Things you should know before booking a wedding photographer
The biggest day of your life is going to be very special. You can see the perfect day unfolding in your mind when suddenly the reality of organising the event lands. We can not all afford the luxury of a wedding planner so we are left to arrange the day ourselves, sometimes with the assistance of a difficult mother-in-law.
Finding the perfect photographer is high up on most people’s list so here are 5 things you should know before choosing your photographer.
- Decide how important your wedding photography is to you.
This may seem obvious but it is something many people do not consider. Some people are not interested in having good photographs of their day and will be happy with a few snaps from their guests iPhones. Take notice of other wedding photos, especially of friends and family, and you quickly start to get an idea of what you want for your own special day. In the end most people want great photos.
- You get what you pay for with wedding photographers.
Sorry. You may not want to hear this but it is true. Hiring a student or friend with a ‘good camera’ will rarely result in a happy couple on the day the images are delivered. When people present me with their crappy wedding photos and ask me what I think, it is very difficult to find any words when you can already see the desperation and disappointment on their faces.
- What should I expect to pay then?
With a wedding photographer you get what you pay for. A professional wedding photographer will not be charging under £1000, a good one will be charging closer to £2000. Photographers will often have different packages to suit your needs. All photographers should provide a set of digital images as standard. Prints, frames and albums can often be an additional, but worthwhile, cost. Good photography is not completed until it is printed. Expect the cost of a package to vary with which portion of the day you want them to shoot.
This may initially seem like a lot but a photographers job is not over when your day finishes. The post-processing, editing and arranging of your photos takes a significant amount of time. Usually another two days labour. When you break this down and bear in mind the seasonal nature of weddings, the life of a wedding photographer is not a lavish one.
Many photographers also now offer video services. Employing a photographer who can shoot both stills and video can reduce the cost of hiring a separate videographer. Be sure to ask if you are seeking a video of your day in addition to the stills.
- Find the style that you love.
Photography is an art. This means photographers have different styles. Do you want a modern, documentary style of wedding photography, or more traditionally staged photographs? Some photographers will demand a significant portion of time from your day whilst other will let the day flow and capture the magical moments. Do your research and find the one that is right for you.
- Let your expectations be known.
This is hugely important. Let your photographer know what your expectations are so you can both discuss how to best capture the day. Your photographer is not a mind reader so let them know what you want. A good photographer will use their experience and ask you questions to find all this out. If there is something specific or unique you want them to capture be sure to let them know. Ensure they have a contract that both you and the photographer sign. This will protect the agreement that you put in place.
Research, research, research!
Of course, to ensure your planning and the wedding day itself is stress-free, should thoroughly researching all of your suppliers and that includes your photographer. Read any articles, questionnaires or the about me section on their website to find out how they work, look for feedback on their website or social media channels and take a closer look at their wedding galleries online. Ask to see full wedding galleries, not just a few images from each wedding that they consider to be the best. This will help you get a clear picture of how they photograph a wedding day and what you can expect from them. You can also get a picture for what their focus is. Have they captured all of the little details, are the group shots posed or do they photograph in a reportage style? Asking to see a few weddings also shows consistency in their quality and style, allowing you to imagine what your photographs will look like.
Arrange a meeting
Posing in a wedding dress and feeling relaxed on one of the biggest days of your lives isn’t always that easy. However, choosing a photographer you feel comfortable with can help you to feel much more relaxed throughout your special day. Before booking your photographer ask to meet them in person. They may shoot amazing photographs but you might not feel comfortable around them or gel with them. If you can’t meet them in person then perhaps speak on the phone or Skype, this will help you get to know the photographer a little better and see if you like their personality, which is more important than you might think, you will be around them for most of the day.The right photographer will be able to keep you calm and find all the parts of your wedding that are uniquely you.
Things you should tell your wedding photographer
On your special day your photographer will be following you around, they will be there for every important moment, they will see you getting ready, they will see you walk down the aisle, they will see the emotion on your face and the tear in your mothers eye. From start to the end your photographer will be there, so here are are important and useful tips to help them while letting you relax and enjoy the day.
WHAT TO TELL YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
Your photographer may well ask you for some of this information, so here are things they may want to know, and also things that maybe useful for them to know.
- LET THEM KNOW THE ORDER OF THE DAY
What time will you be getting ready and where, what about the groomsmen? Do you want photos of them too? A schedule of the day and location allows the photographer to plan their day, ensuring they are at the right location at the right time, ensuring the photographer is at the church ready to capture you getting you of the car. You photographer needs to be a step ahead, so they are in the right place at the right time to capture that perfect photo.
If there is limited parking, or parking restrictions in place then let your photographer know, and if possible reserve them a space so they don’t have to worry and can also spend more time photographing then trying to park up.
- FAMILY SHOTS
If you want some family photos, or group photos then let your photographer know, decide the important photos you want and ensure there is enough time to have these taken. The more people and the more photos you want, the longer it takes, so ensure there is plenty of time. You can help your photographer by having the groomsmen help get the right people over for the photos that are needed. Letting your photographer know allows them to find a good location and backdrop for these photos beforehand, saving time and making it easier on the day.
- FACE SHEETS AND FAMILY DETAILS
Face sheets can be useful for people you want in the family photos, especially if there is a lot of people in attendance. It makes it easier for the photographer to recognise people who should be in the photo and makes it easier when it comes to organising the photo and people in it.
If you have guests or family members that have a strong aversion to flash lighting then let your photographer know, also if you have guests that you want in some of your photos that have a disability then make your photographer aware so that the location of the photo is considered, or a bench or seat is there for them.
If there are any awkward family circumstances then ensure your photographer is aware so that when it comes to photos and positioning people, it is not made awkward or difficult.
- SPECIFIC PHOTOS
Depending on where you are getting married there maybe specific photos you want taken in specific locations, such as a quiet bench with a beautiful backdrop, or a little bridge over a brook, let your photographer know so they can ensure they take a look before hand and allow time for these photos.
Suprises are great for guests and your other half, however it is always better to let your photographer in on the secret. Whatever it is be it fireworks at the end of the night, or a special dance let your photographer know, so they can be ready to capture it from the best angle, if they know what is coming they can plan for it ensuring they get the best photos possible of the surprise and reaction on your guests faces.
Book An Engagement Shoot
Practise makes perfect! Get comfortable in front of the camera and practise posing with an engagement portrait session. You’ll also be able to get a sneak peak at the type of photos you can expect from your big day and how your photographer will direct you (if at all). You might like to hold the session at your wedding venue so that you can identify all the best spots ahead of the wedding and so that your photographer can get familiar with the venue. Or, if you have the time, you could opt for a different location but at the same time of year that you will be marrying so that you know what the lighting might be like.
Preparation and planning
Ask the photographer how they plan for each wedding and what their approach is. Whether you have a long list of must-have family portraits or you’re feeling inspired by some fun images you’ve seen in a magazine, deciding what you want from your photographs is key. You might prefer natural, documentary style photography or perhaps you have some more dramatic shots in mind? Whatever it is you’re looking for, discuss any needs and requirements with your photographer ahead of the wedding.Be mindful that while it’s great to have a plan, sometimes things may not always go the way you hoped.There might be a torrential downpour during your summer nuptials or the timings of your day could run off schedule, embrace the changes and be flexible.
You need to be different
Why is someone going to hire you if your photos are identical to other wedding photographers out there? So, you have to make yourself stand out, which comes in the form of unique photography.
Practice makes perfect; try taking snaps at home and developing a style of wedding photography that’s different to what’s already out there. This gives you a unique selling point, which makes your service more attractive.
Try to experiment with wedding and engagement poses as it can differentiate you from the rest, a good wedding photographer knows everything about creative poses.
It will take up a lot of your time
Wedding photography falls into three phases; pre-production, production, and post-production. All of this will take up literally months of your time – and that’s not an exaggeration.
Pre-production begins way in advance of the wedding when you’re booked in for this service. You may have to deal with lots of questions and directions from the bride/groom, which can continue right up to the big day.
As far as production goes, it’s already been touched upon in the second point! Then, you have post-production which is full of editing and distributing your images. Be prepared to commit a lot of your time to wedding photography – it’s not for the faint-hearted.