We, being photographers by ourselves, are very much aware of the competition in our market and how difficult it can be to find the right photographer. With this blog we would like to help couples – making them aware of why they should go with a professional photographer and how to find the right one. This doesn’t have to be us, as everyone likes a different style, but obviously we would be happy if you visit us for a consultation to get to know us. With another blog, we would like to give awareness of pricing structures, when you check your photographer of choice, as pricing can be shown as very tricky and could get you into a price spiral that you can’t exit anymore, if you are not aware of what to look for.
Why chose a professional photographer
Having thousands of photographers out there, it’s for sure difficult to understand where to start with, once your fiancé proposed to you and you are all excited with the planning of your perfect wedding day. I totally agree with this. I wouldn’t know what to look for and where to start with, if I wouldn’t have the knowledge due to working in this industry. Once your date is set, you should start planning, but obviously, you need to understand first, what type of wedding you are going to have. Is it all classic, chic and elegant with a high-end city location or do you like it more relaxed in the countryside on a vineyard or farm? The options are endless, it really depends on who you are, what you love and always consider as well how many people you are going to invite. Once you have your location and venue (many of them are booked out more than 12 months in advanced), you should consider starting to search for a photographer. You might have heard it already, but it’s so true: after you enjoyed your beautiful limousine or car, have eaten the amazing food during your reception and danced through the night with the music of a great band or DJ – all, what remains from the next morning onwards, are your memories and your photos. These photos will be always there for you, to remember all the little and big moments of your day, the emotions you went through and who was there with you. Don’t you think those memories should be captured well to cherish for a lifetime? We think yes and that’s why we put all of our heart and soul in each of our photos to provide our couples with such great remembrance. And good photographers are often booked for a year or even more in advanced. So don’t keep the search for last minute; you can be lucky, but often days like Saturdays get booked first. But don’t rush in the same time, as you should have a good look at different options.
Maybe you think as well, that you have a family member or a very good friend who likes to take photos and you could save some money, asking them to do this. Even if they shoot great landscape or street photography or portraits, never forget that a wedding is not the same. A wedding has so many variables, from capturing the right emotions, being able to handle any possible light situation (from full sunlight during your garden ceremony to a pitch black reception venue during your first dance) and combining many photography styles (documentary, commercial, portrait, reportage, etc) in one day, which rushes from one moment to the other without giving you much time to rest. Do they have the diversity of lenses to use for different moments to archive certain effects (like Macro lens for close ups of rings, wide angle lens or others which all have their distinctive quality)? Maybe your friend or uncle was able to capture good photos, but what happens if they don’t back them up and loose them? Or if they don’t give them to you because they are too busy to worry about? Just think about what would happen to your relationship with them when something goes wrong (e.g. you don’t like their photos, they have lost them or they missed important moments during your day). Do you really want to risk this just to save some money?
Tips how to choose your photographer
First up, recommendations of friends or family are great to start with. They have experienced first hand the service of their photographer and give you great tips. If you don’t have someone who can recommend a good photographer or this recommendation is not your style, then there are many other search options. The internet provides plenty of websites for wedding suppliers, but it can be very overwhelming. Too many suppliers at once and everyone presents there best shots. But it’s not about the best shot only, it’s about how a photographer can capture the entire wedding day. One lucky shot out of 2000-3000 photos can be done, but to tell a story throughout the happenings of the day, with the same quality, that’s harder to archive. So it can get pretty exhausting and in the end you still don’t know what you want, looking through all the offered vendors. Another option is, going to a Wedding Expo. There are throughout the year many different events all around Melbourne and the surroundings with different layouts. Some are very high end and charge quite a bit for your entrance, others you can go for just a few dollars or even for free. We try to exhibit at a few Expos each year, which is for us one of the best ways to get in contact with new couples. We like the personal contact, the chance to talk to our visitors and to explain shortly who we are and what we do. We believe, great photos is one side of the business, but the actual service and commitment takes a big percentage in adding up to the experience of each of our newlyweds. You should feel comfortable with your photographer, since he/she will be with you in general the entire wedding day, a day which you share with your beloved once, not with strangers. So talking to the actual photographer will give you a good understanding, if you like the person in front of you. For sure, an Expo does not give you a chance to go into depth, but you get a feeling for what you like and what not. In addition to these options you still have the traditional Wedding Magazines, where you can go through as well.
So once you have picked your hot favourites, inquire about their availability and setup a consultation. Before you go, think what will be important for you. Put together some questions you might come up with. When you actually meet with him/her, try to get to know the person. Often, if you go with a bigger Studio, they employ many photographers/videographers and you might not know who you will get until the actual wedding day. These Studios have lots of great photos on their websites, but you never know who actually captured them. So it can be a lucky shot or coming with some disappointment. So definitely ask during the consultation who would be your photographer and if you could meet the person. If you don’t feel right for whatever reason it might be, don’t go ahead, regardless of big studio or small business. You need to consider you will spend most of your wedding day with this person.
Many times I can see online in forums that couples should ask for what type of equipment the photographer is going to use. Do you really have any knowledge about so much technical stuff? I think, if you have personal interest in photography and know the differences between Nikon, Canon, Sony and Co., go ahead, but otherwise it shouldn’t bother you. It doesn’t really matter which brand the photographer is using, as long as it’s High-Quality professional Equipment, which would enable you to get great images which you can enlarge. You can shoot with entry-level or medium-level cameras great photos, but you still will see the differences, especially if you want to print big. We, from our side, always check to have the newest versions of cameras and lenses to ensure our couples, that we are able to shoot in any condition during their day, even with strong direct sunlight or with a dark dance floor. But be careful, not everybody would do the same. In the end you get what you pay for. If someone charges only 500$ per wedding, how could he/she effort a camera or lens worth thousands of dollars? (Professional equipment comes with a bigger price tag – if you want a safe and quality car with the newest technology, you don’t buy an old car for 1000$, you would rather invest in a new model, which will cost more and get you further.)
During your consultation you should ask for some printed work to view, like sample albums of the photographer. They will show you in detail how the photographer works throughout the day and puts together the photos for an album, even though you might not want an album. If possible, view a few different albums. Check if the photographer is able to photograph with any weather condition, in Melbourne you never know what you will get.
There are so many things you could ask and do, but after all it’s the whole package which should be right for you: you should feel comfortable with the person who will photograph your wedding day, the style of him/her should be what you like (don’t ask a photographer if he/she could produce photos like another photographer, everyone has his/her own style) and of sure the offered package should include what you are after with the right price. Important is as well, that you do the decision as couple together. And take your time. Don’t rush into a decision if you have more than one favourite. Consult with each of them and at the end you can decide. Ask, if the photographer could reserve your date until your decision is made, at least until he/she would get another request for the same date.
Before you do the final decision, always check if the business is legitimate (check ABN) and if he/she/they have any accreditation (e.g. AIPP or other internationals) and ask if you would get a written contract, which should be provided by any professional, offering a paid service to give you piece of mind. Please do your homework before you commit to any vendor and pay your deposit, unfortunately many people in the wedding photography industry think, just having a good DSLR is all it takes to be a good photographer, but it doesn’t. Nothing is worse then seeing couples which got either ripped off or don’t receive their photos or even worse, the photographer doesn’t turn up on the wedding day.
Tips and tricks on how to understand the fine print of pricing will be an own blog entry. So if you are interested to read more from us, stay tuned and come back time by time to check our blog. We hope that helped you a little on your way to your perfect wedding! Otherwise, if you do have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, regardless what your question might be.
Marco & Kate