“How to choose a wedding photographer?”
The National Wedding Show have asked me to write an article to give their brides and grooms some advise on choosing a wedding photographer… so here it is and hope you enjoy!
Let me start by saying your wedding day is one of the biggest events in your life! I truly believe every couple deserves beautiful photographs of their day.
So why do photographers packages and prices differ so much? Prices can start from as little as £200 right up to £15,000!
Who can put a price on your memories from the biggest day of your lives?……. Only you can. Couples who value photography as an investment, will put aside a larger percentage of their wedding budget towards photography.
You have to ask yourself once the evening is over and you wake up the following morning what’s left of your memories?
All the things that make your big day, will fade away as quickly as the flowers. Then all that remains are your photographs and rings as a reminder of your wedding.
This is why it is so important that the photographer you choose, can capture “your” moments on “your” day, the way “you” want them recorded.
In a market that is over populated by hundreds and thousands of photographers how do you begin to choose the right photographer for your wedding day?
There are roughly four so called “camps” that make up the industry.
A- Part time hobbyist and Amateur photographers
B- College students
C- New business start ups
D- Full time professionals
How do you recognise the different types of photographers?
I have put together some questions to help you decided which type of photographer to book and how much of a risk your willing to take. For instance a Amateur would be grateful for a portfolio and to be the main photographer on a wedding day. They will not have top of the range equipment, insurance, let alone back up equipment with their experience being very little. However your get a great deal on the price. But what if something does go wrong. You have to be willing to risk this in order to make big savings on the cost.
1- Always ask to meet the photographer that will be attending on the day of your wedding.
You can have a photographer photograph your wedding for as long as fourteen hours, which is a long time to spend with someone you haven’t met before. Personality is everything and you need to click with your photographer and know that they will fit in with friends and family on your wedding day. When looking at photographers work ask if the photographs are theirs and not another photographer in their team.
2- Ask to see their work from several full weddings and not just sample albums. Make sure you see an example of a recent wedding and see all the photographs taken on the day.
Look out for the key photographs of parts of the day, if they are missing chances are this photographer hasn’t actually photographed a wedding as the main photographer and only second shot on a wedding day. Are the photos of the couple all looking away and none of them to the camera, again this is typical signs of a second shooter and not a main photographer.
3- Are they insured?
You want to know the photographer is insured not only for them but for all staff that will be working with them on your wedding day. Several venues will also ask for the photographers insurance so feel free to ask for copies of these documents. Professional indemnity, public liability and employer’s liability are a good start.
4- Do they own back up equipment?
You want to know the photographer’s back up equipment is the same as their main equipment. Having an old hobby camera that will never cut it in a wedding situation doesn’t count as a backup. Back up flash guns, lenses are also needed. For example last Christmas in the snow I was helping our bride climb some steps when I dropped my camera and my flash gun smashed before us. If I did not have a back up in my bag I wouldn’t have been able to photograph the rest of the evening reception.
5- What happens if the day runs late?
Photographers cover this very differently so do ask the question. Every single wedding I have ever photographed has always run late so it is something to think about.
6- What happens if the photographer is sick and cannot attend your day?
Most photographers will have a contract with terms and conditions. Liability is usually limited to the full amount of your photography package. That’s all great but when you’re a bride getting ready on her big day you need a photographer! Having a refund doesn’t quiet help. Full time professionals will have options for this question.
7- Does the photographer charge you extra for album design?
Ask questions about prices for extra photos in your album, are they charged per photo or per page. Are there any charges for making changes to your album design etc?
8- How will you view you proofs?
Does the photographer provide you with a proof book to keep or is the only option to view them on a website with the copyright across the image making it very difficult to view the expressions in your photos.
9- How many times do we meet before the wedding day?
This differs hugely across the different types of photographers. Some will want to meet you several times before the big day while others will just see you on the actual day of the wedding. Do they offer to cover a venue visit so they are familiar with your wedding venue?
10- Does the photographer offer a pre shoot?
I would recommend a pre wedding shoot to all our couples. This is a great time to really get to know your photographer on a one to one basis. We use this time for helpful posing tips and making our couples feel more relaxed in front of the camera before the big day.
11- Does the photographer have a land line number?
If the photographer only has a mobile contact number you have to ask why they do not have their studio or land line number on their printed information. Is this because they are in one of the ”a” or “b” camps I mentioned earlier? I would want to know an address and land line number of any supplier I am booking for my wedding day.
I hope this article has given you the questions you need, to make an educated decision about who that photographer will be on your wedding day.
Feel free to leave your comments and of course contact me for any further information.