You’re engaged, congratulations! Time to celebrate and begin planning your perfect day along with learning how to choose a wedding photographer. There are so many things to think about when planning your wedding and no matter how large or small, booking a professional wedding photographer is a big decision which can be daunting. After all, there are so many to choose from. You want to make sure you pick the right one who will capture all those tender touching moments but equally all those precious imperfections that inevitably happen from time to time.
Here are my tips on how to choose a wedding photographer.
Do your research…
Once you have a set date and venue it may be time to start looking at different wedding photographers. It’s best to start looking sooner rather than later. Most photographers only book a set number of weddings a year and can be completely booked up anywhere from 6 months to 18 months in advance.
Watch Out for Corner Cutting
Obviously not all inexpensive wedding photographers are bad photographers. Many do have a good eye and are really very creative. You may feel you need to cut a couple of corners and those inexpensive wedding photographers do look tempting. However, you’re paying a photographer for their experience and along with that, peace of mind on your wedding day. Equally, you’re also paying them to edit and go through each image one by one to piece together a beautiful gallery of memories, just as you remember them. We’ve all heard our fair share of wedding horror stories and the last thing you need to worry about is the photographer cutting corners too.
Are you looking for a particular style?
This will give you an idea of what to look for when choosing a photographer. Do you like traditional wedding photography with staged images and big smiles staring at a camera with a big flash on top? Perhaps you would prefer a more candid documentary style where the photographer captures the day unobtrusively, incognito, letting the day unfold naturally? Or maybe you’d like a mix; a perfect balance of posed romantic photos throughout the day alongside images depicting the essence and mood of the day exactly as you remember it.
Get to know them first!
How well do you get on? You and your guests will spend the majority of your wedding day in the presence of your photographer. Make sure you choose a photographer with a likable personality and who you feel you could have a laugh with! Be sure to choose someone that produces consistent work that you’re drawn towards. Remember, just because your family knows a photographer doesn’t mean you’re obliged to use them.
I love getting to know my clients on a personal level and meeting face to face before the wedding is a great way to do this. Having a great rapport with each other is really important when you’re trying to capture REAL and natural emotion. When you look at a photo from your special day, I want you to feel just as you did at that very moment.
Do they have Backup?
Backup equipment is crucial. Please make sure you ask your photographer if they shoot with backup equipment. You can’t always rely 100% on a single camera body. What if a drink is spilt on the camera or it gets dropped and damaged somehow and is unusable for the rest of the day? Of course, this would be the worst possible outcome…but it is still possible. Shutters in lenses are known to break from time to time simply from overuse. A professional camera body costs thousands of pounds. Camera equipment is not cheap and it needs to be updated, cleaned and calibrated. Gear is not everything but not having the right gear can affect the ability for some photographers to shoot in some weather or lighting conditions.
Do They Have Insurance?
When researching how to choose a wedding photographer you want to make sure you pick someone that has insurance. Again this will cover any potential damage to equipment that may occur or even to the guests! What happens if a light stand falls on a guest resulting in a nasty bump to the head? Professional photographers should always be covered in case something happens to their gear or to someone else.
PRO TIP: Make sure your photographer has a contract! The contract doesn’t just protect the photographer, it protects the clients as well, if not more so!
Ask about DETAILS
What is included in the packages? Do you get all the digital files included in the package price or are they sold separately to you afterwards? Will your Photographer edit all the photos one by one or simply slap a filter on them all?
Turn around time
It may not seem like the most important thing to ask but its always good to know. The inexpensive photographer that you may be thinking of hiring may be working a full-time job alongside shooting weddings. Having a full-time job may mean their turn around time could be much longer than you’d expect. It could be a matter of months. Do you really want to be waiting that long to view your photographs? How much time and attention will your photographer have to set aside for you before the wedding?
Don’t just hire ‘Uncle Bob’
Say you know someone that does photography as a hobby? Maybe they’re into taking photos of wildlife or sports? They actually take some really nice looking photos as well! Asking them to shoot your wedding would save loads of money right? Well, yes. You will save money, I won’t argue with that, but your wedding photos might not come out looking how you imagined them to. Wedding photography is a whole different ball game! It can be really stressful at times and a lot of it is knowing where to be at the right time. You need to have the right experience and knowledge to be able to adjust a camera perfectly without thinking too much about it. Getting into a pickle with your gear can result in a lot of missed opportunities for beautiful photographs.
Social Media is great for finding inspiration and surfing through beautiful photos. Please don’t expect your photographer to create images exactly the same as the ones on your Pinterest board or Instagram collection. I’m sure some photographers could get pretty close to the examples in some cases. However, asking a professional photographer to recreate someone else’s work is going to result in very posed, stiff and awkward looking images. When your photographer suggests an idea for a photo or recommends going a tiny bit further to catch that last bit of light, trust that it will be worth it and you’ll love the end result.
I promise the photographers that are charging a little more aren’t trying to con you out of money or rip you off. There’s a lot of costs of running a photography business. Photographers stay educated and up to date on technology and their technique, not to mention having to pay taxes, like everybody else. Overheads, time spent shooting and time spent editing every image one by one soon adds up. There are a lot of reasons why photographers charge the amount of money that they do. As mentioned previously, you aren’t just paying for the photos. You’re also paying for a pleasant experience and peace of mind that they’ll do an incredible job!
Want some ideas on what you should be telling your wedding photographer? Click HERE to get some ideas!