Wedding Photography – Top 3 myths brides need to stop believing
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How amazing are weddings? One jam packed day full of fun, love and laughter, celebrating with your best friends and family. You have enjoyed everyone else wedding, but now it’s your turn to be the centre of attention. Planning your wedding can be extremely daunting with so many things to organise and coordinate. As a result, you are trying to remember everything you ever heard about the planning process from past brides. Great start! But don’t make the mistake of believing everything you hear. In this post I am going to discuss in detail 3 of the most common myths brides have about wedding photography.
“I look terrible in photos, wedding photography is a waste of money”
“I love you work, but I am horrible in photos, I always look so bad!” If I had a dollar for every time I heard that, I would be swimming in a sea of gold! Well, not quite, I may have exaggerated that just a little bit, but the point I am sure you get.
I would say, 95% of brides who meet with me before booking for our pre-consultation tell me that they love my work, but those brides in my images obviously know how to pose or are good in front of a camera. I always have a smile on my face as I tell them they are wrong. Those brides told me the exact same thing you did. They were going to be awkward, and ugly, and I would be lucky to get one good photo of them. Obviously they are wrong, but I understand, it is a common thought to have, so don’t feel bad.
Rest assured, you have nothing to worry about. The first step in ensuring that even if you are the most awkward, photo hating bride out there, you still get stunning photos on the day, is choosing the right photographer. This can be difficult. The right photographer is not always the most expensive, is not always the one with the photos you like the most, and is not always the one you get along with the most. There has to be a combination of the three.
The wedding photographer with the best photos
Everyone wants beautiful wedding photography that captures their day perfectly. After all, it is these photos that you will be looking at in 50 years, showing your grandchildren. So rightly so, you want to love them, and be proud not them. But this simply cannot be the be all and end all. Hear me out here, ok? Here is a scenario for you: You meet 2 photographers, both have beautiful photos, but one is slightly nicer. You meet the better photographer, but they are rude, arrogant, and don’t seem to really care about you at all. You then meet the slightly less gifted photographer, but they are lovely, funny, and kind. They care about you and your wedding, and you feel comfortable being around them.
Would you choose the first photographer? I hope the answer is “no”. Let me tell you why. Even though they take slightly better photos you would feel miserable and awkward all day. This would in turn make you look awkward and unhappy in your photos. I don’t need to tell you that this is not what you want. With the other photographer though, you feel so comfortable and happy that you look natural in every image. This photographer will ultimately, get nicer images of your wedding.
The wedding photographer I want to be best friends with
So you picked the photographer who you got along with hey? Good work! But beware, there is a limitation on this rule. They still have to be able to take beautiful photos. It should go without saying. Think of it this way, if you are just wanting to book someone who you get along with regardless of their photography skills, you would just book your best friend. If you are thinking about hiring a friend to do your wedding photography, I highly recommend against it (learn more about this here). It is all about balance, finding someone you get along with, who takes photos you would be proud of. When you find them…book them!
The wedding photographer with the right shooting style
You don’t want to look back at your wedding photos in 50 years and remember the hours of awkward, fake, staged posing do you? You want to remember how you felt together, what was being said, the emotions of that moment. Every photographer has a different way of doing it, but making the situation light hearted and fun is the easiest way to put a couple at ease.
Don’t get me wrong, some people prefer posing, and a lot of direction, and that is ok. Other people prefer what we call a “documentary” style approach to wedding photography which you can see examples of in my gallery. This basically means your photographer will give you little direction, and just shoot whatever unfolds naturally. This is how you get the most natural look in your photos.
Whatever you want, the take home message is this – make sure the photographers shooting style matches the style in which you want your wedding shot.
By now, you have realised that booking a wedding photographer is all a balancing act. Once you get this balancing act right, you can finally relax. But wait, you still are awkward in front of the camera right? That is why I recommend using a photographer that offers engagement shoots prior to the wedding. For example, I offer free engagement shoots with all wedding packages. This ensures we get to work together before your wedding day, get the awkwardness out of the way, and get to know one another. By the time your wedding day arrives, it will be like we have been friends for years.
Congratulations, you just picked the perfect photographer!
“I have to spend an arm and a leg on wedding photography if I want a good photographer”
I understand that everyone has a budget, and I generally advise to always stick to it. All you can do is determine how you will allocate that budget. Without being bias, at the end of the wedding day, what are you left with? The cake is gone, the food is gone, the venue, someone else is using it now…the memories is all you have left. And how will you keep these memories? Your wedding photography. I always advise (and this is not bias I swear) that it is best to splurge a bit more on photography, and cut back elsewhere if you absolutely have to, because you will never regret overspending slightly, but you may well regret underspending. Below is a breakdown of the different pricing you will see when searching for your wedding photographer.
The expensive wedding photographer
This one is obvious. You enquire with the wedding photographer about pricing and they come back with a quote of $10,000+. You can’t believe it! How could wedding photography cost so much? But then you find yourself thinking that there must be a reason they charge so much. Perhaps they are the best wedding photographer in the country. They might be in such high demand that they can afford to charge such a high rate. These might all be true, and they might take absolutely stunning photos, and be a great photographer.
So do you need to spend that much money to get a good photographer? The answer is a definitive “no”! Yes, there are reasons why certain photographers charge so much, but this is usually because they are in very high demand, not because they are significantly better than the competition. For example, everyone knows that brand name products charge a surcharge over non brand name competitors. An Apple iPhone costs a lot more than a Huawei, despite being very similar. It is the same for photographers. Some are so established that they have a brand name and can charge a surcharge for this. Do you really want to be paying thousands of dollars more just for a brand name? Well that is up to you my friend.
The cheap wedding photographer
This one is obvious too. You enquire with the wedding photographer about pricing and they come back with a quote of $800. You can’t believe it! How could wedding photography be so cheap? But then you find yourself thinking that there must be a reason they are so cheap. Perhaps they are brand new to wedding photography and have never shot a wedding before. They might have cheap gear, and not understand that there can be upwards of 60+ hours involved in shooting a wedding which results in them delivery extremely subpar images. These might all be true, there may be other reasons that only you will know once you do some more research.
Should you accept this offer and try to save some money? The answer, while dependent on the quality of photography you want should be a definitive “no”! Yes, there are reasons why certain photographers charge less than the competitions, but this is usually because they are inexperienced, have low quality gear, or do not understand that there is more to a wedding than just clicking a camera on the day. For example, everyone accepts that airlines who charge more are generally better airlines. They have better safety records, better in flight service, and less cancellations.
Let’s say you have an important event to attend, like a wedding, and have to fly there. You could buy a ticket with ‘CheapAir’ for $29, but they have a cancellation rate of over 50%, or you could fly ‘QualityAir’ who are a bit more expensive at $129, but they never cancel a flight without organising a replacement for all customers.
Would you risk it? If they cancel the flight you won’t be attending the wedding. The exact same applies for wedding photography. If you hire a photographer and they stuff it up, you won’t get a chance to re-do your wedding. You will have to settle knowing you don’t have any photos of your big day. The question you need to ask yourself is, do you really want to be taking that risk, just to save a bit of money?
“I’ll book my photographer after I book everything else”
Please don’t do this. Promise me that. If I had a dollar for every person who contacted me 2 months out from their wedding date I would be a wealthy man. If I had two dollars for every time they were stunned that I was unavailable, I would be even wealthier.
It is not uncommon for wedding photographers to book over 2 years in advance. In my experience as a wedding photographer, we are usually the first vendors contacted after booking in the wedding venue. As a result, we tend to book out well before other wedding suppliers. On top of this, unlike a DJ for example, who does do some work before the wedding, but not a lot, wedding photographers have a long list of things to do. To give you an idea, we do initial meetings, phone calls, timelines, emails back and forth, location scouting and gear preparation just to name a few. After the day it is not uncommon for a wedding photographer to spend 4-8 weeks editing images.
For these reasons, and many more, wedding photographers cannot simply take jobs on short notice. They are usually going to be getting ready for an upcoming wedding, or editing past weddings. We can only take so many weddings before we run out of time to complete all these tasks. If you want to ensure that you do not miss out, it is always advisable to contact your preferred photographers well in advance, over 12 months in advance if you can manage it. Should you fail to do this, you might get lucky and still get your chosen photographer, but do you really want to leave something this important up to luck?
If it all goes wrong, you may end up having to settle for a photographer you do not get along with, or whose images you do not absolutely love. This ultimately will negatively impact not only the quality of your wedding photography, but also your wedding in general.
So let’s recap shall we? You found a photographer who you really like, you like their personality, you like their attitude and you could happily spend time with them (as you will at your wedding). Their photos are amazing and capture real emotion. And how good is this, their price actually fits into your budget (which you carefully considered)! You have received an engagement shoot so you feel comfortable in front of this photographer, and they shoot a documentary approach which requires no posing, no modelling, just what you were after. You book in with plenty of notice so you don’t miss out on this photographer, avoiding any stress of missing out and have plenty of time to prepare. Congratulations, you have nothing to worry about, you got this!
For some amazing wedding photography inspiration, check out My top 5 locations for engagement photoshoots (you should know now why doing an engagement shoot is crucial, but if not read here). If you have any questions about wedding photography feel free to get in touch, I would love to help you out.