Greetings! My last post about flash photography got me a little fired up this week. I spent some more time thinking about the perils that so many engaged couples face when it comes to choosing their wedding photographer and I recounted my own experience in choosing one (before I was a photographer). My choice came down to price and availability. Our photographer was a friend of a friend who was just sort of starting out and was excited to give us a great deal. The deal was okay, but in hindsight I can see it was overpriced for a couple reasons.
Reason one being the photos themselves weren't that great. There were lots of images that were out of focus and the editing was amateurish with lots of overused effects. Just not sweet. And, again, I know things now that I didn't then -- which is the point of this blog post that I will get to shortly.
Reason two the photographer was overpriced was because the experience wasn't great. It wasn't terrible, by any means, but it just wasn't memorable. The wedding was memorable, of course, but any memories I have of our time with the photographer are either poor or non-existant. And if that doesn't seem like a deal-breaker to you then give me a second to tell you why it could be.
The wedding photographer is responsible for capturing those magic candid moments but also creating memorable and magical moments when they get the bride and groom alone. Obviously, the latter part about creating memorable moments is an opportunity and a challenge that your wedding photographer should take. But the former part about capturing magic candid moments requires something else beyond a keen creative eye for composition and 101 poses for the bride and groom. Capturing those special candid moments requires a sensitivity to the relationships around the bride and groom in order to look for them in the first place; because those images aren't always obvious. In that sense, then, a good wedding photographer should find themselves completely immersed in those emotional ties in the room as they walk around looking for something special to capture. Be it a smile, a burst of laughter, or tears -- those are the moments a good wedding photographer should constantly be on the hunt for. Those are the images we remember and those are the steps you will remember your photographer taking or not taking.
And lastly, your wedding photography experience should be FUN! Right? Listen... I'm not the type of person to overuse exclamation points in an email to make it sound like I'm always upbeat and excited. Not everything in life is exciting or fun. And for lots of people, being bossed around by a photographer on their wedding day sounds like the opposite of fun. And to make the experience more annoying they'll tell you things such as, "act natural" (I'm totally guilty of that :/). I know because that was me once too.
My experience the last 4 years as a wedding photographer leads me to this point. Having fun at weddings is my mode of operation. Personally and professionally, I wholly believe that if I'm not having fun doing what I'm doing then I should do something different. So it's my goal to have fun and I always do; and I believe it helps create memorable experiences that have the potential to turn into timeless photos for my clients.
I didn't have that....
So, back to square one and the point of this article. In my post-blog-thoughts last week it dawned on me that people need to be educated on what they're getting when they shell out too much money for a photographer that doesn't put forth an effort or too little money on a "photographer" who should be thankful for the practice (because any money is too much for bad photos). I think this is where the personal contact or a phone consultation with the photographer is so crucial. I would encourage couples to interview their potential photographer and to ask them questions relevant to you and your wedding. You should have a clear understanding of what your getting from your photographer because the price your paying doesn't allow for ambiguity.
Then after you've done your homework and have booked your photographer, be at ease and trust that you're in good hands. The hard part is over and it's time to have fun.
Now for a little shameless self-promotion...
Come say 'Hi' at the "Something Blue" Wedding Expo on Sunday, March 12. I'll have a booth with some big-beautiful prints on display ;).
See you there....
Find South Lake Tahoe's best wedding vendors at www.TahoeWeddings.org