Encouraged by the tremendous response we got from you for our earlier series of blog posts on “Selecting the Right Wedding Photographer”, we have begun a new series on “Tips and Suggestions for Hiring a Wedding Photographer” written by leading photographers of India. In this blog, eminent photographer Vijesh tells you the steps you should take to find the right photographer for your wedding in a very systematic and easy way. He also tells you how the concept of wedding photography has undergone major changes over the years. Read this lucidly written blog to understand the nuances of wedding photography. We are sure that you are going to find this very useful.
You have the Big Day ahead of you – and suddenly your to-do list no longer fits a small post-it note. There is shopping to do, people to meet and invite, the decor to choose for your special day and well, the list is endless. Weddings are a multi billion dollar affair in India. Wedding Photography budget has grown close to 8% of the total wedding budget in the recent years. With the influence of other cultures, it has become more colourful than ever.
Choosing a photographer once fell right into the “parents’ territory” in Indian Weddings. No longer so, as more and more people are interested in a candid coverage of the events which offers much more than a visual attendance register of the guests. Couples want a picture of that moment where they exchanged a slow, knowing smile. Their best friends laughing heartily. A guest in the crowd with a funny expression. Gleeful children. Parents who look wistful, nervous, happy all at the same time.
Wedding are stressful at times on the couple and adding to that it becomes more stressful with all the numerous poses of the Photographer saying look down, bend your back and raise your legs. “I see no difference between my album and my mom’s that was done 30 years ago!”, remarked one of my clients who was disappointed that she had engaged only a local flashy photographer to cover her engagement ceremony. That in my opinion, is the most pressing reason I’ve ever come across, as to why one should go for a candid photographer.
One of the most common concerns is that there is no dearth of amateurs in this field, and the other one is that “anyone with a DSLR calls himself/herself a photographer these days!”. If this sounds familiar to you, here are some pointers to help you choose the right photographer for you.
Identify your Wedding Photography needs
Before you jump into the elusive search of your Wedding Photographer, it is important that you list down your photography needs for your big day along with its budget, exact dates of the wedding, location, ceremonies, duration and expected number of guests. These are typical questions that each wedding photographer might ask you when you get in touch with them. Fix a budget for your Wedding Photography (if possible), it will make short-listing of photographers easier.
Shortlist Wedding Photographer
Social media is a good starting point. Facebook or a Google search will help you identify list of Photographers. Take time to go through the Website/Facebook page of the Wedding Photographer. If you like the Style of Photography, shortlist the photographer. Secondly, ask the experts like Canvera or Shopzters. They will recommend the best in town or photographers who meet your needs. Finally, nothing like getting a recommendation from a friend about the Photographer they hired or know.
Get in touch with the photographers, talk to them about your wedding dates and check for their availability and pricing. See what all they have got to offer, from the hours of shoot, digital copies to printed deliverables. Most Photographers will show you samples, else ask for samples on each of the deliverables. Look out for timing – if the photograph has been captured at the right moment to capture the essence of the moment. Timing is more important than any post production gimmick.
You would only find less than 5% of Wedding pictures in the Photographers portfolio, so I’d strongly suggest viewing an album of a single event rather than going through a collection of pictures from multiple events. This is important for two reasons :
-You’ll be able to choose the photographer whose style of work appeals to you. It isn’t just about technical brilliance, but a matter of perspective too, and one style may appeal to you more than the other.
-It’s entirely possible to create an illusion of splendid coverage, when it’s a collection of good pictures from multiple events. After all, you should be expecting several brilliant captures from your wedding. Just a few of them will simply not do.
Indian Weddings are unpredictable, that paternal uncle who came to the Wedding moved a particular ceremony from 6pm to 7pm. Is your Wedding Photographer willing to be flexible? Different photographers offer different types of packages. See if you are able to customize it to the extent you’d want to. You might not want to go in for a photographer who absolutely insists that you print the album or that you must go in for a casual shoot. These are good to have, but ultimately the choice must be yours.
Know your Photographers
The background they are coming from and at times take a glance at their non wedding portfolio as well. Wedding Photography is not just about weddings. It is about a bit of story telling, it is about being quick and witty with the camera and a bit of Photojournalism and a bit of portraiture. Checkout their flickr, tumblr or 500px feed. It will help to understand if they are recently bit by a shutter bug or they have diverse photography history and portfolio.
Go though the Wedding Photographers’ contract and packing carefully. Agree upon all the items that you need well in advance and enjoy the Wedding. Understand the deliverables and clarify all your questions in advance (there is nothing like a silly question!). Ask for their backup options and about their team. The time taken for the deliverables after the wedding.
The Wedding Photographers are few of the important people who will be part of the wedding celebrations. They are the ones who are going to be along side all the ceremonies and will create the ever lasting memory for you. Its important that you feel comfortable and confident with their abilities. You should be able to relax and enjoy the celebrations. When you are relaxed, it will come through in your photos.
Remember you are not just paying for your photographs, you are buying an experience!
Vijesh used to be an Engineer who moonlighted as a wedding photographer. His love for photography and all things wedding related led him to quit his day job and he learned the intricacies by the 10000 hour rule. Now, with over 40 weddings in his kitty, he is a full time professional wedding photographer, weaving stories and creating magic with his pictures, capturing the lovely transformation of an ordinary boy and girl into the Groom and the Bride. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org