Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
Choosing a wedding photographer is a big decision to make when it comes to your wedding day, as unlike other wedding suppliers, who’s services whilst being important won’t be with you for years to come, a photographers work will be the lasting memory of your wedding day. So you need to make sure the photographer you pick is the right fit for you.
I often ask prospective bride and grooms what style of photography they like, some look puzzled and others have a clear idea, but this is important. Photography is very subjective and whilst most professional photographers will deliver technically great photographs, each will have their individual style, and you and the photographer need to be on the same page, in terms of what type of images are to be delivered.
Reportage or Documentary style photography is very popular at the moment, this style is informal and relaxed, and the photographer will capture the events of the day, and remain very much in the background, as opposed to taking centre stage.
Traditional wedding photography is quite formal, with a lot of posed and group shots. I would say my style is Contemporary, it is very informal so we do a lot of documentary style shots, and as I work with a second photographer at most weddings, they spend a lot of time capturing your guests enjoying themselves. However I am happy to take posed and group shots, if required, but I try to make them a bit different to the traditional shots, using the environment to make the group shots less regimented, and the couple shots less cheesy! The only way you will know if a photographers style matches yours is by looking at their website, Facebook page etc, and more importantly sitting down and chatting to them and looking at their albums, and ask to see a full wedding, as opposed to just their best shots!
The personality of your photographer is important as they are likely to be spending anywhere up to 10 hours with you on the most important day of your life, so you need to get on with them. You need to have the confidence to be able to tell them to hurry up, if you feel they are taking too long in getting the shots, or ask them to get shots you perhaps feel they may miss. Your photographer should be professional, but also I feel relaxed enough to blend in with the guests, and whilst they should direct at times, they shouldn’t, in my opinion, take over, it’s your day remember, not theirs!
Obviously this is a factor. There are many photographers out there who will cover your wedding for very little, but what I would say be careful, as the last thing you want is to be disappointed with your wedding day images, when you have spent so much time, energy and money in organizing your day. Now I’m not saying that cheap necessarily means poor or expensive means great, but I would ask the question how can one photographer do it so cheaply compared to another?
If a photographer is starting out they cannot command too high a fee as they do not have the experience, and are possibly building their portfolio. It may not be their full time job and they just do it as an extra source of income, which again does not mean to say they are a poor photographer, but it may mean they will take longer for you to get your images as they have another job to do. Who will be shooting the wedding? Most professionals will employ a “second shooter” or assistant this allows them to concentrate on the bride and groom, and to be in two places at once, and you will get a lot of images that otherwise you may have missed, but obviously this comes at a cost.
Also full time professional photographers will have professional equipment which they have to maintain and update, they will also have insurance, which again comes at a cost, but gives you piece of mind that in the unlikely event that there will be some mishaps the photographer is covered. What I would say is get the best photographer your budget can afford, a fellow photographer I sometimes work with was once asked at a wedding fayre “whats the difference between a good photographer and an average one?” he responded “ the price of a chocolate fountain!”
What will I get?
You need to clarify with your chosen photographer what exactly you will be getting for your money, and how and when it will be delivered. Most photographers will give you your edited images as hi res JPGS, but you just need to check that you will be able to use these images as you wish, there will be no issues in terms of copyright. You also need to check how you will get them on a disc, usb drive or to download. It is difficult for a photographer to tell you exactly how many images you will get but they should be able to give you an idea based on the hours they will be shooting. You also need to know when you can expect the images, whilst you should be patient as it does take considerable time editing a whole wedding, the photographer needs to give you a realistic expectation, as quite reasonably you do not want to wait for too long after the wedding to receive your images, you still want it to be fresh in your memory. If you are ordering an album you need to know how many pages will be in the album, how long it will take to design and what is the design process in terms of choosing images for the album.
I hope this has given you some food for thought, oh that reminds me that’s another question I often get asked, do I need to feed the photographer? I always respond it’s entirely up to you, a meal is always favourably received but it’s not expected, we always go prepared with snacks or will find somewhere to grab a bite to eat during the wedding breakfast.
If you are looking for a photographer and like "my style" then I'd love to hear from you either from my contact page or call me on 07900 550231 for a FREE no obligation consultation, and if you do book me and quote ref: 10TIPS you will receive a 10% discount of any of my packages over 4 hours.
Gavin Haworth is a professional photographer based in Lancashire, England, covering weddings throughout the North West and beyond.