Selecting a wedding photographer can be a daunting and challenging task as there are many of them out there. Some are seasoned pros (like ATB Photography), some are amateurs learning the ropes and others are pure chancres looking to make a quick buck.
So what should you look for and ask to find a good wedding photographer. Below is a list to assist you.
Look at the following:
- Has the photographer used the 4 C's of photography.
- C1: Content- What does the photograph say? What is your subject and why should it matter? Does it make sense?
- C2 Composition- How has the subject been arranged in the photo, and what does that say about it? Has the "Rule of Thirds" been used or purposefully broken? Note: I will say right up front however that rules are meant to be broken and ignoring this one doesn't mean your images are necessarily unbalanced or uninteresting.
The basic principle behind the "Rule of Thirds" is to imagine an image broken down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have 9 parts. With this grid in mind the "Rule of Thirds" now identifies four important lines that the points of interest or subject should be placed on to form a more balanced photo which will enable a viewer of the image to interact with it more naturally
- C3 Color- Does the photo have bold colors? Muted colors? No colors? How does the color of your image set the mood for the photo? Color should lead the eye and entice the viewer to understand something about the subject. Look out for bad colouring like faded or insipid colorations. Also look out for poor tinting on skin tones i.e. is the skin looking "cool" and bluish or too "warm" and too yellow orange.
- C4 Contrast- Too little contrast? Your subject appears flat, lifeless and gets lost in the photo as there is too little detail. To much contrast? Your subject to be overly sharp and defined with overemphasised detail. Are the highlights blown out? I.e. the detail are lost in light colours and dark colours (too black), often due to incorrect camera exposure .
Ask the following:
- What equipment does the photographer use and is it professional level equipment? Check the info you get from the photographer is correct via the internet in terms of his/her equipment
- Does the camera have two card slots to back up the images in camera?
- Do you bring back up equipment and if so what?
- Is the equipment insured?
- Are you a full time professional photographer and registered with professional associations in the industry? For example: ATB Photography is an Nikon Professional Services (NPS) member. NPS is an organization for qualified, full-time professional photographers who earn their living using Nikon camera equipment. ATB Photography is also an African Bridal Industry Academy (ABIA) accredited member
- Have you won any awards and or nominations for your wedding photography?
- Contactable references from brides, grooms and wedding planners?
Items of caution:
- Don't assume if a photographer is on a venues preferred supplier list that they are a good suppliers. The wedding industry has a darker side. Typically to get onto a venues preferred supplier list you have to pay them a commission which can range from 10 to >30%. Due to greed, some venues and their on-site coordinators accept the service providers on their "preferred suppliers list" who are purely prepared to pay the venue the most commission, thus quality is no consideration. Too many couples end up in tears after their weddings due to this darker side of the industry.
- If the venue or on-site coordinators insists that you have to use their preferred suppliers there is something underhanded happening. Refuse and say you will use the service providers you want or you will go elsewhere. Remember you have the power and it is your money and thus you must have the control. Don't be abused by the venues and their on-site coordinators. Make sure you get the best service providers for your hard earned money on your very special day.