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Who Should You Choose for Your Photographer?

Choosing a photographer for your wedding is one of your most important vendor decisions. Photographers vary in their personality, their photographic style, how they work with the wedding party, how much experience they have, the quality of the equipment they use, the packages they provide, as well as the final products they produce. So you’re not just hiring someone to take pictures. No matter how you look at it, you’re getting a package deal. The question is, what will the package include?

The Package Deal
Many photographers today include their photographs on a DVD. The wise bride or groom will ask if those photographs have been edited.  I too have a no-edit package.  My Bronze Package includes all the photos but no editing.  Photographs that are completely unedited can vary a great deal in terms of how good they could be.  Yes, many photographs that were properly lit and exposed will look fine but with editing can look “very professional”.  Edited photographs can take a dark image and make it look spectacular.  I have photographs, such as the one below that is not the best because of the brides dark eyes, but after editing and working on the image it has since become one of my favorites.

Original unedited photograph

Straight from the camera

After editing

Ashley Walk2

If the photographer states that digital negatives are included on the DVD, be wary that these may be unedited photographs. James Studio edits every photograph customers receive (accept for the Bronze Package). Photographs that are used in albums, those which are purchased online, and those which are enlarged, are all given additional editing time. This makes them superior photographs like the ones you see on this web site.

Heart Throb

Second, ask whether the photographs you receive will be of a high-resolution quality. Many photographers only provide a low-resolution version that only has enough resolution available for printing small 4 x 6- or 5 x 7-inch photographs. James Studio provides high-resolution photographs that can be printed in any standard size.

Third, you need to consider what is included in the package. Does the package include an album? Albums included in our packages are a significant savings over an album purchased separately. If you want a professional, heirloom-quality album, think about choosing a package that includes an album. The more expensive the package, the better the quality of the album and number of sides it includes.

An inside page of a James Studio album.
Another inside page of a James Studio album.

But packages can also include engagement sessions, reception-growing-up-video slide shows, enlargements and wall portraits. So pay attention to what is included in the package.

The Photographer
As part of the package deal you’re not just getting pictures and albums, you’re also hiring a photographer. So what qualities should you look for in a photographer? In some ways the answer is obvious. You look at the photographer’s work and decide on whether you like the pictures or not. Also, when speaking with a photographer you need to decide on whether you are comfortable with this person. Does the person seem competent and relaxed? Does the photographer ask questions about you?  Is the photographer interested in your story?

Also consider the art value of the photographer brings.   When you look at the photographer’s pictures, is there a blurred background? In most photos it should be.  Not every picture has to have a blurred background; portraits and formal pictures often do not. But artistic pictures often do have  an attractive out-of-focus blur. If the photographer does not produce pictures that have a blurred background or don’t position the bride & groom with different or interesting backgrounds then the pictures are likely going to be either very formal or un-artistic.

Who You Should Not Hire As Your Photographer
You should not hire a photographer whose pictures you do not like, whose pictures are not artistic, or whose pictures do not have the subject in clear focus. You should not hire someone whom you consider to be too proud or stand offish, kind of quirky, unreliable, too busy, or unavailable. In addition, you should not use a friend or relative to shoot your wedding.

Why You Should Not Choose a Friend or Relative to Shoot Your Wedding
Choosing a friend or relative to photograph your wedding can result in huge savings. However, don’t let this motivating factor blind you to other issues when considering who to hire for your once-in-a-lifetime wedding photographer.

It has been a hard lesson for me to learn, but my wife has convinced me that it is inappropriate to try to sell things to my friends, family, and even neighbors. Why? Because if they buy something, they may do it out of a feeling of obligation, and if they don’t buy, it can cause stress in the relationship. So let’s suppose your friend or relative offers to photograph your wedding. If you are not altogether happy with the photographs, it will likely create hurtful feelings between you. And if the person is not a professional who shoots weddings frequently, you’ll likely be disappointed.

Let’s suppose that your friend or relative offers to do this job for very little or no money. Remember–photography done right is a very big job and could constitute the most generous gift of your wedding. The person or persons shooting the wedding may, out of a generous heart, want to do it for free, but may find it to be a burdensome task in the end. It is a significant investment of time, and if it is done well, it will be much more than you imagine. This whole process may strain your relationship or strain an internal relationship with a spouse who may not feel as generous! In addition, the friend or relative might do better by simply enjoying that day with the others rather than working.

Be sure to ask the photographer if the images will be edited before you receive them.  As shown in the first point of this article, it is a fundamental factor for having professional looking images.   Unless you have very low expectations or plan to edit them yourself, you will not be happy with the photography if the images are not edited.   However, editing alone can take 15-25 hours for one wedding.  A wedding generally produces 1,000 to 1,800 digital images.  Therefore, by having your photography done by a friend or family member you will likely either get substandard images OR you will be getting a gift that is way beyond other gifts because of the time needed to do the job right.

Ashley Bubbles

In many cases a friend or relative wanting to help you out will not have the experience and artistic eye to know how to arrange people to get quality, artistic photographs. In addition, their photographic equipment is likely marginal at best for producing professional-looking photographs. A professional photographer has professional cameras, lenses and off camera lighting that helps to produce quality photographs. And a professional photographer has the experience to guide you through your wedding day to make it all happen more smoothly and joyfully.

At James Studio we are interested in helping you enjoy your day.  We provide fun, contemporary images and utilize our experience to achieve creativity and color-rich photography.  James Studio provides a business model that is relationship oriented and we use some of the best equipment available.   If you hire James Studio you will be cared for along the way.

If you are interested in our services you can reach me at (608) 233-5556 we are located at 2611 University Avenue.

By James Bendewald