need to tell people why they should book you on your website; if you cannot find a single reason, how are your potential clients going to? You should have identified your unique selling points during the creation of your business plan which will help you to write a stunning sales pitch and convince potential clients why they should book you and your services.

Step Six – Advertising Your Services

You will have identified where your competitors are advertising whilst you were doing your research for your business plan. There are so many advertising mediums today that it can be a minefield knowing where to advertise and getting it wrong can be very costly. As ever the good old local Bridal Fayre is a captive audience, so is often worthwhile attending. You will need a brochure or a flyer at least so that people visiting your stand have something to take away and remember you by. Don’t forget the importance of creating a mailing list- often a timely reminder can secure you that booking. Also get your business onto the social networks, such as a Facebook page and Google places. Try and get on as many online directories as time allows. There after your campaign needs to be built around your target clientele, as to whether you advertise locally, nationally or in newspapers or the glossy magazines, whether you leave flyers with local businesses or details with hotel venues. This is where your early research will pay dividends.

Then it is a case of continuing to work hard until your efforts starts to reap in the rewards with numerous bookings and a good and healthy profit. Good luck and enjoy the ride!