What to look for when choosing your Melbourne and Yarra Valley Wedding Photographer
Your wedding photos are the enduring reminder of the wonderful moments and emotions of your special day. They will carry those memories into the future and provide a timeless record for your children and grandchildren (who will probably laugh – think of your parent’s wedding album).
Choosing the right photographer to capture your wedding day is one of the most important decisions of your wedding planning. You have to find someone who you trust to be able to capture your day, the way you want. If you find the right person, you will have photos that you will want to show to everyone and will evoke happy memories of your wedding day, but choose the wrong photographer and your memories will always be tainted by the bad experience.
To find the right photographer you need to look at the 5 P’s – Photographs, Personality, Professionalism, Products and Price.
Photographers will naturally show you their best work, they would be crazy to do otherwise. If their best work does not appeal to you, then you don’t need to go any further.
If their photographs are good, you need to think about the style of the photos. Try to imagine yourself in the photos – do you fit in? If you are wanting relaxed casual photos, you need to see photos that have a relaxed casual feeling. If you want edgy, artistic shots or something more traditional, that is what you need to see. If the photographer isn’t showing you photographs that match your style, describe what you would like and see if they can show you something that is right for you.
When you are deciding on your photographer, you need to think about their personality. Spending a large part of your wedding day with someone who you find irritating is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you meet the photographer who will be shooting your wedding and talk to them. Do they make you feel comfortable and relaxed? The more relaxed you feel on your wedding day, the more relaxed and natural you will look in your photos.
Choosing a professional photographer entitles you to expect that they will behave in a professional manner. They should provide you with a contract that sets out exactly what you are purchasing and full details of what they will provide and what is expected. They should be able to answer all of your questions confidently and make suggestions about different ways of covering events.
Most importantly, they should be prepared. They should have back up equipment, back up plans to cover bad weather and the ability to react quickly to changing circumstances.
The photographer you choose should be able to supply the products you want, whether it be a beautiful, custom designed album filled with all your favourite wedding photos, canvas prints for your wall or a Guest Book made from your engagement photos. There are so many different ways to present your photos that it is almost impossible to show you all of the possibilities. If the photographer doesn’t show you something that you want, ask them whether they can provide the product.
While we would all love to say that money is no object, few of us can. You need to make your choices based on what you can afford. Your photographs are, however, one of the few items on your wedding budget that are an investment rather than an expense, their value is not finished on the day but will grow into the future. It is often worthwhile to look at some wedding photographers who are above your price range to see if they offer better value for your money. If you find the photographer who is right for you but they are a little expensive, you can always examine your budget to see if you can shift your priorities to fit in the extra investment.
When you find the photographer who meets all of your requirements for the 5 P’s you will know that you have found a person that you can trust with capturing the perfect wedding photos for you.
Since we first published this article, we chatted with a few photographer colleagues about how clients should select their wedding photographer, and our friend Sam, who runs Photosnaps says that he believed the following aspects are important to consider during the selection process:
Ensure that you are looking at photos from real weddings. A photographer might be brilliant at any number of different kinds of photography, but for best results, you want a photographer with actual wedding photography experience. Make sure you see examples of their wedding work to be sure that you like that style of photography.
Be careful with photographers who say ‘I can do it all’ because that is usually not true and often means that they don’t specialise in anything! Photographing nature and people requires different techniques and although there is a crossover in equipment used for both, wedding photographers often have lovely portrait lenses that landscape photographers would not have.
If you find a photographer who has a great portfolio, don’t be afraid to ask to see a complete wedding that they’ve shot. Usually, only the best photos end up in portfolio, and it will be in your interest to view an entire wedding so that you can see what a wedding day looks like from their perspective and whether it fits in with your idea of what the wedding day should look like.
If you are looking to hire a larger photo studio, they most likely will have more than one photographer available. The photographer you meet may not be the one shooting your wedding day. Every professional photographer has a different style and personality, so make sure that you meet with the one who will be at your wedding.
When you meet with your photographer and speak about your venue, your preferred wedding style, and what you, as a couple envision for your photos, what was their reaction? Do they make suggestions, and how do you feel about those. Do you feel that they provided genuine responses and are aligned with your plans?
So, armed with all that information, you’re now in a strong position to start contacting photographers that appeal to you. Stay lucky!