Equipment, location serve as important choices with wedding photography

This is Part One in a two-part series about wedding photography choices. Check back Monday morning for Part Two about references, professionalism and budget regarding wedding photography. 

Black and white or color, staged or natural, filtered or dramatic, the subject of wedding photography can be as creative as the wedding itself. Finding a photographer is not necessarily the hard part: picking one often is. 

Matthew Cassity, owner of Matthew Cassity Photography, said knowing what to look for in a photographer comes down to presentation, communication and professionalism.  

“A photographer worth your money should have a professional looking website (that is) easy to navigate, have clearly stated ways to get in touch, a portfolio of images that are of high quality in terms of clarity and aesthetic, and I think they should have their rates/packages posted along with clear language describing what is included,” Cassity said. “They should respond with reasonable promptness. A busy photographer is likely a good photographer, but you shouldn’t have to wait very long to get a reply. You want a photographer who speaks professionally and respectfully, they should talk with you about what you are wanting, and work with you to set up whatever vision you might have in mind.” 

Next, Cassity suggested finding out about the camera and film used. 

“Ask them questions about their equipment, even if you don’t know anything about photography equipment,” he said. “An excellent photographer will have a good knowledge of their equipment. Are they using high quality cameras and accessories? Do they shoot film or digital? 35mm equivalent or medium format? They should be able to tell you why they use what they use.” 

Another choice is to determine whether to hire a local or out-of-town photographer. 

“If I were in the market for a professional wedding photographer, I would start by looking locally,” Cassity said. “You’ll save some money by not having to pay a travel fee for an out-of-town photographer. A local photographer will likely know better than an out-of-town photographer the best photo shoot locations in your area. And they’ll likely have networked more local connections/resources.” 

However, Cassity said quality of work would trump locale. 

“I would only pick a local photographer if you like their portfolio the best,” he said. “These are arguably some of the most important photos you’ll ever have taken, so the quality of the photographer supersedes locality. And, if you had a local and an out-of-town choice that you liked equally, then I would default to my early stance on picking the local photographer.”