Choosing your wedding photographer
Experience is the key when it comes to choosing your wedding photographer says Belle Momenti Photography
Most people will immediately think of the phrase ‘Location, location, location’ when buying a new property but it may surprise you to know that there is a similar mantra for choosing who will photograph your wedding day (perhaps the most important day of your life) – ‘Experience, experience, experience!’
Obviously, it goes without saying that you should love the style and creativity of the photographer’s work before you go any further. With this in mind, always ask to see images from a whole wedding, not just a glossy-looking, eye-catching collection of a photographer’s ‘best’ or ‘showcase images’ displayed at a Wedding Fair. It’s relatively easy to get one ‘wow’ shot at each wedding, thereby making an impressive collection, but ask yourself, is each shot of decent quality (as far as lighting and composition are concerned) in it’s own right? There are a number of other elements, aside from good photography, that makes hiring a professional wedding photographer one of the best decisions you will ever make when planning your special day.
Experience is absolutely fundamental to great wedding photography. In this digital age, where we have easy access to Smart phones, tablets and other gadgetry, you probably have at least one lovely friend with an expensive-looking camera who has offered to photograph your wedding for you, to save you money.
You may, however, want to consider the following before you go down this route:
• A wedding is usually a large, expensive one-off event – you (generally) only have one opportunity to capture the details of everything you’ve worked so hard on as well as the special moments of the day, so it’s important this is captured perfectly!
• After the wedding, when the champagne has been sipped, the wedding cake has been eaten and the flowers are no longer in bloom, aside from the wedding clothing itself, your wedding photographs (and video) are the only physical record of your big day.
• We regard your wedding photographs as being the first visual record of your unique bond, and your first heirloom – to be lovingly passed on to future generations.
• Questions to ask yourself include does your friend have experience of capturing shots in low-light situations such as in a church or an oak-paneled room, where no flash is permitted? Do they know where to stand and how often to photograph during the ceremony to remain unobtrusive? Are they cognisant of all of the key shots to take or will they be working from an exhaustive list on the day (which will only make them flustered)? Are they aware of wedding etiquette and the main ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ so as not to offend or upset you or any of your wedding guests? Do they know how to coordinate the group shots so that everything runs seamlessly, without guests becoming bored, and perhaps more importantly, so that everything runs to time (tip - chefs do not appreciate being kept waiting!) Do they have in-built anticipation and intuition, enabling them to be in the right place at the right time (and angle) to capture special, funny and the more intimate moments that no one else has seen? Are they able to portray an air of calm, when things are perhaps not going as planned (for example, you’re still waiting for Uncle Ted to come back from the bar for the last big group photo, the light is starting to fade, and you still need to have some stylised shots taken of yourselves before the wedding breakfast, all the time, keeping you happy and relaxed without putting you in any awkward poses)? Do they have full back-up equipment in case things go wrong (things can and do go wrong and equipment does fail)? Finally – and this is important – do they know how to edit the images afterwards, to show each and every one off to their very best, and are they able to access professional albums and high-quality products?
If you are unsure about any of points above, then you should really consider speaking with a professional photographer. Sadly, we are approached by a number of couples every year, asking if we can ‘do something’ with the images taken by the friend who took their wedding photos. In some cases, they are no longer speaking as the couple feels that the terrible images have ruined their wedding.
Good photographers will be aware and have experience of all of the elements listed above, to the point that it really is second nature, allowing you and your guests and importantly your friend with a camera (who can still take photos but without the pressure of having to record the whole wedding), to relax and enjoy the day. After all, this is the reason your family and friends have come to see you!
There is another key element, which we both believe is important when photographing all of our couples – rapport. Most good professional photographers are personable, polite and courteous to you and your guests and able to remain calm in virtually all situations, as invariably they have encountered these before, but also know how to make you feel relaxed and happy on your big day, even if other things are going on in the background. By building good rapport from the outset, our couples get to know and trust how we work before the day, without having to worry about which shots we’re taking and why. In fact, we pride ourselves in being unobtrusive for a large part of the day so that our couples can relax completely, which of course is generally when we can capture the best shots!
We love what we do and for us, photography is a passion, not just a job, which we believe comes through when you look at our images.
If photography is important to you, and you’d really like to have a beautiful pictorial record of your special day to cherish for the rest of your lives, speak to a couple of professional photographers. This way you can get a better feel for their work, pricing and packages, and to establish whether you and your family would feel happy in their company, knowing that they will be photographing throughout most of the wedding day.
Andre & Suzanne, Belle Momenti Photography, 9 Churchyard, Hitchin, Hertfordshire, SG5 1HR, 01462 416369, www.bellemomenti.com