10 tips for choosing your perfect wedding photographer
Choosing your perfect wedding photographer can seem like an uphill battle with the amount of photographers in today’s society. The 10 tips I’m about to list below will help you on your journey to choosing your perfect wedding photographer.
One perfect photograph can instantly take you back to the happiest day of your life, and a stunning wedding album can become your favourite coffee table book, so choosing your perfect wedding photographer for you and your family is an important decision and can be a daunting task. Not only do you need to find a photographer with a style you love, but a friendly and reliable professional who cares about your big day as much as you do. With an increasing market of wedding photographers, websites, social media pages, blogs and adverts, many couples can be left wondering where to start.
1. Where to start?
For choosing your perfect wedding photographer, start by asking family and friends. People love talking about good experiences and it’s comforting to know they’ve worked with a professional who did a great job. If family or friends have recommended a photographer, its easy at this stage to ask them questions about how they performed on the day, you can also look at their wedding albums and get a feel for their style.
If recommendations are thin on the ground, the next best place is the internet (Who uses the yellow pages these days?!)
2. Online Search
A search online is a great place to find local photographers and will certainly help with choosing your perfect wedding photographer. If you’re looking for someone local, a simple Google search for “Nottingham wedding photographer” for example, is all it takes to get the ball rolling. Most professional photographers have a strong online web presence with portfolios and galleries for you to browse.
3. Browse their work
This is obviously going to be an important step in finding what’s right for you. Be sure to check out as much of their work as possible, one thing to look out for is a website that don’t have galleries or blogs from previous weddings (just a collection of their best shots) This will give you a better idea of their consistency and style.
Also be cautious if all the photographs on their site are ones from styled shoots/training workshops with professional models. These aren’t real weddings nor can these photographers replicate this standard of imagery on a real wedding day.
When looking through their portfolio you can try and get a feel for the way they work, look at the emotional tone of the imagery – do the couples look relaxed or tense/forced? Do they shoot adventurous or artistic images or are they standard/ordinary? Do they capture the story of the day to your liking. Can they handle winter weddings with the lack of ambient light>? You should soon start to get a feel for their work and if they have a style you like.
4. Make a list
Whilst browsing various websites, galleries & blogs etc you will probably find yourself liking a variety of photographers and their work. I’d recommend making a list of the photographers whose style you like before looking at other factors.
5. Narrow down your options
So far you’ve browsed a dozen or more websites and have a shortlist of photographers who’s work you admire. Now its time to whittle them down into a manageable chunk of photographers who may fit the bill.. A quick phone call or email will determine if they’re available on your date, this may really narrow down your list. You can also discuss prices and packages to see if they offer a package which fits into your budget. The next step will really help to narrow down the list of potentials.
6. Arrange a meeting
By now you should have a pretty good idea which photographers fit the bill in terms of style and package. The only things left is to arrange a chat with them face to face. This is your chance to ask them lots of questions, view the albums and most importantly to make sure you’re comfortable with them and see if your personalities mesh? Will their presence be an asset or a burden? A wedding photographer’s charm and ability to put everyone at ease is as important a skill as the actual photography. Also be cautious for anyone who would prefer to do all of this over the phone.
7. Conduct your interviews
During the meeting be sure to ask your photographer lots of questions! A few things worth finding out are: Are they a full time photographer? Are they fully insured? What happens if they fall ill on the day? How long they’ve been in business? How many weddings they shoot each year and make sure they can answer all your questions.
8. Gauge their professionalism
A lot can be said for the way a supplier presents themselves, not just visually, but verbally and with the service/products they provide. Will they deliver the images on a CD-R or a luxury memory stick? Do their wedding albums look like they have been beautifully hand crafted to the highest standards? Do they present themselves with integrity and professionalism? Are they using a Parker pen or a bic biro!? All these things are worth noting if you’re searching for a true a ‘professional’ photographer.
9. Determine final costs
Finally, it’s no secret that great art costs money and this is also true for photography. Its also true that after your big day, the only thing to remind you of the wedding are your rings and your photographs! If you’re still unsure if hiring a professional wedding photographer is a wise decision, here’s an interesting article.
Below are a few things worth asking which may save you a few pennies:
- More and more people are getting married in winter which can boast huge savings. If you’re planning a winter wedding its worth finding out if they offer any out of season discounts.
- If you love everything and want to go ahead but the package falls just above your budget, there’s no harm in asking if there’s anything that can be tailored to bring it in line with your budget. (If you don’t ask you don’t get!)
- Finally if your budget simply can’t stretch to their full day package, many photographers offer a half day package where you get coverage of your big day up until the wedding breakfast.
- Also take into account some companies charge a basic fee with additional add ons like evening coverage, 2 photographers, wedding albums etc. Make sure you have taken all these extra costs into account.
10. Sign on the dotted line
Before signing anything, make sure you’re both happy with your chosen photography package and be sure to read over the legal details of the contract before signing. At this point everything between you and the photographer should be crystal clear. Good communication and reiteration of the details is important. The contract is in place to remind both you and the photographer of the services you agreed upon.
With these tips, you are well on your way to choosing your perfect wedding photographer. If you have more questions, feel free to contact me!
Here’s what others had to say after choosing Matt Selby Photography.