In August I will be shooting my first wedding. This is not something that I have thought about trying before but I agreed to do this one as a favour to my sister. One of her best friends is getting married and I was only too happy to do this favour for her.
My blog post today is about the skills required to be a wedding photographer. Recently a request was posted on Facebook asking for recommendations for local wedding photographers. I was absolutely stunned by the number of names that were put forward to be considered. I didn't realise there were so many out there in the local area.
When you start to dig a little deeper you find that very few of the names provided are professional photographers. Many of the recommendations are for people that have a camera and feel that their technical ability is at a level where they can charge for their work. Many just have a Facebook page and no website. There are no portfolios to look through, some have hardly any examples of their work on show.
Having seen quite a few wedding photographs posted on social media I am stunned that some people have the audacity to call themselves professional photographers. The technical standard of a lot of images posted could at best be described as "snaps". Of course, if the client is happy with the quality and the price they have paid then there is not a problem. As with all things in life "you get what you pay for".
As a pro wedding photographer I would say that the qualities required would be: 1. An ability to manage people in an efficient and personable manner. 2. Excellent photographic skills and an ability to capture those special moments whatever the conditions. You should know your equipment inside out and be able to deal with any situation that may arise. 3. The photographer is at the wedding to record the occasion and should not interfere with everyones enjoyment. He/she should blend into the crowd, after all the photographer is not the star of the show, the bride is! You hear of too many photographers that act as if they are the centre of attention and that is just not the case.
My advice to anyone looking to book a photographer would be as follows: 1) Never book a photographer without seeing their portfolio, especially images of the type required. After all its no good looking at landscape images when you're booking a wedding photographer. 2) On your big day you need everything to run as smoothly as possible. Never book a photographer that you can't get on with. No matter how good a photographer is don't even consider booking them unless you connect with them. 3) Always check out recommendations yourself, don't take the word of others. After all the recommendations could all be from friends and family of the photographer. 4) A professional photographer will be insured to cover any eventualities, check this out. 5) Make sure that you agree a contract with the photographer so that both parties know exactly what is expected and what will be delivered.
The wedding that I will be shooting in August will be my first and I will be doing my best for the happy couple. My part in the wedding will be well organised and I will be working with the happy couple to produce a shot list so that I don't miss any shots that would be especially important.
Who knows this may turn out to be a side of photography that I enjoy and the start of something new. On the other hand I will be putting myself under pressure to do the best job on the day and it may be my first and last wedding.
I will post a few shots after the big day and you can all judge for yourselves whether I did a good job or not.