Expect the Best From Your Photographs
by Anne Almasy
Barely two weeks ago, I was contacted by a bride (I'll call her Amy) who noticed me on an online forum. She lived in another state, and had hired a local photographer to photograph her recent wedding. "My pictures are horrible," she moaned. "He didn't get ANY of the images I requested, and the photos are ALL traditional, posed images, even though I asked for a photojournalistic style!"
I truly felt for her, and offered to take a look at her photographs. They were gorgeous! Quite classic and traditionally-composed, yes, but beautifully-exposed, well-posed, and nicely printed. It turned out that Amy's true frustration was with the style of the images. She had wanted a more "photojournalistic style" to her photographs. So how do you avoid opening your proofbook and discovering, like Amy, that your photographs AREN'T what you expected? It begins with your first meeting with the photographer, before booking.
1. View the photographer's work honestly. Is her style very controlled and classic? Does he shoot only casual, unposed images? A qualified professional photographer is an artist, and can no more change his/her style than Van Gogh could have painted the Sistine Chapel! Find a photographer who shoots in a style you want; don't find a photographer you want then ask him/her to shoot in a specific style.
2. Spend quality time with your photographer. Do your personalities "click"? Does she approach life in a manner similar to yours? Does he share similar views on the things that matter most to you? These details can determine whether a photographer will relate well to you during the pressures of your wedding day.
3. View a complete wedding! ANY photographer can provide a single beautiful image from a wedding. It takes a true professional to produce a beautiful body of work from beginning to end. Ask to view complete wedding albums and/or proofbooks. This will help you to anticipate the way your own images will look. It also helps to view weddings that were shot under similar conditions as your own wedding. Getting married outdoors? View an outdoor wedding. Getting married in a cathedral? View a formal church wedding.
4. Ask for referrals! Speaking with a past client will give you an idea of how a photographer works: is he punctual? Did she deliver what she promised? Was the quality of the album/prints/proofbook all that was expected? Remember: the photographs are one of the only things you will take with you from your wedding day! Choose a photographer whose style, personality, and products match your own unique preferences!