Choosing the right wedding photographer
The like and trust factor
You will probably spend just as much time with your photographer on your wedding day as your new spouse. You need to make sure you have someone you really like and trust to capture your wedding day. It's a once in a lifetime event that you will never have again, so it's important that your wedding photographer is someone you really gel with and you can completely have trust in them to capture all the important moments and details of your day.
Photographers come in all shapes and forms. Do you want someone who will be unobtrusive and go about their business in an almost secret ninja-like fashion? Do you want someone who will be there to straighten out your train, or brush your suit jacket when needed? Do you want someone loud who's great with marshalling crowds for group shots, or telling silly jokes to make kids laugh? Do you want a calming influence who'll help you relax? . Some people are naturally camera shy and some aren't. It is important to find the right person for you as a couple.
As a photographer I find I have to be in different modes at different points of the day. During the 'getting ready' phase I find I have to have an eye for detail to capture detailed shots of room set-ups, rings etc whilst also dealing with the excitement and nerves of the bridal parties while they are getting ready. During the ceremony I want to be as unobtrusive as possible and during the group shots there is more stage management involved to get everyone in the right place at the right time.
I highly recommend having a video call or meeting in person your prospective wedding photographers. If possible, an engagement shoot/pre-wedding shoot is ideal to see how your wedding photographer works with you.
Weddings are expensive, and everyone has different budgets. Some people want a photographer, some people want a videographer, and some people want both.
I think you need to think about what is most important to you as a couple. Other than your rings, photographs are one of the things that really last from your wedding day. It is a big decision and you want to make the right choice right for you. Set your budget and then look at a variety of options within that.
The price of wedding photography varies widely from a few hundred pounds to a few thousand pounds. Some photographers have been professionals for years, whereas other may be very new to the profession and trying to build a portfolio. Some people may have started out in other areas of photography such as family or corporate photography and have branched into wedding photography and some may be very inexperienced. It is important to do your research.
If you had ten photographers take a picture of a couple and ask them to edit it, you would get ten completely different results. Most photographers shoot in RAW format which allows a high degree of changes to be made within the editing. For every hour of shooting, photographers spend hours and hours editing. It is important to find the style that speaks to you.
Some couples may prefer the photographer to take a more documentary approach with few posed pictures, whereas others may prefer a more editorial posed style. Some people like the 'bright and airy' editing style, whereas others prefer a more natural style with timeless true to life colours, whilst others prefer a darker, moodier look.
I would always suggest looking through a full wedding gallery before you book any photographer. From most weddings there will be a few highlights which a photographer may have on their website or social media, but looking at full gallery will give you a really good idea of what to expect. It will show you their eye for detail, their ability capture candid moments and the emotion of the day.
You can tell a lot about a photographer by the way they communicate with you and from their reviews. I hear lots about people booking a photographer and then the communication stops once they have paid their money. Of course during 'wedding season' photographers are busy and they may not get back to you immediately, but take note of how well your potential wedding photographers communicate with you.
As well as checking recent reviews, I would also check to see if they are active on social media. Some photographers work across a few different genres, whilst others are full time wedding photographers, but any professional photographer should be actively posting content.
Photographers should always send a contract (which should also include how long it will take to deliver your wedding gallery), and most would invoice for a retainer fee and then the full balance around one month in advance. I would highly advise taking out wedding insurance before booking your venue and photographer.
Other important questions to ask wedding photographers would be:
What equipment do you use? I would highly recommend booking someone that has two cameras so if one fails, there is a back up. I would ask if the cameras have dual SD slots. That means if one SD card is corrupted, then all the files should still be on the other card.
How do you back up your files? I would recommend that your photographer backs up your files in multiple locations. SD cards, Hard drives and cloud backups.
Are you insured? Photographers may have to give proof of their public liability insurance to a venue.
So before you book your wedding photographer check their reviews, their equipment, look at full wedding gallery, how they communicate with you and most of all, meet them in person to see if you really click with them!
Let me know if I can help with your wedding photography.
Best Wishes, Anita