Reading the title of this article you are probably Wedding Photographer NJ what attitude has to do with photography or your wedding; to my thinking an awful lot!
The Wedding Press, Wedding Blogs and Photographers web sites are full of advice on choosing your photographer. The Press and Wedding Blog writers will emphasize such as carefully looking at previous weddings they have shot, looking at the quality of Albums they sell, carefully considering the price, looking at ways of reducing the price, asking for a free engagement shoot, or asking for a disc only shoot and making your own Album etc etc. While Photographers web site will wax lyrically about their qualifications with a professional body, their insurance level, what their packages include, how many hours they will spend with you, how low their price is or justifying how high their price is!
Although all of the above are valid ways of searching for your Wedding Photographer it is wise to look at these tangibles before explaining why Attitude is vitally important in your choice.
- Previous Wedding Images – For sure any Photographer is only going to show you his best work in print, firstly because it would be madness to show you average or bad work and secondly the cost of producing multiple sample albums is prohibitive.
- Looking at Album Quality – Sample Album quality is directly relational to price up to a point. A photographer who values his work and puts time and effort into correctly processing your images will only use high quality Albums from established Album Printers. Why would someone who values their own work offer you a cheap coffee table book from a mass market producer.
- Look at ways to reduce cost – If you need to reduce cost at your wedding you need to reduce it across the board. There is a price point for Photographers below which it does not make economic sense to work – although you will always find some who will if you do not value the photographic memories. Few Photographers can find weddings to shoot 5 days a week 48 weeks of the year, then there is the time needed on top of a Wedding for meetings with the Bride & Groom, processing the images (a minimum of 2 x the wedding booking), transport to and from the wedding, insurance and lets not forget equipment (which unlike your home camera will wear out & get damaged).
- Free Engagement Shoot – Well done you get something for free, if a photographer is prepared to do it for free then he has worked it into his price already or he has made the decision that you have booked and paid the deposit so if you don’t get on with him and cancel after the engagement shoot he has your deposit.
- Disc Only – There is a market for shoot to Disc but for the photographer it relies on high volume number of weddings a year on this single package. It is often favored by new start up photographers as a way of quickly building up a number of weddings. Lets be honest 40 weddings a year at $500 is not a bad supplement to a full time income but would never cover the costs of a full time business. If anybody did a study of those Brides opting for Disc Only Photography I am sure it would show that less than 20% ever have any of the pictures printed, they just end up on social media. Most photographers would be happy to give you your Album images perfectly prepared for Social Media anyway.
The 2 big things that Photographers will tell you about are:
- Insurance – This should be a given and something every bride should ask about. Personal Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance are a must. Unfortunately, just like car drivers, there are those who will not have it either to save money or out of ignorance. Just like the uninsured driver, you will get little recompense from an uninsured photographer if something goes drastically wrong or their actions injure one of your guests.
- Professional Membership – to my knowledge there are about 10 ‘Professional Photographic Organizations’ in the USA and 6 in the UK and no doubt similar numbers in other Countries. In the USA and the UK none of them are Mandatory. For most Membership is as easy as paying $2-300 per year. Any qualifications awarded by one particular organization are rarely recognized by another and are, in general rescinded when you stop paying your membership. In reality you can gain a qualification with one organization at age 20 and as long as you continue to pay your membership you will have hat qualification at 50 without anybody assessing your ability in between!