The Experience Factor. How Important Is It For Wedding Photographers To Have Experience?

Posted by Admin on September 16th 2016

There is no question that wedding photographers face a lot of challenges on the job. Shooting for eight, ten, twelve hours or more, indoors and out, with every conceivable lighting condition, changing weather, mixed up schedules, missing bridal party members, multiple locations, and who knows what else. Everyone would agree that a wedding photographer must have artistic talent and technical expertise, but given these working conditions, how important is experience? All ISPWP members must have at least 50 weddings under their belt to be considered for membership, so we rank experience very highly, but we asked our members for their opinion.

NAME: Ciprian Dumitrescu
BUSINESS NAME: Ciprian Dumitrescu Photography

LOCATION: Bucharest, Romania

The experience of the photographer is the most important thing especially now when the camera doesn't matter so much. Through years of experience, the photographer is able to see the light and catch the moments better than a new photographer who has just started.
The best way to know how much experience your photographer has is to see a few full finished weddings, to see if the files that he delivered to the clients have the same quality from start to end. Also, you can check the photographer's blog and see weddings made a few years back and see how the photographer evolved. If you see beautiful moments, creative shots, and consistent editing then for sure that photographer has enough experience to deliver your beautiful photos.

NAME: Ioannis Sotiropoulos
BUSINESS NAME: Yiannis Sotiropoulos Photography

LOCATION: Nafplio, Greece

A highly skilled photographer can conform himself to hard situations anytime he meets them. In a wedding, everything happens fast and so he has to deal with it straight away. He always has to be ready for anything.
You know how skilled your photographer is from the way he speaks, the manner in which he replies to your questions and of course from his portfolio presented on his website. Be sure to see complete weddings, with enough photographs and not only with few (5-6) photos in any post. The criteria for a beautiful photograph is personal, starting from whether or not you like the work of the photographer: not at all, a bit, enough or a lot, this is at your own discretion.

NAME: Dennis Drenner
BUSINESS NAME: Dennis Drenner Photographs

LOCATION: Baltimore, Maryland

Things very often do not go according to plan. An experienced photographer is able to quickly adapt to unexpected circumstances, and not freak out because the lights have been dimmed in the church 30 seconds before the ceremony begins. There are no "do-overs" at a wedding, so you want to make sure your shooter is prepared to get it right the first time.
I would ask your photographer about their photography background - both wedding and non-wedding work. A background in newspaper photojournalism is particularly good. I would want someone who has been making a living as a photographer for 5+ years. I would also look in their portfolio for candid images from a variety of lighting situations. If you see mainly posed portraits and outdoor daylight photos (technically very easy), that would be a red flag for me.

NAME: Bruno Dubreuil
BUSINESS NAME: Bruno Dubreuil Photography

LOCATION: St Barthelemy FWI (Caribbean)

You should care about how much experience your photographer has because some wedding photographers may work part time, and only shoot a couple of weddings a year on weekends. 
You should ask to see at least a few full galleries. This will give you a better idea of what your wedding photographer can provide and if he has enough experience.

NAME: Fabio Azanha
BUSINESS NAME: FabioAzanha Photography
LOCATION: Lisbon, Portugal

For a once in a lifetime event, the couple has to be reassured that they contracted a professional that is able to face any potential circumstances during the wedding day. It isn´t a fancy camera that makes a photographer experienced, but it is their ability to deal with any unexpected conditions during the day like adverse weather conditions, poor lighting, reception venue limitations. An experienced wedding photographer has the sensibility for diverse cultural nuances and knows how to respect them.
One can easily spot whether a prospective wedding photographer has experience through their portfolio. A photographer with numerous weddings under his belt has the unique ability to predict the next moment, anticipate the couple´s emotion or reaction throughout the day, and is ready to capture that swift instance through the lenses. An experienced wedding photographer also has a steady consistency in publishing their work on their blog, webpage or social media, and has an interactive public presence.

NAME: Leandro Donato
BUSINESS NAME: Leandro Donato Fotografia

LOCATION: Sao Paulo, Brasil

I believe that a good photographer not only shoots with his camera, but with his life experience, the experience of the various weddings and stories that went through his lens. For this reason, it is essential to hire someone wit extensive photographic experience and knowledge of advanced techniques.
To correctly choose your photographer, look at a lot of his work in detail. You should meet him in person and talk a lot, and get a sense if you can trust the photographer. If his work has won many awards and prizes that is another tip. If he has won many awards it is a sign that he has been in business for a while and has the experience of many weddings. 

NAME: Michael David Reichmann
BUSINESS NAME: Andre Reichmann Photography


There is hardly a bigger event in your life than your wedding day. Who you choose to be there has a big impact on how everything will run, and some of the only things you'll keep from your big day are the pictures. You'll want someone who is kind, courteous, and (of course) a talented professional to be there with you every step of the way to make sure your lifelong memories are immortalized in beautiful detail.
First and foremost, you should always look through your potential photographer's work. After you see what's on their social media and website, you've seen what they consider their very best, so you should ask to see a set of proofs from some recent weddings so you can see how it all looks from beginning to end. After seeing a sampling of their work, you should ask for references. It's important to find out not just how great their photos are, but how they interact with people.

NAME: Ana Paula Aguiar
BUSINESS NAME: Ana Paula Aguiar Fotografia

LOCATION: Belo Horizonte, Brasil

Please, care about your photographer’s experience! Because it is with experience, wedding by wedding, that a photographer learns the best ways to deal with recurrent issues such as problems with lighting, venue, space to move in the ceremony, etc. And, it is also with experience that the photographer perfects his/her skills and know-how. So, please, care!
Check his website. If you see a lot of pictures from the same couple, it probably means that the photographer has only that wedding to show you. Second of all, look at his blog, Facebook or Instagram. It is in those medias that he will showcase his most recent work. If the entries are old or repetitive, maybe the photographer is not very active in his business. But, if the photographer is an "online-life hater" such as me (lol), make an appointment to meet in person and ask to see various works.

NAME: Matija Kljunak
BUSINESS NAME: Matija Kljunak Weddings

LOCATION: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Weddings are beautifully romantic and, at the same time, chaotic, hectic ordeals full of unforeseen surprises. As much as a rookie photographer's good intentions and artistic eye honed from years of amateur photography appear to be a guarantee of beautiful images, there is simply no substitute for experience. Each wedding is unique and so are its challenges. Seasoned professionals will be able to foresee many things that may unexpectedly happen and work around them in time to get the shot that matters!
Does his portfolio contain many beautifully captured moments despite tricky circumstances? Is there enough of these shots that it couldn’t be down to luck? Also, ask him what would he do in a few tricky imaginary scenarios. It’s not so much a matter of what he says, but whether he says it with confidence.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Do you have other opinions? Please share them below in the comments!

And if you are looking for a wedding photographer, please go to our homepage and enter your wedding location to find a photographer for your location.

If you are a photographer interested in membership, you can read about our membership requirements and submit an application on our Membership page. 

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