Here are a few simple guidelines about wedding photography and how to find the right photographer for your big day.
I have met plenty of clients over the years who have asked, “are you a qualified professional photographer?” Many photographers promote themselves as ‘Awarding Winning’, ‘Qualified’ or even ‘one of the best in the UK’ but for the most part these are just marketing tools. Anybody can claim to be a professional photographer, it is a completely unregulated profession and does not even have a standard industry body, despite what some photographers like to tell us.
I decided to join one of the qualifying bodies to see how they would work for me. I eventually settled on the SWPP and started the qualifying process. It took me eight months, five panels and twenty images to get through the first stage, the Licentiate which shows that I have ‘full control of the medium.’ The images should show correct camera technique, complete control of the lighting and the final production of the finished image. You can view my final panel here. All I can say from my experience is that I certainly learned a lot, and above all it made me a much better photographer. I intend to move up a gear in 2015 and attain my Associateship. I believe this will help me strive to improve my craft so that can only be a good thing.
So where does that leave you?
Arrange to meet at least three companies, speak to the wedding photographer in person and make sure you’re not speaking to the sales guy. Ask to see their wedding albums, which should show complete weddings i.e. from the bridal preparations through to the evening reception. This way you can ascertain if the quality of their wedding photography is consistent throughout the day. Any photographer could produce an album full of their best work from a variety of weddings, but this does not show you if a professional photographer has any weakness in a specific area. Also look at the group shots, do they show the wedding party having a great time and are they looking relaxed and natural? If so this shows the photographer has a good rapport with his clients and so can put your guests at ease. The single most important factor regarding finding the right wedding photographer for you, is that you actually like him or her. Ask yourself… “Will I be happy to spend the most important day of my life with this guy?” And “do I want my Wedding Photographs to look like his work?”
So use your ‘gut’ instinct, read between the lines and stay away from those special once in a lifetime, never again deals — if you actually like the wedding photographer, love his work and his prices are on budget — what are you waiting for? …book him, and book him FAST !!!