How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer #3 – What is the ‘Art of Photography’?

Picking a wedding photographer, wedding videographer, or wedding cinematographer is simple, right?


You go to a bridal show, find one with the right package price and a great deal, a pretty booth with pretty pictures (or movies) and sign on the dotted line. You get to go home happy you saved a lot of money and check wedding photographywedding videography, or wedding cinematography off the wedding planning list until you end up following up for the free engagement session or maybe a couple of weeks before your wedding to make sure you’re on the same page.

But that’s not how it’s supposed to be!

In this blog series, we will share exactly what to look for, how much to pay, what to ask, and essentially how to go through the process of picking a wedding photographer / videographer / cinematographer. First, it’s important to go over some important characteristics and why they’re important!

Don’t assume all wedding photographerswedding videographers, or wedding cinematographers are the same!

The artistic images are often the most powerful and memorable wedding photographs.

What you are actually paying for could be much different from your expectations (especially after reading this series). Here are eight (potentially surprising) secrets about the field of wedding photo/video/cinema:

  1. Not all of us are professionals.
  2. Not all of us do this as our full-time job.
  3. Not all of us care about the art of photography.
  4. Not all of us keep up with trends and the market.
  5. Not all of us are active members of professional associations.
  6. Not all of us design the experience our clients have.
  7. Not all of us educate our clients on the benefits (and drawbacks) of different media for images.
  8. Not all of us share our success by giving back to those in need.

We will cover why each one of these characteristics is relevant to you with different posts—so you don’t have to take it all in at once!

What is the ‘art of photography’ and why does it matter?

Impact is the number one element of a merit image for a reason—it is what moves us most! Storytelling is also important for context…like this father and daughter savoring the last moments of their dance before so much changes for both of them in life.

Breathtaking images or films aren’t accidents—they are crafted by artists who have studied and practiced (and studied and practiced) using a camera to paint a captivating story worth sharing and talking about.

Professional Photographers of America has a list of “12 Elements of a Merit Image” which attempt to identify common characteristics of uncommonly great photographic art (and can be applied to cinema as well):

  1. Impact (laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion)
  2. Technical Excellence (retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color)
  3. Creativity (original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination)
  4. Style
  5. Composition
  6. Presentation
  7. Color Balance
  8. Center of Interest
  9. Lighting (dimension, shape, and roundness)
  10. Subject Matter
  11. Technique (printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more)
  12. Story Telling (ability to evoke imagination)
What this means for you:

Composition is an artistic tool that can be used creatively—like with the negative space in this image of photographic art.

Art is subjective, so each viewer will have their own judgement to make—but professional wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers who are continuously seeking artistic refinement in their skills and further education will consistently produce better and more beautiful images than those who rest on their laurels.

These 12 elements should be present in the current work of your prospective wedding photographers / videographers / cinematographers, and you should ask them about how they seek to capture or use each in their art.

This point leads to next week’s post on “Why Professional Associations Matter”…so stay tuned for more!

Wedding Tips Series

Part 1: Where You Get Ready Matters
Part 2: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 1 (Why Hire a Professional?)
Part 3: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 2 (Why Does Full-Time Matter?)
Part 4: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 3 (What is the ‘Art of Photography’?)
Part 5: How to Pick a Wedding Photographer or Videographer – Step 4 (Why Professional Associations Matter)

Stay tuned for more great tips by getting social with us!

P.S.: Want to customize your wedding photography or cinematography experience?
Click to setup a free consultation with us and we’ll start designing your wedding ASAP!

Do you have any additional advice or suggestions for other brides about the artistic value of your wedding photos or movies? Share them in the comments below!


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