18 Jun How to choose your wedding photographer – 5 top tips

how to choose your wedding photographer
It is a very obvious question lot of couple must have come across when they had finalised their big date. Unlike the work of your other wedding vendors such as wedding dress, music, flower arrangements, cake, etc., photographs aren’t things you can hear, smell, taste or even see at first — you don’t really know what you’re getting until after the wedding. That means careful research and selectiveness regarding professional skills, artistic style and personal appearance are very essential when choosing your photographer to capture your big day who will let you re-live the romance and excitement all over again.

With my experience and knowledge in the wedding industry, I have put together 5 essential things that a couple needs to keep in mind while choosing wedding photographer with “How to choose your wedding photographer – 5 top tips”.

1. Style and quality
The quality and style of a photographer’s portfolio should be the first thing that captures your attention. A good photographer should be able to offer clients a variety of styles, capturing the personalities of the bride and groom and showcasing the happiness and fun of the day.

There are two most recent styles of photography which has become very popular. First is Reportage/Documentary style where your photographer is a fly on the wall and won’t be noticeable on the day. This style enables photographer to capture your day in an obtrusive manner, letting the day fold naturally.

Another style that is gaining popularity is a fashion/editorial style where the wedding photographer will direct the couple on how to pose, organise the group and would also add lighting effect to get a finished photography. This is usually when the ceremony is over and the couple would like to have some intimate pictures and formal group shoots of family and friends. Once that has been done, the wedding photographer will go back to reportage style.

I personally prefer to have combination of both as you will receive reportage style picture for capturing those precious candid moments with a handful of contemporary photos which you can enlarge on your wall.

Above all, the style of the images should say something about you both as a couple. Whether you are looking for relaxed and informal photography or you would like to go for a more adventurous and contemporary style, be sure to do your homework and shop around.

2. Personality:
As a bride and groom, you put a lot of trust and faith in your wedding photographer. In order to get the best images and a true story of the most important day of your life, it is essential that you feel comfortable and relaxed in their presence. You’ll be seeing a good bit of your photographer on the wedding day so you want someone who will complement the atmosphere. You also want someone who you feel will get along with you and your guests and should be able to make you laugh along the way as well.

You can usually tell within the first 5 minutes of meeting someone, whether you feel a rapport or connection. First impressions are key and if you instantly strike a bond then you are on to a good thing. If you feel uncomfortable around your photographer for whatever reason then this will become very apparent in your wedding photos.

Also, think of your guests. If your wedding photographer is approachable, friendly and down to earth, your guests will be at ease allowing the photographer to blend in and capture the day as it naturally unfolds rather than a forced and posed relation.

Remember, a true smile is impossible to fake so choose wisely and ensure you meet with your photographer a couple of times before confirming your booking. A good wedding photographer has an resource of techniques to get the best out of people in a situation where they are naturally uneasy or insecure. This in turn has a positive effect on the naturalness & quality of the photos. The best way to make yourself comfortable with your photographer and camera is to book a pre-wedding shoot. This will enable us to make yourself comfortable with not only your photographer but also in front of a camera. It is definitely worth booking a pre-wedding photo shoot.

3. Budget:
There’s a wedding photographer for every budget these days, from £200 to well over £10,000 for the big name in the industry. Sometimes it’s not clear why one photographer is more expensive than the other, but just like any investment be vary of photographers who are offering you the world for very little money. There is good value to be, but remember the photography is a very important aspect of your wedding day with a lot of responsibility. For your peace of mind, if your budget allows for it, it’s worth considering paying more for someone with experience and a positive track record. As they say, once the cake is eaten and the dress is back in the wardrobe, your photographs will be there for generations.

The wedding album plays a significant part of the investment with professional photographers and for a good reason. Higher end albums are built to last a lifetime and beyond. A cheap album could start to discolour, warp or even lose pages over time. Getting a quality wedding album at the start can save additional costs and possible grief in the long run.

4. Experience:
They’ve had time to perfect the skills required to work their equipment and know the development of the day like the back of their hands. An experienced photographer will have a sense of timing and an ability to see opportunities that an amateur may miss. An experienced wedding photographer will know exactly where to position themselves for the important moments and capture them in creative ways. Experience can be expensive, but under the wrong conditions, could prove to be priceless.

The experience a photographer has will play a large part in the organisation and structure of the day. I am sure many photographers will agree that they have often played the role of coordinator, photographer, master of ceremonies and children’s entertainer. Taking the photos is just a small part of being a wedding photographer and without the necessary experience and the ability to perform under constant pressure; important moments can be easily missed.

Make a list of shots you want (particularly groups and family shots) and give this to your photographer well in advance of the wedding. It would also be a good idea to visit the locations with your photographer before the wedding day to talk about what where you may want to take these shots or you can arrange your pre-wedding shoot at the venue too.

5. Recommendations/Word of Mouth
A lot of my bookings have come through recommendations from previous clients and word of mouth. If your friends and family have been happy with the quality of the service and work of a particular photographer then chances are, you will be too. Again, this should not be the main reason for your choice but should be the final piece of the jigsaw.

Speak to your friends about their experiences with their wedding photographer and try to make use of tips and advice from those who have organised their own weddings. A good photographer will always be able to give you a testimonial from previous clients upon request or even provide you with contact details should you wish to hear from them directly.

5 photography facts you need to know
1. The photographer owns the copyright for your images and all reprints must be ordered through him or her.
2. Good photographers can get booked up one or two years in advance. Make sure you start looking early if you’re planning a summer or Saturday wedding.
3. Photography can cost up to 10% of your wedding budget so it pays to compare prices, but this is one area you shouldn’t be prepared to scrimp on.
4. Make sure you ask for a breakdown of the costs. The total fee will depend on how long the photographer spends at your wedding, the number of pictures taken and the type of album.
5. Photographers tend to keep digital disc. Consider and compare the reprint prices when doing your initial research.

To summarise, these top 5 tips should not be considered to be in any order of importance. Each point is as important as the next and when choosing the right wedding photographer for you, a combination of all of these factors should be used as a basis for your decision. May I wish you all the best of luck in your wedding planning and a long and happy future together.

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