Being in the Industry for 3 yrs. I have come across several queries where the Bride and Groom sounds unable to decide on the factors for Choosing the Best Wedding Photographer for their big day. Here are few starting points you need to decide which can help you choose the person who will capture those moments which you are going to cherish for life.
[spoiler title=”What are you looking for in a Photographer?” open=”0″ style=”2″]
The decision maker, be it the bride / groom / parents must have an idea of what they are looking for in a Photographer. Few times I got asked a question “I liked your work, want to hire you, but I like *blah*’s work also, can you do photography like him? I love his work”
The thing is that no matter how hard any photographer tries he/she can never copy someone’s work / idea / point of view. Each Photographer is different, be it in working mannerism, approach towards photography, their viewpoint via the Viewfinder. They are unique in their own way, everyone has his/her signature style or impression which makes their images unique from others. Leave even two photographers in the same situation and each will come with their own interpretation of the moment. So basically don’t hire Photographer B and expect him to work like Photographer A , Specially for Candid Photography it is better not to guide the Photographers by teaching them what to take or what to shoot and when to shoot , just have faith in them and you will see the event unfold in their own way.
Moral of the Story: Hire the Photographer whose work and approach you like, have faith in their creativity, just go with it and enjoy your day 🙂
[spoiler title=”What equipment’s will they be using? How much does it matter?” open=”0″ style=”2″]
The friend / profession circle I have proven the point wrong that “Equipment matter the most”.
Yes they do matter , but believe me when I say this that the most important part of photography is the Person behind the Camera , I have friends who shoot amazing moments using amateur camera and I know people with big pockets who will go on buying a Professional Camera and using it for Selfies .
Leave the decision of what equipment they will be using for the event on the photographers, trust with their judgment and they will do their best to achieve the best for your big day , nobody will hold back to a higher level pro equipment if they possess it.
If you still want to know then make sure that the Candid Photographers are using EOS 6D , EOS 5D Mark 2 / 3 , 1DX at max and minimum requirement should be EOS 7D or 60D for Canon Lovers (Basically the xD Series like 1D , 5D , 7D , 6D are Considered Profession and Semi-Professional Camera , go with those , anything in the xxD Series is to be taken with Caution like 100D/350D/450D/500D/550D/600D/650D/700D and xxxD are Big No-No for such type of Photography like 1000D/1100D.
For Nikon, Professional Camera are D4 / D3 / D3s / D3X, Semi Professional are D800E/D800 / D600 / D700, the lowest you can go is D7000 / D5100 / D5200 that is. Anything except these are strict No-No.
These Cameras work very well in low light situations, which avoid the use of “Flash” which makes the moments “True Candid” so the Subject is even not aware that he/she got clicked.
For Group/Stage shots any camera will do, as controlled lighting is used as well as Flash is also used for those situations.
[spoiler title=”Will they do Video Also?” open=”0″ style=”2″]Gone are those days when you used to get a Packaged Deal where a Photographer and Videographer will cover the event and give you Album. Studio guys will still provide it but normally you won’t encounter these with most Candid Photographers these days. The things have changed, and it’s for the better, you can ask the Photographer for suggestion of Videographer but don’t expect the same Package Deal from everyone, when you are searching so hard for everything, you should hire the Videographer whose work you like, rather than opting for Package.[/spoiler]
[spoiler title=” What are“Candid” “Photojournalism” “Contemporary” “Documentary” ?” open=”0″ style=”2″]
- Wedding Photojournalist: Basically they will have a Candid and Documentary approach towards the event, they won’t shoot Group Pics, Stage Photos, Posed Pictures. They also don’t shoot Party Photos.
- Candid Photographer: They are most flexible in terms of Budget, Working Style and Hours. Won’t charge you extra for extra hours or prolong events, you can select the photos to be edited but don’t expect Stage/Posed/Group Shots.
- Fine Art, Contemporary Photographer – They are the one who think out of the box, will go beyond the limit to create an artistic image , they have it all , Artistic Approach , Candid Nature as well as Documentary , they will tell the story in their own way. They are very particular about their work hours if you are expecting delays then discuss it prior to event. Again no Stage/Posed Photos.
- Studio: The Most Hated as well as Necessary! You want a mixed bag of everything? You want all pictures of everyone doing almost anything? These guys will capture you laugh, cry, sneeze, burp, walk, sit and all! They will just capture anything and everything, don’t worry about working hours, no extra charges. But be careful, if you hire a Studio Photographer then you are hiring a Team, more than one guy/girl at least and they may bug you, your guest or even other photographer, they will fight, push, lean, force do anything to get the picture, they won’t care if they mahurat is running out they will ask the Groom to hold the Sindur to Bride’s forehead for N-minutes until they get their Clichéd Picture taken.
Basically they all are “Wedding Photographer” what matter is what style you are looking for J
[spoiler title=”What they will deliver? What are RAW?” open=”0″ style=”2″]RAWs are file format of highest quality and preserve much details of a Photograph , Professional Photographers will work in RAW only , Standard RAW file can have a size of 16MB to 75MB for a Single Photo , depending on the Megapixel Count and Color Data in the image. But how does it matter to you? Most photographer will provide you the finished photos only, few of them will let you choose what goes into editing, so basically the outputs are processed photos, but for archival purpose you can ask the photographer for the RAW files, you can process these or get them processed later also. But important thing is to have 200 well processed photos rather than 3000 grainy and dark unedited images. So it’s up to you what you want to have.[/spoiler]
[spoiler title=”Budget! Budget! Budget!” open=”0″ style=”2″]
You cannot set prices for your creativity nor can force someone to do the same. Photography is an Art and you shouldn’t do bargain and look for cheap and expect something fabulous by doing the same, But Budget is an important concern , I have seen confused bride / groom and parents dealing with this , on one hand they have a Budget but on the other hand their favorite photographer is exceeding their budget , but they cannot risk going in for cheap , if you are spending so much on food / decoration which will last only a day why risk on investing less on such beautiful memories ? Pandels and Decorations will be torn apart after few days, people will forget what they had for snacks at your wedding, but something that last for long and goes from generation to generation are memories, not trying to scare you but this is a fact, all that lives on are the Photos and Videos from the Day. Don’t risk it for saving few bucks, also many photographers have No Bargain policy, if you try to negotiate much even if they don’t agree then get ready to hear a “Sorry” from them as soon as possible. Don’t treat these guys as normal halwaies / Phool waala who worked on the day , treat them well , make them feel home and you will get the same positive vibe from their photos J
Good Candid Photographer will charge anywhere between 25-60k per day (Depending on Location and Photographer). A Studio will come cheap but you cannot expect the awesome quality and professionalism from them like you do from other photographers.
The Best value is to hire a Photographer of your own choice (be it Candid / Contemporary / Fine Art ) and Hire a Studio guy , of course let the Studio guy know that Priority is to be given to the Primary Photographer and he is there to cover the rest without interrupting him. You get the best value out of it, you get the awesome moments + everyone gets into the frame.
[spoiler title=”How much earlier should I book the Photographer?” open=”0″ style=”2″]As early as possible , there are at least 10-15 date ranges in a year which are hell popular dates , normally people book as early as they finalize the things , I have seen people booking the photographer as soon as the guy proposed the girl. The earliest booking I got was about 1Yr and 3Months early. I have seen people disappointed when they see the photographer they loved got hired before they could approach him/her. And ended up hiring someone in desperation leading to lower standards of work. Avoid this and book your photographer as early as possible. Early booking will also benefit you in the sense that you get that fixed rate even if their prices go high beyond 4-5 revisions. And please don’t reply on a Telephonic conversation, you may think that you can ask someone to hold the dates because you have had a talk with them , don’t reply on this , Book them as early as possible by providing them discounts , remember you may not be the only one to ask him/her to hold the dates.[/spoiler]
[spoiler title=”I love your work, Can I get some Discount?” open=”0″ style=”2″]Most photographers will be pleased if you don’t say the “D” word while discussion , If you like someone’s work then appreciate the charges as well , they invest heavily in equipment and learning and constant upgrading so they can present your big day in the best way possible. Simply opt out if the photographer doesn’t fit your budget.[/spoiler]
[spoiler title=”Do we need to follow any guidelines?” open=”0″ style=”2″]
Yes, to get the best out of your Photographer follow these:
- Treat them well, not like a Hired Studio guy, to get the most out of the Photos treat and respect them like an artist.
- If you Vendor Policy for Food / Water (Like Vendors working on your wedding, won’t be provided food or offered water) then do let the photographer know so they can Plan their Breaks accordingly.
- Arrange a Transport if you plan to go from venue to venue, don’t leave the photographer alone because the car you arranged for left the venue. If you don’t arrange a dedicated car / transport for them then ask them to arrange that and pay the extra charges accordingly.
- Educate your family regarding the working style of the Photographer, Photographers work well without guidance regarding what to capture and what not to.
[spoiler title=”Its has been Days since the event, what can you expect the pictures?” open=”0″ style=”2″]If it’s of utmost urgency then ask them to provide Unedited JPGs, if you want for them to finish editing then wait and have patience, each photographer have their own timeline for editing, it can typically take 6-8weeks to deliver a work, depending on photographer’s schedule, forcing someone to deliver it in less time can lead to quality of edit to degrade. Be ready for that.[/spoiler]
So many things to do now!
Yes, finding the right photographer can take time and effort and you should put in your best effort to find the best and it’s all about your big day, the photographer’s work will leave an impression on you for long J