Many of you will have read, or seen on TV, the news of the bride who sued her wedding photographer, due to his incompetence. (Click here if you’ve not seen it) He cut people’s heads off photos, under exposed, over exposed, took photos of irrelevant details and even mis-spelled the couples names!
So how do you avoid that experience, and find a wedding photographer who will deliver the results you expect?
Firstly, remember that wedding photography is about much more than just taking photographs. Your photographer should be someone you like and get on with. Make sure he is not going to dominate proceedings, or take you away from your guests for long periods of time. And of course – your guests should like him too!
Secondly, ask to see some completed weddings. More than one if possible, and make sure they’re recent! Remember, the weddings you see on a photographers ‘web gallery’ are probably the best of many weddings taken over the years, in the same way as any album you’re shown will probably be the ‘best of’ any individual wedding.(continued below)
Thirdly, ask if they can provide references and testimonials. If there aren’t any testimonials on his web site – then you should be worried! If there’s only one or two, with no details about who the couple are or when they got married – then you should be suspicious! What you need to know is how professional the wedding photographer was. It’s similar to leaving feedback on eBay. You want to know if they communicated (by telephone or email) promptly, if they behaved professionally on the day (towards the bridal party and all the other guests) and whether what the bride and groom received afterwards (the photos) met or exceeded their expectations.
Fourthly, ask about the technical side of things. Taking the photo is just the beginning! In this digital age, a real professional should be backing up (and more than once) the photographs from your big day. Ask about the editing, retouching and finishing – does he or she do it themselves, or do they get a third party to do it? Their reply will tell you how much they care about their work. For many photographers the taking is just the beginning of the artistic process. The photographs that come out of a camera can almost always be improved upon, and the photographer should be skilled in using the latest software to do this, and to achieving his artistic vision. Do not accept photographs that have been simply transferred from the camera storage card to a CD!
Lastly, ask if the photographer is insured. At the very minimum, he or she should have Public Liability insurance. This will provide compensation if you or your guests have some kind of accident due to the photographer – tripping over his camera bag for example. And if you really want to be sure that the photographer you’re hiring is a professional, then ask if they have Professional Indemnity insurance. This provides compensation in the event of equipment failure or acts of negligence. Finally, the third form of insurance is ‘backup equipment’. What happens if a lens or camera body is dropped, a flash stops working, or batteries run out too fast? Your wedding day is too special for the photographs to be ruined by chance like that, and all professional wedding photographers should have spares of everything!