So your getting married, congratulations! There is two things that you will learn in the near future. The first is that getting married costs a lot more than you probably realise, or at least the typical Pinterest wedding does. The second is that everyone has an opinion or their own agenda.
One of the biggest days of your life and you have no idea what you can and cannot expect or often where to start. Despite working in the wedding industry for over 15 years even I was surprised at the gap in my knowledge when it came to planning my own wedding.
I prioritised my budget and as a photographer, photography ranked in the top 3. We wanted a great venue that also had some meaning to us.
I am baffled by couples who will blow the budget on the dream venue and then not have enough left to get a decent professional photographer, the venue is important but so is getting a professional photographer who can make the most of that venue to create the record that you will cherish for the rest of your lives.
What actually is the number of brides or brides to be that tell me stories of friends or family who got married this year and suffered at the hands of an amateur photographer. I have heard twice this year alone about cards or cameras being corrupted and all the images being lost. Yes that is ALL their images being lost. The other is on photography forums where I have heard stories of wanna be pros loosing their cards, or getting complaints from paying brides about the work they expected and the difference in what they actually got.
I have seen emails of complaints that part-time wedding photographers have shared on forums and Facebook groups that have phrases like ‘there is only a handful we like, it is gutting we cannot get this day back again’, ‘the majority of photos are awful, out of focus, blurred or dark’, ‘ we are devastated that we have not got the images we had hoped’.
This is not new but it is on the increase, I hear it more and more and unfortunately by the time you find out that they are not the photographer you had hoped it is too late.
With the introduction of digital photography it became so much easier for people to learn and take up photography, hundreds of people claim the status of professional wedding photographers. Amateurs can take workshops with professionals and then post the images from the workshop online on their websites. Can they recreate the same set up without the professionals guidance and equipment though?
So how can you ensure that your memories are entrusted to a professional and you are in the best possible hands?
There is a few things you can do. To get you started I have listed some.
- Get a recommendation from a friend or if you did not like your friends wedding photos perhaps start with some of the professional bodies. The MPA ( Master Photographers Association) or The BIPP (British Institute of Professional Photographers) are all bodies that have a list of qualified photographers in different areas of photography. They both put the photographer through a panel and judging and qualifying process before they are accredited. They must prove they are insured and show a certain level of skill. You are also considered a professional when the vast majority of your income come from photography and not just working the odd weekend in it.
- Do your research, when I started there was no internet but now we can do so much on line. Use google and research each individual photographer on your list do they have a private Facebook page is photography their only job?
- Meet your photographer, ask them loads of questions, get them to show you a full gallery of a wedding and different venues and times of year. If you are getting married in the winter then make sure they can show you some weddings they have done in that time of year.
To give you a few ideas of the questions you can ask I have listed some below :
- How do you back up your cards or images?
- Does your camera have more than one card slot ( all professional cameras have two slots to guard against card failure)
- Are you insured, and what is your public liability limit.
- What back up systems do you have in place incase of sickness or accidents?
- How many cameras and back up lenses do you have?
At the end of the day when all is said and done you need to ask yourself what you want from your wedding photography, do you want images that you love that show both you, your family and your venue in a beautiful manner? If you want just a record that does not have any creative flair or lighting skill?
Good wedding photography is not cheap nor should it be, there is only one chance to get it! Wedding photography is yet another case of you get what you pay for. If you think about it if you pay less than £1200 then the person you are paying is clearly not making a living from it and is not investing in the equipment and insurance that a professional is.
There is a common misconception that wedding photography since going digital has become cheaper but the reality is that actually it has become more expensive. Twenty years ago I used a medium format camera that used the same battery for over a year and was like a tank and in fact it still works now. I did not need to upgrade it or get its sensors professionally cleaned regularly. I used film and and got it developed and proofs printed. I never sold my negatives. There was not computer to upgrade or replace or photoshop to invest in.
Would you use a dentist that had not invested in his equipment or training? Or only did a handful of fillings every year on the weekends? The whole point of wedding photography is to capture your day in a manner that you enjoy and can cherish forever, invest in it.
I would love to hear your comments so please fell free to post below of get in touch.