Ben Newnam Photography

(107 reviews)
Service Area
Sydney - Nationwide - International
Business Hours
7am - 6pm
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Expert Advice

As a wedding professional, Ben Newnam Photography offers expert advice to help couples plan their perfect day. Ask a question or read their expert advice.

How to decide on a wedding photographer

Hi. There are so many amazing wedding photographers out there, I'm getting decision anxiety. How do you know your photographer is the one for you? Thanks!

Ben Newnam Photography

Hi there,

It may seem a conflict of interest having a wedding photographer give advice on choosing the right photographer for your wedding.  To a degree you would be correct.  After all, I would be crazy not to want you to book my services. Wouldn’t I?

I really enjoy photographing couples who love my images and also who like me as a person. Not only does it make my day enjoyable, knowing that my clients appreciate and value my photography but also connect with me as a person.  The upside for the client is if they truly value me professionally and personally then they will be more responsive and positive towards me on their big day.  That can only help in capturing couples in their best light and at their most relaxed state. This only make for better images.

After all, on your wedding day, you will be spending more time with your photographer than with your family and closest friends.  So it only makes sense that you will want some kind of positive vibe towards your photographer.

All my time in wedding photography I learnt that there are two types of photographers. 1) Business people who go into photography and 2) Photographers who go into business.  Similar words, two very different meanings. I consider myself the later.

More often than not I have found that the companies that employ a team of photographers and offer fairly generous looking packages are generally the “Business People that go into Photography”.  They work on volume to make a profit.  More often than not it’s just a business to them. They may have packages that are hard to understand, even for myself. Or worse, packages with hidden costs.

Then you have the photographers who shoot alone that may also have a second shooter to carry the bags.  These are “Photographers Who Go in to Business”.  They may be a little more expensive, but they are with you from start to finish.  From the initial consultation right up until the delivery of your album or digital files.   You may strike it lucky by finding a photographer that is just starting out who produces great work and has generous packages.  Who are charging less than they are probably worth, simply to build a reputation and portfolio. But even then, the newcomer doesn’t have the experience and haven’t been subjected to many possible unexpected situations that unfold at weddings.

The sole shooter takes great pride in their own work.  They are the type of people who can not bring themselves to trust anyone else.  They know everything is on them. It’s their business and they look after it like it’s one of their own children.  No one will ever care for your own business as much as you do.  So when you are the owner and photographer, you care just as much about the photography as you do about the business.

Lets say you walk into a large wedding photography studio that hires a dozen photographers. Chances are you won’t know who will be shooting your wedding until a few weeks out from your wedding.  Just as important, you won’t know if you connect with the photographer who will be photographing your wedding.

All the images on their walls could have been taken by any one of their shooters. The images on their walls and in their portfolio albums have been hand picked from the dozen shooters to represent them as a company as a whole.  Meaning from all the photographers at their disposal, they are bound to collate enough great images to put together a portfolio. Again,  that doesn’t mean that the certain images you like in their portfolio will be taken by the photographer that will be photographing your wedding.  For all you know the photographers whose images you like may well have moved on.

On the other hand, when the sole shooter shows you their portfolio you know it’s their images and they will be the one photographing your wedding.  You have a better representation of how your final images will look.

The big companies can also offer a second photographer to sweeten the deal.  Thats great and all, but again, do you know who the second photographer will be?  They could offer a dozen photographers to photograph your wedding but if some are straight out of photography school and the rest total newcomers without the knowledge and experience about everything that goes on at wedding then it really can be the blind leading the blind.

Even if there are some seasoned professionals working for the bigger companies, what guarantee will there be that they will be photographing your wedding?

Now I am not suggesting that the larger companies don’t produce some fine work.  They do.  But it can be hit and miss, depending on who ends up being your photographer.  You really need to decide if you are willing to take the chance in the hope of getting the photographer that connects with you personally and shoots the of style of photography you like, just to save a couple of hundred dollars.

The advantage of the sole shooter who is a seasoned professional.  Meaning they have experienced virtually every possible scenario at a wedding.  They can more often than not be a calming influence on a tense situation.  When an unexpected situation arises, the season professional will know how to handle it.  Things such as a sudden turn of weather, the season professional will know where to go. Even wardrobe malfunctions the seasoned pro will most likely have a solution.  Generally it involves Hollywood tape ?? I think you get the point.  Even in tense situations the seasoned professional will still be able to deliver images you will be proud to show off to your family and friends.

The four big questions you should be asking large wedding photography companies, or any photographer for that matter, including myself, is this.

1) Who will be shooting my wedding?

2) Can I meet the photographer who will be photographing my wedding?

3) Can I see their portfolio?

4) What is included in my package and are there any hidden costs? Be aware of the up sell, whereby, for example you will be given say 20 sides included in your album package. But they will design say 50 sides and then ask you to cull the pages or pay extra to have more than the quoted 20 sides included. That extra number of pages can equate into the thousands of dollars.

Wedding photography is one of the few things you have to get right, the first time.  It’s not like say, buying a dodgy pancake maker that you can just take back and get a replacement or refund.  The final product is the final product and no amount of photoshopping will correct bad photography.  No amount of apologies from the photographer will make up for not getting along with them on your day, who just ruined the whole vibe of the day.

As much as I would love to capture your wedding day, my style may not be to your liking and that is fine.  Everyone has different tastes.  But keep this in mind when searching for the person that will capture the memories of one of the most important days in your life.

All the best in your decision making

Should our bridal party be an even number?

Is it better to have even numbers for our photographs?

Ben Newnam Photography

  • Only if you have OCD. Seriously though. It looks fine having odd numbers. I have photographed weddings where there were four bridesmaids and one groomsman. Photos looked great. My philosophy is have who you genuinely want in your bridal party otherwise it’s disingenuous and embarrassing for the token person just making up the numbers.

Any tips on what to ask a photographer before booking?

Ben Newnam Photography

I have written an article on this exact subject. I hope there is some useful information in there for you.

What are the benefits of a first-look photo shoot?

We're getting married in a garden so I'm worried that my partner will see me coming and lose that wow factor. What are the benefits of doing a first-look photo shoot instead?

Ben Newnam Photography

Quite a few benefits.

1)  Doing the first look generally means you will do your photoshoot straight after. This means you won't have to leave your guests after the ceremony.

2) No matter when your partner sees you, there will still be the wow factor

3) From what most people have told me that have done first looks is that it greatly eases tension leading up to the ceremony. Where you can both enjoy the moment of the ceremony rather than being in a surreal state and have the ceremony fly by.

4) Your partner gets to see you before pretty much everyone else. Which makes it even more special. It really depends how you percieve things.

5) You make the first look one of THE special moments in your day. Not trivialise but but rather embrace it as a major part of your day.  You go through the ritual of the first look much like the ritual of the ceremony and by having this ritual it makes the firs tlook an integral part of you day.

All the best with your day

How many weddings do you book per weekend?

Ben Newnam Photography

I am assuming you mean a solo shooter?  As a large photography company can book dozens of weddings a weekend.  

Depends on the weekend.  Sometimes I will have one, two or three. Sometimes none.   Photographing back to back actually helps get into a rythmn. I average approx 50-60 weddings per year.  The more you do something the better you get.  If you miss photographing, even for a week you can loose the edge for a short while.  Its like professional tennis players.  If they miss practising even a couple of days their game can break down for a moment. 

I can shoot three weddings back to back and still be 100% focused.  Still climb trees, get down in the dirt for a different perspective.  If you have been doing it a while you become I guess you could call battle hardened.  A photographer should be physically and mentally drained come Monday morning.  If your not then you are not giving 100%.  If your clothes aren't muddy with maybe a few rips and tears or if your camera doesn't have another ding or scratch then you are just a bystander going at 70%.

I can still give personalised service even with doing three weddings a weekend.  After all you only see one couple per day on their wedding day and you can speak to more than one couple during the week to go through all the details.  It doesnt take a full week to go through all the details with one client.

Monday is recovery day then it takes approx 12 hours to edit and process all the images per wedding.  Genrally I can complete the editing of two weddings per week.

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