- 6 years ago
- Wedding: January 2017
So after being on the board for a bit and have noticed that people generally seem to have majors issues with choosing a wedding photographer. Yes, some luck out or doll out crazy cash to insure that they got premo images but let be honest with no one wants to drop $5000 just to insure you wedding photos don’t blow. So I have come up with some rules to help the normal non techy bride to weed thought all of the duds. So here it goes:
1. Expensive gear doesn’t equal talent, to put this in perspective some of the best images I have every shot have been on a $60 SLR using plan old black and white film and a dark room.
2.Their portfolio is their best work and could be solely based on luck. You want to ask for a range of work, including some of their worst work. Because honestly if you are looking for a budget photographer then you really need an idea what you are going to get. Usually their portfolio is the best out of thousands and thousands of images.
3. Watch out for flashy websites or over edited images. Yes, some brides love to be airbrushed, but you really want to see straight out of the camera stuff that at most has just been color corrected. You guys would be surprised what you can do in Photoshop. I knew a guy in college who could create photorealistic images in Photoshop from nothing. My point is unless you have unlimited post work in your contract and they are a straight up digital artist (most people aren’t) You HAVE to make sure they can compose a good image before you give them your money.
4.If they refuse to give you all of your unedited images, move on. It is your event, period; it is unethical for someone to keep your images from you. This rule is going to get the most static, but here is the deal, a person can shoot at least 100+ images an hour and should be paying enough attention that each image is nicely composed. That being said a good photographer should be able to hand a client after an 8 hour day at least 800+ images ranging from good to freaking magazine quality awesome. If you are a photographer and you can’t manage to do that, either quit and go back to school or your nearest darkroom until you can or find something else to do with your life.
5.The good $1000 photographer does exist, if they are trying to be a wedding photographer usually it is someone who is a student or just starting out being that humans are naturally greedy and after a good photographer figures out that they can charge 5x that and have people pay it they will. The other type of photographer that will change you a fraction of the industry standard is someone who happens to be an awesome photographer but isn’t in the wedding industry. Usually that sort of photographer will take an occasional wedding for side cash and has a day job doing something else (like working for a magazine or a newspaper).
6. The bad $5000 photographer does exist and unfortunately is more common then the good $1000 photographer. This kind of ties into rule 1 which come down to more money doesn’t always equal better. Yes, sometimes it does but hopefully by knowing the rules above you can weed the good one from the bad ones.
7. Just because they have a camera doesn’t make them an artist and don’t let people take advantage of you using that excuse. Yes, it takes talent and a good eye to produce good images but when any idiot with a camera can call themselves an artist and rob unknowing consumers something really need to be sad. Beware of people pulling the artist card when they are trying to talk you into a) Letting them only give you images they picked or b) Restricting images on the basis of “it may make me look bad”. The only reason people would do this is because they such and are trying to hide that fact from future clients.
6. If they get snotty about any of the rules, move on. Because seriously Ladies, this is you wedding and it’s the only one you’ll have (at least with you current partner in most cases) so you really don’t need to deal with some dive with an expensive rig. Finding a good person to shoot your event is very important to the your stress levels before and after the wedding.
That pretty much what I have to say, hopefully it will help someone avoid some annoyance and heartbreak. Remember, look everywhere (craigslist, art schools, ect) read reviews, interview peoples and read and reread and contracts before signing anything. With that and some time and effort you should be able to find a winning in the huge sea of epic fail that is modern photography
As a note: A little background on me(so you know where I’m coming from) I am about to have my BA in Media Arts(spring 12′, wooot! ), I am an editor(CS5&FCP) and a photographer with over 2 year experience working as both and 5 years shooting and editing for artistic reasons. I work mostly in academia so the standard is very different and most of my work is for advertising purposes. That being said if I showed up with the kind of quality work I am seeing from a lot of these “pro” websites I would be fired on the spot.
Remember people not everyone can be an artist, so if your bad at it please stop trying…