Looking for perfect wedding photographer can be quite a task. With the amount of lists, preparation, databases & search results available, it might take you months to go through each one of the profiles. And by the time you have short-listed one – chances are – find your favourite photographer is booked already! This would be highly appreciated by the photographer as well.
First of all, you – the decision maker (parents/the couple/the entire family) must know what he/she is looking for. The bigger the decision making group is going to be – the more opinions and confusion it is bound to create. Keep it simple. Ask to a photographer whose style appeals to you. Till end of story. Google is your best friend. Facebook is also very resourceful. Search or find for photographers, Look at friends’ wedding pictures, ask for recommendations!
You are more concerned about Nikon, Sony or Canon equipment being used for your wedding – or the end product? No one photographer would use or hold back his best equipment for a project. If they have it. They would use it! If you still want to be sure – ask same questions. It doesn’t hurt to know. (Examples of Professional & High-end cameras Wedding Photographers use: Canon 5D Mark III, Nikon D800 & D810) but it doesn’t stop at that. (Remember the weakest link in a Photograph is the Photographer, not her/his camera/lens/setting)
Albums, Prints? – Wait for it. Let’s get you a photographer first.
When it comes to Photography – each photographer has her/his own unique style & way of shooting or snapshot. Some are not sure what category they are into and choose to call them wedding photographers, others end up using the same tags as their favourite photographers. But most of the photographers that you would see over the internet – know what they are doing, and their work speaks what they write.
*Candid Photographer :
A candid photograph is a photograph captured mostly in motion, without creating a posed appearance. Candid photographers in India are the most creative & flexible in terms of budgets, hours & working styles. If you are looking at thousands of pictures of your wedding, and choosing what pictures you want edited, this is the right person for you.
What to expect: Most Candid photographers will give you 1000-3000 pictures a day of shooting, will be there throughout, and not bill you for extra hours etc. Unexpected ceremony or delay – No problem. This person is with you for the day Unedited RAW files – umm, maybe! The crucial factor is the actual absence of posing. If the subject is absolutely unaware of being photographed and does not even expect it, then such photography is secret photography, which is a special case of candid photography.
What not to expect: Stage/Posed – Reception pictures (unless specifically mentioned).
*Traditional Wedding Photographer :
Wedding photography is the photography of activities relating to weddings. It encompasses photographs of the couple before marriage (for announcements, portrait displays, or thank you cards) as well as coverage of the wedding and reception (sometimes referred to as the wedding breakfast in non-US countries). It is a major commercial endeavour that supports the bulk of the efforts for many photography studios or independent photographers.
With Digital Photography – the film/negatives was replaced with ‘RAW’ files. Some photographers choose to shoot in Camera RAW (Camera RAW is not Unedited Jpeg, .cr2, .nef etc are raw files) because it ensures the highest possible quality and size of the picture at the time of capture. What you finally get is a set of JPEG images which are edited and fine-tuned. This too can vary hugely. Check with the photographer what you want and what you are going to get.
Most photographers give you either of these:
1. A full set of Edited pictures in JPEG, OR
2. A full set of RAW/Unedited JPEG pictures and a select set of Edited pictures as per your preference, OR
3. A pre-selected set of Edited pictures and all RAW/Unedited JPEG pictures, OR
4. A pre-selected set of Edited pictures (JPEG) only.
I personally would be okay with options 1, 2 & 3 – based on the style of the wedding photographer. You can decide how much control of the images you require. But remember, at the end of the day, the quantity of the pictures is not going to matter so much as the whole experience. Approx 3000 average unfinished pictures vs. 200 fabulous pictures is a choice that only you can make. The number and the type of images is never something that should be compared while deciding a Wedding Photographer. Focus on the image quality. Always.
Don’t expect a photographer to hold your dates, just because you sent them an email or spoke to them on phone. Chances are – a few others did the same too. A Wedding photographer will ask you for a booking fee (generally 50% of the entire photography fee) and reserve your date based on that. Most photographers would also take the entire fee amount (yes, 100%) before they have taken even a single picture. (Yes, I am talking about photographers, not studios). I’ve been through such an evolution since starting my business. When I started, I booked sessions in good faith and about 90% of those people never even showed up to their appointment. And this was back in the days when I was setting the entire studio in a rented space for each and every session. Naturally, I began requesting deposits but this did two things:
a. massively lowered the number of bookings I got because time wasters didn’t even bother and b. created an administrative headache
– Don’t treat your wedding photographer like a hired cameraman. (If you are looking for those, Studios are your best bet.) But if you are expecting compelling images – Treat a photographer like an artist.
– If you have vendor policies for food/water – inform the photographer beforehand so that they can plan their breaks accordingly.
– If you are hopping venues – keep a separate dedicated Cab/Taxi arranged for your photographer (unless the photographer is taking care of it on her/his own). You don’t want your photographer to be stranded at the venue – just because the shared cab/taxi moved away.
– Educate your family about the expectations & the photographer’s working style. Wedding photojournalists appreciate that the family doesn’t direct them to do/capture things the way they want it.
Every photographer has their own timeline. Those who are going to give you edited pictures – will typically take 3-6 weeks to do so. Understand the timelines beforehand and don’t put the photographer under pressure to deliver early. It can only push your edit quality down. Hope you all can understand the photographer situation.
Congratulations. You have successfully made it through the Photography aspect of your wedding/Reception. And if you sent an email saying ‘We loved the pictures. Thank you’ to the photographer, you just made someone really happy. The photographer retains the copyright to all your images at all times. Most photographers will give you personal use rights to your images – which mean: you can print, re-print, make albums, books, and share on face book (credits are appreciated) email etc. But you cannot SELL or TRANSFER these images for any commercial or promotional usage by yourself or anyone else. If you are going to have such a requirement – speak to the photographer and discuss the usage.
You need to understand that the strength of a good Photographer is her/his pictures. But if albums or coffee table books are high in your priority, do have a look at a sample before you book a photographer.
Some photographers make light-weight coffee table books from awesome book makers like Canvera, Smart, etc. while others choose to create Fabulous Leather or Canvas bound albums from book makers like Own-Creation and Canvera, etc. Coffee table books are Hard-back, light, and have thicker-than-magazine style pages. Whatever your taste or liking might be – see some pictures & understand the product before you go ahead and order that through your photographer. Remember – your pictures will make or break an album. Without beautiful pictures, the most high-quality & expensive albums will look cheap.
Finding the right photographer for your wedding should take some time & effort. And why not! It’s your big day!! Your wedding photographer is one of those few people that will help preserve the memories of your big day. And after all, the one you chose shall always be the Best photographer for your wedding.
What I have expressed here is entirely my personal opinion about and understanding of Wedding Photography & experiences to create this post.