Wedding 101 : How to choose a perfect wedding photographer?

Although they say wedding is merely a one-off event while marriage is a lifetime commitment, memorable and joyous occasions usually have their moments captured for the BIG day which consists of both pre-wedding photo shoot and actual wedding day!

Selecting a suitable photographer is of paramount importance so that you and your loved ones are able to recollect and reminisce those happy moments 🙂

But the question is, how do you select a good photographer?

*What determines ‘good’ is subjective, so here are some generic guidelines and suggestions 🙂

Where and how do you start?

1. Do your homework – read reviews and gather as much information as possible

As if you hadn’t already know, wedding preparation can be tiring but somehow, I kinda enjoy it because I think of it as if it is like a project 😉 Whether your partner (most of the times, it’s the guys) contribute their part is another different matter altogether.

With easy access to internet, nothing is impossible nowadays. You will need to expose yourself to wide array of wedding photographers via bridal forums such as Singapore Brides Forum, Wedding Forum SG and Perfect Weddings Forum SG.

Of course, you will need to take note of those advertisement kind of thread posts or be wary of suspicious users who have very little posts and constantly discredit the work of others. I am not saying that all users with very little posts are competitors attacking another company but do read their ‘reviews’ with a pinch of salt.

Because what you need is genuine reviews.

Another very useful and convenient platform is none other than Facebook.

Yes, Facebook.

There are a handful of wedding-related Facebook groups which you can join. These groups are where graduated brides and brides-to-be get together to discuss and share wedding-related matters. I am actually very active in some of them and have found it very useful on the information shared by the girls. So yes, go ahead and join them but be sure not to flout the rules imposed by the admins 🙂 Oh, and also, always be nice and polite yeah? 😉

The last method to gather useful information is what you are already doing right now.

Yes – reading blogs.

I love reading blogs because more often than not, they provide very useful and genuine reviews of a product/service. Let’s leave biased ones due to incentives aside for today, shall we?

I am pretty sure you will be able to grasp a couple of beneficial reviews that portray both sides of the coins in detail (if you hadn’t already know, my blog posts always strive to be as detailed and informative it can be, heh!:P).

2. Shortlist a few of them 

Jot the particulars and contact details of those you deem suitable based on the reviews you have read on a list.

To make things easier, here is a list of details you will need :-

  1. Name/Company Name
  2. Contact Details (Tel. No. and Email Address)
  3. Rates (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  4. Consider if the photographer does both local and overseas photo shoot or only either one ( e.g. if let’s say you intend to have your pre-wedding photoshoot done overseas)
  5. Save some of their portfolio works for easy reference
  6. Note down reviews of them by others

3. Contact them

You may call/text/email them to inquire and I personally prefer to email. I think it is good to list down your queries in a bullet point form so that it is easier for all parties to read and refer.

Most importantly, check with them if they are available on your preferred date. For those engaging for pre-wedding shoot, perhaps it would be good if you can provide a few preferred dates so that both parties have more flexibility to negotiate and select.

Lastly, monitor how prompt their responses are. You do not want to engage a photographer who takes ridiculously long to reply. However, you should also emphatise with their nature of work as they may not always be able to reply you promptly. So be reasonable 🙂

4. Meet-up

Once you have selected a few from the list, what I advise is that you should preferably meet up with them.

Why?

Firstly, you need to feel comfortable working with him. The photo shoot is meant for a joyous occasion and having a grouchy photographer will do you both no good at all. It dampens the mood and you will find it difficult to fake a smile and try to look happy in the photos. At this point of time, you would most probably be able to gauge his personality and the first impression he gives.

Secondly, the good thing about meeting up with your potential photographer is to verify the facts and reviews provided by others. Is he really that aloof? Is he really that experienced?

So, what should be done during the meet up?

During the arrangement of meet up, do request to view the photographer’s portfolio which may include the photographs themselves and some may even bring along a wedding album(s).

What to look out for when reviewing photos and albums?

  • Filters
  • Edits (including skin colour/complexion)
  • Lightings
  • Angles
  • Moments captured (especially during actual day since pre-wedding shoot is mostly staged)
  • Focus
  • Are the subjects relaxed or being caught on camera by surprise?
  • Most importantly, both of you will have to like the ‘feel’ of the photographs and judge if the photographer will be able to bring out the best sides of you on the photographs.

There are some pictures which have been over-edited causing it to lose its main focus or do not have any focus at all even without much editing.

The focus is now on the brick house at the far background instead of the bridal couple. Also, the bride is standing under the shade and there is no editing done to brighten the bride’s face, hence it becomes a blur. The photo is also somewhat loop-sided. The ground is not straight.

Poor resolution, most probably resulted due to zooming of lens. To be fair, this may not be taken with a professional camera. Apart from that, more importantly, the focus is somewhat lost and attention is now cast upon the little girl instead of the bridal couple. Also, the expressions of the bridal couple are missing and unclear.

There is no prize for guessing what is wrong with this photograph. Ideally, before the photographs are presented to you, the will first be edited and such ‘extras’ will be cropped or erased away via photo shop or other photo editing software. I also think that the photo graph would look better if the overall colour and tone can be brightened. It looks quite dull and dark at its present stage.

Some photographers may have a forte in different styles, for e.g. darker background and colours compared to vintage rustic soft feel.

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What about nitty-gritty details such as decorations which you may have forked out money to purchase or have painstakingly DIY-ed?

*Disclaimer : I am not a professional in photography works and I am just sharing what I usually look out when I analyse a photographer’s portfolio.

For those photo enthusiasts or if you are well-versed in photography works, you may try dwelling deeper into those technical issues such as cameras, cameras accessories, photo editing software and so forth, although you would know that quantity (i.e. more expensive equipment) does not necessary equate to quality (better looking photographs). Oh, and respect their job and work. Do not be a smart aleck and a super critic and diss all of their work because that would pretty much piss off most people.

Experienced wedding photographers would have a strong foundation and will be able to assist you in most of your common queries.

These are some of which you may consider getting their advice on :-

  • Suggestions on photo shoot locations, contingency plans on alternative indoor locations should the weather be bad
  • Are these location chargeable (e.g. cafes, national museum etc) ? Of course, it is best you do some homework on your part just to be sure
  • Any videographers to recommend, preferably those you have worked with previously. This is so that they may have better team work since they would have a better idea of each other’s style, and hence reducing the chances of any potential conflict. Get him to share on his past experience on this too.
  • Will you teach and advise on poses?
  • What props do you suggest?
  • If you are intending for a casual wear shoot, what kind of casual wear outfit do you suggest?Number of hours covered. Usually this is mentioned in their package price but it is good to re-confirm. If you are going to do a lunch banquet, you may consider reducing the number of hours required.
  • What is your charge per hour? Any additional charge for early commencement of work?
  • Are you able to do same day edit (if you would like to have your morning events e.g. gate crashing and tea ceremony to be put up as a slideshow at your banquet but most people prefer to have a video done) ?
  • Live streaming of photos to be played as slide show during banquet?
  • Will there be an assistant? Having more than 1 photographer will give you more coverage, for e.g. during your solemnisation, 1 photographer can be capturing the bridal couple while the other photographer can be capturing the expressions of the audience. But bear in mind that this may also affect the package price.
  • Inquire on the intellectual property rights. Some bridal couples I know do not like their pictures to be used for promotional advertisement purposes. So if you are not comfortable with that, do voice it out to your photographer and see what can be done.
  • Whether any raw images will be returned to you? Even if they are unedited, I am pretty certain these images of you and your beloved dressed in wedding outfits are still very meaningful and special to the both of you 😉
  • Time line of processing the photographs and completing the wedding album – Because your pre-wedding photo album should ideally be ready before your wedding day so that you can show case your lovely wedding album to your guests on that day, you will need to know the time line from the start of the photo shoot to the editing of photos, then to choosing you photographs and lastly, to inserting and creating your photo album. This is more so for pre-wedding photo shoot. For actual day photos, of course, ideally you would prefer having the soft copies made to you as soon as possible so that you are able to share on your social media platforms after your wedding day! 🙂
  • Additional cost for wedding photo album – All if not most bridal packages would include wedding album for pre-wedding photo shoot, so that leaves us with actual day photo album. If you are engaging a photographer who is not tied to any bridal boutique, he may or may no include a wedding photo album in your package so you will be required to top up. Be sure to inquire about this additional cost. My take is their wedding photo albums are quite pricey, so you may want to explore ways of creating your own photo album online using those soft copies returned to you and get online company to send to you accordingly 🙂
  • Find out how many weddings the photographer has shot over how many years. Although he may have been a professional photographer for 15 years but only doing weddings for the past year. Remember, wedding photography is much different than any other type of photography; the pressure is high and the emotional energy is not suited for everyone.
  • Be sure to ask if the photographer has shot at your wedding venue before. If he has, he may already know where to stand to get the perfect shot or how to incorporate the church’s ancient stained glass in a uniquely engaging way.

Communication should be two-way so apart from gathering information from the photographer, you will also need to be decisive and inform your photographer beforehand on your expectations and preferences.

Consider the following :-

  • Your preferred style (of course, your partner has to agree too)
  • Natural poses during wedding day and not staged – some photographers are pretty particular and anal about their pictures (since they are going to be part of their portfolio!) and will get the bridal couple or family members/friends to redo the whole action repeatedly to capture the best shot – which can be quite annoying actually and delay the whole event

For those who are considering a wedding photographer for your wedding, you may check out Walldrobe Photography! Shuan from Walldrobe will be my photographer on my BIG day! 😀 Can’t wait because their photos are so lovely! 🙂

Here are some of their pictures :

Pre-Wedding Photo shoot

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Actual Wedding Day

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If you are looking out for high-quality and skillful wedding photographers, with affordable rates, Walldrobe Photography is definitely the place to go! They are also offering a 20% discount (for actual wedding day) to all my readers if you mention my name!

Website : http://www.walldrobe.sg/

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/walldrobe

Instagram : @walldrobephotography

 

4 comments

    • Jean Gan says:

      Hi Diane, our AD VG was from Improduction. Look for Issac and mention my name for special rates 🙂

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