A proper guide to planning your wedding.
No flowery adverbs or prose, just good clear information
Selecting a photographer is high on most couples' wedding planning list but many do take time to enjoy the search and find a professional who's pictures truly capture their imagination. The below article gives a step by step guide to finding the right professional so you can sit back, relax and look at the photos.
Wedding photography has progressed a long way since the simple point, click, formal pictures. Modern wedding photography is much more artistic. Some photographers prefer to stage perfect pictures; some will tell the actual story of the day and others will focus on the highlights of the day.
If you are looking for staged but flawless portrait pictures, then it is worth looking for photographers who demonstrate more conventional images. However, if you want actual memories of the day (mishaps included) then look for photographers who show more candid moments.
In amongst all of the costs of the day, photography should not be scrimped on. Do remember while a dress, car, flowers are for a day the memory will live on in your photos forever. There is no way to capture lost moments after they have happened.
It is recommended to budget between £1,000 to £2,000 for a professional photographer.
There are cheaper packages out there, but these can miss out critical components such as a USB or non-watermarked photographs. Sometimes newer start-ups may also be cheaper. If opting for a more economical option, make sure to check what the price includes and to examine the look-books of previous wedding work.
Photography prices do tend to accurately reflect the quality of the service and final prints supplied.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are uncapped fees for those looking for something high-end, but rarely will they do a notably better job than someone in the price bracket above
When initially searching for photographers start by looking at recent friend/family wedding photos and find a style you like. From here, you can explore specific photographers and the consortiums they work within. Most photographers will work closely with other similar-style photographers so that coverage can be provided in the event of sickness.
For myself and my husband, we were very impressed with a friend's photographer and liked his style. We contacted him, but as he was busy he directed us to a broad group, and we were able to speak to and find two photographers we immediately clicked with.
Do not limit this initial search to local photographers only. Those from other areas may be cheaper and may find photographing a new location more interesting (and, as such, do an outstanding job). It is also highly recommended to Google winners of region wedding photography awards to get names of talented photographers that come highly rated by other newlyweds.
When reviewing websites, you will start to get an impression of a photographer’s style, preferences and specialisms. It is worth viewing these along with their Instagram profiles – as these often contain more recent work and will have a more extensive, fast-loading selection. Below are some top tips to look out for:
• Good quality pictures taken in different lighting and weather conditions
• Clear pictures of evening dancing and guests letting their hair down
• Good compositions in formal shots
• A balance between arty and formal shots
• Recommendations and comments from the previous couples
• A clear understanding of the service, costs and their approach
All photographers appreciate how important the selection process is and real professionals will not be pushy about making quick decisions. It is recommended to make a short list of 1-3 photographers who interest you. Send a broad email to each that specifies the date, location and asks for a skype or telephone catch up to hear more about their approach.
Below is a selection of essential questions to ask in the initial consultation:
• Why do they enjoy photographing weddings and what are their favourite parts?
• How many photographers will be present on the day?
• What is their approach in bad weather?
• What is their emergency plan in case of sickness/unforeseen circumstances?
• What style of photography do they prefer?
• Ask them to give a walk-through of their general approach
• Length of the day that they will cover
• How photos will be processed and provided after the wedding (can these be freely printed/shared)?
• Approximate number of prints you will receive
• Full costs and a breakdown of timescales (do make sure that it is explicit if VAT is included or not)
• Is a pre-wedding shot included?
• How do they divide time between the bride/groom before the ceremony?
• How many formal shots they would recommend?
Did you like them? While photographers will naturally try and blend into the background, it is essential to have personalities that match yours and people you will feel comfortable with when you are getting ready.
Did they seem excited by your wedding and plans? If not, then your wedding could just end up being just another job.
Did they seem flexible to the timescales and amount of time you would like them there for? While much of photography is around the lead up to the wedding ceremony, some of the most fun, relaxed and humorous pictures can often be taken by photographers after dark. Having someone there as everyone lets their hair down can add to the memories of the day that can be lost otherwise.
Did they give you honest advice and listen to your ideas, but also provide guidance? We all think we know the exact pictures we want, but from a decade of seeing photographs, the favourite ones are often unexpected and due to the creative ideas of your photographer. There is nothing wrong with selecting someone who will guide your day and give some direction.
Once you have spoken to a few photographers and selected one you like, it is vital to secure the date quickly, and usually, a deposit will be needed. Photographers will then contact you closer to the day to arrange full payment and check logistics. Your next job is to have some fun looking for photographic inspiration.
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