One of the biggest decisions you can make as part of your wedding planning is choosing your wedding photographer. These are physical, visual memories of one of the most beautiful days of your life, so the choice of who to trust with the task of capturing this day is a pretty important one. There are plenty of wedding photographers out there, but how do you choose one that really knows their stuff? Sam from Sam Wyper Photography has some expert advice on how you can narrow down your search and pick a real pro for our day! Enjoy, “Picking A Pro: How To Choose A Truly Professional Wedding Photographer”…
There are two levels of wedding photo benefits, in my opinion. Level One is immediate gratification – pictures that you love and will go on your wall and social media (mainly the portraits!). Level Two is your family’s visual historical legacy. This is deeper – moments of connection with your loved ones and family. The love for these images will likely grow over time and will likely make you tear up in years to come.
Most wedding photographers are fairly good at capturing level one photos, which makes sense. Whilst photographers can’t control things like the weather etc, these types of images do take place in a semi-controlled environment. You don’t have to be an amazing photographer to capture fairly good wedding portraits.
Level Two images are much harder to capture in a really captivating way as they take place in a mostly uncontrolled environment. I truly believe that the ability to capture really compelling candid images is the biggest thing that differentiates wedding photographers.
Instagram is a great tool to get a snapshot of the overall feel a wedding photographer has with their work, but it can also be very deceiving in terms of gauging what a photographer can capture throughout a whole wedding day. When you look at a lot of photographers’ feeds, 90% of what you see is from the portrait session. However, this accounts for only 10% of the wedding day. A lot of photographers struggle to consistently capture really compelling candid moments. You usually have to dig a little deeper to get a proper understanding of what your wedding photographer can produce on a typical wedding day. Not to mention throwing styled shoots into the mix, which to the unaware viewer, can pass for wedding day photos, but in actual fact take place in an extremely controlled environment. Often it’s not possible to get these types and a variety of images due to time constraints and location limitations.
A better place to get an understanding of how your photographer can convey the narrative of your wedding day is through their blog post galleries. Conveying the narrative is ultimately the aim of most wedding photographers and it can’t really be done through Instagram carousel feeds. Even better than a blog gallery is to request your potential photographer to show you a couple of full galleries. I’ve heard the saying “A wedding photographer is only as good as the full galleries they produce”. Viewing a couple of full galleries will help you better understand how your potential photographer captures getting ready photos, details, ceremony, family, portrait plus reception photos, all of which require their own skillset on the photographer’s behalf. But most of all, viewing a full gallery will help you understand not only the quality of candid moments a photographer can capture but the number of candid moments. It is easy after all for a photographer to include a small few “killer” candid shots in their blog posts but for their full galleries to be lacking overall in these moments.
Be sure to check reviews of the photographer’s work from genuine couples. Also, often the pro photographers aren’t “jack of all trades photographers” but someone who specialises purely in developing and honing their craft in wedding photography.
On a side note, I often get asked if I’ve photographed at the particular venue that the couple is getting married at (as they would favour this). From someone who has photographed nearly 200 weddings, I can honestly say that if your photographer is worth their salt, it shouldn’t matter in the slightest if they haven’t shot at the venue before. A good photographer will likely do a bit of light research beforehand on locations at your venue. But more so, one location that may look amazing one day might look completely different the next under a different lighting situation. In my opinion, a good photographer will first and foremost follow the good light.
Ultimately, pro and amateur are two words that we each give our own meaning to and should be taken with a grain of salt. The amount of time a photographer has been photographing isn’t a great indicator of their abilities. Some photographers who have been around for decades produce photos that seem dated whilst up-and-coming photographers might produce work that is more cutting edge. In saying that, having at least 30 years under a photographer’s belt could definitely be an advantage.
About Sam Wyper Photography: I’m a nature-loving, wedding cake-eating, adventure seeking, husband to my beautiful wife + skateboarding dad. And I’m here to help rock your wedding day! If your wedding is a beautiful mountain top elopement or an epic gathering of love and laughter with your friends and family, I’ll be there to help plan your special day, facilitate beautiful moments and calm your nerves when things get a little too real. Specialising in wedding photography, engagement photography, and family documentary photography throughout the east coast of Australia and beyond.