10 mistakes to avoid choosing a wedding photographer

For a conscious and unrepentant choice

So far in this blog we have dealt with giving you a series of tips on the many subjects that revolve around wedding photography and videography, all based on "what to do" or "how to do it". Now let's reverse the point of view and put ourselves in your shoes, those of a couple that is looking for a wedding photographer: after giving you many ideas on "what to do" now we tell you "what not to do", or how to avoid the most common mistakes you might make choosing your photographer.

Once the wedding day has passed, in addition to your personal memories will last those told through the photographs: it is therefore important that the latter are the result of the vision of a photographer you have full confidence and that will be able to make you go back in time and relive those same authentic emotions.
If you are reading this article, it means that you care a lot about this type of memory and you are not part of those couples who underestimate the importance of the best photo shoot for their wedding: you are already on the right path, now you just have to stay there!

Let's start with the 10 mistakes to avoid choosing a wedding photographer!

10 mistakes to avoid choosing a wedding photographer

Read on to avoid trivial mistakes like this!

1. Not hiring your wedding photographer for the whole day

Above all, two reasons lead some married couples — fortunately less and less — to give up the photographs of a part of the day: savings and the belief that it is needless to have photographic memories of certain times of the day, such while they're getting ready.

Well, nothing could be more wrong!

First, the savings would be so small that it would have no impact on the wedding budget: a wedding photographer would still reserve the whole day for you, not being able to attend two weddings on the same day — and if he did, he would behave professionally incorrect even if they were two incomplete services.
Given that we are faced with a professional photographer who manages one wedding per day, reducing his work by a few hours would not proportionally decrease the cost of the wedding photo shoot, but would only present a small discount which would correspond the total absence of memories of a significant part of the day. Do you find any "convenience" in this?

A photo of a bride while she's getting ready

Valentina's look while she's getting ready

Whatever part of the day it is, in fact, you cannot know a priori what could happen: a surprise you don't expect, a friend who is moved looking at you, a particularly intense hug, any emotion that passes through your eyes.
It's always the right time to capture an emotion, a memory that you can relive in the future.

Also do not underestimate the power of a story: it is one thing to tell your wedding day starting from the ceremony, quite another to be able to tell it from the beginning, with the emotion that gradually grows within you and those close to you.

2. Not meeting the photographer before the wedding

The photographer, not only on your wedding day, but also before and after, will be many things:

  • the person in charge of giving you the memories of the whole day, as much as possible in line with your tastes;
  • the person to whom you will entrust the memories of one of the most beautiful and exciting days of your life;
  • your eyes, where you won't look;
  • a friend with the camera and not a stranger who will show up in front of you (at least as we live this job);
  • a trusted consultant to contact even before the wedding;
  • a person who will spend the entire wedding day with you;
  • the one who will portray you even in moments of intimacy, in which you would normally be alone;
  • the professional who will follow you during the editing and photo book designing phase.

A photographer whose face cannot be seen while taking a photo

Know well who will be on the other side of the camera

Such a person, who will be the custodian of all these responsibilities, must be chosen with great accuracy: how can you do it, if you don't meet him? How do you know if you are comfortable in his presence, if you have never looked each other in the eye?
Even if you are physically distant, today you have no excuse: technology comes to our aid and allows meetings, albeit virtual ones, via video call. And it is of fundamental importance to do so, to understand if that particular wedding photographer inspires confidence, frankness, tranquility and safety. Among other things, such a meeting is the only way you have to be able to ask a series of questions that will allow you to make your assessments and choose your photographer having all the available information in your possession.

3. Not having an engagement photo shoot session

There are many reasons to have an engagement photo shoot session. And they all have a positive meaning that makes it almost indispensable!

First of all, it makes you more accustomed, before the wedding, to be the main subject of the photographs by a professional photographer. In fact, our couples have hardly had a modeling past: spending a few hours in the company of your wedding photographer will not only be a fun experience (I can assure you!), but it will allow you to live the moments of the wedding totally forgetting about your photographer.
Empathy will grow among you, it will be easier to let you go and be completely natural.

Let's move on to the second point in favor. You know we like to tell stories with our photographs and films. An engagement photo shoot session allows us to tell not the extraordinary nature of the wedding day, but your daily life as a couple. We can in facnt plan the engagement photo shoot in the places you live in everyday life, in a place that is important to you, in a totally new place for you to tell about specific emotions... or even in all three the types of places! Don't set limits and organize everything together with your photographer: as you can see, this part can be fun and full of ideas!
Having full freedom, you can also think about using different attires during the same photo session or, depending on the story you want to tell, the exact same attire in completely different places.

A couple kissing each other photographed during an engagement photo shoot

Marcela and Luis during their engagement photo shoot

Obviously the needs change depending on whether or not you live in the place where you organize the engagement photo shoot, but you will always be there, an image of your love and your story: for us, telling it will always be exciting!

4. Underestimating the importance of the wedding film

Since behind every video by Andrea there is always a long search in terms of "how to tell a story", from the soundtrack through the camera movements and the color to the editing, we like to talk more of wedding films than wedding videos. Not because a real film is being made, which certainly requires greater effort in many areas, but precisely to underline the artistic, artisan side and the chiseling work behind every film that is delivered.

Today finally wedding films have managed to conquer their place next to photography, but sometimes some couples choose not to make it, for the most varied reasons.
I'm in no position to judge such choices, but I would like to highlight some aspects of the wedding films that are often underestimated and that can lead to wrong choices.

Let's assume that the film is a different way of telling stories than photographs, but let's analyze these differences in detail:

Moving images
It may be trivial, but watching "moving images" is deeply different from a static image: if the photographer has to be able to tell a story in every single photograph, with video clips the operator can show the movement of the subjects or can make movements with the camera in order to arouse particular emotions. It is therefore not an instant immortalized in an image, but something constantly evolving which, if harmonized with the soundtrack and editing (which I will analyze below), is able to transmit completely different sensations from a splendid photograph.

Inserting external clips
While in a wedding photo shoot I as a photographer usually limit myself to the pictures of the wedding day or the ones taken during an engagement photo shoot, with the film you can go much further, using different clips from those shot during the wedding, in order to tell the story of the couple. Can be used Clips of video, also amateur, suitable for the purpose: a holiday a few years earlier, a birthday or a Valentine's Day celebrated in a special way, a situation of a film to which the couple love and archive footage of the couple in general: take a look at the film gallery ,you will find many creative examples of how Andrea uses them!

Editing and color
Editing is another essential element that allows the filmmaker to radically differentiate one film from another. It's the main way Andrea uses to personalize each wedding film: not only is it possible to change the order in which a story unfolds, but also to characterize it from the aspect point of view, just like I do with the photos. During the editing phase, it is also decided whether and how to insert the external clips in order to tell a story just like in a movie!

Soundtrack: music, live-recorded audio and audio effects
Everything that concerns the audio part of the video is essential: bad audio can ruin even an excellent editing, because it compromises its immersion. By "audio" I mean not only the soundtrack, which is a carrier of the images it accompanies, but also the "live" audio of what happens and any sound effects added during the editing phase.
The soundtrack must be a means to comment on the images and to excite or move the viewer: therefore, it must not distract, but accompany the images in the best way. Live audio is essential to give you memories also in terms of voices, phrases, intonations, sounds and noises that really spread from you and around you.

The teaser of Elitsa and Zdravko Destination Wedding in Rome

As much as I love photography, all this cannot be contained in a single photograph or in an entire photo shoot: photo and film are two different and complementary ways to tell the same story, the story of your love and your wedding.

5. Giving the photographer a list of the shots you would like

After a long and careful research you have finally chosen who will be your wedding photographer. You met him, you asked him many questions, you realized that there is a good understanding between you. In short, he is the person you trust so you hire him!

After that you obviously keep watching Pinterest and Instagram because you're excited for your wedding, then you get the unhealthy idea of saving dozens of photos and sending them to your wedding photographer, asking that you would like that exact photographs.
Why? Yet you chose him carefully, you had the opportunity to look at his works, to find out about his way of working and he completely satisfied you!

A couple looking a laptop

Are you also looking for your wedding photographer together? I hope so!

But think about what I'm going to write to you. You are asking the wedding photographer for photos that:

  • were not taken by him;
  • were taken at a wedding that isn't yours;
  • have for subjects people who are not you;
  • would be the copy (perhaps even uglier) of other photographs;
  • would be shot without any creativity.

Are you still convinced that it is a good idea to send your wedding photographer the list of the photos you would like?

6. Not requesting a second photographer for certain needs

As you know if you have visited the page containing our offer, the wedding photo shoot is offered with my only presence, because I can manage a full event on my own; the second photographer is optional. Some colleagues make up their offer like me, others still provide a single "package" including the presence of two photographers (or a photographer and an "assistant", that is a photographer with little experience).
In general you could therefore find yourself in the condition of having a single photographer and at the same time some special needs, such as:

  • bride and groom is getting ready in places very distant in space;
  • you need to have photographs of all the guests;
  • you want the set-up of the ceremony place and the venue to be photographed in every detail, perhaps even during the implementation phase;
  • you want pictures of all the dishes both during the buffet and during the dinner;
  • you would like to have a photobooth service during the reception;
  • more than 12 hours of work are needed.

The company of the ring

Sometimes teamwork is essential!

The examples I have reported are real, therefore requests that may seem eccentric to you, for other couples are important and must be respected. My advice is therefore to talk a lot with your photographer and to clarify well what you expect from the photo shoot: in some cases it will turn out that there is no compatibility between you, in others it will be found the solution to any problem that might arise in order to satisfy all your requests.
In our case, as you have already guessed, we do everything possible to satisfy you and we will be clear from the outset whether or not there is a need to have a second or even a third support photographer to cover particular requests. Since these are different needs, each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

7. Not organizing an Unplugged Wedding

Everybody has an uncle, a cousin, a friend who is passionate about photography. Among us professional photographers this typical figure, who inevitably presents himself at every wedding although he is always a different person, is called Uncle Bob. It is the guy who will probably be part of the background of many of your photographs, equipped with a lot of good will, but who will end up inexorably finding himself with his camera in the wrong place at the wrong time, namely in our shots.

In recent years the problem has worsened exponentially, given that everyone has a smartphone capable of taking pictures and shooting videos: there is therefore no longer a single Uncle Bob with his camera, but dozens of people seem to want to shoot the wedding day from their smartphone rather than live it.
The saddest moment is the bride's entrance. It is a long-awaited moment, the excitement rises immediately after the groom's entrance (almost muted), everyone leans to see the bride appear from afar, perhaps in backlight. And as soon as the bride approaches, everyone turns to the screen and looks at the entrance from there. Dozens of smartphones, micro-cameras installed on extension tools and in some cases even tablets, are vulgarly wide open towards the bride, with their strong disturbing lights, ruining one of the most beautiful moments of the day: the meeting of the couple, surprised and excited each other.

A dad who films with his smartphone her daughter the bride immediately after the ceremony

A nice moment after the ceremony, with the bride's dad filming his congratulations by himself!

If you want to give yourself and your guests genuine moments and emotions, organize an Unplugged Wedding: is enough a sign at the entrance of the venue for the ceremony and a call from the celebrant not to use phones, tablets and cameras at least during the ceremony. Or you can start communicating your desire right from the invitations. The sign instead can be written in many ways, fun and nice, always in line with the style of your wedding.

We will take care of guaranteeing you the best memories from a photographic and video point of view. Your guests will enjoy the ceremony without distraction and your photographs will also benefit.

8. Not letting managed the civil ceremony

Also for this point you must thank Uncle Bob and his many friends: during ceremonies with a civil or symbolic rite it happens very often that the guests, to get closer to you, out of curiosity, to look better or for who knows what other reason, they get up from their place and begin to wander in the area in charge of the ceremony.
In this way they create confusion, push other people to imitate them and obviously ruin the visual impact of the ceremony, which obviously will be portrayed by the photographer, who will hardly be able to get all the people back in place without missing important moments of the ceremony.

An outdoor ceremony without any Uncle Bob

A ceremony well managed, without unwanted people in the background

It is therefore of fundamental importance to delegate someone to manage the guests:

  • before the ceremony, giving them instructions on where to sit down and how to behave during the ceremony
  • at the beginning of the ceremony itself, summarizing the rules that guests must respect
If you have a wedding planner, of course, he/she will take care of it before the ceremony. Otherwise you could delegate some person in charge of the location or, if you really could not manage a figure who can take care of it, a couple of friends you can count on.
As for the brief summary of the rules at the beginning of the ceremony (which could also include the invitation to celebrate an Unplugged Wedding), the celebrant can certainly deal with it.

9. Not providing a lighting system for the dance floor

Almost all the weddings we attended, both as professionals and as guests, ended with a dance session or surely had one during the day. Since wedding locations usually have a very distant appearance from a disco dance floor, if you do not take precautions, you will end up with an environment perhaps even very elegant, but not very stimulating for dancing.
In order to get the best result from the point of view of the wedding photos and film during the dances, I recommend you to provide a powerful lighting system and perhaps the use of special effects such as a smoke or fog machine. In the case of the fog machine, make sure that it does not make the dance floor slippery to avoid unpleasant accidents.

Obviously it all depends also on the genre of music that you have planned for your wedding: traditional music does not combine well with a disco-style lighting system and iares instead more suitable outdoor bonfires, around which to play music and dance.
The point is therefore always to enhance with scenographic elements any place that will host the dance floor.

A bride on the dance floor

A smoke machine and a powerful lighting system allow this type of photography

Have just one precaution: don't use lasers. Although lasers are completely harmless to our eyes, there are some that are very dangerous for our cameras: the risk is that they damage the sensor, with the consequent damage of many hundreds of euros. If there are lasers, many wedding photographers (myself included) may refuse to take pictures during the balls to avoid damaging their equipment. And it would be a shame not to be able to have memories of such a fun moment on your wedding day.

10. Not informing the photographer of important events during the wedding

Like many other colleagues, during a wedding I can hardly sit for more than five minutes: I know there is always something to photograph and that the instant to be captured could happen at any time of the day and in any place. So it is my habit to go around constantly with my two cameras in search of memories for my couples.

Despite my attention, however, it could happen that an event may take place far from where I am at a certain moment. Maybe I guess it's a good time for an overall picture or for details of the venue and I walk away, I see an interesting situation but I have to get away, or similar things.

The bride englobed in a large plastic bubble

A surprise so atypical that I happened to see it only once

In order to avoid such situations from happening, we always invite brides and grooms-to-be to communicate everything that will happen out of the ordinary. We also ask them to provide us with one or more contacts of people who may be aware of any surprises: by collecting all this information a few days before the wedding, we are sure not to miss any important moment for them!
So, if your photographer does not ask you for this kind of information before the wedding day, you should inform him so that it is clear to him that you care about those particular moments.

IstantiSenzaTempo|We take care of Your Memories

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