What To Think About When Choosing A Wedding Photographer
A little help & advice...
Choosing a photographer for your wedding can be overwhelming. So many styles, packages and add-ons, it is easy to see why people can get confused and disheartened when trying to find a photographer. The last thing you want is to ‘make do’ or end up with something you do not want and be disappointed. One of the moments most couples look forward to after their wedding is seeing their photographs, and it is certainly a moment I love. There is nothing better than when I get to show the couples their photography and let them view their story I have captured for them. To help make sure you have a happy experience I have put together some advice on how to find the perfect wedding photographer for you. I hope you find it useful!
When looking for a wedding photographer there a few things you need to consider. I have made a list of important points to think about when looking for your photographer which I hope should give a helping hand.
Firstly, what type of photography are you looking for? Most will start with budget, however it is often easier and more productive to think about the style of photography you want. Do you want formal shots? Dramatic atmospheric photography? Soft romantic? Natural reportage? Once you know this you can then research a range of photographers whose photography style matches what you are looking for and create a list.
How to make sure you are getting a professional:
Today it is so easy for people to buy a semi decent DSLR, take some photographs and then think they have what it takes to become a professional photographer. This often leads to poor quality photographs with lack of technical expertise. So how to separate those budding photographers from the real deal? There are a few things to look out for…
- What education and experience do they have? Do they have a degree or qualification in photography or art?
- What experience in photography do they have?
- How long have they been working in the wedding industry?
- Ask them what equipment they use. Do they use full frame cameras? Any professional photographer will generally only use full frame cameras as this gives much greater quality and larger images than a cropped sensor. Cheaper DSLRs use a cropped sensor rather than full frame which will effect quality, colour and light with their images.
- Be sure to see their portfolio. This does not need to be all weddings, and indeed, if they have done other photography including portrait, landscape or product they will be able to utilise those skills in capturing your day.
- Ask if all the photography on their website is theirs. This might sound a bit crazy, however I have known some photographers starting out who will use stock images on their websites and try to pass it off as their own.
- Ask to see a wedding in full. This will allow you to see the consistency of the quality of images throughout the day and give you a better idea of their skill, rather than a few choice/lucky shots from different weddings that can give a false sense of ability.
- Do they have reviews and recommendations?
Once you have a list of photographers who suit your style you can then start to look at their prices and see how they fit in with your budget.
Budgets can be tricky and when booking all the elements of your wedding I realise finance is a large consideration. Remember when creating a budget for wedding photography, as is often the way with many things, you get what you pay for. With wedding photography, you are paying for reliability, style, skill, artistic vision, experience, quality equipment as well as attention and dedication to you. Professional photographers will have invested in expensive and high quality kit and will put considerable time and effort into recording your day, ensuring a beautiful outcome.
Cheaper photographers will often “shoot and burn”, taking hundreds of photographs in the hope of getting some good shots, and will not put the time and effort into the editing and post processing to make sure your photographs have the depth and quality.
When creating a photography budget, the recommended rule of thumb is to allow around 10% of your wedding budget for the photography. Think about how important the photography is for you, and if you want to spend more to get a beautiful record of your day then you may want to allow more for your photography budget.
Once you have decided on the budget look at the list you have created of photographers whose style matches what you are looking for and look to see who more closely match your budget.
Meet the Photographers:
Your wedding day is very special and very personal and the photographer will be with you throughout it all. As a result, it is very important to have a good rapport with your photographer, a feeling of trust, and that you get on. How a photographer interacts with you is vital to ensuring you have a wonderful day and you can only find this out when you meet them.
Phone the photographers and ask to meet them for a consultation, or see if they are attending a Wedding Fair near you where you can meet them and see some of their work. Also many photographers will have special offers at wedding fairs which you can take advantage of. How you get on is so very important and this should be one of the most important factors when choosing your photographer.
Things to look out for:
Make sure that you are the only wedding they are covering on the day, last thing you want is for them to be late due to the previous wedding over running, or indeed them leaving early to provide coverage elsewhere. You want to make sure that their focus is completely on you for the day.
Check who the photographer will actually be on your day. Some photography companies have a range of photographers at their disposal and you might not get who you think you have. It is always worth checking.
Have a look to see what their packages include.
Do they include full day? What does full day mean? Do they have a cut off time? Some photographers will state a full day is getting ready until speeches or first dance, others will include night time photography as part of this. It is worth having this clarified so you are not left with any surprises.
Do they include an album and if so what size? Does the designing and layout of the album come included? What are the options in regards to cover and personalisation for your album? Some people do not decide on whether or not they want an album until after they see the photographs from the day. This is perfectly acceptable and photographers will often have options to order albums or additional albums to the ones included in your package later, but expect to pay more for those than included in the package.
Do they include a pre-wedding or engagement photoshoot?
This type of photoshoot is often a good way to have some nice photographs for invites, signature books etc. It is also an excellent way for you and the photographer to get to know each other better, to tackle any insecurities you might have and to feel more confident in front of the camera. Do remember, however, it will be different on your actual wedding day as that will be far busier!
Do you want a second photographer? It is not always necessary, however having two photographers at your wedding will allow for more opportunities and coverage of your day.
Always read over the contract, and if you are unsure about anything, ask.
Communication and meeting with your photographer:
Once you have decided on your photographer and package make sure you spend some time with your photographer before the wedding.
Every wedding is unique and you want to make sure the photographer knows what you want and are looking for. I always meet my clients at least twice, for an initial consultation over a cuppa and then at the venue closer to the wedding. Almost everything else can be done over the phone, Skype or via email.
The initial consultation you can discuss timings of the day and what photography you are looking for, group shots and things that are really special to you. If you have spent hours hand making centre pieces, or there is a beautiful vintage heirloom being featured in your wedding, you will want to make sure that there are photographs recording that.
The meeting at the venue is the perfect chance to show your photographer around, highlight your favourite areas, why you chose that particular venue and what you love. You can then plan areas for particular shots and also create a contingency plan if the weather is awful on the day. I always recommend a dry day plan and a wet day plan, especially in this country where you can have all 4 seasons in one day!
Any changes in details, ideas or photographs you want can be done via telephone, email etc. Communication with the photographer helps to keep them abreast of what you want and helps them to plan for your day, along with the added bonus of creating that special rapport that helps to make them emotionally invested in your day.
Lastly on the day make sure you enjoy. It is your day to treasure and the photographs will help you remember the day for many years to come, to relive the moments, and to see and enjoy moments of friends and family that you may have missed. Having taken the time and care to choose your ideal photographer will ensure you can relax on the day and trust that you will have your memories beautifully recorded for the future to reminisce and share.
If you have any questions or queries regarding photography, or if you are looking for a photographer please feel free to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 07837866288.