Did you know not all photographers can shoot in low light?
Perhaps one of the most daunting task of planning a wedding (sometimes even more than picking your partner!) is
choosing a photographer. That single most-important person who will be capturing the madness, the joy and the thrill of one of the most important days of your life.
So how will you pick this photographer from the infinite options which are bound to pop up in your search engines? How do you trust him or her to crystallise these precious moments of your life? And how do you manage to procure these perfect frames without being broke for the rest of the year?
If you are getting married soon, we know that when it comes to wedding photography in India these are the kind of dilemmas gnawing at your brain. Yes, it’s easy to get helplessly overwhelmed and then make a hasty, last-minute decision just so you can tick it off your ever-growing wedding to-do list.
The good news is that you don’t have to.
Here at Lifeworks Studios, we decided to give you an insider’s guide to choosing the perfect wedding photographer – without losing your mind. These 10 easy actionable-steps which have been compiled after arduous discussions with our in-house team and top experts from the industry is all you need to drive those photography blues away.
So scroll down to find your ‘soul-photographer’ (yes, that’s a thing!) so that you can look forward to being clicked on your big day!
Your Day, Your Style
While it’s easy to pick the photographer who did a fabulous job for your best-friend’s wedding, it can also prove as a complete disaster for you. That’s because your best-friend’s wedding was captured in the style he or she wanted which can be completely different from your aesthetic sensibilities. Most wedding photographers have niche style in which they best capture a wedding. Believing that they can recreate the same magic for any style will most likely result in some unpleasant surprises.
If you are a newbie to the world of wedding photography some of the popular styles today are photojournalism, contemporary wedding photography and the old-school studio photography. If you still feeling quite lost begin with picking wedding photographs you really love and getting to know which styles they were shot in.
Pro Tip : Your monetary budget finds its base in the style you choose.
2. Putting Down The Big-Bucks
If you are looking to buy leather boots then you would know that by the virtue of the craft required to make them they demand a higher base budget than your regular canvas shoes.
Similarly the budget for your wedding photographer in India will depend on the skill and resources required for the photography style you prefer.
So start by scanning the market prices for the style of wedding photography you and your partner have finalised on. Also keep an eye out for the range of quality provided in each style – this will depend on the time a photographer invests in his work (pre & post shoot), the inventory of his equipment and his experience in the field. These become the markers of different rates within a particular style of photography. Once you have completed your style-specific research you are ready to put down a budget which suits you best and is is even realistic for your potential photographers!
Pro Tip : There is no point spending time and energy in photographers that you won’t be able to afford.
Photographs v/s Albums
It’s easy to lure clients with a compilation of your best photographs taken from different weddings. Though if you really want to know the true worth of your photographer request for at least two-three of his or her complete albums. This way you can analyse whether or not the photographer is genuinely good at telling long visual narratives or can only manage a few great Facebook display pictures.
Going through albums can also help you determine the strength and weakness of your photographer. For example a photographer might bring out stunning pictures when working with natural light. However, if you are getting married in a dimly lit hall and he has nothing to show for that, he’s definitely not your guy.
Pro Tip : Yes, your eyes might go numb from looking at album after album but trust us, it’s worth the ordeal.
Befriending Your Photographer
It is absolutely fine to just want a professional relationship with your photographer but it helps to know him or her personally too. Why? You will be spending most of your time with him on your BIG day, so it’s good to have someone who won’t make you want to disappear or better still you actually like having around.
So have an in-person meeting with your photographer before you decide to hire them. This can also become a space for you to have all your unanswered queries regarding his services (don’t forget to make that list of questions) and also put forward your own aesthetic expectations. Unlike virtual correspondences this not only saves time but also keeps you away from being disappointed with your photographs at a later stage.
Pro Tip : Don’t panic if your photographer doesn’t binge-watch the same Netflix series as you do. He doesn’t have to be your BFF. Just someone who gains your trust with their work and personality.
So Who Is Shooting Anway?
As Murphy’s law – “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” proves to be painfully true in most situations, don’t think it will make an exception for your big day. Just be prepared. Not only make sure that the photographer you interviewed will be the one taking the bride and groom’s photographs but also that your contract mentions a backup shooter, incase something were to happen to your main photographer.
Also, even if you are subjected to obtuse reasoning by family, do not hire separate teams, i.e – one for bride and one for groom. Use those resources to hire one exceptional photography team. Unless you want to end up with mediocre photographs where each team gets in each other’s way and even your frame!
Pro Tip : If you are confused about the ideal strength of your wedding photography team, contact Lifeworks Studios for free consultation!
Beware Of The ‘Weekend Photographer’
Photography can be a tricky terrain to manage when you are earning a living out of it and so many turn to weddings when the cash-flow is running dry. Though these “weekend photographers” might have delivered some great work in the past, seasoned photographers still have an edge over them. For example in dire situations they have better back-up equipment and storage solutions which might become a crisis situation for photographers who occasionally venture into the wedding field. Also, full-time wedding photographers are more likely to offer you a far wider range of additional services and diverse package choices as compared to a weekend photographer.
Pro Tip : Seasoned and full-time wedding photographers are less likely to be solely driven by monetary gains and thus are more dedicated towards their art.
Bringing Home The Best Package
Along with shooting time, a photographer offers various other services in his package like albums, special effects, retouching options and additional shooting of your engagement, after-party or even your pre-wedding shoot. Get the final quotes for an all-inclusive package that suits you best and compare it to the packages of the other photographers you have shortlisted.
Pro Tip: Make sure you double-check the coverage time mentioned in your package. You want those photographs right from the time when you begin to get ready for the big day until your final exit from the ceremony!
Post-Production Meets Patience
Yes, we know you’re anticipating the clicks from your big day but it usually takes a month before you will receive the final photographs. This is because your photographer is shooting enormous raw files far bigger than a typical JPG. While this gives him or her greater ability to correct the photo it also slows down the process of uploading, processing and editing them.
Each photographer will also have his or her own post-production style of working. Make sure you ask them the resolution at which you will be receiving the files, the number of images you can expect and what is their process of re-touching images.
Pro Tip : Do not ask your photographer for RAW images. Unless you want to burden yourself with gigabytes you could do without and spend aeons trying to edit the photos.
Reviews And Recommendations To The Rescue
If you are still feeling indecisive after following all the above mentioned tips, don’t fret. We understand it’s your big day and you are aiming for nothing less than perfection. So let reviews, recommendations and testimonials by ex-clients help you pick the photographers you have shortlisted.
Pro Tip : People with past experience with a photographer maybe able to give you a perspective you might have missed.
Our thorough guide and pro-tips are designed to ensure a stress-free road to finding your perfect wedding photographer. Don’t hold back when it comes to investing time, patience and resources for the photographer you want. At Lifeworks Studios we believe that those first gleeful looks, affectionate gestures and wild laughs on your wedding day mark the beginning of the special moments you will make with your partner.
Years later when memory might fail you these photographs will be all you will have, of the young couple you once were and perhaps wish to be again.
Written by – Payal Mohta for Lifeworks Studios