Congratulations – you’re engaged and you have a wedding to plan! This is a most exciting venture and you may be wondering, what do you do first?
In this blog post I will be talking about one of the first things you will do when planning your wedding and that is finding your wedding photographer. Once you have decided on a wedding date and venue (usually the very first step in wedding planning) your wedding photographer is probably next. Why? Well, photographers often book up months, sometimes even years in advance.
So, what exactly should you be looking for when searching for your wedding photographer? What is most important to consider? If you feel like you don’t really know how it all works and where to start, don’t worry. Hopefully this post will arm you with some useful tips and advice on what to think about when choosing a wedding photographer and help you get started!
01. START WITH RESEARCH
The first thing you need to do in the search for your wedding photographer is research. We are lucky to live in a digital age that allows us to easily and conveniently browse anything we need from the comfort of our own homes. So, this is where I suggest you start. Make yourself a cuppa, get comfy and start browsing. Wedding blogs, google searches and social media are all good places to get started and to help you get a feel for what you want for your wedding day.
02. THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY
Now… what should you be looking for in your search? There are a number of things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer and the first topic we’re going to look at is a photographer’s style. You will be looking at your wedding photographs a lot… so it’s important to find a photographer that you feel will capture your day just right. Let’s take a look at the 4 main wedding photography genres:
- Reportage / Photojournalistic / Storytelling / Documentary wedding photography will give you an informal, relaxed and unposed photographic coverage of your wedding day.
- Traditional wedding photography will offer you a classic and posed approach to photographing your wedding.
- Alternative wedding photography often focuses more on the details of your day to capture the mood.
- Fine-Art wedding photography can be more ‘styled’ to give your wedding images a fashion and editorial feel.
So, how will you know which style is right for you? When you’re looking through different photographers’ work, take a note of what you like and don’t like. Do you like light and airy or dark and moody photographs? Do you like lively and informal or posed and styled images? What do the images make you feel? Can you see your wedding day being captured in that style? As well as shooting weddings in different styles, photographers also have their own editing techniques. Even though two photographers both offer say alternative wedding photography, their images might be very different. Whilst one photographer’s colours might be soft and gentle, another’s might be strong and vibrant. Taking notes of what you like and don’t like will help you understand how you will want your wedding day photographed and how to start target your search for photographers that offer just that.
How I work: Many photographers, like myself, will offer a blend of different styles. I work predominantly as a documentary wedding photographer but I will still be delighted to capture your portraits and family photographs. My approach is to photograph your day candidly and unobtrusively as I love to produce really natural images. So, with me your wedding day coverage will have a really informal and lighthearted feel. If you’d like to see examples of my work why not take a peak at my wedding portfolio.
03. TIME TO MEET WITH THE PHOTOGRAPHERS
Once you have a shortlist of potential photographers it’s time to get in touch with them to check their availability and to find out more about how they work. If the photographers you approach are free on your wedding day, ask to meet them. This is a really important part of choosing your wedding photographer as not only will this give you a chance to discuss what you’re looking for, but also give you a feel for the photographers personalities and if they will be a good fit for you and your wedding day.
Before you meet with your potential photographers, it’s a good idea to provide as much information as possible about your wedding day. Tell them about your venue, your theme (if any), what you’re looking forward to the most and what you want from your wedding photography. For example, are you looking for a half-day or a full-day coverage, or is it a weekend celebration? This will help the photographers to get an idea of your plans in advance and prepare for your meeting at their end.
Whether you meet your potential photographer in person, or via a video call such as Skype, don’t be afraid to go in with a list of questions that you want to ask. If you’re not sure what to ask, below are a few suggestions to help you get started:
- What is their approach on the day? How do they work? Ask the photographer to talk you through how he/she photographs a wedding day. This will give you a strong feel for whether his/her approach is a good fit for you.
- What previous experience does he / she have? How many weddings has the photographer photographed prior to yours. What level of experience do they have shooting in different venues and environments.
- Are they insured? This is important. Your professional photographer should be fully covered and have professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
- What will they do if they are ill on the day? Does the photographer have a network of photographers he/she can refer to if for any unforeseen circumstance such as illness or an emergency, won’t be able to make it to your wedding?
- Check that they offer what you are looking for. For example, would you like an album, or a pre-wedding shoot?
- Ask a few personal questions. It’s always nice to find that you have something in common with those who will work with you on your wedding day.
Don’t worry though if you forget to ask something when you meet, you can always ping them an email afterwards.
How I work: I offer couples who are interested in my wedding photography a free pre-booking consultation either in person or via Skype, to get to know them and to make sure that my style and approach is right for them and their wedding day. Not only will we discuss their wedding plans, but it’s also important to me that couples are comfortable with me right from the start. The best way to get to know each other is always face-to-face. Building a good rapport early on makes all the difference so that by the time the wedding comes around, everything will run smoothly and I will be like a friend who happens to have a camera in her hand.
04. YOUR BUDGET
You may be wondering how much to invest in your wedding photographer? Generally speaking, an experienced wedding photographer will charge somewhere between £1200 – £3000 for a full day’s coverage. The investment you will make into your photography will vary depending on a number of things such as; how long you want the photographer to stay on the day, if you want a second photographer, an album, their level of experience and where they are coming from etc. This is where you start looking at the different photographer’s packages.
Many photographers offer “digital packages”, which will give you all your finalised images on a USB-drive, with options such as pre-wedding shoots, albums and prints available as optional extras. In my experience, these are hands down the most popular packages as they offer couples great flexibility to tailor their wedding photography exactly to how they want it. However, if you’re looking for an all inclusive package, make sure that’s something your photographer will offer. Some photographer’s list their prices and packages on their website, others you need to contact for their price list.
I touched upon the location of the photographer and you may wonder why I’m mentioning this under budget? Many couples will book a photographer local to the area where they are getting my married. But, what if you just fall in love with a photographer’s style who lives far away? Don’t panic. Most photographers and myself included, will happily and also frequently travel to photograph weddings around the country. Just bear in mind that travel and accommodation fees will apply on top of the photographers’ fee, so you need to factor this into your budget when making your choice.
So, what budget is right for your wedding photographer? Some couples allocate a large proportion of their wedding budget, others prefer to prioritise other things. Have a think about what what feels right for you and your wedding and what’s most important to you with your wedding photography.
How I work: I offer a range of digital packages from a shorter coverage to the full day (priced at £1450) with optional extras such as pre-wedding shoots and albums also available. If you would like to find out more about my packages and prices, why not pop on over to my wedding photography pricing page.
05. FIND A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO IS EXCITED ABOUT PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR WEDDING
Your wedding day is a very special day and my advice to you is to work with people who you feel are excited about making your day a wonderful occasion to remember. Whether it’s your florist, make-up artist, caterer or your photographer. So, find a photographer who is excited about photographing your wedding. Find a photographer who asks you questions and wants to know all about your day. Find a photographer who doesn’t just give you good sales chat, but one who ‘clicks’ with your wedding and with whom you have a good rapport.
If you’re anything like me, you will want to have a fun, relaxed and personal wedding day. You will want your family and friends by your side, and a photographer who will give you a beautiful set of images to remember your big day by. So, if I were to narrow down to what I think is most important when choosing your wedding photographer, it’s without a doubt the photographer’s style and if you can see the photographer being a part of your day.
The best feeling as a wedding photographer is when couples say to me “do your thing”. This tells me that they have complete trust in me and that we will go on to have a great time together. This is what I want for you. I want you to find a photographer to whom you can say “do your thing”. So, do a little bit of research and find out what you want from your wedding photography. Then, before you know it, I’m sure you will say those three little words.
I hope this article will help you find your wedding photographer. If you would like to chat to me about photographing your wedding day, get in touch and I’d love to set up a free pre-booking meeting with you!