Three simple steps to evaluate a wedding photographer's portfolio
Choosing a wedding photographer can be a nightmare.
It's a totally unregulated business. Anyone can buy a camera, photograph a friend's wedding, or set up a styled shoot, and create a website.
And who decides the prices? The photographer. Just because they charge thousands doesn't mean their skills and experience reflects the price.
And you'll probably see that new photographer charging thousands slashing their prices in a sale next week - hmmm, so what are they really worth?
So how can you sort through the entrepreneurs with a camera after a quick buck, from the passionate and skilled photographers?
Three quick tips you can use when on their website:
1: How many people can you see?
Try to identify the number of weddings you can see in their portfolio.
Wedding photography can be a stressful job for anyone new to the game - so much happens, often unplanned and quickly while the light is constantly changing. An experienced photographer can deal with these changes instinctively, but a new one may fumble with settings. If there are only a couple of weddings in their portfolio, chances are they may not have shot many weddings.
This isn't always a problem - but their price should at least reflect this.
2: Are there any guests?
One way lots of wedding photographers start to build their portfolio is to contact local suppliers and set up a styled shoot. This involved getting some models to dress up in wedding outfits, styling a venue like its a real wedding etc. This is a fine way to see the photographer's processing style, but it isn't a real wedding - in real life there is much more going on, and it isn't always possible to set up beautiful photos. If you see guests in the background, or photos of guests - then it's a real wedding, not a styled shoot (or photography training course).
3: Are there any complete weddings?
If a photographer has shot hundreds of weddings they can easily pick out some crackers from the thousands of images they have shot. It doesn't prove consistency. Look at blogs where a photographer posts lots of images from a single wedding. This will show how reliable they are at being able to produce a full set of stunning images.
Obviously you will still need to think about what style of photography you want, but in terms of judging experience, these three steps should get you started.