How to find wedding photographer

The shots. The story

Thu 13 Apr, 2023

what to look for in a wedding photographer

The first choice

Today I would like to talk about a topic that is particularly close to my heart: the choice of your wedding photographer.

Almost always, when someone is planning a wedding, the first thing you think of is the place where the ceremony will take place (religious or secular), immediately afterwards the location and the catering.
The wedding photographer (hence the memory) is not given the same attention, almost as if he were a secondary aspect of the celebration; his figure is thought of while looking for the dress, the music, or the bouquet, as if one were worth the other.
Often, when the quote turns out to be too high, the response we hear from colleagues is: the price was a bit high so we finally asked an uncle of ours' (for those in the industry, the internationally famous 'Uncle Bob').
The problem is that at the end of the day, when 10 years have passed, no one will remember whether the risotto was good or not, what song the bride and groom chose for their dance, or what make the vintage car chosen for the arrival at the venue was: the only tangible thing that will make the couple and their guests relive that day at a glance will be the photographs.
We will try to understand how to choose a wedding photographer, and what are the things to focus on to avoid bad surprises, because there are many ways to photograph a wedding, but only one is right for us.

Study, technique and experience

or why talent is not enough

When you start doing a job, especially if you approach it creatively, studying to acquire the technique is crucial. We all manage to take pictures with our smartphones, and take them without the slightest effort. So why ask a professional to do something we can all do easily? The reason is that the professional is able to repeat an action while maintaining a high level of achievement. Yes, here is the secret of professionalism, which doesn't lie in talent, but in repetition, in training, to push the brain to perform an action automatically so that it can focus on the creative side of the scene.
Talent, i.e. the innate ability to be able to do something, is a powerful starting point, but when you have clients who pay for a service, it is not always synonymous with great work.

Wedding photographer: my recipe

Studying the greats of photography, analysing the work of colleagues, knowing one's own photographic medium and developing software, all this together with experience, allows the wedding photographer not only to anticipate situations should the unexpected occur, but also to keep his creative output mobile, and active, in constant renewal. These are all ingredients of a mix that varies from person to person, there are a thousand styles as there are a thousand tastes, and it is important to first understand the style you want for your wedding photographs.

Then! How to find wedding photographer? It is essential to see a wedding photographer's portfolio before choosing them, to analyse the shots, and possibly ask to see a real wedding indoors, so as to test the readiness for our requests and to be clear about how the day will unfold. Getting to know better the production, the person and, above all, the style of the person who will follow you on one of the most beautiful days of your life is a great way to avoid unpleasant surprises and to realise only after the delivery that the photos we cared most about are missing.

And in order for your search to go as smoothly as possible, start early and take your time, because you may find your wedding photographer right away, but the spark may not strike at the first meeting, so my advice is to act well in advance.

The styles of wedding photography

It took me years to understand the deep meaning of this word, because this is the element that affects the viewer's memory the most. Style is the voice, unique and different from all others, that the photographer uses to express them thoughts through a certain form.

When photography was analogue, weddings could only be done using an extremely posed style, for a very simple reason: film and its development were very expensive items, and consequently couples could be offered very constraining proposals that hardly allowed them to experiment. With few images available, one could almost only work by taking group photos and couple portraits: these were the founding elements of wedding photography. Reportage was inevitably to be avoided because it was too expensive, besides the fact that the good photographers who did reportage applied it to their profession as journalists.

With the advent of digital photography, the whole world of photography is revolutionised: for the first time, you can shoot all the time, even in prohibitive light conditions, without fear of losing money; you can shoot everything and choose later, in the editing phase, what to print.
This is how the world of wedding photography is turned upside down: you can finally tell a day-long story. And the thing that often goes unnoticed about weddings is how much this event encompasses within it, every existing photographic style. Of course, despite the advancement of photographic media, there are those who still prefer a classic style, based purely on posed photos. But the vast majority of wedding photographers have integrated their style with influences from other backgrounds.


My wedding photography style

I try to use wedding reportage while the action is taking place, but I turn into a portrait photographer whenever I want to depict a face, or into a landscape photographer when I want to shoot location totals. Even poses have not been completely abandoned, because certain results can only be achieved by directing the subject. Not to mention what can be done in the editing phase: there are those who only use black and white, those who turn it into sepia, those who prefer their images to have the taste of old Polaroids, and those who want them airy and clear, with pastel tones. Our possibilities for experimentation are endless. We just need to find the wedding photographer who speaks with our voice.

In short, when it comes to choosing your wedding photographer, it is important to take your personal style into account. As I said, every photographer has a unique voice that's different from all the others, and choosing a style that fits your preferences is essential for getting the images you want and creating a lasting wedding memory. For this reason, it is important to take the time to search for the right wedding photographer and ask specific questions about his photographic style and the services he offers.

The world before: a short story

I would like to close by telling something about myself and perhaps also about why I do this job. My parents have about twenty photos of their wedding day, this is because they wanted to depart from tradition and did not hire a professional but asked Uncle Gino (every family has its Uncle Bob) the best in the family with a camera, who with pride and devotion, accepted the proposal all excited at the idea of photographing his niece's wedding. But that day, due to his excitement, he forgot to put the film in the camera... and realised it too late.

Fortunately, there was also another photographer there that day, a friend of my father's, who took a few pictures of his friend at the altar (a more unique than rare moment as my father was a fervent anticlerical). And it is thanks to that friend that I can now see at least a few memories of my parents' wedding, photos that are absolutely unprofessional, but absolutely priceless to us, especially for me, who at the time was not even an idea in my parents' heads. So don't just think about who will physically be with you on the day you get married.

When you choose your wedding photographer, choose them thinking also and above all of those who will not be with you that day, but will be with you in the future and who will need that world first to understand where they are coming from and where they want to go.

COPYRIGHT IN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHS | Laura Stramacchia | Wedding Photography

Copyright laws on images


RAIN AT A WEDDING: A GUIDE FOR  | Laura Stramacchia | Wedding Photography



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