WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) is something we photographers talk about all the time when we’re printing our photographs. We want our prints to precisely match what we see on our computer screens. Obviously. We want to get what we expect. And with wedding photography, so do you.
So how does that work exactly, when you hire a photographer—or, now that I think about it, when you hire any vendor or artist? Well … we do what we do: what you see is what you get. So when you’re thinking about hiring someone, see enough of her work that you have a really good feel for what she does—a representative sample. This could include images on a website or blog, some albums, and perhaps a client gallery or run of proofs. By that point, you should feel like you “get” the scope and style of her work. If you like what you see in that photographer’s portfolio, chances are that you’ll like what she can do for you. But if you don’t, or if you yearn for something altogether different, no amount of direction, coaching, or unrealistic expectation is going to change how that photographer works or sees. You aren’t going to get something different.
Two stories to highlight this point:
Once I was at a meeting with a potential client. She kept pulling photographs out of my portfolio, dropping them on the coffee table, and pounding her forefinger on the photos,¹ asking over and over again, “Can you do this? Can you take photos like this?” I was boggled. What a query! I had, of course, taken all the photographs in question, and there were dozens of them. She had a whole, ever-growing pile of photographs she wondered if I could take. What she was really asking, of course, was whether I not I could take photos like that for her. But still. It’s ridiculous.
In another meeting, a potential client asked me, no less than twice, if I could take photographs like the ones taken by another well-known local photography studio. Um … why not just hire them? (I hope they did! Otherwise, they were surely and sorely disappointed.)
Neither one of these potential clients understood the principle of WYSIWYG. And I’m sure it’ll be no surprise to know that neither one of them hired me. Nor will it be much of a revelation to know that I’m relieved they didn’t.
So … hire a photographer whose work makes your heart go pitter-pat. Someone whose eye you trust. And then let her do her thing. (Why in the world would you want to interfere with what you trust is going to be marvelous?)
photo: Gia Canali
¹ Yes, yes, she was smudging them to death.