john reyment, reyment photographics, brisbane wedding photographer

You have a few days off work this Easter and you have both agreed this weekend you must look at who you want as our wedding photographer.  Choosing your photographer for your wedding is so important, you have to make the right decision as you only get one chance.  So how do you avoid making a huge mistake?  Listed below are 12 mistakes to avoid.

1.  Believing all photographers are equal

Everyone and everything is different, be it builders, chefs, cars, dresses, shoes.  No one is the same as anyone else. This is especially true when it comes to photographers. To understand this point, think of your favorite sport; now think of the top two players in a team.  Notice how these players are both great, but each has their own individual style.

2.  Choosing a photographer based on price

In life you typically get what you pay for.  A business offering “it all for next to nothing” may not be in business when your wedding comes around!  A cheap entry price may not always work out the best value overall, the most expensive price may not always represent the best quality available.  Look for overall value, quality and realistic advice.

3.  Thinking that “You Have a Nice Big Camera” will produce great results

Carrying around the biggest and the best camera does not mean that the photographer you choose is an expert using it.  These expensive cameras come with a lot of great features, but unless your photographer is skilled on the equipment, these features mean nothing.

4.  Letting friends or relatives take the pictures for you and expecting professional results

It is always nice to have your friends and family take pictures at your wedding, but remember that taking professional pictures needs experience and skill.  Even if your favorite uncle does have the best camera in your family, if he is not experienced in camera craft, seeing light and composing images and managing people, these pictures will not be professional.

5.  Cutting your photographers time on your wedding day

These days, we want it all instantly.  However, quality photography takes time.  Your professional photographer will be able to recommend how much time is needed and work with this to take the images you want yet still allow you time with your guests.  A rush job will give bad results.   Other wedding day suppliers can assist as well.  Sometimes, hair and makeup can run late leaving your photographer just a few minutes to create beautiful images of you.  More time enables more creativity.  Please plan to be on time to the ceremony as your wedding venue may have another wedding following, you will miss out on time at your wedding venue.  No matter what happens, your photographer should get you to your reception on time.  Chef is working to a time for meals, there is nothing worse than having to hold the meals and the food not being as good as you expected.

6.  You shortlist too many photographers to see

Though price shopping with a large number of different service providers is often a good idea, with photography this is not necessarily so.

Seeing too many photographers over many weeks is just confusing, you soon forget who was who and who offers what.

Make a shortlist of those photographers you plan to see based on whose work you like, their reputation, professionalism and finally price.  Phone them to chat about your plans.  You can get a feeling for their personality on the phone and this is a great start.  If you are unsure what quality level you are after, when meeting photographers perhaps visit a cheapie, then an expensive one, then someone in between.  Assess the quality of service and imagery offered at each level and chat about what suits you most.  Ideally, make appointments with the photographers on your shortlist in the same week or so; it will be harder for you to remember who is who over a longer time.

While it may be important to get a good price and to stay within budget for photography services, it is even more important to have a wonderful photography experience on your wedding day and receive a high quality product.

7.  You do not meet the photographer you are considering for your wedding

Not meeting with the photographer who will spend more time with you on your wedding day than any other service provider before you book is taking a chance.  Will you click with them, do you feel comfortable?

Ask to meet the person who will be photographing your wedding.  Sometimes large studios don’t actually know who will be allocated to your wedding at your time of booking; it all depends on who on their books is available for you.  Conversely, meeting your photographer before booking them allows your relationship to form with them; by the time your wedding day comes along, you will have a great understanding of each other.

At your first meeting, allow about an hour and a half for the appointment, this gives time to get to know each other and discuss your ideas and services available to you.

8. You sign the paperwork without looking it over first

It is not only one of the biggest mistakes but also one of the most commonly occurring – many couples don’t read the paperwork provided by their photographers.  If you are seriously considering a particular photographer, ask for time at your appointment to peruse the booking paperwork.  Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have about the content of the paperwork.  Discuss any issues you have to point of resolution.  When you are happy to proceed, complete the paperwork.

9.  You do not trust your own instincts

A couple may get the feeling that an offer from a photographer is simply too good to be true then will ignore that feeling in order to get a good deal.  It is more important to trust those instincts; if something seems fishy, it probably is.

10.  Ignoring a lack of professionalism

When planning your wedding, you have a long list of items to attend to, so it can be easy to ignore small things that contribute to a photographer’s professionalism.  Meeting in a coffee shop instead of a gallery/studio, shabby dressing, untidy premises, unprofessional behavior are all warning signs that should not be ignored.  Social networking sites are littered with photos of people behaving badly… would you choose a photographer who behaves like that?  These points may seem unimportant at the time of procuring their services, but if you attempt to picture this photographer in the midst of a wedding ceremony and formal reception, you will understand why professionalism is vital.

11.  The display album you are shown is not representative of the work you can expect

Amateur photographers may piece together a sample album of hero shots from multiple weddings.  A professional photographer will show an album of images obtained at the same wedding; this display album will showcase the possibilities for you and show you the quality of work you could expect for your own wedding.

Make sure you see the work of the person who will photograph your wedding.

12.  You choose a photographer who is not a member of the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP)

Camera stores sales of entry level digital SLR cameras have risen sharply in recent years.  A rep form a leading retailer advised recently that lots of his customers are buying these cameras because they have been asked to photograph a friend’s wedding in a few weeks time.  Just as owning a carpenter’s tool box does not make one a builder, owning a camera does not make one a professional photographer.  Having a friend with a new camera photograph your once in a lifetime wedding is a recipe for disaster.

Engaging a professional photographer who is a member of the AIPP offers you piece of mind as to their level of professionalism, their quality standards and business ethics.