I am a Lansing Photographer, and as a professional photographer I thought it would be both interesting and enlightening to list the criteria I would use in choosing a photographer to shoot my wedding or special event. Following are the criteria I would use, in the order of their importance.
1. Does the photographer provide a quality product?
As a client, I would care less about the quantity of photos taken, and would be more concerned with the quality of the photos. A photo is worth a thousand words, and a single well composed photo is worth a thousand mediocre photographs. Quality may be intangible, but is often obvious when comparing photographers. Do the images taken get you to experience the same emotions as when the photos were taken? Do you get a lump in your throat or a tear in your eye when you review your images? Do you experience the joy? Can you see the emotion on your husbands face when he sees his new bride for the first time? Can you remember what your matron of honor or best man said during the toasts? Do you remember what your father whispered in your ear before giving you away to your new husband? Your photos should be able to answer these questions and evoke these emotions.
2. Do I trust the photographer?
Before hiring a photographer, I will have looked at their work and have met with the photographer to discuss my wedding or special event. From that discussion I should walk away with an assurance that the photographer understood what we were looking for and that a quality product will be produced, and I will have photos which are totally representative of the day.
3. Does the photographer provide “classic” photos?
Your photographs will be composed of both candid and posed shots. Candid shots are always the most interesting since they are unposed and unscripted. Does the photo tell a story by itself? Capturing the candid moments requires the photographer to operate in “stealth mode”, the photographer must be unobtrusive, you should not even be aware that your photographer is there. Your photos should rely on good photographic technique, and good composition, and should be less dependent on digital editing techniques. I would avoid a photographer which depends too heavily on trendy digital techniques, editing which is overdone, or questionable posing.
4. Does the photographer attention to all of the details?
Your wedding or special event should include photos of everything which made the day special and everything which has special significance. As a client, I would want photos which include wide angle shots of the special event venues, as well as macro images of placards, rings, programs, table decorations, floral arrangements, etc.
5. Does the photographer use innovative photographic techniques.
As a client, I would want to be assured that my photographer is using state of the art cameras, hardware, and editing software. I would also want to be assured that my photographer is prepared for any equipment malfunctions (they do happen) and has spare cameras, batteries, lenses, and lights. In addition to professional equipment, I would want my photographer to utilize some photographic techiques which make my images “pop”. As a client I would ask my photographer what innovative techniques he or she would utilize. Such techiques could include, conversion to black and white, multiple exposures, flash compositing images, layering, night images, etc. I would want to see what techniques the photographer is familiar with, and to see examples of some innovative techniques the photographer has used.
Is the cost reasonable for the quality of the photos and service I will be receiving? Do I “click” with the photographer? Do I trust the Photographer? Is the photographer genuinely concerned with providing me quality images of my special event?
As a photographer, I place my emphasis on the quality of the images provided with lesser emphasis on the cost. Ultimately it is the best balance between quality and cost that will lead me to identify the best photographer. It IS a balancing act between quality and cost, but the quality of the photos taken should be given a high priority.