Is there more to choosing a wedding photographer than liking his or her style? Here are 5 deeper questions to help you decide what type of photographer you need…
1. Why do you want a wedding photographer?
You think this is a rhetorical question, but really. Stop, and think.
Ask yourself why you think you need a wedding photographer in the first place.
I like paring things back to basics. So much so that, I lived an entire year without buying consumables. (I know, you don’t believe me. You can ask me about it when we have tea together.)
And I believe one of the most basic things is knowing your why. In knowing your why, everything else becomes peripheral.
So, why do YOU want a wedding photographer?
Maybe it’s because you don’t want this to happen. Maybe it’s because you want to see the most glamorised version of You in your wedding portraits. Maybe it’s because you want to leave something for your grandkids to talk about.
This is something only you can answer.
Now you embark and hope to find a photographer matches your why.
I photograph weddings is because I think it’s a reflection of beautiful things in life – meaningful moments, the beauty in chaos, the ordinary days that are brimming with romance, family and friends. Before I stepped into this industry, I told myself that it will always be about people and relationships first, never about the destination, or the style or setting of a wedding.
With my ‘Why’ tucked neatly in my heart, I’ll bring my love for composition, emotion-filled moments, life’s beauty, quiet looks and gentle touches, art and film, and I’ll pour it into your wedding day. That’s how I art. That’s my why.
It’s not for everyone, but it might be for you.
2. Can see yourself in the photos?
Gather a shortlist of photographers by honing in your style preference.
Style is the easiest thing to pick. It’s laid bare on the photographer’s portfolio.
If your photographer says he or she is has a photojournalistic style, this means that he or she tends to capture what happens with little directing. A modern style tends to be like photojournalism but with more mood and more direction involved. An editorial style is usually very clean, bright and features direction from the photographer to the subjects of the photo.
I use a blend of techniques – a photojournalistic approach and a creative editorial approach. As your day unfolds, I will be roaming around quietly, capturing the day from all angles. Breathe deep, be yourself and interact with the people around you. I will do the hard work of making sure I get the right moments and right angles. This is where the real memories and stories lie. When we steal away to create some portraits, I will help you along as we create a little universe for you two – something you can remember years down the track.
3. Would you invite this person your family dinner?
Your wedding is a little space you’ve created to celebrate your love. You’ve spent months drawing up a guest list, thinking of colours and florals and textures and music and all sorts of things you never thought you’d be thinking about! It’s an outpouring of your creativity for a gathering of your favourite people.
It’s only fair to ask yourself if you can imagine this person at your gathering.
Hiring a wedding photographer is not a once-off transaction – from the initial consultation meeting, to the recommendations for other vendors, to the printing process – it’s a hands-on process that you would want to journey through with someone you trust and like. If your photographer ends up being nasty, it’s surely going to put a dampener on your day.
Have a coffee with your shortlist of photographers to see if you mesh well. (Though, I personally prefer tea.)
4. Have you peeked behind the curtain of their highlights reel?
A portfolio is just like social media: a person’s highlight reel.
My #1 tip for choosing the right photographer for your Melbourne wedding is to ask your photographer to show you images from a single complete wedding; this gives you a chance to see how she deals with the entire day’s events. This will also give you a good idea of what to expect from her in your own wedding slideshow or gallery.
A professional photographer should be able to get good or great quality images across the whole day, not just one of two good images for the entire day.
Get a well-rounded feel for their work.
5. Would you trust this person with her unique style of capturing moments?
You’ve found your person, seen her work, understood her process… it’s time to trust her and her vision.
You should also be realistic – there will be a large number of happy ‘snaps’ from the day.
As professional as your photographer is, he or she is still a real person. It’s impossible for a person to pump out 1000 perfect frames from dawn to dusk. I’ve seen work from award-winning photographers that back up this truth. If you end up with 5-10 magnificent images you can frame, 50 or so really good photos, and the rest nice snaps, then you should be happy.
Be clear about the outcome you want to see, and then leave scope for creativity to be put to work.
I hope this was helpful. If you’d like to put this into action to see if you would you can get in touch for a tea date with me!