While scrolling across my Facebook news feed today, I can across an interesting post by a wedding photographer. In his update, he clearly pointed out a very serious issue plaguing the wedding photography industry in India. Of late there has been a rising trend amongst the self-proclaimed “professional” photographers. They dress up models as brides and orchestrate a portfolio shoot inside a studio. Later, they use these photographs to convince their clients about their photography skills. Let me explain to you everything that is wrong with this.
To begin with, you must understand that when a wedding photographer is covering an actual wedding, the light, the frame, the background and other factors are not always in his/her control. For example, there might be an annoying uncle who photobombs every other frame with his pauch. There could also be the over-enthusiastic “photographer” cousin who blocks your view with his smartphone. In addition to that, you have to quick enough to adapt yourself to the various rituals. You can’t take forever to stage a great frame, as the mahurrat might just be running out. As a wedding photographer you have to take all these factors into account and still be able to churn out a fair number of good pictures for your clients.
A studio setup, on the other hand offers a very controlled environment where you can choose the colour scheme, the lights and dress up the background as you want. You can take all the time you want to compose the perfect shot before you actually release the shutter. Therefore, photographs clicked in a studio cannot be compared with those captured at a real wedding. Now comes the most serious question. If you are a bride (or a groom) who is about to tie the knot, how do you decide on the wedding photographer?
Social media has made it extremely easy for you to search for good photographer in your area. Don’t go by the number of page likes or followers a certain wedding photographer has garnered. Take a look at the pictures they have clicked. Follow their work for a considerable time before you decide to approach them with your assignment.
Once you get in touch with a wedding photographer of your choice, make sure you take a good look at their portfolio (of actual wedding they have shot). Meet with them and look carefully at the albums they have delivered to clients.
Don’t be scared to ask your photographer for contact details of their previous clients. A confident and professional photographer won’t hesitate before sharing references. Get in touch with these references and clarify all the doubts you have about the photographer. Make sure you get some information about the shooting style, quality of deliverables and time taken for post-processing.
If you come across any negative feedback, don’t rule out the wedding photographer immediately. Point it out to them and allow them to explain what went wrong. After all, you can’t judge a photographer by the mistakes he/she made five years ago. That is as long as he/she acknowledges it as an honest error and learns from the incident. An amateur photographer will immediately become defensive and resort to excuses such as “the location wasn’t good”, or worse still “the bride wasn’t pretty”. Stay away from such shams!
Have a lengthy conversation with your wedding photographer to ensure that both of you are on the same page for your big day. If you want to follow a certain theme or style of photography, communicate this well in advance. A seasoned photographer will constantly come up with ideas and suggestions to make the photographs worth remembering.
When you meet a wedding photographer, try to analyze if you and your partner feel comfortable in front of him/her. A good photographer will never rush you through the shoot or ask you to pose when you are not ready.