3 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Wedding Photographer
1. So Many Styles, So Little Time
They might be called by different names, but the majority of wedding photographers will describe their style of shooting in one of 3 ways – Artistic, Photo-journalistic, and Traditional. Let’s take a quick look at each style…
Artistic Wedding Photography
Artistic wedding photography is more about creating an image that reflects a photographer’s creative vision. These shots tend to be more about the environment in which the image is created, often calling upon architectural elements, color, and context. Artistic photographs from your wedding are, by design, meant to be displayed! Large canvas or framed prints work great for these images. Why focus on artistic photography? Artistic wedding photography pushes your photographer to create one of a kind images that will be entirely unique to your wedding day.
Photo-Journalistic Wedding Photography
Photo-journalistic wedding photography is like being a fly on the wall. The idea here is to document the day’s events without the photographer’s presence being noticeable. It’s not an easy task – as it involves having a photographer who knows how to be a fly on the wall, but with 30 lbs of camera gear hanging off his or her body, and enough wedding experience to know when those special moments that happen organically throughout a wedding day are going to happen. It’s that “knowing what’s coming next” that separates the novices from the pros.
Traditional Wedding Photography
UGH…traditional wedding photography, that’s sooooo boring, right?? Well the truth is that traditional wedding photographs may very well end up being some of your favorite photographs from your wedding. The kick is, that you won’t know it till long after your wedding. The point of “traditional” wedding photography is to document the people and things that were a part of your wedding day. Due to the documentary nature of this style of wedding photography, it isn’t always the most visually interesting, but its value is immense.
Rarely does a wedding day allow for an artistic portrait of everyone at your wedding, and traditionally posed group pictures of your family and important guests are an easy and effective way of remembering who was with you on your special day. Numerous brides have expressed gratitude for their traditional family shots after a grandparent or other family member had passed away.
Photographers who do traditional wedding photography should be comfortable working with large groups, of varying age. They will also tend to bring extra photographic lights that may take some time to set up.
Which Style is Best for my wedding?
To be perfectly honest, most wedding photographers operate within ALL THREE styles throughout a wedding day, but they will focus on the style they enjoy the most, which is most likely the one they are best at.
At New Age Foto, I tend to be equal parts of artistic and photojournalistic with traditional falling in third. Different parts of the day usually dictate what style I shoot.
An important thing to consider when looking at a wedding photographer’s body of work is how timeless it feels, because how your wedding photographs feel is what’s important, not how they were processed. Let me explain.
We live in a world of post-processing and instagram. And while the fad of using heavy filters has (thankfully) subsided, we still produce and consume imagery every day that has a look that is relevant to TODAY, a look that is usually reflective of new technology and techniques. Remember “spot-coloring”, where the whole image was black and white except for maybe the flowers? When I see it now I cringe! Ask your parents or grandparents, and they will likely tell you about how using double exposures to make a portrait of a bride and groom appear in a brandy glass was all the rage back in the 60’s and 70’s. And while both techniques were cool in their time, they were fads! Just gimmicky tricks to make something look cool instead of focusing on real timelessness.
Timeless wedding photography doesn’t rely on gimmicks or fads, it relies on composition, storytelling, and emotion. So while you might like the look of someone’s portfolio because it has that cool faded hipster look, just remember that you will be looking at these images for years to come, and that “look” that you like so much now will no doubt “date” your images and will look old and out of style before you know it.
So look beyond the filters and post processing, and make sure whoever you hire is creating timeless work for you to love for years to come.
3. Wedding Books, Prints and Digital Files
Wedding albums have come a long way since your parents got married. Gone are the days of plastic sleeves, matted and gilded pages. These days we call albums books, because they are books! And, they are THE BEST WAY to preserve your wedding photographs. For years, bridal magazines have pushed brides to get the Files from their photographer as part of the package, but there are 2 BIG PROBLEMS with only getting files.
1. Whatever format the files are delivered on will inevitably become obsolete, or fail.
2. You probably won’t do much with the files
Ok ok, I know I just blew the lid off this list but before you jump off the deep end let me explain my thinking on the matter. Digital formats are always changing, and eventually that dvd disc, or usb stick will no longer be supported. Think VHS tapes. Not exactly the best way to preserve images from the most important day of your life. Professional archival prints are the BEST way to ensure that your photographs will last for generations.
And while digital files are great and all, you probably won’t do much with them anyways. Trust me when I tell you that life happens and more than likely after the wedding there will be more pressing things going on than working on digital files. You don’t want it to be your 5 year anniversary before you have a proper wedding book or framed print from your wedding to hang on the wall.
So use those files how they are meant to be used, as a backup! Go ahead and share all of your favorites images on social media, but PLEASE don’t let that be a replacement for a proper wedding book or print. Even Facebook will one day obsolete!
Since wedding albums have become custom designed books, you’ll want to find a photographer who can eloquently design a book that tells the story of your wedding – timelessness is important here too! When looking at photographers, ask to see a recent book design to get a sense of their design skills.
Because the books are handmade with archival prints, REAL leather, and made by hand it the US (at least MINE are) expect to invest at least $1500 for a quality wedding book.