by Samantha Halpern.
Professional Photographer with over 15 years Wedding Photogaphy experience
Dip. Fine Arts (photog)
B. Vis Comm (photog & digital imaging)
6 years fully accredited member of the AIPP
In my humble opinion, it is fundamental that you choose a photographer who’s work you LOVE above all else. This artist will be capturing your wedding day for you, your children and your grandchildren to treasure for the rest of time. Even if its only for the two of you and your dogs, your image will be “out there” forever. What do you want that image to be?
Go and see a bunch of photographers. Take the time to LOOK at their prints. Judge them on the finished quality of their PRINTED work. Almost anyone can take a photo and make it look a million $$$ on screen, but a true professional will know how to capture an image and transpose it to print without it without losing any of that magic. Ask to handle some photographic prints – do they have a range of papers and finishes available? Do the prints feel like a piece of art? Or something you could have printed yourself at BigW? Are their enlargements in focus? Are the colours correct? Is the lighting flattering on the couple? Is the composition interesting? Even though you may not know the subjects in the photo, do you feel engaged with them somehow?
2. Personality AND Experience
This one’s a no-brainer. Pick someone you like. Your photographer will be spending more time with you on your wedding day than your Mum. They may even be seeing more of you than your Mum! (If you thought being a Bride is glamorous…think again). So go with someone you get on with. You don’t have to be BFF’s, but if your photographer is adding stress to your day, rather than reducing it, it will show in your images.
Your photographer also needs to have the experience to provide not only a professional standard photography service all day long, but also the experience to give you the confidence to know your photographer is in control, understands what’s coming next, knows what shots you want before you even know you want them, is familiar with your locations and remains stubbornly unflappable during any hiccups (I’ve seen a wedding day almost come completely unravelled by a broken safety pin…long story) so that you can relax, be yourself and most importantly, have fun!
Lately I’ve been hearing more and more “my friends photographer was great on the day, took some amazing shots, but didn’t get one single photo of the Bride with her Mum…she’s devastated.” The ownership of a high-end or Pro DSLR enables anyone to take half-decent, “pretty” pictures but equipment alone does not define someone as a professional photographer. What does? There are lots of things, however many years of WEDDING photography experience is undeniable, cannot be bought, and should never be overlooked.
Price is an important factor, but it should definitely be lower on your list. You only get one shot at this, so there’s no use getting a cheap photographer and then hating all your wedding photos because your photographer made you miserable all day. Or getting your “just out of photography school and shot one backyard wedding for their cousin” friend to shoot the wedding because for only $500 he’ll shoot over 2000 images for you, then wishing you hired a professional when you see the shots he DIDN’T get.
Ask your Mum how much she paid for her wedding photos. Ask your friend who was married 5 years ago how much she paid for her wedding photos. If she’s happy with them, I bet your question of price will be quickly brushed aside as she rushes to tell you how much she loves her photos, loves how they transport her back to that magical day, loves the look on her Father’s face as he walked her down the aisle, loves the images of all the seemingly insignificant details of her day that she had forgotten about completely. Priceless.