Thursday, June 03, 2010

"There's a lot of wack MC's gettin' paid when their rhymes don't rhyme, ya-know-msayin!"

When i meet with wedding clients i will often ask them how their process of finding a wedding photographer has gone so far, and i always hear "Well we've looked at a lot of wedding photographers so far but there's so many to chose from and we really don't know what we're looking for" Then i ask them why they chose to meet with me, and i always hear "Well, we just liked your work."  I always like to hear that :) I like to hear that because it means my work is speaking for itself. It doesn't matter if you have the best gear, or if you're the best networked person on Facebook, or if you come up on the first page of Google. Your work should speak for itself. If I had to make a list of things for people to look for in a photographer (besides the business aspect of things), i would say look at their work. Their work will tell you if they are a new or an experienced photographer. Their work will tell you if they are a person who is capable of handling the responsibilities and technical aspects of being a professional photographer....especially on your wedding day.  So here are a few things to look out for when searching through the interwebs for the right photographer.

Ok, we start out with an original image. Properly exposed, not too dark or too light, lots of detail in the dress, while maintaining the details in the shadows, skin tones look accurate. This is what you're looking for.

The second image is completely blown out, almost all the detail in the dress is lost. Brides pay thousands of dollars for a wedding dress, if you can't capture the detail of it, what's the difference between a burnt out wedding dress and a cotton bed sheet?

The third image is all about shadows. They give any image definition. In this shot the blacks were completely lost and her head seems to blend in with the background giving the image a 2D effect. Again, this is NOT what you want.
 Image #4!!! Bad white balance/editing.  Skin should be made to look vibrant and healthy.  A photographer should know how to edit and color correct the images to look natural. I often see lovely yellow/greenish skin tones that make me wonder if people are sick. Hopefully not.
 Image #5: The Vintage Look. Not bad for 1 or 2 images in a shoot if the mood of the image suits the vintage look. I think some photographers go overkill though, editing entire shoots with this one look. Kind of a fad if you ask me...what happens in 10 years down the road when the fad is no longer in style?  My opinion is: Good photography is Timeless. It means that 10 years down the road when you pull out all the old photos they won't leave you scratching your head wondering why your wedding photos look so weird....and vintage.

Image #6: Hahahaha I love this one. I call this the "kind of sorta almost in focus" lol! If you're browsing through websites checking out any professional photographers work, it should be TACK SHARP and in focus in the right places. For example when shooting a head shot or portrait, 99% of the time any head shot should be focused on the eyes. Not the of their head...shoulder...or collar.  Any classic portrait is about the eyes. There are always exceptions to the rule though and when you see an experienced photographer break those rules, they are intentional and obvious.
Image 7: The Tilter.... Yes, we're all guilty of a little tilting now and then but you have to know when to tilt. An artistic tilt can give an image a lot of strength if it's done properly. Even I was a chronic tilter, it's a hard habit to break. If you're cruising galleries where all of the images are tilted, it might make you wonder if the photographer is able to take a straight picture on purpose. Last time i checked the earth wasn't falling to one side...(let me go check again.....) yep still the same.

Image 8. Over-sharpening. This causes the images to look unnatural and cartoonish. A little bit of sharpening can add a lot of punch to an image though.
 Image 9: Over-saturating.  Sure, nice bright vibrant colors are great and add a lot of life to an image but over saturating an image makes the image look way too altered and fake. Notice how my bride here has instantly turned into an Oompa Loompa.

So that's it! That's my opinion on what to look for and what to avoid when searching out a qualified wedding photographer.  I hope it helps!