One of the big decisions you will face while planning your wedding will be to get a professional wedding photographer or ask a friend with a nice camera to capture the day for you. The old cliché’s you get what you pay for and all that is left after your wedding are your photographs have been said over and over again. Unfortunately it is true. The rise of living costs and the struggle to make ends meet has brought a lot of hobby photographers into the wedding industry. After all wedding photography is going to a party every weekend and snapping photos 😉 This has made it hard for couples getting married to choose between a fly by night photographer, a family member and a professional wedding photographer. The following paragraphs will give you pointers as to why you should choose a professional wedding photographer and how to know that you have found a professional photographer.
Photography for the hobbyist have become increasingly easier with the advancement of better digital cameras, and the price of “decent” kit camera packages going down. Although these starter cameras are good cameras they will not be able to handle every situation perfectly. For example a high-end professional camera body can almost “see” in the dark while a low end DSLR will not be able to handle low light conditions as well. Don’t let me get started on the low end lenses … high end lenses are crystal clear and sharp, low end lenses, well, let’s just leave it at that. Bottom line, a low end fancy looking DSLR is perfect for those Sunday family braai photos – not for your once in a lifetime wedding photos.
Professional wedding photographers invest in their equipment to ensure that their clients receive the full benefit of what technology has to offer. Cameras and lenses are not the only components of a professional photographers gear we carry specialized lighting equipment, back-up gear, lighting moddifiers, triggers ect ect.
A professional photographer will know their equipment inside out. They will be able to adapt fast and efficient to different lighting conditions without taking time to think about it. How do you know if your photographer can do this? It all boils down to experience. Look for photographs on their blog or in their portfolio that show different lighting conditions, full sun, overcast and low light levels for example the church or reception.
A professional wedding photographer in the absence of a events coordinator can take on the role of your wedding planner. They will be able to assist you with the flow of events on the day and crisis management. They will be one of the few people on the day of the wedding that know weddings inside out. They will know when to step in and when to fade into the background and let events unfold. Once again this comes down to the level of your photographers experience. But experience aside, your photographer will be with you the whole day, choose carefully, your photographer should make you feel comfortable and not irritate you – it will show in your photographs!
A professional wedding photographer knows which angles to shoot from, they know how to make you look good in a photograph, they will be able to show you how to stand, where to look and while doing all this still remember to fix your hair, check your dress/suite and the background for distractions. All of this happens in seconds, so that no time is wasted on trying to get it right.
A professional wedding photographer will have a consistent style. Follow your photographer on facebook and their blog. You will soon notice a certain style. It takes years to develop your style, it comes from experience, from knowing yourself and what you love. When I first started wedding photography ten years ago I jumped between styles struggling to find my own voice. I can now say I have found my voice, my style, photographs that make me smile.
A very important but unseen part of a professional wedding photographer’s job is post production. What happens to your photographs once they have left the wedding. Most importantly how secure are your photos, do they have back-up systems in place to ensure that if something should go wrong with one copy that they have another copy available. Secondly, contrary to popular believe Photoshop is not there to fix bad photography but to enhance and create mood to your photographs and to fix the occasional blemish or make-up malfunction. The third and final part of post production is the final product that is handed over to the client. There is a wide variety of albums and printed books available for photographers to choose from. The albums and books should be of high quality and you should be able to view examples prior to booking with your photographer. Some photography packages may seem appealing but upon closer inspection the books and prints may be of lower quality.