It seems that the second you announce your engagement, recommendations for vendors start coming out of the woodwork. How though, do you sift through all your friend-of-a-friend referals to find the ones that are actually worth-while. This is especially true when it comes to photographers. How do you tell the difference between a professional photographer and someone with a nice camera???—I'll tell you!
For the most part there are 3 things to look for in a wedding photographer.
Lighting is so so very important. A true professional will deliver images that are clean and crisp without any harsh shadows. Here are a couple examples of what to look for...
This image was shot on a very sunny day. Contrary to popular belief sunny days are NOT good for photoshoots. With the sun directly overhead dark shadows are inevitable. An experienced photographer knows how to work with this lighting to create an image like the right. The best way to spot this: look for dark under-eye shadows or harsh lines created by cheek bones and foreheads.
Lighting is so important when it comes to dress shots too! You spend a lot of money finding the PERFECT dress. The problem—it's white! White is a tricky color to photograph. Too much light will make the dress look blown out. All those gorgeous details will be totally lost. Too little light will make it look like you have a greyish-yellow tint to your pure white. Here's another example...
Composition is the way the photograph is cropped. With every image the photographer should be making a conscious decision about what to include or omit from the image frame. When done properly a viewer's eye will carry all over the image, taking every part of it in, and focusing on the most important aspect of the photo. When done incorrectly the image seems to leave something out, creating an awkward frame with void areas. Here is an example of poor composition on the left versus a clearly stronger composition on the right image.
3. Attention to Detail
Lastly, you want to look at the overall coverage of the day. Are there pictures of all the little details that you spent so much time making? Are there pictures of the quick hug and kiss you gave your dad right before walking down the isle? These are shots experienced wedding photographers know to capture. They know when they happen and where they happen so absolutely nothings is missed.
I hope this list helps you figure out a little bit more of what to look for as you browse dozens of photographer's websites! And as always, contact me if you have any questions and want to know more!