One of the most exciting, important and daunting tasks when planning your wedding is choosing your photographer, at least that’s what %83 of UK brides say. Now I am not a wedding photographer, even though I have done them in the past, but I know that your photographs from the big day will be the only real lasting memory you have, so getting this right is essential.
The right photographer is far more than just a paid “happy snapper” who spends all day running around taking thousands of images. The right photographer will have a unique style for editing, composing and presenting your images and they should be able to tell a unique story. Finding this photographer is going to be hard work! You’ll need to visit many websites, do you homework, read as much about them as you can and don’t be afraid to contact their clients where possible to see what they really felt about working with them.
If you see their work and it really resonates with you then your onto a winner. Remember, you’ll want to look back for many years and remember that special day with fond memories, and a great photographer can produce work that will do just that.
HERE ARE MY “5 Tips: To finding your wedding photographer”
1. DO THEY HAVE STYLE?
Photography is an art and as such is very subjective. There are so many types of photography that it can be difficult to choose from them. The best place to start is by looking at your own personal style! Are you sophisticated, artsy, edgy or into your romance? Do you find yourself attracted to calm, neutral colours or deep, moody black and whites? Perhaps your a secret fly on the wall and would like documentary styles over heavily posed ones?
Asking a photographer to change his or her style to fit your own will only end in trouble, it’s best to find one that already loves working in the style that fits you.
2. PERSONALITY MATCH?
Once you’ve decided which style suites you and you’ve got a selection of photographers who fit what your looking for, the next step is to go and meet them. This is so important and should never be overlooked. Do you like them and get along? Do you feel comfortable with them and are you on the same page? Don’t forget, you’ll be spending more time with them on your wedding day than with anyone else so it’s important the fit is right.
You need to feel relaxed so that you can concentrate on being in the moment without worrying about the photographer and if they are doing what they need to. Meet them in person, not just on Skype or a phone call. Some people are great on the phone but when they’re in person they can be shy or unable to project themselves. Your photographer needs to be able to speak confidently, manage strangers and direct them. This will also give you the chance to see some of their work either via a laptop or through physical media like photo-books or canvases.
3. MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND!
One of the biggest points I’m sure most will agree. Everyone will have a different idea on this one, £5,000, £2,000 or the best reaction I’ve had was I should do it for FREE to get some exposure! Now sometimes the photographer you love just is out of your budget range, after all our equipment, time and insurance isn’t cheap and this is nearly always reflected in the price.
There is always a great difference on the costs of a photographer depending on how experienced they are, how long they will spend with you and what products they include in their packages. But it’s so important to remember that if you value the images you keep then you must invest as much as you can in the photographer. A rough guide is to set aside 10-15% of your total wedding budget to the photography including prints and other products.
The style, quality and choice of products photographers offer differs a lot. When you meet your photographer make sure you see some of their product examples included in your package. If you want images on their own then how are they presented? On USB, online gallery or via a download? Will they be edited and how many should you expect? Make sure you’re clear and happy about your choices.
All great photographers will have a tailor made experience that begins the day you book them. They will want to build a relationship with you long before the event. On the wedding assignments I’ve been lucky enough to be on, I’ve always got to know the couple so I can represent their personality in the images and be treated as a friend rather than an employed photographer! I gave advice on wedding suppliers if needed and sometimes I’ve even sent little surprises on the lead up to the big day. Your photographer should invest their time in the relationship to make sure it goes a smoothly as possible.
5. BOOK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Great wedding photographers are like great tradesmen. The best get booked up fast and long term, some are booking years in advance! Don’t let your ideal photographer get booked because you waited too long. Once you’ve decided then take action and book them. Normally a booking fee and signed contract will be required from you to secure your date so make sure you know how much you need to set aside for this.
Remember, choose a photographer who’s work you love and put your trust in them to capture you at your best, then it’s just a matter of relaxing and enjoying all the attention on you!