5 Things To Help Choose Your Wedding Photographer
So, you’ve been to the wedding fair, spent days on google, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and looked at hundreds of photographers and you still feel bamboozled with it all and can’t decide whats right for you?
Every one of us wedding photographers have heard horror stories regarding photography so its imperative you hire one of us that fits your brief. This is not a decision to be taken lightly as its a significant spend in the overall budget of the big day. This is my own little guide that may help you choose who and what style is right for you so here goes!
How to choose your perfect wedding photographer
Book me, switch off your computer and delete your Facebook account! I’m kidding obviously so read on….
The Proper Number 1:
Decide on a style that suits you guys. We can’t do this for you but we can offer a little guidance that may help. The chances are you’ve never done this before or may not have been involved a wedding for some time and things have changed somewhat over the last few years!
Here are some rough ideas category wise:
This style generally documents the day as it happens with minimalist posing and family shots etc. Often these guys will not intervene in any part of the day but have a great eye for catching a shot very quickly and sometimes before it even happens. Some will not do any posed images or family group shots etc. Generally, your day is captured and the story told by the photographs. Often these guys have worked in journalism and event work such as concerts and festivals etc.
This style will probably immediately spring to mind for a lot of people (especially parents and grandparents) when the words “wedding photography” is mentioned. Quite often lots of family group shots and staged poses with the photographer running fairly large parts of the day and telling everyone where to be etc. Not as common nowadays but still out there in large numbers and many do a fantastic job in their style.
These are not really one thing or another and very much work with what they have on the day. You’ll get some documentary, some posed, some group shots etc and most of the time a great eye for detail and use of light. They will also be able to work relatively quickly and get the best out of you the client.
So which is your preferred style? Only you can decide that I’m afraid so you need to do some research. Get a notepad (create a spreadsheet if your that way inclined) and take notes about styles and jot some names down etc or add bookmarks to your web browser in a favorites folder. My style is a combination of documentary and creative. I will spend large parts of the day just snapping away and may pose you for some shots. I’ve got a good nose for predicting what’s about to happen and move fast! At the same time I do love detail and emotion. I also love to make your couple shots quite dramatic but also with a fun vibe. Natural laughter and happiness are brilliant in pictures and something I try to achieve in every shoot. I like to keep my family/group shots to around 10 or so. If you need 75 groups maybe I’m not the right person for your job.If you have your venue sorted already then search for blogs on the venue by photographers. This can be a great way of seeing the venue for real and seeing how a particular photographer may work there. Also, don’t be put off if a photographer has never worked at your venue as often they may do a scouting trip before the big day to check it out or look at others work there for tips and inspiration. We also have good social media groups among us and often communicate about all manner of things regarding the industry.
Number 2: Try and meet with your Photographer.
This in many ways is easier than ever due to video calling through Skype/Facetime etc if you are not local. If you are local a face to face meeting can be even better. You may also have met each other at a previous wedding. This can be especially good as you have seen how the person works on the day. An engagement shoot is also a good idea to get a feel for each other and try a few shots to see how you get on together. I regularly work with couples from overseas and find FaceTime a great tool to have those face to face chats and answer questions etc. You need to know who you are dealing with as some photographers are grumpy, bossy or just downright not nice people! It baffles me but its true! I’ve actually seen it first hand! You spend a fair amount of time with us creatives on the day and we have to get on well. We also have a knack of managing to reduce stress levels at the right moment! Not that you’ll be stressed on the big day of course!! Eeeek!!
Number 3: Budget.
Photography prices vary drastically! Fact! I often see full day coverage being advertised for £200 but know photographers who charge £10,000. The value of photography is completely subjective and what one person loves another may hate and so on. Many things contribute to the price of a particular persons packages. Time on the day, post-production and editing, album costs, insurance, equipment the list goes on. You have to find someone who’s work and personality you like with a price you like and a package/level of cover that suits your requirements. The key bit of advice is go for the best you can afford. If this means sacrificing something else then that may be a good call as your creative side of the wedding stays with you forever. Some things that may be an influence on the day can cost several hundred pounds and hardly be noticed. When did you last see a chocolate fountain? They were all the rage ten years ago though. Don’t be sucked in by special offers that are too good to be true as they often are! You will find many weekend warriors who deal in cash only as they are doing it “on the side”. This means they can be really cheap and probably don’t have the correct insurances in place etc.
Number 4: Have a good old rummage around the tinterweb!
Social media has made it easier than ever to find out about people, particularly suppliers in the wedding industry! Once you have a shortlist have a good old dig around. Ask loads of questions that relate to your day but first read through websites and look at the details. Often most of your questions can be answered by looking through sites thoroughly and reading FAQ’s. Ask to see a full wedding gallery to get an idea of exactly what you get for your money. Look at reviews online and feedback etc. Ask around in social media groups etc.
Some essential questions are:
Do they carry spare/backup equipment on the day? – If the answer is no then run for the hills!! I always have at least two camera bodies with me and a selection of lenses, spare batteries etc. Nothing left to chance.
Are they fully insured for public liability and professional indemnity? – These are a standard requirement and 99% of venues will ask for a copy of the liability insurance before working there. Always go for insured suppliers.
What about illness or injury? – Well, it does happen as we are all human beings. I would have to be pretty ill or involved in an accident to not make your wedding but thankfully most of us know enough good people who can assist should the situation arise. On the rare occasions that we have weekends off in summer months, we usually have our camera bags fully charged and good to go just in case someone needs us to step up at short notice.
Number 5: Last things..
GET A CONTRACT!!!! Any wedding supplier worth their salt will insist on contracts being signed that outline exactly what is provided by each other. Read the small print and t’s and c’s so there are no surprises on the day or prior to the wedding. You may have to provide a meal as we often work a 15 hour day with little time to rest and nowhere to grab something. Ask questions, get answers and have peace of mind in the suppliers you are booking. Book wisely and the day will run smoothly. The last thing you want is to end up on some daytime TV show with a sad face! It sounds like a joke but it happens! Don’t let it!
So get typing that email to me and get me booked!!! I’m kidding obviously. Hopefully, this will have provided a little help with what can be a complex process. The biggest thing of all is to have a blast on your big day and cherish every moment as it is over in a flash!!