Photographer Focus – Scott Collier’s Top Tips For Choosing Your Photographer
Scott Collier is a top photographer, wholly recommended by Red Hat Magic. I asked him for useful for tips and advice.
Two photographers are better than one – especially if one is a boy and the other a girl. Using a team of male and female photographers means that the boys can be boys (!) and the girls can relax having a woman photographer following the early preparations.
Be sure that the photographerʼs assistant is an experienced photographer in their own right, contributing to the key images recorded during the day.
Two photographers can also make the formal photos appear spontaneous. One can be capturing a formal image from the front, while the second can secretly take photos from the side. It’s one of the simple yet clever ways your photographer can capture natural, spontaneous images.
Find out how many meetings your photographer is prepared to have with the family – including a reconnaissance of the venue – included in the price. Personal photographic stories can only be told by a photographer who has taken time to get to know the family – not just the bride and groom.
Ask about equipment. With top quality, frighteningly expensive photographic equipment, your images will be so sharp and beautiful that even rain will not be able to spoil your day. Even if you don’t know the difference between a Nikon D3100 or a D40x, it doesnʼt matter. You can always find someone – on a photographerʼs online forum for example – who can advise on whether your photographer is using top of the range equipment. Donʼt be afraid to ask what camera and lenses your photographer will be using on the day. If the cost on Amazon would leave you breathless, then itʼs probably very good kit.
Imagine that you’re a bird, sitting in a tree, watching your wedding day unfold.
- What do you want that bird to see?
- How would you like your friends, the day after your wedding, to talk about what they experienced?
- What do you want them to be saying?
Your answers to those questions will have a specific influence on what I as a wedding photographer will see through the viewfinder, and how I represent your vision through the medium of photography. When I take those photographs of you and your family and friends, I will be able to capture images just the way you want them, because I will not only know what kind of photos you like – I will understand the mood and atmosphere that those photographs need to portray representing the wedding day just how you envisage it to be.
Irrespective of who you use as your photographer, there are three fundamental elements you need to know about if that relationship is to be successful. Three key things that you should insist are included as part of the service.
Do you own the digital negatives?
Firstly – make sure the photographs are owned by you, through a license of assignment, allowing you to reproduce the images wherever you want. Legally, the photographer owns the rights to the photographs, and many people get caught out by this – so please don’t be one of them. Just so you know, at weddingsido™ we always provide all the post produced images on a disc as part of our service, and we never charge extra.
How much do reprints cost?
Which leads me onto the second key requirement – avoiding financial exploitation. Old-school photographers retain the copyright of your images and oblige you to get your reprints through them sometimes charging as much as £15 per print. Luckily, because we assign you all your images, with weddingsido™ you can print your images anywhere you like. But very conveniently, at my photo shop in Mayfair we can offer high street prices so you won’t need to look very far for those extra enlargements, canvas prints or fun anniversary gifts over the years.
Look at the eyes
I know it sounds obvious, but does the photographer take the kind of photos that you actually like? For example, if you want naturalistic, spontaneous images of your wedding, don’t choose a photographer who shows you photos of people all looking at the camera. Formal images have their place, but we usually use two photographers and grab more relaxed images even during the formal set-ups and those are the images our brides usually pick for their final albums.
My relationship with my brides begins from the moment they engage me prior to the wedding, through meetings getting to know exactly how they want their images to be and creative discussions about the use of the venues to provide context to those images, through the wedding day itself which is a key staging post in the whole creative process (but only part of an ongoing photographic service), right through to the care and attention we provide in helping you and your families to best enjoy those images.
I don’t just listen – I write down in detail in a full wedding plan all the important information, so you will be able to relax on the day and know that weddingsido™ will provide exactly the right kind of pictures of all the key people, and many other spontaneous and beautiful images to record the full story of your wedding day from start to finish.
We are photographing a day that will only ever happen once. No retakes. That’s why we make sure to get it just right on the day, and to deliver a service far beyond your expectations.
Make sure that the wedding photographer you choose will not just turn up with a ‘plan in their head’ – they should have something tangible that you can see and discuss with them.
The Full Monty
Taking great photos is only part of what a photographer should provide. Let me explain. For example, we don’t just hand you a disc of hundreds of images after the wedding day and leave you to it.
Of course not.
We provide contact sheets and will personally help to guide you to choosing the images that best reflect your own personal tastes, and we can also suggest great ways to share those images with friends and families via moving slideshows on CDs, framed enlargements or canvas prints. All at high street prices from our shop in Mayfair.
It’s so easy
The whole process needs to be one of creative interaction and you being able to relax and know that your wedding will be photographed by experienced professionals who will not be needy of you on the day.
We achieve this by
creating a detailed wedding plan which we develop with you through meetings prior to the big day; by providing ways of friends and family to come direct to us if they want reprints or enlargements via a dedicated website page of your wedding images and by making sure that you get a full service for the agreed fee with no surprises further down the line. Which is why we provide you with the digital negatives at no extra charge.
Always ask to see client testimonials. Check out your photographer with previous brides – the photographer is a key personality at your wedding and you need to make sure that they will be a welcome addition. Many of my ‘brides’ keep in contact via Facebook – here is a comment from one of them
“OMG Scott, the portfolio is amazing. I didn’t expect that many photos and they’re all gorgeous. Really beautiful. Thanks again so much.”