By Traci Turchin
Originally published in Colorado Brides Magazine June 16, 2011 – Read Original Article 

Fauxtographer (n.) — That overpaid guy with a camera who produced a product that looks like it came from a disposable camera someone gave to the flower girl.

Here are 10 tips to avoiding that guy:

The price is dramatically less than other photographers you’ve seen. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Professional cameras, lenses and editing software add up quickly, and a self-employed professional photographer also pays around 40 percent in income taxes.

There’s little to no file backup system. What’s worse than bad wedding photos? No wedding photos. If the photographer doesn’t sound 100 percent dedicated to keeping your photos safe, keep looking.

The fauxtographer doesn’t have business insurance. A professional photographer has insurance to cover you or your venue if something goes wrong.

There’s no contract. A contract protects both you and your photographer, and you can expect a real photographer to have a detailed contract, covering everything from when the balance is due to how soon you should expect your wedding photos after the big day.

She only has one camera. Bad things happen at weddings. A photographer can trip. A flower girl can mistake a lens for a toy. Every photographer experiences an equipment mishap at least once in her career, so if it happens at your wedding, you want to be sure she can carry on as though nothing happened.

A fauxtographer doesn’t have any lenses that are f/2.8 or “faster.” This part is a bit technical, but ask the photographer to list a few of their lenses. Lenses are described in ways like 85mm f/1.4 or 70-200 f/2.8. If you hear a lot of f/5.8 or f/4, she is likely photographing your wedding with hobby quality lenses, which can be bad. Indoor receptions and ceremonies are incredibly demanding on camera equipment, and you’ll want your photographer to use the very best.

You don’t see a complete wedding album. It’s easy for a fauxtographer to take the best pictures from several different weddings and put together a beautiful album. Be sure you’re able to see a whole wedding from start to finish.

Fauxtographers will give you every picture they snap. A professional takes pride in his work, and not every click of the shutter will result in a worthy image. Be wary of a photographer that doesn’t take pride in her work and reputation enough to toss the bad shots.

He hasn’t ever been to a workshop or photography conference. Professional photographers invest in attending workshops and conferences to keep their skills and business practices up to date.

She uses the built in flash on her camera. Fauxtographers show their true colors when the scene gets dark. A professional photographer uses an external flash (or two) to control the light, often directing her flash at a ceiling or wall to create a softer look. Fauxtographers use the built-in flash on their camera, and can’t capture the ambiance of your reception.

Traci Turchin is a Colorado Springs based photographer specializing in weddings and family portraits.  Her work can be seen at www.realphotography.com.

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