How Do You Choose a Wedding Photographer?
Step 1: Choose a dominant style
When choosing a wedding photographer, one of the first things to consider is style. The style of a photo can be hard to put into words. So I like to simplify things a bit and divide style into two broad categories.
What are the two broad styles of wedding photography? Make and Take. The categories refer to both the way the photographer works and the look of the photographs they produce.
Photographers who “make” photos are concerned with orchestrating people and events to create beautiful photos.
“Make photographers”(traditional portrait photographers, fashion photo-graphers, etc.) control what is in front of the camera.
”Make photographers” spend a good portion of a wedding day asking people to pose in a variety of settings.
Sometimes they put people into situations and let them react naturally to each other. I call these photos "fandids" or fake candids.
Good “make photographers” use their ability to orchestrate people and props to create visually interesting photos.
Albums designed by "make photographers" usually include as many, if not more, spreads of posed photos as candid photos.
Photographers who “take” photos are more concerned with capturing the essence of the people and events they photograph.
"Take photographers” (photojournalists, documentary photographers, etc.) let events happen naturally. They blend into the background, taking a ninja-like approach to documenting your big day.
Good “take photographers” use their ability to see the intersection of strong compositions and peak moments to create photos that surprise and delight.
Albums designed by "take photographers" tell the story of your wedding with candid photographs that depict action, interaction, personality, context and details. Posed photos take up less then 20 percent of an album design.
Do I Have to Choose One Style or the Other?
Nope, you don't have to choose between the two. Most wedding photographers/photojournalists will actually do at least a little of both.
What you should ask yourself is whether you prefer a photographer whose passion is controlling what is going on in the frame, or one whose passion is capturing the essence of what is actually happening.
If you study at a photographer’s portfolio and album designs, his or her passion will show through.
(Oh, and here's another clue. Ask a photographer how much time you should set aside for posed photos. A 'make photographer' will likely suggest 2-3 hours. A 'take photographer' will likely suggest paring down posed time to 30-45 minutes.)