If this happens to be the first time you’ve clicked onto our blog, welcome, – you’re just in time! This is the first blog in a series that will help you know what to look for and what to ask when you are looking for a professional wedding photographer. There is a huge range of competency in wedding photography in Perth and the south west. We hope the information provided will help you find a quality wedding photographer for your wedding day.
Like many other professions, photographers tend to specialise in various areas, e.g. commercial photography, architecture, fashion, wedding/portrait. Like most specialists, photographers will gravitate towards what they are good at and where their interest lays. The equipment a photographer purchases will also vary depending on the area of photography in which they specialise. The type of lenses needed for architectural photography will be different to that required for wedding photography.
What should you expect when “checking out” a specialist wedding photographer
- You would expect to speak to the photographer who will be with you on the day and “shooting” your wedding. It is preferable to have two photographers on the day.
- That photographer will be able to show you an extensive range of weddings s/he has photographed.
- You will be able to view either completed client albums or a completed set of previews to indicate that the same quality and style is produced week in week out. It’s a lot easier to choose 20 good images taken over 20 weddings as opposed to 20 good images from the one wedding!
- The images you view should have good colour saturation, there should be detail in the blacks e.g. you should be able to see detail in the guy’s suits, not a “blob” of black, likewise the bride’s white dress should have good detail in the lace, folds, etc, not be a mass of white.
- Portraits of the bride and groom should show good use of light. Photography is all about light, how light is used will be the difference between a gorgeous, spectacular image and a very ho-hum image.
- The albums used to display the wedding photographs should be of high quality.
- The wedding photographer will care about and be interested in the timing and locations on the day. Timing and locations will have a big influence on the quality of images that the photographer can produce for you. So if the photographer sees an issue with either of these you would expect, as a professional, that s/he would inform you. Just as a professional builder would advise if the foundations of your house are not suitable to build another story on top.
- You should discuss with your photographer what plans would be in place if there are extremes of weather, extreme heat or rain and storms.
- A professional photographer will shoot raw files, not jpeg. The difference will be discussed in more detail in the coming weeks.
- Not all top end photographers will “print” their own images, I know of only a few. However all professional photographers will use a professional lab with calibrated printers to print their wedding photographs.
- You would expect a professional photographer to meet with you prior to the wedding day (perhaps including a photo shoot) to go over details of the day, discuss what’s important to you on the day and to prompt you to think of what you might like in the way of family photographs.
- Finally, but certainly not least, a wedding photographer needs excellent people skills. S/he will need to communicate sensitively and knowledgeably with the two of you, your family and guests as to what is required to get the best possible wedding photographs for you on your wedding day.
A professional wedding photographer will take pride in his/her work and the way your wedding photographs are treated and hence, will not want his/her good name ruined with poor quality reproductions of their images. To this end specialist wedding photographers will produce an album or at the very least High Resolution Images. By producing such a product the professional wedding photographer has control over the work that bares their name. This is important for those who take a pride in their work and who want to remain in business for the long term. Alternatively some photographers in this market will make available High Resolution Images for a cost after an album has been purchased. These can be used to print from, however it should be remembered the prints will only be as good as the equipment they are printed on. These images although high res, will not in all cases be printed to the same extent as those printed for an album.
It’s important to remember that there is no “governing body” with which professional photographers are required to be registered to be able to call themselves a “professional photographer”. The Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) is an industry body. A specialist wedding photographer should be registered as an “Accredited Member” of the AIPP.
Below I’ve included a few wedding photographs that illustrate the use of lighting.
The image below is taken in non ideal conditions, ie splotchy sunlight, where the bride is partly in sunlight and partly in shade. The result being shadows on her face and lack of detail in the dress. Of course there is not always a choice, but by having a professional photographer s/he will be able to balance this to a degree when taking the image and will be able to soften the harshness with photoshop skill.
In comparison the image below is taken in ideal lighting conditions. The lighting on the bride and groom’s bodies is even, soft and flattering. You will also notice that bride’s dress is shown to it’s fullest, the lace detail being obvious, not a “blob of white”. A specialist wedding photographer will know ideal locations to use and use lighting to the greatest benefit.
The two images below are also fine examples of lighting used well. Both wedding photographs have been taken in the open, close to sunset. The lighting is soft and pretty and shows the couples and their attire to the greatest potential. These area would look totally different a few hours prior, the lighting would be harsh, shadowy, unflattering and would not show the gowns to their full potential.