Our top 10 tips to sorting the great from the good (and the not so great) when it comes to wedding photographers.
1) Can you see yourself in the wedding photographer’s pictures?
Do the people in their Wedding images look like you would like to look when at your very best. Do the pictures make you get a little bit more excited about your day. Ask about the blend of documentary (natural unposed) and posed pictures the they typically take on a day.
Most people will say that they want natural looking Wedding photographs and let’s face it, very few people feel at home posing for the camera. In reality lots of the “natural” looking couple shots that you see are taken around a posed set up. You want your images to be natural and capture the feel and magic of your day but you also want to make sure that you have a few photos that you can frame of you and your partner and that your photographer has captured the important details of the day. Lots of the best shots of couples laughing often occur just after they’ve bumped heads in a couple “posed” shot. A good guide is around 80/20 or 85/15 of natural / posed shots.
2) Do you like the Wedding photographer?
Spend a little bit of time with them over a cuppa. Are they warm and engaging? Would you feel really comfortable with them on your Wedding day. Having a great relationship with your Wedding Photographer will make for really natural shots that not only look like you but “feel” like you too.
A good test is to ask yourself “Would my bride squad feel comfortable in their dressing gowns or underwear whilst getting ready with this photographer”?
3) Are they within your budget? Choose quality over quantity.
First figure out what is important to you. Your Photographs really are the lasting legacy from your Wedding. Imagine yourselves 20 years from now, sat on your sofa with a glass of wine, showing your children your Wedding photographs in your album. Photographers prices can vary as can their level of skill, knowledge and experience. Photographers usually offer different packages:
Digital only – a good selection of your Wedding images on a USB stick or as a digital download
Album package – A lovely album with a selection of your best images.
A combination of both – Digital images & a wedding album
Beware of photographers offering 1000+ images on a USB stick. These are typically “Shoot & burn” photographers who will snap away on your Wedding day, do very little editing of your images and deliver them all to you within a week. Where it might sound appealing to have as many images of your big day as possible as quickly as possible, in reality, you’ll end up with 5 mediocre images of the same thing and none of them perfect. You’re paying for a professional and part of that job, includes sifting through the images of your day, discarding any that don’t make the grade (including blurring & blinks). A professional will choose the best shot of you with your best friend and edit it beautifully and if necessary use your head from one shot and her head from the other shot to make one perfect shot instead of two shots with blinking people. What are you going to do with more than 350 images anyway. You’ll feel so overwhelmed that you’ll look at them less often. Chose quality over quantity.
When it comes to photography, Always choose the best you can afford, and if you can stretch to an album, even better. There are so many couples out there who are still “getting around” to getting a Wedding album 8 years after getting married. There’s nothing like the excitement of receiving your Wedding album and viewing it for the very first time. It takes you straight back to how you felt on the day of your Wedding. It’s magical.
4) Are they a professional and does this matter to you?
With the rise of digital photography, anyone can buy a DSLR camera and call themselves a Photographer.
Feel free to ask questions that give you peace of mind that your photographer has the level of experience that you’re looking for. Is this their full time job? There are lots of good amateurs who think they can take a good photo and would like to try their hand at Weddings. You may not want to be a guinea pig whilst they practice their skills or you may be happy to grab a bargain from someone wanting some practice.
How much experience do they have shooting Weddings of their own and not just assisting other photographers? There is a big difference between taking great pictures under someone else direction and managing the logistics and timings of a Wedding day on your own.
Ask about their insurance. Do they have public liability insurance? They certainly should if they’re shooting Weddings and many venues will ask to see these certificates.
Do they seems really cheap, why is this?
5) Ask to see 2 or 3 full Weddings
Every Wedding Photographer is going to show you their best work, either on their website or at a Wedding Fayre. A good photographer will be really happy to show you a typical Wedding from start to finish. Ask to see a previous couples Wedding Gallery so you can really judge if this feels like the style that you’re after.
6) Look for referrals or recommendations
Google is a great place to look for recommendations from previous couples. What do previous couples say about their experiences with the Photographer? Do they comment on how the Photographer interacted with them & guests? Are they happy with the final images? Do they say that they waited for ages to see the photos.
7) What are their contingency plans?
Most photographers are self-employed and work alone. What happens if they are ill on your Wedding day and unable to attend? What’s their back-up plan. How do they plan for equipment failure on your Wedding day? How do they ensure your Wedding pictures are safe?
8) Are they organised?
Will your photographer make your day easier by being organised. Will they spend time beforehand talking to you about timings for your day and planning your group shots. Will they take the time to understand what’s important and why? A good photographer will use their expertise to manage your expectations for the day. You don’t want to spend 2 hours taking your family pics with the photographer whilst your guests finish off all of the canapés. No-one wants to realise you’ve no time left to take beautiful shots of you and your partner because dinner is being served.
9) Are they too pushy?
Do you feel they’re pushing you to book with them now or miss out? Photography is a big spend item on your Wedding day and one of the most important. It’s the one thing that remain when the flowers have gone and the confetti has been swept. If you need time to think about it and do your research don’t be pushed into making a decision on the spot. Also think about how many weddings they are shooting. If it’s too few and this is just a “hobby” then they won’t be able to think so quickly on their feet as it won’t be second nature, too many and it could take an absolute age for them to edit and deliver your wedding photographs. Most wedding photographers will tell you around 6 to 8 weeks is a reasonable time to wait for your wedding photographs.
10) Do they have a touch of Jekyll & Hyde?
I know this sounds like the last thing that you’d want on your Wedding day but trust me on this one.
Can this photographer blend into the background and become invisible so they capture those magic moments when people think no-one is watching? When it comes to taking a big group shot of your whole Wedding party you want a Wedding Photographer that can put on their best headteacher voice and heard uncle bob away from the bar for just 5 minutes.
It’s so frustrating for a couple (and everyone else) when stood on the lawn waiting for two stragglers who have gone to check into their room / gone to the toilet / nipped for a cigarette / gone to the bar (delete as appropriate)
I’m always happy to chat about all things Weddings.
For a cup of the best tea in Yorkshire and to chat about your requirements for your big day email: email@example.com
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