If you are currently looking for your wedding photographer, then you’ll probably know just how many of them there are around. There are photographers to suit all styles and budgets. But aside from loving someone’s work, what else should you be looking for? Are awards something you should look for?
We have met with couples before who have stressed the importance of their wedding suppliers being award winners. Many couples see them as verification that the supplier they are considering is good at what they do. They seem more trustworthy. For some, having awards sets certain suppliers apart.
But how valuable are they really? Should they be something you look for when you are shopping for a wedding photographer?
The truth is that on the whole, awards don’t mean very much. They certainly don’t hold the value or prestige that they used to. Anyone can set up their own set of awarding body or event and many people do. There’s no regulatory body for the wedding industry as a whole, so anyone with the desire to, can set up their own awards system and reward images or photographers of their choosing.
But why would someone set up their own awards?
Often, as a photographer you will have to pay to enter your photographs for consideration of an award. As such they are a great money making tool for the company running them. In the 7 years that we have been working as full time, professional wedding photographers, the amount of awards there are for photography, in particular wedding photography, has increased tenfold because of this. They are a quick and easy way to make money.
We are invited to participate in a new set of awards or asked to submit for competitions on a monthly basis. And as a result of this over saturation, it is not at all difficult to pick up an award of some description. Some are well respected and well run, with reputable judges and a transparent process for awarding images. Many of the awards floating around however are not. It’s really important to remember that not all awards were created equally. Because of this, many well known and respected photographers actively stay away from awards altogether.
So why do photographers participate and display awards badges if they don’t mean anything?
Well, it all comes down to the fact they they are a good marketing tool. The thought alone of their suppliers being “award winners” is appealing to couples. The badges and perceived prestige look good and attract clients. As an award winner you appear more trustworthy. An award implies an above average skill set and talent. This is something couples are generally looking for. When comparing two photographers on a like for like basis, if everything else matches up, then a photographer with a string of awards may be perceived to have the edge.
Therefore as a photographer, awards are a great marketing tool. In most cases, there’s not much more to it than that. Quite a lot of wedding photographers don’t spend any money on advertising at all for example and instead do the “awards circuit”. With a budget dedicated to submitting entries, you can rack up several awards from various websites or directories quickly. It’s why you tend to see the same names over and again on most directory and awards websites.
A heads up
That’s not to say that all awards are not deserved or hard earned. And it’s most definitely not to say that photographers with awards are undeserving of them. It’s just a heads up to couples that some awards do not always mean what you may think they mean. Again, not all awards are created equally.
Awards should always be treated as a bonus and not as a decider or a reason to book someone. Having an award will not make someone anymore reliable, trustworthy or suited to your wedding. So consider your options fully and carefully.