How to Choose your Wedding Photographer
This is not a blog to sell myself, it’s about you getting what’s right for you.
There are many- many many- wedding photographers, but the last thing you want is to regret your choice.
So, a few pointers:
First find someone you like, not just their style, their personality too.
Some photographers are fly on the wall, don’t interact with people, they capture the images and you would hardly know they’re there; whereas some photographers take charge of the day. These are dramatic opposites and most photographers will fall in the middle, but the way the photographer talks – and listens- will give you an idea of what they’re likely to do on the day.
Some do 70 weddings a year, so if you want personal service, someone who gets to know you, cares, remembers what you like and details about your day that are precious to you, who will help and go the extra mile for you because of the relationship you’ve built, then this is not the photographer for you. Many photographers limit their numbers, and therefore shoot other events, portraits etc to make a living but still be a warm, social, caring person.
You want a professional really. The friend who has a nice camera might be a very good photographer but are you going to get them to sign you a contract? And do they have insurance, back up equipment and as much experience? Part-time photographers might be professionals and have insurance and equipment, they might be cheaper too as they don’t have the pressure to earn a living but they will have less experience.
These are things to think about that most people outside the industry don’t often consider.
In terms of style, be careful of labels, look at their work and see if you like what they show you and also whole weddings, not just their favourite photos on the gallery. Can you see albums, slideshows to have an idea of the whole day? Will they “get” your style and give you choices about how to be on the day and how they edit the photos?
A pre-wedding shoot is a fantastic opportunity to have a laugh, a chat, to relax together, to understand how you express emotions, what comes naturally to you, how to help you with poses.
Some photographers pose a lot, some don’t: what do you prefer? Do you want images that are like you but still want a bit of directions? do you want to be directed if you get stuck, do you want a dialogue or are you happy to go with what the pro says. Do you want intimate, emotional photos as in Beloved shoots?
Better find all of that out at the pre-wedding shoot than at the wedding! Also when you have seen how beautiful you look, you can relax. It really builds trust and gets you to look forward to the day with one less worry. Other questions you can ask them- and yourself:
- how fast do you want your photos, some take 6 months, some less than a week
- do you get the digital files, some wedding photographers only give prints/ frames or limit numbers
- does the photographer understands your culture/tastes/ ideas..
- Do you want one or two photographers? If you want 2 photographers to be with bride and groom separately, cover different angles, etc, have 2 photographers from the same company so they don’t compete for the best shots and know how to place themselves to not be in each other’s way.
- What else is included? some extras might be a welcome addition
- How flexible are they in terms of tailoring their package to what you want, adding things later, payment by instalments etc?
What else? Talk, chat, discuss, share, Facebook, email, text, the more your wedding photographer can picture the whole thing, what gets you excited, what you are thinking of at 3 am, the more they can show it.
Personally I love to know about plans, colours, flowers, and the more unique the better!! Ideally do a visit of the venue with your wedding photographer and dream aloud, not everything will happen as planned, that’s normal, but it’s not always possible and your photographer should get to the venue early to see it the day before or on the day before they see you.
Do ask! It’s not necessary to have shot at the venue before as you don’t really want the repeat of someone else’s wedding. (That’s also a warning about imitating images seen on Pinterest but I’ll write about that another time) Don’t worry about getting your dress slightly dirty or taking off your shoes, enjoy the day, this is it! Wallow in it, live it fully, totally, wear your emotions on your sleeves, show your heart. (Do pack a withe cloth to sit on if you’re worried)
Oh, and don’t forget to plan time for the photos! Candid photography is great but don’t miss out on couple photographs, you’d regret it, really. How many group photos do you really need? Candids of guests are much better so leave time for some family shots and more natural photography.
Please see the timings blog for more on this. And of course, after the wedding you’ll have each other, the rings and the memories. We re-create our memories all the time and we use supports to anchor them, so the photos become your memories and the emotions you felt become embedded in the photos, so spend enough to know you will have the memories that reflect your day.
Many people have told me they wished they had budgeted differently and spent more on photos.
Finally but very importantly get an album. One where the pages lay flat and that will resist grubby fingers and sharing it with many people over time. If you can’t afford it right now, make sure it’s your first anniversary present, or ask for contributiuons from guests to get it later. Don’t just keep the photos on cd, put the album where you can reach it, open it often and enjoy it all again.
Get in touch, see if I am the right photographer for you, if not I’d be happy to refer someone else.