Five tips for choosing and getting the most from your Wedding Photographer
For many couples, choosing the wedding photographer is increasingly important and comes not too far after choosing your wedding venue, but perhaps haven't thought about the different considerations of doing this, having probably not had to do it before. Choosing the right wedding photographer is really important. Yes I would say that wouldn't I? But I've been on the receiving end as a bride some years ago and at the time didn't think much past examples of past work, and you then realise how important other factors can be too.
It pays to remember that your wedding photographer may be with you all day, so you need to feel totally comfortable and relaxed with them. Plus, long after the day has passed, your memories and wedding photos will last forever, and if you pick your photographer well, they'll stand the test of time. So here are my top five tips - I hope you find them useful...
1. Know where to look
Wedding planning sites usually have directories and can be a good start in your wedding photography search. Local wedding fayres are also a good chance to meet people. National wedding fayres are great for getting ideas, but often only national photography companies can afford to be at these, and you may not actually meet your photographer until the day, when it can be too late...
My tips here would be to ask for recommendations - friends, family, wedding planners - but also, look for reviews. If you're using Google to start your research, good wedding photographers will have been left reviews here directly by their clients with ratings out of five stars. You should also be able to find a selection on the wedding photographer's own website. Past client reviews will not only give you a measure of satisfaction, but also a real insight to how that wedding photographer will be on the day and be part of your wedding.
2. Choose someone you like
This is by far the most important tip. Of course you have to like what they do, and find a style that matches what you want. This could be traditional, reportage, alternative, photojournalistic, totally artistic or a combination of all. But you'll be spending a lot of time together, so make sure you feel comfortable with them as well as liking their style.
There will be parts of the day that are quite intimate - getting ready and bridal prep, moments before the ceremony and couple shots afterwards. So choose someone you feel comfortable with, and can put you at ease to get the best photos of you. You'll also want someone who will be professional, considerate and patient with your guests - a good wedding photographer should be a positive addition to your day, not someone who only cares about getting the shot they want. Experienced photographers will be able to do both without getting in the way.
3. Check the boring (but important) stuff
Boring but important - be sure to read the photographer's terms and conditions and ask about anything you don't understand. Make sure they have the right insurance cover. In addition to having their own kit covered, this should also include public liability cover to cover any damage caused by the photographer such as to a venue, third party property or an injury caused directly by negligence on the part of the photographer. Also and really importantly, ask what would happen in the event the photographer was ill or had to cancel to ensure you weren't left without a wedding photographer at the last minute.
4. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want
So now you've chosen your wedding photographer because you like their work and style, and because you like them as a person or team. But if you see things you like in a magazine, don't be afraid to show them to your photographer. They shouldn't be offended, but will probably have an idea of how to adapt it for you and to fit with their style.
But also, don't be afraid to ask what you want your wedding photos of. For most women, this is the day they are equal to any princess or supermodel, and it's not vain to want to have some pretty decent photos of yourself to show your grandchildren one day. You look at your most glamourous - enjoy it! If there's something personal to you as well or you have an idea for a fun shot, don't be afraid to ask or suggest it.
5. Make a plan together
Critical. And fun! Now you know roughly what you want, talk to your wedding photographer beforehand about what you want. This will include group wedding shots, details, etc. Tick them off, and then add the extras you decided on from tip 3.
Meet your photographer before your wedding at your venue, and discuss your list and ideas. They'll come up with lots more ideas too once they can see the location - although for me personally, the best shots are usually the ones you can't plan for and just happen naturally. But, going through this process means you'll both feel comfortable the basics are covered, will know all the important timings so nothing is missed, and have an idea of what to expect on the day. Plus you'll get to know each other a little at the same time.
If you've covered off the above, you'll have done all the right things to get your ideal wedding photographer experience. So relax, and look forward your special day. The best is yet to come.