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Why Use a Professional Wedding Photographer?

Why Use a Professional Wedding Photographer?

BY GUEST BLOGGER MIKE GUIBAULT, MPF

Your wedding portraits may be the most important photographs you will have taken in your life. When choosing your photographer you have to be very careful. Improvements in camera technology has made it virtually impossible to take a bad picture. Many amateurs, equipped with sophisticated equipment, are capable of taking decent photographs. However, there is much more to wedding photography than knowing how to operate a camera.

Wedding photography is about seizing moments, capturing emotion and creating memories. The technical skills required to do this are essential, but it doesn’t stop there. The renowned French photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, termed it “the decisive moment”, the point when the photographer releases the shutter to capture an image. Professional wedding photographers do this for a living. They photograph people every day and not only have the necessary photographic skills, but are adept at handling people, even emotional ones at a wedding.

How do you find a professional wedding photographer?

First, you must ask if photography is their full time profession. There are many good part-time photographers, but do you really want to trust this one-day only event to someone that does this part-time?

Another indication of your photographer’s proficiency is the equipment they use. Whether it be traditional film equipment or digital, there is a difference between ‘consumer’ cameras and professional ones. It doesn’t matter which format they use, but it should be professional grade equipment – something that can hold up to the rigors of professional use. And they MUST have a backup!

Today’s professional digital cameras rival if not exceed the quality of many film cameras. But that’s only the beginning. The creative possibilities afterwards are limitless. To take full advantage of digital, your photographer should be proficient in computer programs such as PhotoShop – an industry standard – or Lightroom. Ask to see samples to make sure you’re satisfied with the quality.

First and foremost, however, you must view the photographer’s work. Not only should your photographer show a variety from different weddings, but should also show you a sample of at least a few entire weddings they have photographed. This way you can see if your photographer can produce quality throughout the event, not just a portfolio of lucky shots from different weddings.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about how they would handle different situations, such as crying children, obnoxious relatives or fainting bridesmaids. If you are not comfortable with their answer, or their personality, maybe you should look elsewhere. Remember, your photographer will be with you for most of the day. If you don’t like them, you won’t enjoy your wedding day.

Family PortraitThe other thing to remember is that although you want to have fun at your wedding, and hate posed pictures, there are times when a more arranged photograph is necessary, especially with family groups or to carefully capture the detail in a wedding gown. Ensure that your photographer is comfortable with this style of photography too. Look for things like how people are standing in the portraits. Are they standing like a football line-backer or do they look elegant? Do they look awkward with nothing to do with their hands? Is the pose flattering to their body type? If they’re seated, do they look comfortable or like they’re sitting on a pot? If it’s a head & shoulders portrait, is the angle flattering to the shape of their face?

There are many things to consider when chooseing your wedding photographer and style is one of them, and probably the most important. Wedding photography is more than just snapping a few fun moments, and making a decision based on marketing hype or price alone could leave you disappointed.

When booking your wedding photographer, put your trust in a professional. Look for membership in a professional organization such as Master Photographers International or Professional Photographers of Canada. Ask about accreditation and qualification. Look at the work of the photographer actually shooting your wedding. Ask questions, lots of them. Remember – you get what you pay for.

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Guilbault, MPF, AIAP, has been a professional photographer for over 25 years, arriving there from the corporate and retail world. His father was an avid photographer and operated a part time studio in Kingston, Ontario (early 60’s) while serving in the Canadian Armed Forces. Mike’s first exposure to photography was helping his father develop and print the portraits in their make-shift bathroom-darkroom.

Click more to learn more about Mike and his company, Mike Guilbault Fine Portraiture