Professionalism In Wedding Photography
As a photographer, one of the most worrisome things I hear people say is “my so-and-so (fill in the blank – brother, uncle, etc) just got a new camera for Christmas and is going to shoot my wedding”. Admittedly, I cringe just a little bit probably like a doctor would if they heard someone say “my brother just got a new scalpel for Christmas and is going to perform my heart surgery”. The fact of the matter is that wedding photography is a highly specialized field and having a fancy camera does not qualify the user as a professional. So what qualities define professionalism in photography? I’ve listed a few below:
#1 Business License – a business license in and of itself does not qualify someone to photograph a wedding, however the lack of a business license would indicate that the person in question is not operating a professional, full time business.
#2 Extensive Portfolio – The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. An experienced professional photographer should be able to show you several weddings that they themselves have photographed, ideally in some of the locations you might be considering having your wedding.
#3 Past Client/Vendor Referrals – Anyone can buy an ad in a magazine, put a commercial on TV, or stick a sign in the ground in front of a convenience store trumpeting their virtues, but what you hear from other wedding vendors and past clients is really what you should take to heart. Since wedding vendors rely on one another to do their jobs correctly they are unlikely to refer someone, especially a photographer, who has caused them problems. Referrals from other wedding vendors are a good indication of the professional quality of a photographer. Referrals from past clients are even more important.
#4 Price – There is not necessarily a right or wrong price for photographic services but I would caution you to really do your homework on anyone who is priced significantly below the market average. Running a photography studio is not an inexpensive endeavor. There is a good deal of overhead involved in operating the business. A full time photographer relies on their business for their livelihood and that means, in order to be successful, that they are fully committed to their craft. This is good news for a perspective client because when a wedding photographer is committed to their craft that means they are also committed to you! A hobbyist, by definition, does not have the same type of vested interest in their photography, is likely to have another job during the week, and can therefore get by with charging very little for their services.
This concludes my thoughts on professionalism. I hope this information will prove to be insightful and helpful as you are planning your spectacular, once in a lifetime wedding.
Dry Heat Photography