Choosing the right wedding photographer for your big day will ensure your wonderful wedding memories are captured for you to reflect on for many years to come.
After booking the venue, choosing your photographer is one of the next big decisions you have to make. Typically couples will spend 10% of their total wedding budget on securing the right photographer for their big day.
So how do you choose from the thousands of wedding photographers? Here are a few considerations to think about when choosing your photographer.
When looking at the photographers work ask yourself:
- Do you like the look and style of the photographs?
- Do the pictures tell the story of the day?
- Do the pictures capture the moments and emotions of the day and make you feel like you were there?
- Has the photographer made good use of the location and light available, or used the light to enhance the mood of the photographs?
- Are the people being photographed having fun?
- Do you like the presentation and print quality of the albums / photos?
- Does the album look like it will last for generations?
Although there are numerous considerations to choosing your photographer, there are three major items to think about: Style, Personality, and Budget.
Style – You need to identify what kind of photographs you like and also think about how you would like to be photographed on your big day. Although this can be tricky to imagine, I would recommend starting off by looking at the photographers’ portfolio and ask them questions about the pictures that you like. Ask how the pictures were constructed, were they posed in a certain way, was it a spontaneous moment? What considerations were made in getting the picture and how much editing has been done?
Then ask to see some complete weddings. Usually 2-3 would be enough to evaluate the style that the photographer presents and this will also allow you to see how your day could be covered. By seeing complete weddings you get a true representation of a day’s coverage as opposed to seeing just a selection of their best work in a portfolio!
Most wedding photographers fall into one-two of three categories; Traditional (a more formal and staged look), Lifestyle (capturing the true moments between people) or Documentary (fly on the wall or reportage style).
Personality – Your photographer will be with you on your big day for possibly more time than you’ll spend with your spouse to be! He or she is going to be an intimate part of your day, interacting with all your guests and therefore your photographer should feel like a friend, putting you at ease straight away.
It’s very important that you meet your photographer before securing your date with them. If you’re keen and show an interest and passion for their particular approach and style it will really help engage them and get the best out of them on your day. If there is the opportunity to a have a photo session before you commit then take it!
Budget – Typically couples spend around 10% of their wedding budget on photography. This may seem expensive and, for some couples, a temptation to cut back on the cost. For example a £20,000 wedding would mean allocating £2000 for your photographs. Sounds like a lot? – Ask yourself these questions:
- How important are wedding photos for you?
- If, for whatever reason, your pictures don’t turnout as you had expected or parts of the day are missing – would you be upset?
- If your wedding album only lasted for a couple of years, or you mislaid your DVD, how worried would you be about getting a replacement?
There are lots of part-time photographers out there, keen to get into wedding photography full-time but looking to build up a portfolio while they work a 9-5 job. They are able to offer discounts on their packages, sometimes charging only a few hundred pounds – there’s nothing wrong with that and most photographers start out this way but…. YOU need to decide whether you’re happy with this, for one of the biggest days of your lives. Here are some considerations:
- A photographer just starting out will have much less experience than a full-time wedding photographer.
- They will be less aware of how to help ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible, and may miss some of the important parts of your day. They may not have spent time with you understanding your day and timings, knowing what’s important to you. You may have only paid a few hundred pounds but if they give you a disk full of images they could argue that you’ve received value for money, even though the pictures aren’t that great.
- They may get called in to work by their boss on the day of your wedding day due to some emergency. Would they turn down their main source of income or your wedding day for a few hundred pounds?
- Are the albums and presentation products that you will be paying for of the highest quality or are they using sub-standard products with reduced image quality to save themselves some money?
- Any professional photographer will have backup equipment, insurance, and a way of providing you with an equally skilled photographer should the worse happen.
So on the face of it £500 or £600 for a photography package with all images on disk may seem like good value for money, but you do get what you pay for. Would it be a better investment to spend a bit more and get a professional photographer for your wedding day? Only you can decide what’s right for you.
I hope I’ve given you some pointers and things to look out for and would like to wish all the best on the journey to choosing your photographer!