Choosing a photographer is an important decision in the wedding planning process. After all, once the flowers have wilted, the food has been eaten, the drinks drunk and the music in your ears has faded from the party, what are you left with as a lasting memory? Your photographs!
But where to start? There are thousands of photographers out there, how do you know who is right for you? No one photographer is right for everyone, so we’re not going to tell you who to chose (even if we’d love it to be us!). Instead, below, we have set out the five steps to choosing your perfect photographer to help you make your own mind up.
Choosing your perfect wedding photographer
- Choose a wedding photography style
Photojournalist/ documentary/ reportage photographers (that’s us!)
Not sure what these all mean? Photojournalist, documentary or reportage photographers all do essentially the same job. They capture your wedding day as it is, largely documenting the real moments and emotions of your day with minimal intervention. Some photojournalists won’t do any form of group shots and instead will focus on capturing events as they happen. These photographers will usually be very talented in reacting quickly to capture moments and will largely fade into the background with your guests photographing things you may not have seen without disrupting the flow of the day.
Traditional wedding photographers
This is the type of photographer a lot of people (probably your parents) are thinking of when they talk about a wedding photographer. Think lots of formal, posed photographs and an emphasis on group photographs – they are likely to take control of the setting and pose of a lot of your photographs.
This group of photographers offer something a little different. They will use light in creative way and may be skilled in flash photography and will likely place a great deal of emphasis on the couple’s portraits. These photographers have an amazing eye for detail and a creative eye!
- Chat to them about your wedding
So you like their style, great! But now you should dig a little deeper; search their website, read their reviews and check on these three essential questions. Do they have backup equipment? Do they have a backup plan if they are sick or unable to make it? Do they have insurance? Each of these questions should be met with a resounding “Yes, absolutely!” If not, you have to question whether you’re willing to risk any of these things going wrong. If they don’t have back up plans then there’s a possibility you’ll be left stranded without a photographer on your wedding day.
- Check if they fit your budget
There’s no denying it – weddings are expensive. So budget is always going to be a key consideration. With photographers ranging in budget, from a few hundred pounds to several thousand, there really is something for everyone and you need to ask yourself how much you value photography. So make sure to check their pricing.
If you want to look back proudly at your photographs then it really is worth the investment.
Yes, there are talented photographers who are not charging as much as they should be but they are few and far between. Generally, you get what you pay for – experience, reliability, and high quality service – not just the photographs.
- Meet them and do a trial run (engagement photoshoot!)
We’re all incredibly busy these days and understand it can be hard to find time to meet your photographer. However, we’ve also heard people say how they didn’t get on with their photographer, they were grumpy or just plain unpleasant to them or their guests. On your wedding day, you’ll spend more time with them than anybody else (well, except for your new spouse!) so it’s pretty important that you don’t hate them!
This is why we offer, anyone who signs up to our emails, a free, engagement photoshoot before you book. We love getting to know our couples, having a really good chat about their wedding and allowing them to feel comfortable in front of the camera. Plus, you get some awesome images of you both together to keep – perfect for Save the Date cards, a wedding website or your invitations.
- Get it written down and sign a contract – it will protect both you guys and the photographer
Once you’ve found a photographer that suits your style, you know they’re within your budget and they’re a decent person, it’s time to book. At this stage, it’s really important to get it all written down. Any photographer worth booking will have a contract – it’s there to protect both you and the photographer. If anything were to go wrong, whether it be the photographer becoming ill or the wedding having to be postponed (nobody plans for this but worst case scenario, even something like a burst pipe, each snow or illness could disrupt your wedding) then you need to have agree what should happen!
So ensure your photographer has a contract then read it, understand it, question anything that you don’t understand or seems strange and, assuming you’re happy, sign it.
So, once you’ve chosen your perfect photographer, what should you do next? Well, it’s really important to be fully armed with lots of great questions to ask them. If you’re not sure of the type of things you should be asking, have a read through our blog with ‘10 essential questions to ask your wedding photographer’.