MISTAKE Number 2 - You think all photographers are the same.

Every photographer is different. No two are really the same. Every photographer has different equipment, and has different skills and abilities and different employees; these all bring a complete mix of abilities to their product but will not guarantee consistency across several photographers.

Photography is art and craftsmanship combined. Most people who hire photographers don’t truly understand that despite all the technological advances being made, photographers still use the same quality work habits and techniques as they did 25 years ago.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, photography is not just picking up a camera and clicking the shutter. It takes craftsmanship to turn out quality work. Photographers have to know how to capture the right moment, how to compose properly, how to expose properly and how to use light, shape and form in order to get the most flattering and artistic results and poses. This takes years of training and practice.

Communication is the key to hiring the best photographer for YOU

 • Ask what style of work they do - ask to see some samples, preferably printed samples. Images can look totally different on screen to when they are printed.

• Ask to see the wedding contract. Some will make big promises and do something else- because their contract backs them up. It should protect both parties.

• Ask to see printed sample albums from recent weddings. Some photographers do not have sample albums, run. The best album manufacturers vet their photographers for quality, if they are not good enough they will not supply the photographer. In addition some photographers pass off photobooks as albums, they are not. Albums are printed on rigid pages and lay flat, photobooks curl and are easily torn or fall apart, they will not last.

• Ask them who will be photographing your wedding. You need to meet the photographer to make sure you can all get on together.

• Ask them how long it will take to see the images after the wedding. It should be around two weeks to ensure that you see properly edited images. If they want to laeve you a disc on the day, the images will not be edited. If it is longer than two weeks they are overwhelmed by the job and cannmot cope.

• Ask them if they retouch or enhance the final images. Properly edited images can be very different to what comes out of the camera.

• Ask them what it will cost and exactly what do you get - approximately how many images are included. Only then can you compare quotes between photographers.

* Ask them how many weddings they’ve photographed.

* Ask to see a physical sample of the album type that is included. Only then can you judge its value to you. It is always recommended to get an album; if you opt for just a disc then you may loose the images on your PC, crashes happen, discs get lost or scratched. If you cant stretch to a good album at the time ask the cost of supplying an album at a later date.

* Ask them (this is a good one) what their philosophy is on wedding photography.

Wedding photography is not a generic product, every wedding is different. Ask these and other relevant questions and it will become obvious who the right choice will be for you. You will notice a marked difference in attitude, quality, creativity and experience. Remember, this is your special day. Do you want to hire an amateur to take experimental photos or a pro who will create a masterpiece?

More to come in this series.

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