Choosing the right wedding photographer for your special day is a completely personal choice that is based on the style of their photographs, cost, location, or a combination of all three. This blog will hopefully contain some helpful tips when considering who you would like to capture your day and also give you some ideas about what to ask the photographers you are considering.
Cost is a major factor for most people when choosing a wedding photographer which is completely understandable. Every photographer has a different price range, but be aware that the cheaper end of the scale may have a lot to do with lack of experience and quality of work. It doesn’t necessarily need to cost the earth, but it is worth doing your research and comparing different photographers work and pricing.
At short notice it is very difficult for photographers to find replacement work so a non-refundable deposit is completely normal, however it is important to find out what the photographers payment plans are and how much, if any, is refundable should you need to cancel or rearrange… I know it doesn’t sound very romantic, but a lot can happen in a year or two and if there was some reason that the wedding couldn’t go ahead as planned you maybe left out-of-pocket.
Double check that whichever package you choose has no hidden costs and includes VAT and postage and packaging.
I travel all over the country, as do most photographers, but maybe at an extra cost depending on distance and accommodation should they need it, so definitely check if you have a photographer that you love who is based outside the desired location.
On a smaller note… some photographers require that you put lunch or dinner on for them and although they will eat away from guests, its worth checking.
Photography is like any form of art in that the style will vary hugely depending on the artist and it is all about your personal taste. Some photographers will use a mixture so as to maximise coverage and variety for the couples album, but generally there are three main styles.
TRADITIONAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY – This is mainly focused is on set-up or posed shots. There are benefits here in terms of making sure you have group photographs of family and friends that you wouldn’t otherwise get. The downside is that it is very time-consuming and can eat into the day and you will get very little in the way of natural, candid shots.
DOCUMENTARY STYLE PHOTOGRAPHY – Also known as reportage, candid or journalistic, this is the most natural form of photography and often suits couples who don’t enjoy having their photos taken and prefer a more relaxed approach to their day. The negatives are that you may miss out on the group shots so it is important to ask your photographer if that is possible.
EDITORIAL WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY – This is quite like traditional or classic wedding photography in that it is posed and can be time-consuming, but it is more modern. The photographer will concentrate on surroundings, backdrop and lighting and your photos will have an editorial, fashion shoot look.
Think about how you would like your day to flow and which style reflects you best as a couple.
Most photographers will travel, but there are of course benefits to hiring a photographer that is local to the ceremony and reception locations. Local photographers will have knowledge of the area and all the hidden gems and will also probably already have a working relationship with many of the vendors and venues. If your photographer is coming from outside the area or has never been to your venue check that they will be going there prior to your date, so that they can get a feel for the place beforehand.
If you live outside the area where the wedding is taking place why not set up meetings with potential photographers whilst you are booking venues.
MEET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
It is one of the most special days in your life so make sure that you meet your photographer beforehand. I always think the photographer should be like an extra guest and not some strange person on the outside. Taking amazing photos is obviously the most important part, but they also need to communicate clearly, calmly and should be good with people. The better they get on with everyone the better and more personal the photos will be. If it isn’t possible to meet because of location or clash of work at least do a Skype call so that you can get a proper idea about the energy of your photographer.
I always post a few photos on social media and on online, but I have chosen not to put my couples entire day on my website, the reason being that I believe it’s a very personal thing which should be kept private, so this is one of the things I am able to do with my potential clients in person. It’s also an opportunity to see samples of anything contained within you package and the quality of them, such as albums, USB’s, boxes and prints.
BOOK NOW OR MISS OUT
We are definitely an industry that is all about future bookings, but there is a fear that’s been instilled in couples that if they don’t book now, then they will miss out and not find anyone. Of course if you have a particular photographer in mind it’s probably wise to book them sooner rather than later, but not everyone plans a wedding that far in advance. Don’t feel pushed into booking, there is not a shortage of great wedding photographers, so don’t panic and it’s always worth checking because they may have had a cancellation or simply have your date free.