Wedding photographers have received a lot of bad press recently, some of it justified, especially where the photographer took 96 images of the bridesmaids and only 11 of the groom! Plus the one where the photographer left a fire extinguisher in the shots when it would have been easy to remove it. In some of the incidents, it begs the question, how much did the couple pay for their photographer.
I will always ask you to provide a list of your "must have" images and will use either the best man or chief bridesmaid/matron of honour to go through the list to make sure that everyone on the list is included in the final photographs. After all, if you are paying a lot of money, you don't just want photographs of the bridesmaids or fire extiguishers!
I recommend you don't choose your wedding photographer based on price alone or whether or not they use a particular brand of camera/lens and always ask to see samples of their work beforehand and insist on seeing their last full wedding. A professional photographer will always be happy to show you a full wedding and even just a few samples.
Of course, equipment can fail and for that reason, I carry backup equipment to cover any eventuality but in the case of total photographic failure beyond my control, you will always get a full refund or an opportunity for a re shoot if possible at no extra charge.
Getting married in 2019? Then book my photography services before 30/04/18, to guarantee 2018 prices (once you have paid your 20% booking fee.) Your price is then fixed and will not rise even if my suppliers put their prices up. There will be an annual price rise at the end of April 2018 in line with inflation so book now to avoid the price rise and any disappointment.
I often hear, "You should only pick your wedding photographer if they use a particular brand of camera/lens." (Usually Nikon or Canon.)
In March 2014, I was introduced to the Olympus OM-D-EM micro four thirds (M4/3rds) camera system, smaller and lighter than my Canon kit but with equally good image quality when using professional lenses from the likes of Olympus, Sigma and Panasonic. According to Olympus, the EM1 model at the time was designed to out perform the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex camera) and is splashproof, dust proof but unlike the Canon system I was using, freeze proof down to minus 10!
I dipped my toe into the system but kept my Canon kit at the same time. However, in November 2016, I finally took the plunge and now exlusively use the OM-D system. My main camera is an Olympus OM-D-EM1 MKII with an Olympus 17mm lens which has a fast aperture to enable me to make the subject "pop out" from the background - this is known as bokeh, a Japanese word meaning out of focus. As my second camera, I use an Olympus OM-D-EM1 MKI with a Panasonic Leica 45mm Macro lens which also has a fast aperture.
This lens is also perfect for closeup shots of the rings, cake etc., and head and shoulder portrait shots and Leica have a reputation for producing outstanding quality lenses which in turn produce high quality images.
I also have an Olympus 14-150 zoom lens for those long shots from the back of the ceremony room/church or for capturing detail. Thinking back to film days, this has an equivalent focal length of 28-300mm and the other two lenses equate to 34mm and 90mm respectively.
So if my images have a "blurry background" this is done entirely for artistic reasons such as the image of the bride and flower shot and the groom in the mirror. The same goes if I cut heads off, this is to emphasise a particular detail such as the bouquet shot below.
Wedding photography prices vary greatly from a few hundred pounds to £1,000.00's depending on what you require.
Is the photographer just starting out and getting a portfolio together? Are they a friend or friend of a friend who just happens to own a camera? Think you'll save money because a friend is taking your photographs? Think again! Someone charging just a few £100.00 for a whole day with an album because they're "just getting a portfolio" together probably doesn't have insurance and certainly won't produce high quality images. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Before choosing a photographer based on price alone, please consider the following:
Are they using professional equipment and not entry level kit? I only use professional equipment and using entry level kit will ultimately affect the quality of the images especially if used in low light such as the evening reception and this can result in grainy images also known as "noise" which can significantly degrade an image. Don't choose your photographer based on the fact that they use a particular brand of camera or lens such as Nikon or Canon - see here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=a06OiVpa9-A
Do they have back up equipment? I always carry two cameras and lenses plus a backup lens in my bag. I also have three on camera flashguns, two of which can also be used off camera for more effective lighting, ten large capacity memory cards and numerous batteries for my cameras and flashguns. Would your "friend" or "friend of a friend" have this backup? Nothing worse than an equipment fail mid shoot and no back up! The very thought fills me with dread. My two cameras and one of my lenses are dustproof, splash proof and freeze proof down to minus 10! So when your friend or friend of a friend with the cheap camera is running for cover when it's raining or snowing, I can carry on shooting.
Do they edit their images using professional software? I always shoot in a format known as RAW which is like a digital negative and work from that using Lightroom and Photoshop from Adobe. All cameras will process Jpegs in camera and that's not always a good thing - some will say that large Jpegs are just as good as RAW. I wholeheartedly disagree, RAW files are not processed in camera so do not lose any information such as shadows/highlights etc. People paying a lot of money will expect high quality images.
Has the photographer had training in the art of Wedding Photography? I've received training from The Guild of Photographers - the photographers trade body with over 2,000 members with access to professional training, not just in Wedding Photography.
Do they have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance? I have, plus any second photographer I use will either have their own insurance or be covered under mine as I also have Employer Liability cover.
Are they a member of a recognised Professional body such as the Guild, SWPP (Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers) or MPA? (Master Photographer's Association.)
Do you like their particular style of photography and just as important, can you get on with them? They could be with you for up to 12 hours on your special day after all.
These are just a few points of many as to why you shouldn't choose your wedding photographer based on price alone. The average price for wedding photography in 2015 was £1,520.00 and the link explains why.
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