How To Choose Your Wedding Photographer
Wedding Photographers - Which One Is Best For Me?
You're getting married (congrats!) and you know that you need to book a wedding photographer but just don't know where to start? Let’s help you get going with your search…
Firstly, how does wedding photography make you feel? Are you quite happy/confident with the idea of being in front of the camera? Or does the thought of being centre of attention fill you with dread? Do you need someone to be quite firm/professional in their direction, or would someone more relaxed/fun in their approach suit you best?
Are you excited to be posed or does it bring you out in a cold sweat? When researching wedding photography do very editorial/styled images catch your eye or do you prefer the more natural, documentary type photos? There are lots of editing styles, do you prefer a light and airy edit or the dark and moody tones?
How do they work
When thinking about photographers, would you prefer to have someone take charge and direct/choreograph your day or would someone turning up and capturing your day as it happens without really noticing that they are there appeal to you more?
What exactly are you looking for? Do you want digital images on USB? Would you like a wedding album? Are you hoping for an online gallery to share with your friends and family? Would an engagement shoot be of interest to you? Are you hoping to book someone that offers a second photographer, ensuring that no moment is missed?
What parts of your day do you want to be photographed? Most couples want the full day captured, meaning that the photographer will join you while you are getting ready (Bridal/Groom prep) through until after your first dance. Some couples are just looking for the ceremony and an hour or two of photos afterwards to be photographed.
What budget have you allocated for your wedding photography?
When looking for your perfect wedding photographer (and there really is the perfect one out there for everyone!) all of these things need to be considered. Spend some time searching for local photographers to you/your venue. If you can find someone local to you it reduces some of the worry on your wedding day about them getting stuck for hours on the motorway/getting lost etc. By using someone local they often know the venues around you and know how to get around the area, (as well as keeping the carbon footprint to a minimum!) I’m not saying that photographers based further away should be ruled out, I’m just suggesting that you start your initial search by checking out your local photographers first. You may not find someone that suits your style/offers what you want/are within your budget locally, in which case then start to broaden your search. The other bonus of keeping your search local is that you’ll often be able to meet them for a quick chat over a cuppa, meaning that you can really get to know them and gauge whether your personalities would work well together on the day.
Come up with a shortlist of your favourite five based on your research. Then get in touch to see if they are available on your wedding date and ask to see examples of a couple of full galleries, ideally shot around the same time of year that your own wedding will be held. Photographers will use ‘hero’ shots on their website to capture your attention, but by seeing a full gallery you’ll be able to see how they would tell the entire story of your day. Are they going to capture all of the details that you spent so long planning? Will they catch lots of candid images of your guests enjoying your day or do they prefer to set up staged shots of guests? Does the style of their couples photos appeal to you? Are the couple looking at the camera and smiling in most of the photos or are the images showing more moments of authentic connection between them? What are the quality of the images shot in low light situations? How well are the guests placed in groups shots? Are there examples of confetti/sparkler/firework/rain/dancing shots?
If you would like a wedding album then ask to see an example of the albums that they offer. Most photographers will have sample albums that they can show you, demonstrating the layout, quality and finish of the album that you will be receiving. Some will also offer prints, wall art etc that they can show you samples of too.
Ask to see a copy of their insurance. All professional photographers should have both public liability and professional indemnity cover, and will be happy to provide evidence of this.
Their equipment should be of a professional level, with spares available should anything fail on the day.
They should also be able to tell you what they would do in case of an emergency on the day, if they were unable to get to your wedding.
What is their turnaround time after the wedding? How long should you expect to wait for your images/gallery/album? Don’t be surprised if you are told 6,8 or even 12 weeks, as this is often the case for photographers especially during peak wedding season. A lot of work goes into turning the digital files into the final images that you see, but it is good to have an idea of how long you are likely to wait for your wedding photos after the big day has been and gone.
If they don’t have any testimonials/reviews displayed on their website, ask if they have any from previous wedding clients that they can share with you.
Once you have chosen your photographer and checked that they are available on your wedding day you’re very nearly there! Expect to sign a contract and pay a percentage of the balance to secure their services for your date. Check through the contract and ensure that you are happy with it, asking your photographer any questions that you might have before signing it.
Thats it - you’ve got your wedding photographer booked! Tick it off the to-do list and move on with your wedding planning, safe in the knowledge that all of your hard work will be captured for you to look back on as you grow old and grey together.
If I can give you one piece of advice, let it be this. Everyone has different budgets for their wedding, I totally get that. But please, please, please be realistic in your expectations. Your friend that is into photography and has offered to come and take a few photos for you, or the new photographer that is just starting out and only charging £200 to gain some experience - both absolutely fine if you are fully aware of what you will receive. Please don’t think that by deciding to go down this route that you will end up with the same quality of images as a professional, experienced wedding photographer. Wedding photography is bloody hard work, and takes a lot of time and experience to achieve the shots that you see on professional wedding photographers portfolios. I’m not knocking beginners at all, and we’ve all started somewhere, but all too often I hear of couples that have been left distraught as their ‘photographer’ hasn’t turned up/cancelled last minute/has provided them with a gallery of blurry/underexposed/low resolution images. Your photographs, along with your rings, are the only bit of your wedding that you get to keep forever. The flowers will die, the cake will be eaten, the music will finish….your wedding photos will last a lifetime.
Why my couples chose me…
If the thought of being the centre of attention fills you with dread, you’re not alone - I felt exactly the same about my wedding day! I'm not comfortable in front of the camera and initially felt really anxious at the thought of having my photos taken. A lot of my couples feel like this when we first speak, but after meeting me and hearing about how I work their fears are always alleviated.
I work in a very calm and relaxed way, capturing natural moments throughout the day and often going completely unnoticed. We'll spend some time together creating gorgeous portraits of you whilst having a chat and a bit of fun (my couples say that it's like having a friend taking their photos), with the rest of your day photographed in a candid, unobtrusive way. I work hard to make sure that you are as happy and relaxed as possible while I work, meaning that you can enjoy your day knowing that I’ll be in the background doing my thing telling the story of your day through creative, authentic photography.
If this sounds like something you need in your life then get in touch for a chat, I'd love to hear all about your wedding plans.