How to select my ‘wedding photographer’ is probably one of the most common questions in the minds of prospective brides and grooms. We have already finalised the venue, I have identified my bridal make-up artist, the decorator is also shortlisted, but how should I go about selecting my photographer, to ensure that all of this is captured in the most beautiful way. Are you faced with the same quandary, then read on.
Its interesting, and probably true, that other than choosing your spouse, the choice of your wedding photographer is the second most important decision on your wedding day.
I understand it is not easy to choose a good wedding photographer. But here are some criteria you should keep in mind to ensure that you get an output that is in line with your expectations:
1. Type of coverage: What is the type of coverage you are looking for? Nowadays, the choice is primarily between Traditional and Candid shoots. Traditional images tend to get boring over a period of time, and most of them look similar too. They document a wedding rather than tell a story. It usually has everyone looking into the camera in awkward poses, artificially doing a tilak on the bride or uncomfortably holding onto the garland around the groom while the photo is being clicked. What most people want is an album that is extremely engaging and interesting, no matter how many times you look at it. This is where Candid wedding photography comes in. Candid wedding coverage is all about capturing stories and emotions, its about showing the guests in their natural moments, albeit making them look good in the process. Its also about posing the couple for the camera, but in a stylish natural manner, not with a dead wooden look.
To understand Candid wedding photography, read my post here.
2. Style of the Photographer: Good photographers are like artists, they see common things in a new way. And different photographers may also see the same thing in their own unique way. Each photographer has his/her strengths, some are good at close-ups, some are good at group shots etc. However, what you want is an all-rounder, someone who can capture a variety of images under different and difficult situations. Hence its important that you ask the photographer to show you all types of images from various wedding he/she has covered.
3. Quality & Quantity of output: It’s usually not enough to just look at a photographer’s website and take a quick decision. A website usually has only the ‘best of the best’ images, what you want to know is how good the photographer is in capturing all your events throughout the day, for multiple days. Again, this becomes obvious only after looking at a large number of images from multiple weddings he/she has covered. Where most photographers fail is that they end up with just a handful of good images from each wedding. However, as a bride (or groom), you want all of your images to be great, isn’t that why you are paying a premium for it?
4. Photographer’s personality: The photographer is probably going to spend only 2-3 days with you, but during this time, he is going to be covering the most important days of your life. So it’s extremely important that there be a good fit between your personality and his (or hers). If you are easy going, and he/she is aggressive, it might upset you if he (she) keeps pushing you for poses that you are uncomfortable with. Ask yourself, “Is this someone I will want to be around when I am stressed, exhausted, dehydrated, overheated, and ready to faint in my 10 kg lehengha?” Hence its important to have a face-to-face meeting with your photographer. Like other interactions in life, you will immediately come to know whether your personalities ‘click’ or not.
5. The complete package: Most Indian weddings are incomplete without the omnipresent videographer and his lightman intruding in your face as you take a mouthful of your favourite dish. Most brides and grooms want videography coverage of their events along with photography. The question is: Do you want to go to two different service providers, one for photography and another for videography? This may increase your coordination effort and a bit of chaos during the wedding when both of them fight for elbow space to click you. Ask your photographer if he (or she) provides videography services too. This will make life easy for you and also put accountability on one person.
While these are the big five items, you may also want to inquire about the photographer’s equipment, is he full time or part-time into this job, what is his/her experience level, how many weddings has he covered, what is the final deliverable going to look like etc.
If you have any queries, feel free to post questions here or write to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org