Finding the perfect wedding photographer can prove much harder work than many couples envisage. How do I know this? Well, I have been there. Consequently, I am writing this to provide anybody about to face searching for their own wedding photographer with the advice, tips, tricks and knowledge I wish we had had before beginning our search. After all, who doesn’t want to minimise the time, stress and financial burden of organising their wedding? I know we did.
Many of my friends favour reading reviews over testimonials, thinking that photographers will of course only feature glowing testimonials on their own sites. The fact is, yes, that is true, but it is equally true that the only customers who take the time and go to the effort of writing testimonials are those who are genuinely happy with the service and / or product(s) they have received.
Testimonials don’t just speak about a photographer; they speak about their clients. If you can identify with a photographer’s clients, their perspectives, preferences and what matters to them, you might also identify with the photographer. The more clients they have whose desires, preferences and personal style or way of getting things done matches with yours, the better the chance you will be able to build a rapport and successfully communicate with a photographer. After all, and as professional photographer, Emma-Jane Lewis, stresses ‘the first step in choosing a wedding photographer will be going down to style’.
If a photographer has fifty reviews on a reputable and independent website and forty are damning their work – by all means walk away. You’d be silly not to. If though a photographer has a favourable ratio of positive reviews brought down by an isolated number of negative reviews – research some more. Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.
When I analysed the less than glowing reviews of a handful of photographers, by and large what I discovered was that the clients not 100% happy with their photos were not dissatisfied with the quality of their photos, but through miscommunication of their specific ‘vision’.
Hence, well known and regarded wedding photographer, Anna Pumer stresses the importance of establishing good communication and rapport, saying: ‘I often meet my couples twice – once to visit the venue with them, and again just for a cuppa and a chat.’ Also, if the photographer gets to know you well, they will be more emotionally invested in the day’.
The temptation can be to take up that mate, colleague or relative on their offer to save you cost and hassle of searching for a photographer. Perhaps they offer to play photographer as their wedding present to you. That is very kind, but do not feel pressured into accepting out of being polite.
Equally, do not be persuaded by the thought of saving some money. Professional wedding photographers don’t just capture great pictures, understand light and exposure and their client’s ‘vision’; professionals like South Wales Wedding Photographer, Francesca Hill, also spend hours on post-processing, picking out and polishing photos to ensure you get a professional and perfect product. Amateurs by definition lack experience, expertise and equipment, however enthusiastic they may be.
Further, remember, if one of your would-be guests offers to take pictures for you they are simultaneously giving up their invitation to attend your wedding, at least as a guest. You would not be happy if you paid for a photographer who put down the camera to pick up a beer or asked your mother to dance. The fact you are not paying does not mean that while they take a moment out to play guest they will not miss that one-off chance to snap that perfect picture. What is more, playing photographer means they won’t just lose out on being a guest, but also on being in many of your pictures – and, hence, a part of your big day.
For more tips as to snapping that the perfect wedding photographer, a resource I know I found useful was that provided by The Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride website.