Katryn & Ronan en route to the Salthill Hotel
One Saturday, a couple of years back, I was out walking with my son. It was nice spring afternoon. It was great to have a Saturday off to do very little. Just hang with the family. Usually I’d leave my phone at home. On this day it seems it was on me. And so it rings and I answer. And quick as a shot a geezer says
“Howya, Getting married now next summer. A hotel in West Cork highly recommended you! So just callin’ to get an idea of prices and packages and that sort of thing, like”.
Prices and packages? I’ve always stressed that what was important to me was the work, the pictures. It always annoyed me because these “prices and packages” calls lead absolutely nowhere because quite often, they lead nowhere. And anyway, isn’t it more important to narrow your photographer down to the kind of photography you are looking? It is in my humble opinion. I know what I do and offer but what do you want? That decision should be made well before any call is made. Due to the fact it is one special day. A one of thing. The images should be well researched.
Me: Hi, err… have you looked at my website
Caller: Your website?
Me: Ya, err.. Have you viewed the galleries?
Caller: The galleries?
This was going absolutely no place. It is not something I am likely to entertain either. I find it astounding that somebody will call me on just a recommendation from a hotel. And really have no further depth into what is a rather big decision. The photography for your wedding is important. Yet here was somebody who had, I would assume, never seen one image I had ever taken. What I could gather is that he had a list of “recommendations” and was going to make his decision based on price. Which is perhaps not the best way.
That is absolutely no way to book a photographer for your wedding.
It strikes me that some couples do not do their due diligence when it comes to the decision of booking a photographer. With regards my own style of work, it has evolved over the past decade. While I may have become quicker and therefore more reactive, the consistency has remained. I have never been a band wagon jumper. Many dull trends come and go. From the off I have stuck by my guns and my philosophy. Which in turn has given me a strong identity work wise.
Anybody who gives a thorough going over my website should come to the conclusion that I have a certain way of working. A certain approach and have a certain demand when it comes to clients. I want to them to understand exactly what they are getting with me. How I go about my business and what it is that I offer. Delivery of a real coherent body of work is my aim. Each and every image on my website is captured in a candid and natural manner. No point asking me “Do ya do any posey ones?” Why? Because anybody can do that. What would be the point?
During the summer, during a wedding I was photographing, a guest says to me “Most people today get a friend to photograph their wedding. They can do what you do”, he says. Before he smugly sat back. Hands behind his head, and said “And that’s what I’ll be doing. Getting a friend”. First off I just thought it was a rude. How does he know what I do? How on earth can he know what I am seeing through the viewfinder to make such a broad sweeping yet very naive statement? Does this person know how I am articulating the day? Articulating the day in a way that has made sure that I have a recognisable brand and style of work? Making a judgment out of the blue and then making a simplistic comparison with his “friend with a camera who will do the same job”?
Loosely translated I suppose what he meant to say was “Some people put no value on their wedding and force a friend with a nice camera to do it”. And that is probably very true. After somewhere in the region of the 400 weddings that I have photographed, at an estimate, that is the picture I have gathered. Gathered form anecdotes and tales told to me at weddings too. Or just being in the company of people who hear I photograph weddings. What I do is not to simply take the same snaps that a friend might cobble together, praying at the same time that I got lucky. So I took offence to that attitude.
This attitude is probably not aided by the wedding photographer who will claim to photograph your wedding in any style you want! If a photographer claims this then my advice would be to walk away. And there is just too much of this going on and it is evident when viewing online. If somebody comes to me and says “We’d like a certain style. we’d like loads of family posed pictures. We’d like lots of poses!” then I have no interest. No interest in poses given that my style is to work in a candid fashion. If the style you want is not a candid one, then I have no interest in doing anything else. I’d be rubbish at it.
Thankfully the majority out there will want to invest in their wedding day photographs. I know this because I am a very busy photographer who has worked the length and breadth of the country. In my experience there are many couples that find it very important to get the right person to photograph their wedding day. Diligently doing their homework and see what works for them. They will come across work that will resonate with them and they will educate and inform themselves on that photographer. It makes a difference. It makes a big difference.
I’ve always prided myself on a no fuss attitude. I will be direct in any dealings. I prefer to cut to the chase. Any blog entry is to emphasize my work methods. The unobtrusive nature of my work. Many potential clients will call me and say “well, I’ve read your site from top to bottom and you are EXACTLY what we are looking for!” I absolutely love that. It is a great connection.
A great set of images will add joy as the time goes by. Getting to grips with how your photographer operates and goes about his business is also vital. Are they real? Are they set up? Do you want the former or the latter? Then how do you find out exactly how your photographer works? It’s simple. Ask. The answer should be very straightforward. Not a might or a can, or maybe.
If somebody asks me if any of my pictures are set up the answer is a firm “no”. Because that is not my style. It is very reassuring for those who want their wedding day to flow at a nice pace without any holdups.
I received a great phone call a couple of weeks which went “… at a friends wedding and you took the couple off for about five minutes and the pictures were wonderful… we don’t want to be gone for hours taking photos…”
And neither do I. I don’t see the need because I work at a very good pace. I’ll work at a good pace which makes sure that the day is spent in the correct manner. This is what I am good at. Subsequently you will have a pain free day. As a result a more engaging set of memories from your day. Simply by having somebody who will get on with it. No messing about.
Do you research when booking a photographer. It makes the difference.