Your wedding day will be one of the most special milestones in your life. It is a day full of emotion, celebration and love.
This is why your wedding photography plays such an important role. You would want those unique moments captured to be treasured forever - this is the day you cherish everything around you. Being able to count on your wedding photographer's unique eye to tell your wedding story will give you one less thing to stress about and give you the freedom to enjoy your wedding.
You probably feel a little overwhelmed by having so much to organise for such a big celebration - from getting your dress, to finding the perfect venue, coordinating your décor and flowers etc. The sheer costs involved might have you exasperated. You might consider just hiring an affordable photographer to take a few pictures during the day, but finding your perfect photographer is so much more important than most couples realise.
Let's discuss a few things to keep in mind when searching for your wedding photographer.
Trusting your photographer and getting along with them is essential. If you are comfortable you will be able to be yourself which will lead to authentic moments being captured through the photographer's lens, ultimately leading to better images. You should not compromise such special reactions because you are feeling uncomfortable around your photographer whom you have never met or even had a conversation with before your wedding day.
Take your time to do a little research on wedding photography and the photographers in your area. Although most wedding images might look similar to you, it is really important to take a look at full weddings posted by the photographer. This way you will be able to see the photographer's own style more clearly.
Your photographer's personality is also essential to creating fantastic images with you. Just as every bride and groom are different, so too is every photographer - bringing their own personality to the table. It is always beneficial to find someone with which you connect.
Needless to say that quality matters! Professionals that charge little are most likely using cheaper and more basic equipment, have little to no studies in the field and very little experience. I am definitely not saying that photographer's need a four year degree. I have met incredible photographers who are self-taught, but teaching yourself is still education! Just so, someone who has a degree but stop investing time and money into continuing their education will eventually stop growing.
Let's also discuss equipment and why photographers "charge so much". Photography equipment does not come cheap! Just to give you an idea, a new full frame camera body (without any lenses) is approximately R50 000. This is something that has to be replaced every 3-4 years. Then we are still looking at the cost of lenses that range between R5 000 - R25 000 each, batteries, flashes, editing software, insurance etc. The list goes on! The monthly costs to maintain and grow a photography business is a lot higher than people expect.
This is one of the biggest celebrations in your life, this is the day you and your partner tie your lives to one another, where families come together - a time for making memories. Regardless of whether you choose to elope on a mountain top or host a big day with lots of friends and family, I would not want you to risk those moments being lost and not captured beautifully by a visual artist.
I will advise you to not base your decision on which photographer you choose solely on their price. You and your family will look back at these memories for days to come, you will end up with moments that happened during the day that you did not even get a chance to witness, details you might have missed, split seconds captured forever that once you look back at them you will realise just how special it was.
Find your perfect photographer who you can trust and let them tell the story of your wedding day.
Words by Estefania Romero
Your photographer will arrive early, most probably while you and your bridesmaids are still getting ready and only leave after all the formalities are over late at night. This means your photographer will be with youfor an average of 8-10 hours on your wedding day - longer than most guests!
He/she will be capturing the emotional moments for you - when you finally get to put on your wedding dress you have so long searched for, or when your father first sees you as a bride!
You also need to ask yourself which type of images you prefer - more creative images or more traditional ones? Would you rather choose a photographer who will keep out of your way as much as possible and has a documentary style of photography or one who is fearless and jokes around a lot?
Regardless of which style you prefer, it is important to consider all of this when making your decision.You also need to ask yourself which type of images you prefer - more creative images or more traditional ones? Would you rather choose a photographer who will keep out of your way as much as possible and has a documentary style of photography or one who is fearless and jokes around a lot?
Having a look at your photographer's social media pages and website will give you a little idea of who they are. Find someone who creates work you fall in love with. Once you have found a few good options, it is highly recommended that you meet up with them in person so that you can get to know each other better and make sure that you get along and are a good fit.
Also discuss the final product you will be receiving when you talk to your potential photographer. A lot of photographers will offer a basic package that includes the digital files, but they will also offer bigger packages which will include extra photo sessions such as engagement shoots or trash/love the dress shoots, photo books, extra hours spent at your wedding, extra photographers etc.
You would also want quality over quantity when discussing your photo books. These are your wedding photos, expertly designed and printed for all your friends and family to see. It should last a lifetime!
The books printed on photographic or fine art paper will be your best option. Some even come with boards in between the pages to make them thicker and last longer. Imagine your future children looking through the pages of the day Mom and Dad got married!
If you are engaged, you are most likely at the age where all your friends are getting married as well. This is one of the best ways to find a wedding photographer - ask for referrals! Have a look at your friends' wedding photos, ask who the photographer was. Ask if they were happy with the service and product they received, with the way the photographer worked throughout the wedding day, how they were at directing photos and anything else you would like to know.
A professional photographer will also supply you with a contract to sign where all the important details will be laid out. This is to protect you both. Make sure you read it before signing!
Weddings can be very fast-paced, full of unscripted moments and an experienced photographer will be able to handle such situations much better than someone who is shooting their first few weddings. If you do however hire someone who has not photographed many of their own client's weddings, make sure they have ample experience second shooting for other photographers - this education is priceless!
Estefania Romero is an international portrait and wedding photographer based in East London, South Africa. Originally from Mexico, Estefania has vast experience in the international wedding photography industry, covering weddings from the USA, Mexico, UAE, Africa and Norway.