How To Hire A Wedding Photographer Part II: How To Look At Pictures

July 07, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Hello, Bryan here again. I’m finally writing the last of three entries about how to pick a wedding photographer. This one is the simplest part of the whole process, how to look at pictures.

Yes this is the second part of a three part process.

Yes I wrote this one last.

Yes I know thats probably confusing. I’ll do better in the future.

But please keep reading us in the meantime. Next week Helen and I cowrite our very first blog together on boudoir sessions, and the week after Helen writes her first solo post on her super personal experience with boudoir photography! So clearly the content is going to get better.

With that said, I recommend you do three things when you look at a photographers portfolio:

  1. Find Pictures You Like: This is very important. If you are hiring a photographer and you don’t like the pictures they display of the 100 weddings they have done previously then how do you think you are going to feel about the pictures they take of your wedding? I can’t tell you what to like but I can tell you that you shouldn’t be technically grading photos unless you are a professional photographer. And even then, it doesn't;'t matter. Good photography is personal. It's not about aperture or shutter speed or any of those things. It’s about if their pictures speak to you!!! Simple as that. You like what you like and thats all thats important in this step.
  2. Find Pictures of People Who Look Like You: Frequently photographers display their best work, or what they feel is their best work. They pick the pictures that resonate with them. So you typically don’t see lots of variance in race, sexual orientation and/or body types. And thats fine if the pictures they present are of people who look like you and your loved one. However I wear a 42 inch waist in pants, so if all of the photos they display are of tall, thin, slender, white men I don’t have any proof of how a photographer manages people of my body type or skin tone. And I may end up unpleasantly surprised with the end result. 
  3. Find Pictures in Locations Like The One Where Your Wedding/Reception Is: Again, you just want to see some proof that they have done good work in a location like yours. Lots of inside photos, lots of outside photos, photos in big rooms, photos in small rooms. And as an added caution I’d be super wary of photographers who only show pictures in “natural light.”

    Natural light is just whatever light occurs in the location, with no off camera or on camera flash. Don’t get me wrong, all photographers love great natural light; but most churches and reception halls don’t have great natural light. What looks acceptable to the human eye as far as lighting is concerned typically lacks quite a bit where even professional grade cameras like my Canon 5D Mark IV’s are concerned. You want a photographer who can leverage natural light but who can also can fill the frame with light when natural light is lacking. For example, for the first dance for the couple as well as the dances when either of you dance with you parents the lights are typically dimmed. Natural light won’t cut it in this scenario.

That, in a nutshell, is how you should look at pictures to determine if a photographer can do the job you want to have done. Hope you found some information that is useful for you.


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