Happy New Year to all you newly engaged couples out there!
Things got a little easier for couples trying to find their wedding photographer when we all started putting all our stuff online. It made it easier to look through our portfolios, see what our styles were, maybe get some questions answered and you might even be able to find out about pricing and availability without ever having to actually contact the photographer.
That might be a great way to start your initial wedding photography search, but when it gets down to figuring out who you actually want to meet with, it gets a little more difficult to sort out our nitty gritty wedding photo package details.
I have lots of friends in the industry, am a professional photographer and frankly even I can’t make heads or tails of some of their packages. It’s especially difficult to figure out three things; what’s included in the pricing for rights, what’s delivered to you and how much post processing is done to the images (whether you get prints or digital rights).
Some photographers offer “Full resolution digital proofs”. What’s that? Usually proofs are low resolution and usually full resolution aren’t called “proofs”! “All the images are retouched”. Really? What exactly does that mean? For me that’s always meant they have been color corrected, contrast altered and are ready to print. But someone might think that means everything’s been photoshopped to create a perfect fantasy image of what the couple might wish their wedding looked like complete with altered backgrounds, braces removed, people photoshopped out of the images, etc. It’s subjective and it’s important for you, the consumer to totally understand what you are and aren’t getting. Are you getting images that are watermarked?
If you can figure out exactly what you anticipate you’ll be doing with your wedding photos, that will make it easier for you to ask the right questions about what your needs are. If, for example, you know you’ll be posting your images on facebook and not doing hardly any printing at all, you might be okay with low resolution (although I’m sure you’ll want to be able to print them eventually). I see lots of watermarked images appear on people’s facebook pages. Some photographers use that to copyright their images which means the couple are effectively using those images without consent, while other photographers simply watermark images so that other photographers and corporations can’t steal their work (but that’s for another blog!).
So don’t be afraid to ask questions that might seem silly or the photographer has implied that they’ve answered. Make sure you understand exactly what it is that you are purchasing and there won’t be any disappointments later.
Once you’ve figured out what you need, which photographer can deliver exactly what you’re looking for, then you look at which photographer’s images you relate to the most, who seems like the kind of person you can get along with the best, who has the most experience, timely delivery and whatever else are top priorities on your personal “must have” lists.
Happy wedding photographer shopping to all you newly engaged couples in the New Year!