You're counting down the months till you say "I do" and are in the thick of preparations to ensure your big day goes on without a hitch. Besides working with a wedding planner, florist, baker and caterer, you've also enlisted the services of a professional wedding photographer. Not all wedding photographers are created equal. Here are some reasons why working with a professional photographer is recommended and some of the things that quality photographers ought to know.
Why a Wedding Photographer?
It may seem like an unnecessary expense to have someone with a large camera to come out and take pictures of your wedding when there are excited family members and close friends snapping pictures away on your big day. Surely, among the vast collection of novice photos are some nice, decent ones, right?
While it doesn't take a professional photographer to get people lined up and placed for a photo shoot or quickly take a picture of your first kiss or the cutting of the cake, it does take a professional wedding photographer to know how to capture the best moments and take the best-looking photos. In addition, when working with a professional wedding photographer, he or she can be aware of which moments you want captured and the style of photos that best portray your unique personality and the special feel of the day.
What a Wedding Photographer Should Know
Obviously a wedding photographer needs to know the fundamentals of photography such as how to use his or her camera, how to get the right distance and focus and how to get the best lighting for a shot.
Besides these skills, here are some other, less-known things a professional wedding photographer should know:
What to Wear
The wedding photographer should not only come looking nice and professional at the wedding, but also during every photo shoot prior to the wedding. Quality wedding photographers who take their work seriously will dress appropriately to match their professionalism.
Time of Arrival
A professional, organized wedding photographer won't be late to any appointments or photo shoots and he or she will especially not be late for the wedding. He or she will arrive early and stay late, making sure every possible moment of your big day is captured.
Be Familiar With Each of Their Clients
It's one thing to snap a few pictures of a couple on their wedding day using a cell phone camera and never seeing the couple again. It's another thing to be a wedding photographer working closely with the couple to ensure their big day is perfectly captured. A wedding photographer professional will know each couple has different photo needs, preferences, personality and wedding vibe. The photographer will take all these elements into account when taking photo shoots and in capturing their clients' wedding day.
Additionally, a close relationship is formed between the photographer and his or her clients due to the many hours of consultations and photo shoots. A photographer that doesn't take notice or seem to care about the important things about their clients such as their names, interests, personality and preferences for their big day is one to avoid as he or she likely isn't invested in your big day or take his or her job seriously.
Work on a Contract
You should avoid working with a wedding photographer who doesn't work on or draw up a contract. Even if the professional is a family friend or is someone willing to volunteer their time, a contract is necessary in ensuring that both parties fulfill their designated part of the deal. A contract prevents the hiring of an unprofessional photographer who may jeopardize the capturing of such an important day in your life.
Ask for and Comply With a "Shot Sheet."
If you're not sure what a "shot sheet" is it is a sheet with a list of all the moments the couple wants captured on their wedding day. While most couples want the pivotal moments of the bride walking down the aisle, the exchange of the wedding rings, the first dance and reception speeches, some of the other elements like the bouquet, décor and invitations may be up to the couple's discretion. As much as each couple wants to capture every moment of their big day, this feat is often unattainable. As a result, couples will make a "shot sheet" to give to the photographer, prioritizing which pictures they want. Even a couple that doesn't have a "shot sheet" should have a discussion with their photographer about what shots they want. The photographer should note and comply with this sheet.
Have a Substantial Online and Offline Portfolio
A professional wedding photographer should have a substantial portfolio of work he or she is proud of and which showcase their style and ability. With everything going online, your wedding photographer should have some sort of online portfolio in addition to a hard-copy one. Hiring the right wedding professional for your wedding is important and you should be able to get a sense of the photographer's skill and style without having to visit him or her in person.