Friday, 11 July 2008
This is a time of year that we get many requests from brides who are looking to hire a wedding photographer.
To be honest I'm glad not to be in their shoes, apart from the fact I don't suit heels, its a minefield for them out there. Here's why.
There are lots of people with camera out there claiming to be professional wedding photographers. They have their adverts in the papers, in yellow pages. Have great websites, the minority even have studios. My definition of a professional wedding photographer isn't simply someone who takes your hard earned cash in exchange for his or her services. I believe a professional wedding photographer is one whose wedding images reach a verifiable professional standard and someone who protects their clients by carrying both public liability and professional indeminity insurances.
So, how does a bride know if her photographers work has reached an acceptable standard? This is easier to find out than you might think. To be a member of either the Master Photographers Association (MPA) or the British Institute of Professional Photographers (BIPP) a photographers work is judged by a panel of highly regarded fellow professionals. So check your photographer is a "full" member of either. I'm a member of the MPA and I have a membership card and certificate to prove it. My company is also listed on the MPA website (thempa.com).
Insurance is one of those things that no-one wants to ask about as its not that important, well it isn't - not until there's a problem! Any of my clients can ask to see my insurance certificates, in fact they are on display at the studio.
Some prospective clients, especially in this time of "credit crunch" then say well so and so can do it cheaper. Indeed true professionals will be more expensive, but not too expensive. Here at Camera Art we offer flexible payment schemes and currently our lowest priced package is £425. Still pricey some might say. But imagine your weekend photographer has trouble and for some reason your photographs are ruined. Then what can you do? With no insurance there would be a long drawn out battle in the courts no doubt. With a professional we simply claim and if necessary take the photos again. I know its not ideal, but its much better than nothing!
Of course being professional means experienced too. Or showroom has over a dozen albums to browse through. When going to visit a client I also can take along 6 or more albums for you to view. On recent client had a photographer turn up with two weddings on a laptop - no albums at all!
You might think well you would say that wouldnt you. And yes I very well might. However the reason for penning this part of my blog is that I had a bride turn up at the studio, directed to me by Citizens Advice because her images were substandard. Brides - it's your wedding day and the start of a new chapter in your life. I don't want any of you starting it by having to go to court because your wedding day images were rubbish.
Please check out the organisations listed above and don't be afraid to ask your photographer for his membership card and his insurance certificate.
I wish you well in your search for a professional wedding photographer.