PHOTO BY CALLAWAY GABLE STUDIOS
In choosing a style, documentary photography is a series of posed photos that are candid or spontaneous, photojournalistic that captures the moments exactly as they happened and tell the story, while group portraits are traditionally required for weddings for a more formal composition. But really, every photographer has a great artistic license to infuse their particular point of view and style into their photographs. So while their shots reflect reality, it’s their reality. The photos are dramatic and gorgeous, but are shot with a grainier, dreamier, more muted appearance where usually the subject photographed is in focus and the background appears to blur. They both also take a fine-art approach shoot.
What sets apart one photographer from another is their creativity in editing each photographed image. Some have a very extensive experience such as use of lighting, colorizing and saturation and exposure whether it be soft natural lighting or vivid clarity. Whereas others are hazy, light and airy. Some angle shots can be more theatrical while others shoot straight without any creative thought on angular options to take the picture.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to how they tell the story that matches your idea of how your wedding will be. You just have to ask if the photo they take has a sense of humor? or romance? or softness? Is it crisp like magazine image? Each of their stories will be YOUR story through THEIR eyes, so you’ll want to make sure that they match up.
Lastly, don’t underestimate the importance of liking and bonding with your photographer. For example, were they excited by your vision when you described it? When they make suggestions, do they present them in a clear and respectful way, or were they timid? Are their mannerisms off-putting? In order to get the best photos, go with a Pro who has a firm grasp of social graces but is bold enough to go out hunting for great images and who, above all, puts you at ease and doesn’t irritate you in any way. Remember, they’ll be shadowing your every move, and the more comfortable both of you are with the photographer, the better the photos will turn out. Likewise, you don’t want the photographer to offend or annoy any guests, but to shoot them in their best light in an unobtrusive way. To get the best photos, your photographer needs to be assertive enough to seek out great moments, cajoling enough to coat relaxed smiles and natural stances from guests, and calm enough to be a positive force. They should ask lots of questions and be a good listener.
PHOTO BY MASTER ENTERTAINMENT
The Pros have it, and so here are a few more tips from a few of my favorite Wedding Photographers who have a keen eye for other details you may not think about.
Vicens Forns, Vicens Forns Photography:
o As you are looking through different photographers’ portfolios, find the ones that make your heart beat a little faster and cause a reaction deep down inside. If you are not well versed in photography style terminology (photojournalism, fine art, editorial, artistic, etc) it will probably mean nothing to you so search for the images that move you and tell a story. Request real wedding samples so you can see variety and make sure the photographer is able to cover all aspects of a wedding such as getting ready, details, ceremony, posed group shots, reception and party time. Look at the different lighting as the day progresses. Look at color, and composition. Are the images focused? Are they clear and crisp regardless of the style?
o Trust your wedding planner’s suggestions. They have worked with the individual before and are familiar with the photographer’s professionalism, technical expertise, personality and trustworthiness.
o Meet with the photographer and see what his personality is like. Do you feel a connection or does it feel awkward? Does he inspire confidence in his abilities? Does he show the personality traits that you are looking for? Ask lots of questions.
o Check online reviews. If there are negative reviews, take the time to see if the photographer has answered and if so, if they give their side of the story in a calm and professional manner while stating the facts. It is not always the photographer’s fault and weddings are fast-paced events where complications can arise.
o Check if the photographer has reputable photography awards because this usually further proof that they are technically good.
Brian MacStay, Brian MacStay Photography:
o Can your photographer shoot in the dark? Literally half of your day will take place at night. Ask to see low light, night time photos.
o Don’t just look at their posed portraits. Ask to see “real moments”. Their ability to tell stories with emotional impact.
o Ask to see a “full gallery” of images (meaning all the photos they delivered to you!). So for example, I show my new clients, and give the password to past clients’ galleries, so they can see exactly what they will get. The overall quality of the photos from the start of the day, to the end. Not just seeing the photographers “best” photos that they put on their website or blog.
PHOTOS BY BRIAN MACSTAY PHOTOGRAPHY
Clane Gessel, Clane Gessel Photography:
o Ask the photographer who’s editing their photos. Talk about the images and use of them. For example, does the photographer edit their own images or do they outsource it to companies who edit them for him/her?
o Ask if you get a full resolution disc. What’s the point of having great photos if you’re not allowed to print them? Sometimes, they’ll have to pay more for the usage rights.
PHOTOS BY CLANE GESSEL PHOTOGRAPHY
So there . . . now, who will you choose? Good Luck!