by Olivia Leigh
I recently spoke to a new acquaintance of mine who was married several years ago (before I was even shooting weddings!). She discussed how displeased she was with the photographs, and how looking at them made her sad. What a tragedy to have such disappointing photographic memories of such a happy day. After speaking to her, I thought about a few steps brides and grooms can take to ensure they are thrilled to pieces with their wedding photographs, as they should be!
Look at their photos… and not just the portfolio
The portfolio on a photographer’s site is the best of the best. They are the images the photographer is most proud of, but they often don’t represent every wedding they’ve photographed, or they don’t showcase the full set of images that will be delivered to the bride and groom. At the very least, take some time to peruse the photographer’s blog to see what kind of work they are shooting week in and week out. While most photographers I know are very consistent in their work, I have occasionally come across some who showcase stunning work on their main site, but pop over to the blog and out of focus, poorly toned photos are de rigeur. If possible, you may also ask to see a full set of wedding images, to get a better sense of what a final photograph looks like, and what constitutes a full set of wedding images.
Pinpoint what you like, and share it with your photographer
While the wedding photography market is littered with “catch phrases” these days with terms like “photojournalistic,” “candid,” and “fine art,” what those terms mean in each photographer’s repetoire can vary greatly. Most couples I meet with are interested in a mix of photojournalism and fine art coverage of their day, which they often articulate in the initial email. However, during a consultation, I always like to delve a bit deeper, learning more about exactly what types of photographs are important to them, and what they are drawn to in my work and in photography in general, whether that be focusing on the familial relationships, textured photographs or creating colourful, fun-filled photos of the entire day, learning more about exactly what type of work you’re drawn to can help your photographer in meeting your goals.
Schedule the day appropriately
While much of the day is often dedicated to photojournalistic or candid coverage, most couples also hire a wedding photographer to take beautiful portraits, whether those be more traditional and formal in nature, or artistic and edgy. Budgeting time on your wedding day is so key to ensuring you are happy and thrilled with the final product. While a photographer can certainly bang out a few lovely images in 10 minutes of shooting, more time allows for more locations, a more relaxed bride and groom, and, of course, more time to create the most beatuiful photographs possible. If you are investing heavily in your wedding photography, certainly consider allocating appropriate time to make good on that investment.
Find a photographer you love
My biggest hope for potential clients is that they find someone that truly understands them, that they feel comfortable with, and whose style matches their aesthetic goals for the day, whether that be me or someone else. Meet with a photographer before booking, or at least chat on the phone. Does conversation feel forced or does it come naturally? Do you find yourself feeling like you’re on the same page style-wise, or are you miscommunicating? Could this person become more like a friend on your wedding day, fitting in with your family and friends, or would you feel uncomfortable? Having a photographer that makes you feel like you can let your guard down will come through in the photos, eliciting more raw emotion and intimacy.