Guest post by Joe Pulcinella
As a photographer, I want every bride to have the most awesome photos she’s ever seen. I want her to cry when she sees them. I want her mom and her friends to cry. I want families to to cherish that moment in time when they were all together with smiles on their faces. I want grooms to say, “Wow, I really DO look like DeNiro!” Trust me on this one. I’m a guy. That’s the way we think.
However, as much as I love to make people happy, it makes me sad to hear someone tell me, “Oh, I wish I had hired a better photographer. My pictures were awful and I never did get my album.”
Okay, now back to your wedding. You’re doing the best you can within your budget. But how do you prevent yourself from becoming that bride who is unsatisfied with her photographs? Here are some tips that may not be what you read in the bridal magazines:
1. Be in love with great photography. Look at a lot of photographer’s websites. Familiarize yourself with the state of the art in your area. Only after you do can you critically interview a photographer.
2. Ask to see an album that is indicative of what she is doing now. A photographer should grow and mature with each passing season. If she’s perfectly content to show you a three-year-old album, then she might be a little too content with herself as an artist. She may be on cruise control for your wedding and not willing to push her creative envelope.
3. Visit the photographer in his studio. Seeing his studio will tell you a lot about him. I can tell you that most work out of their homes but even though, he should still have a comfortable space devoted to meeting with clients and to the actual post-processing work that is required to complete your job. Unless you are meeting with a photographer who is based far from you and you offer to meet him half-way, a photographer that uses Starbucks as his meeting space should be suspect.
4. Ask what she does to further herself as an artist. Most photographers do consider themselves artists and should be forever striving to be better with each passing season (if not each wedding). Does she shoot things other than weddings? Does she enter print or album competitions? Does she attend workshops given by more well-known photographers? Does she share her knowledge with other less-experienced photographers? A photographer that does these things will be proud to tell you that she does. If she changes the subject, she may not be a serious photographer.
5. Hire the photographer that does the type of photographs you want. If a photographer advertises himself as an unobtrusive photojournalist and his albums show that, then expect your photos to reflect that style. And if you choose to hire a photographer because his style looks more like fashion photography, then you should expect him to be more hands-on in his approach to lighting and posing. Don’t expect one to be the other.
6. Don’t be afraid to readjust your budget to get what you want out of your wedding. Magazines sometimes give hypothetical budgets broken down by percentages for things like venues, flowers, photography, etc. This is not set in stone. If photography is very important to you, then devote a little more to it. As cliché as this sounds, your wedding photos will be the only part of your day that will be with you the rest of your life.
I hope this article will be a good starting point for newly engaged couples. Planning a wedding is kind of a big deal and I truly want you to get the most out of your day as well as your dollar.
I think it was about four years ago that I first met Joe Pulcinella at an industry event. He’s been in the biz for about twenty years now, doing architectural, commercial and event photography (the sign of a well rounded professional). A native of Philadelphia, Joe belongs to several professional organizations, and is himself a recent newlywed, as well as a father of three. Joe and I had been chatting about ‘industry stuff’ one day when I suggested he guest post for us on our DJ blog and share his thoughts on what brides and grooms should look for in a photographer… That was two days ago. Joe emailed me this yesterday. Gotta love a guy who gets it done. Thanks Joe!
Photo courtesy of Joe Pulcinella