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Choosing a photographer

IN the past it was quite simple to make a decision on which photographer to use to capture those special memories on your wedding day. But, thanks mainly to the world of digital photography; this decision has become a nightmare for most couples.  Having a digital camera, including a cell phone, does not make somebody a “Professional Wedding Photographer”. There is a lot more to it than snapping away and glancing at the screen to see that the photograph came out the way you wanted it!
A wedding photographer has to do a lot more than just capture the moment in front of them.  They have to able to organise large groups; take control or be discreet when needed; be an expert on time management; make quick decisions; get along with and get the most out of people and be creative. Most importantly a wedding photographer should be someone who can remain calm in any situation.
Here are a few guidelines to help you make that important decision:
Referrals: Ask other couples if they would recommend the photographer they used.
Meet with your potential photographer: It is not too difficult to have a website showing off a handful of beautiful wedding photographs as these may be people posing as bridal couples and not actual weddings.  Viewing a photographer’s portfolio (albums etc) will give you a better idea of the work that photographer can produce over an entire wedding day.
Confidence: This is one of the most important factors that will help you to decide on the right photographer for you.  When meeting a photographer you should get the feeling that he/she will be able to give you the photographs that you have dreamt of and that he/she is confidant in their ability.  Will they be able to cope with sudden weather changes, a dark reception venue, a small and cramped chapel, a difficult family member or two etc and still produce the best possible photographs?
Is it your day or the photographers? Does your potential photographer give you the feeling that he or she will do things their way or the highway?  A photographer usually has a lot more experience at weddings than you and will use this to guide them on the day but, they should always have the desires and wishes of the couple at heart.
Equipment: Does your photographer have suitable equipment? Do they have only one camera or do they have backup?  It’s not rude to ask them for a list of their equipment.  An entry level camera is fine for a perfectly lit day but once the light disappears or you are indoors in a dimly lit chapel, reception venue etc then that camera will be insufficient.
Packages: Ensure you get a written package which details what will be covered on the day and also what you will be receiving from your photographer after the big day.  Are there any hidden costs or potential extras?   Make sure you understand the packages clearly. Go through them with the photographer so that there are no disappointments.
Communicate with your photographer: Though most photographers are alert and ready to capture any small detail it is important to let your photographer know of any surprises on the day or any changes to the original schedule so that they will be ready to capture them for you.
Once you have made your decision be sure to book your preferred photographer as good ones will often be booked up well in advance.

Text & photo: WADE HOWARD – www.oceandrivenmedia.com

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