Ideally when you and your partner are organising your wedding you will have the opportunity to meet your photographer and develop a relationship prior to the big day. No wedding couple wants to be photographed by someone who knows nothing of their taste and personality. Similarly, no wedding photographer likes to turn up on the day of the wedding and be given a strict shot list by a bride or groom he has never met. A wedding album that faithfully records the fun and emotion of your wedding day will be the result of a genuine rapport between you and your wedding photographer Head shots Cairns.
Most wedding photographers are not only glad to have a pre-wedding meeting but they often suggest a pre-wedding shoot. Of course, an occasion when this relationship building is not possible is when you plan to hold your wedding ceremony abroad. There are many companies offering planning for destination weddings and they include the scouting and employment of a photographer in the wedding package. Although a useful service this is not ideal because an understanding between wedding couple and wedding photographer is critical to capturing the appropriate record of the big day.
You can choose to trust the wedding planner’s recommendations but if you prefer to find your own wedding photographer in the Bahamas, Spain or wherever you choose to tie the knot then where do you start?
1. Where will you find information about local photographers?
The answer to question 1 is easy. Search “wedding photographer” + your wedding venue e.g. “Wedding photographer Malaga” on the internet. Don’t worry about the search terms in the language local to the wedding venue. If you only speak English then only search in English. You want a photographer you can communicate easily with. If they cater for speakers of your native language online the more likely it is they will be able to talk with you on the big day itself.
2. What information should you look for initially?
With your list of wedding photographers sourced from the internet how do you begin vetting for the right one? The first things you should establish are professional credentials. Are the photographers in your list trained, certified and endorsed by a professional body e.g. Master Photographers Association (MPA) or the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers (SWPP)? (The latter has a significant foreign membership). If they are then they qualify for the second part of your vetting process. If they aren’t remove them from your list.
Having established professional credentials of a photographer don’t waste time examining their suitability until you know their availability. There are only so many weekends in the year and photographers will have dates booked well in advance. Send a quick e-mail to the wedding photographers on your list asking them their availability on the day of your wedding. You might also consider at this time eliminating those who do not answer promptly, say within two to three days.
When finally you have a list of qualified and available photographers who are keen and professional enough to answer your initial e-mail promptly the real work of finding your perfect wedding photographer abroad begins.
3. Without the opportunity to meet photographers in person what forms of communication and evidence can you use to make the best decision?
The easiest way to judge whether you click with your photographer is through a face to face meeting but of course getting married abroad that option isn’t available to you. You are going to have to make a judgement by other means, and in the following order.
You can tell a lot about wedding photographers by the information they include or do not include on their websites. Look out for websites that are professional and that provide the best information not simply in terms of a photographer’s prices or experience but also his or her ethos and character. Do they sound like they’re on your wavelength and do they sound like someone you could get on with?
If a wedding photographer is proud of past work he should have plenty to show on his website. He should also be able to publish glowing testimonials from past clients.
For the photographers on your list that pass the website test you should then look outside their website for mention of their names. Googling a particular photographer by name may bring up reviews of his work, good and bad. For those mentions in a language foreign use Google to translate. Photographers with predominantly good reviews and positive mentions stay in your list.
Wedding photographers can be the victim of malicious reviews that do not reflect their service properly. However, if there is a predominance of negative commentary then, on the “no smoke without fire” principle, erase them from your list.
Making the call
If a photographer’s websites is good and his or her reputation seems sound enough its time you made a phone call. A Skype call with a webcam link could be even better. The call is to have an informal chat and feel each other out. Any misgivings you have about the photographer’s general demeanour – too formal, too business like, too casual, too scruffy, too rambling – will probably be amplified when you meet in person. It is ultimately on the strength of the phone call, skype or webchat that you will make your decision on which photographer to choose. All things being equal between those you call with respect to ability, reputation, accreditation etc you should choose the one you click with best.
Checklist for choosing wedding photographer without first meeting face to face.
1. Professional, accredited?
2. Available on the day?
3. Speaks your language?
4. Prompt in reply to first e-mail?
5. Website squares with your style, wishes? E.g. ethos, character, testimonials
6. Does the photographer have a good online reputation – Positive reviews, mentions etc?
7. Phone call. Skype, webchat – do you both communicate well? Do you click?