Style Redux - Tips on Choosing a Photographer

So many photographers are getting into wedding photography these days and it can be daunting for you as a couple to sort through the masses and find the perfect fit for not only your budget but your style. What you need to know is that a good photographer's style will come through in everything he/she does. A photographer's style should enhance and reflect your style as a couple, not replace it. So when looking at portfolios and interviewing photographers, ask what you need to do to allow him to get the best shots of you. If the answer is anything but "not too much other than be yourself" then you may have a problem if you really want your wedding day to be laid back and your photographer to be simply a part of the day, not the ring-master. The last thing you want is to be pushed around on your wedding day so your photographer can express himself. What you may think you're looking for is what is called "photojournalism" styled photography but in reality, you're just looking for someone who can take great pictures WITHOUT being a royal pain in the butt. You're being told (by photographers, websites, books, magazines, etc) that someone who shoots a "photojournalistic" style is going to deliver that because they won't interfere in your day but the reality is that you can do more than just show up with a camera and "record" the day without being a distraction. Just being there with talent and pro camera gear, hoping for great light and praying fantastic moments happen in it just leaves too much to chance. When it's dark, off-camera lights or bounced flash can be used to enhance and dramatize the day without looking fake or distracting. Fear of using these techniques, or a lack of experience leads many photographers to claim they're "evil" and they will ruin the ambiance. Not true if used properly. The key is to match the technique, or style, with the situation while considering YOUR wishes first and foremost.Simply suggesting that the wedding party move into better light, or asking the bride and groom to go into a phone booth to make out does not constitute distraction, and can often be fun but it's all up to what YOU want to do as couple. To me being a good photographer means being willing and able to use all techniques and equipment to deliver the absolute best photography of your wedding day sans the limitations of a rigid style. It's a strange comparison when talking weddings but... Bruce Lee is not thought of as the best martial artist of all time simply because his skill was greater than everyone else but rather because he was open minded, enterprising and adventurous enough to embrace all styles to make a hybrid, unique style all his own. Today's best wedding photographers are able to combine all styles and techniques to fuse a unique blend of tradition, art and "edge" on their way to producing beautiful images at every wedding they do. They end result is an artistic, sometimes faithful, sometimes fantastic rendition of your wedding day that allows your relive your own excitement and experiences but also the beauty and wonder your wedding day inspired in an artist. So when you are talking to your next photographer, ask them again what limitations they place on themselves. Don't just ask them how they like to shoot, ask them how they DON'T like to shoot. Ask them what they won't do. If the answers to those questions bother you, maybe it's time to move on to the next photographer.