Finding a Wedding Photographer: 10 Essential Tips
Congratulations, you’re getting married! You may now be thinking about finding a wedding photographer. I'm here to help make this a much easier process for you.
Whilst your food and drinks will come and go, your photographs will last for a lifetime. So it’s incredibly important that you pick someone who connects with you. Someone that shares your vision and is 100% invested in you as a couple. After all, this person is there to document one of the most precious moments of your life!
I hope these 10 tips help you in finding a wedding photographer for you.
1. Decide on a style you like
The Photojournalistic Approach
This is the most common style couples look for today. This involves capturing the true story of your day by capturing moments rather than scripted poses. Wedding photographers should strive to capture the raw emotions of a day in order to give a true reflection of your wedding
The Traditional Approach
A more dated approach to wedding photography which involves staged photos where you and your guests are being directed by the photographer. That's not to say this doesn't serve a purpose, as it does. Capturing formal photos of your loved ones before they’re unleashing their dance moves is wise. However, the drawback is that it can take up lots of time for all parties involved, and reduces the time available to capture those spontaneous, heartfelt moments that really portray the authentic soul of your wedding day.
My personal preference is the photojournalistic approach, it’s how I shoot for 90% of the day. I aim to blend in and have fun with the guests so they can feel relaxed and at ease around the camera. This allows me to connect on a personal level which in turn helps me to capture more genuine and authentic moments. Of course for the remaining 10% I am more than happy to capture the posed shots of you and your beloved ones. I have an approach which will make it fun, enjoyable and relaxed for all those involved, which goes a long way in keep everyone happy on the day.
Ultimately, I enjoy capturing things “as is” to avoid interrupting natural moments. Seizing opportunities to capture these fleeting moments is something I am deeply passionate about. They truly reflect the beauty and essence of your special day.
2. What is their speciality?
Is the photographer a wedding photographer or a photographer who also shoots weddings? There is a lot of value in picking a specialist in the industry. If you want to have photos of your pets, you pick a pet photographer, if you want photos of your family, you pick a family portrait photographer. The same goes for weddings, I would advise picking someone who specialises solely in weddings as they will be spending their time and energy in crafting their expertise in this niche.
3. Wedding Photography Prices: Too much or too little?
How can you price a skill as intangible as wedding photography? One person’s idea of an epic photo may be different to another’s hence deciding on editing style is important too (we’ll come onto that). So how do you price a photographer’s services?
Typically, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Low budget photographer’s either lack experience, quality of delivery, or quality of service.
Experience isn’t everything mind you, if you can tell by their photos that they’re talented, who cares if someone else has been shooting for 15+ years but still can’t take a flattering photo of you.
Delivery – how are they delivering their services, are they invested in you as a couple? Are they genuinely interested in your story? Are they passionate about their role as your wedding photographer or is it just seen as a job that pays the bills?
Quality of service – how are they responding to your emails, helpful, polite, swiftly? What does their website say about them? look for how they present themselves and the sort of language they use to describe their services. Is it all abrupt and lacking emotion? or do they have a genuine interest in you as a couple and your story?
4. Editing Style
Deciding on a wedding photographer's editing style again is very subjective. Some people like light and airy photos from the Fuji film days, whilst others prefer a super contrasted dark and moody effect. There is no right or wrong preference. My personal preference is bright, vibrant, and elegant. I want my couple's wedding album to be timeless and give a sense of warmth and celebration to their day.
5. How many photos are delivered
Quality over quantity, I typically deliver about 500 fully edited photos. I don’t have a cap on mine as I know sometimes that my personal favourite may be different to the couples variation, so if I feel it is worth keeping just in case, I let the couples decide as it is their wedding album at the end of the day.
If you’re seeing photo delivery promises of 700+, I’d probably question what the value of some of those additional 200 photos are. 500 is more than enough to document a wedding day. Any more would be overwhelming for the couples and not provide anything to the overall album.
6. Do they have insurance and contingency plans?
Every wedding photographer should have public liability insurance with insurance that covers all eventualities. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Lack of insurance could affect you as a client in a few different ways, for example; cameras or lenses breaking and not being able to afford to fix it before your wedding, loss or theft of their cameras & lenses and not being able to replace. Most importantly, the ability to claim compensation if your photographer cannot make it due to illness or injury, therefore providing you with an alternate photographer.
I have full insurance for all possible scenarios. I have never missed a wedding or had any issues with equipment due to being extra vigilant. However, in the event this extremely rare scenario could happen, I am covered. I also have a network of other fully insured photographers (with a similar style) who I can call on to photograph your wedding.
7. What kit are they using?
Are they using one 10-year-old crop sensors camera with 400,000 shutter counts ready to explode? Or, are they using professional, full-frame cameras with high-end lenses ready for any situation? The cheaper the photographer, the worse their kit.
I currently two full-frame Nikon cameras with dual-card slots for back-ups of your wedding day. I also use high-end prime & zoom lenses to cover all eventualities, wide shots to close up shots. In addition to this, I have multiple flashes for both on and off camera, these are essential for when the natural light fades and you want some epic dancefloor shots.
8. How are the images delivered?
Are the images delivered by old-school CD or are they delivered by an online gallery? Even the trend in USB's is declining these days, with most couples just happy to receive their gallery online and download straight to their computer.
My personal preference is an online gallery software that allows my couples to see their complete wedding day in sequence. It’s very intuitive, also allowing my couples to see different parts of the day (ceremony, reception, dancefloor). Couples can also design their album to their exact taste using the photos to drag and drop and move, very handy for those DIY folks. Another great feature is you and your guests can order albums and prints directly from the gallery, perfect for all who view.
9. Set up a phone call or a meeting
I think you can tell so much more about someone when you speak in person. Human psychology is a whole different topic but you can definitely get a good feel for a person by the way they interact with you. If you can, try and meet up for a coffee (or bevvie) in person and have a chat about expectations and your vision for your day. Should your photographer live on the other side of the country, it might be unreasonable to expect a meet up just for a chat about their services. In this case, organise a skype or phone call, it’s still better than just emailing only, plus you can ask a series of questions without going back and forth.
10. (Most Importantly) Do you like their personality?
This is the most important tip when it comes to picking your wedding photographer. Do you actually like their personality? You could have an incredibly talented photographer technically, but if they are miserable and lacking interpersonal skills, do you want to spend the majority of the day around them?
Find someone who is relaxed, easy to get on with, enjoy their role in documenting your day and a pleasure to be around.
If you can follow these 10 tips, you will certainly be on the right path to choosing an epic wedding photographer for your day.
Of course, if you’ve read this, you may even have a feel for what sort of photographer I may be. If you’re looking for a relaxed photographer, look no further, I’d be honoured to be documenting your special day. Say hello via the contact page and let’s get talking.
Thanks for dropping by,
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