In my last blog entry, I talked about why personality is important when looking for your photographer. If you missed it, you can check it out here. This week, I want to focus on the portfolio. Because if your photographer doesn't have one, you need to know that.
It's possible that you're looking for a student or newbie, in which case, you don't need to see a portfolio. Perhaps YOU'RE going to be the portfolio. That's OK, too...just know that you're also going to be the practice session/wedding. Practice makes perfect and every beginning photographer needs to start somewhere. In those early practice sessions and weddings, there WILL be mistakes. And at a wedding, there will be a LOT of mistakes and missed moments you can never relive. You need to know that ahead of time.
For those of you who don't wish to be the guinea pig, this particular blog entry is for you.
When you visit a photographer's website, you're going to see their favorite images - the absolute best they have to offer. That's initially important because if you don't like what you see - it doesn't get better than that. So, you should keep looking.
But even more than that initial impression - THAT'S THE BEST THEY HAVE TO OFFER. So what does the rest of their work look like? For all you know, they have three good images from their last wedding or family session and the rest of the album is terrible. Maybe the ceremony was outside during the golden hour and they had awesome lighting, so those images are amazing. But the reception was in a dark room with very little lighting to help them out and since they don't how to adjust their camera accordingly, or don't have external lighting they can bring with them, the reception photos are dark and grainy.
This is critical to know because I assume you don't want five good photos. I assume you want a fabulous gallery of your entire day/night. In 20 years, when you're browsing through family photos and you realize this was the last family picture you took with Grandma, you'll either be grateful for the quality image, or you'll wish you had one. And those wedding pictures? Those and the ring he places on your finger are the ONLY things you'll have left to remember your special day.
When you're interviewing your potential photographer, ask her/him for a couple of sample weddings or family sessions from which you can see the entire gallery. How did they handle the formal pictures? Were they able to combat the bright sun for that outside ceremony? Do they have lighting for your nighttime reception that is outdoors and pitch black? What if there is NO sun at all? Can they accommodate your needs?
Don't be shy. Make sure their portfolio represents what you need for your own pictures. These are memories you can't recreate - make sure they're captured properly.
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