I was in the 7th standard when I read “With the Wedding Photographer”, by Stephen Leacock. Boy, what a hearty laugh I had! Let me present the story of this rather witty account of a person’s interaction with a photographer. This is purely for the sake of people who haven’t had the good fortune of reading this story.
A gentleman goes to a photographer with the sole purpose getting a simple photograph of him taken. He is made to wait for quite a long time before the photographer emerges. The photographer emerges along with a hideous looking contraption according to the gentleman. The photographer and the gentleman communicate and the photographer understands the purpose of the latter’s visit.
Now begins the comical sequence of events. The gentleman is made to sit in front of the camera. The photographer keeps disappearing behind the camera covering himself with a cloth (the camera’s those days came with a cloth to avoid unnecessary light). Every time the photographer comes out of the cloth, he points various mistakes of the gentleman waiting patiently for his photo to be taken. Sometimes the eyes are crooked, sometimes the hair is out of place, other times, the angle of the face is not correct and when everything is right, either the gentleman is smiling too much or not at all.
After what seems an eternal wait or rather fight of wills, the gentleman loses his cool and shouts. He screams that he has been having that face for a long time and that’s the only face he has. At this moment, the photographer says that he captured an animated shot of the gentleman. The photographer further assures him that it’s the best shot.
The gentleman wants to see his photo and is told to come back at a later date as it needs to be developed. The appointed day and time comes. The gentleman comes to see the photographer and is given an envelope along with a bill. In anticipation the gentleman opens the envelope and sees a photo that he cannot recognize at all. He confronts the photographer who lectures him about all the artistic upgrades that have been made to the photograph. He confirms making these upgrades to make the gentleman look the most handsome. In the process, he alters the face, nose, ears, mouth and so many other features of the gentleman that the photo no longer seems like its owner!
The gentleman needless to say, gets thoroughly irritated and leaves in a huff. Thus went the story of “With the Photographer”. I have presented a very short version of a very detailed and funny story. Do read it when you get a chance.
In this story, according to me, one of the main things the gentleman did not do is choosing the photographer carefully.
A photo stays, even after you are no more. So, it is really important to get the right kind of photographer. Especially if it’s to do with wedding photography!
You would want your children and grand children to see your wedding album. Of course, you want to show your best side to them.
So, how to go about choosing a photographer? The answer in one word – carefully.
If you want a longer answer with to-do steps, then read on.
Choosing a wedding photographer is a 3 step process – Identify, Interview and Initiate.
Identifying the ideal photographer
A really basic tip about identifying the ideal photographer for your wedding needs is to not just go by popular lists.
Go by the style of the photography you want – traditional, contemporary, journalistic or fashionable. Pick the style you want and look for good photographers in those styles.
Start your search for a wedding photographer as early as possible. I’d say start looking for your photographer as soon as the wedding date is finalized.
Recommendations within family and friends should be checked out first. But only after you personally check their albums. Your idea of good photography need not necessarily match with your family or friends.
If you are looking for photographers online, read up on the testimonials. It will work best if you actually get in touch with the people giving the testimonials to be doubly sure.
Once you are done searching, identify a short list of top 10 photographers according to you.
Interviewing to find the ideal photographer
Interview each of the short listed photographers until you find yours. Best way to go about it is to have your partner along. Indian wedding photography is a family affair, no doubt, but a major part of the photography will focus on you both. So, both of you need to be comfortable with the photographer.
Check the style elements in the photographers past work. Look at their experience with different kind of shots. Spend time in assessing their portfolio of work.
Definitely check their ability to edit and compose pictures. The final album will depend heavily on this ability.
Understand clearly the financials involved. Clarify the effort – hours, equipment, assistants involved in the entire deal.
Check the post photography deadlines; they need to meet your expectations of getting the hard copies home.
Do not, confirm a deal with the photographer in the very first meeting. Take your time, check with family and friends, if need be.
Initiating the ideal photographer
After carefully shortlisting and picking your wedding photographer, initiate them for your wedding. What does this mean?
Get the photographer to meet your family and friends who will be extensively covered during the rituals.
Acclimatize the photographer with the venue, the decorations that are going to be used and the events that will be part of the entire wedding.
Indian weddings are elaborate, rich, colorful and ritualistic. It is important for your photographer to be aware of all things specific to your wedding.
When you are sure that you have finally found and want to retain the ideal photographer for your wedding, sign the deal. Pay only a part of the advance and remember to take a receipt.