Wedding planning

Choosing a wedding photographer

When I got married I didn’t have a clue about photos!  Fortunately, one of our guests was a Police photographer and offered to be our wedding photographer for free (bonus!), and my cousin ran a photographic studio so she dealt with the developing and printing (another bonus!) – and made much better selections of classic photos than I could have!
That said, I don’t actually advise that you use a family member or a friend as your wedding photographer – the potential for problems  is huge (with future relationships at risk!) and the advice out there is go for the professional.  If your photographer buddy or rellie wants to take photos, great!  They can do that as guests and then share them with you.  (DIY wedding photos, however, are an option – there’s a link to some excellent advice at the end of this blog.)
Happily, today digital photography makes everything virtually instant, photographers can show you their portfolios and, in a very competitive world, can make great offersThe key for any couple – apart from deciding how much you can afford – is working out together exactly what you want, the style, and what package (s) the photographer can offer.
 TOP TIPshop around!  Don’t settle on the first chap you talk to – even if you feel wearied by the whole process and have information overload.  When all the froth and bubble is over, your wedding photos will remain and it’s so important to make sure they are done properly and will continue to give you pleasure long after the event.
The lovely Jane remembers: We booked the three big things first to make sure we got what we wanted: the venue, the photographer and the videographer. The only thing that you have left after your big day are the memories in your heart and the photos. We opted for a videographer after seeing his work at a bridal fair! We hadn’t actually thought of it till we saw it and then couldn’t do without it. He was a bit pricey but we made it work and it was like watching a movie afterwards!
So before you start, here are some ideas….

 

Make a list of the photos you would like
  • Before and during the ceremony, posed photos etc.  

 

  • TOP TIPif you are getting married in church, many ministers are not prepared to have cameras clicking during the ceremony, so it’s worth checking first.  Also, having your ceremony videoed may also not be acceptable, unless the camera can be set up discreetly in advance and set to record, without the photographer popping up and getting in the way and generally being distracting.
  • Reportage photos are informal, unposed shots.   TOP TIP – with mobile phones having excellent cameras, ask your guests to take photos during the reception and send them to you!  They will take photos anyway – and some of them you may not wish to keep – but it’s a great way of ensuring folk feel involved and can save you costs.  And you’ll get fun, happy snaps with great memories!

  • TOP TIPSome photographers offer engagement photos as part of their package
    Chose the right setting, clothing etc without stressing about it – the photos should just reflect who you both are, and the relationship between you. For example, if you enjoy walks in the woods, perhaps you could find a pretty glade for posed photos.  Or if gorgeous scenery (mountains, the sea….) is your bag – find your favourite spot….
What is your preferred style of photography?
This is something the photographer might ask you – and if he doesn’t, you certainly should ask him!  What do the terms traditional, artistic, natural light, photojournalism, illustrative mean?
pedramnavid.com have a great explanation of all the various styles.  If what the photographer offers isn’t what you want – move on!
What is the photographer’s length of experience?  Kara Wahlgren writing for the Huffington Post makes the point that experience is valuable – but if your photographer shoots, say, a hundred weddings a year or more, how does he fit them all in?  Does he do back to back shoots (will yours be rushed or delayed?), does he have assistants and won’t actually be doing the shooting himself?
 
Isn’t this a beautiful romantic shot?  The lighting is superb – click the photo for the Pinterest link
How many weddings will the photographer be shooting on the same day?  If more than one – what about timing?
Does the photographer have a shot list?  If yes, what is it? Can it be changed / added to?  Can specific shots be taken? If not, will he work to your own shot list?  All the answers to these questions should be yes!  Communication is key – make sure you understand exactly what the photographer has in mind and that you are happy – don’t forget that he wants your custom and ensuring you have a wonderful set of photos means you will recommend him to your friends!
When will the photographer start taking photosone/two hours before wedding?  How long will your contract last for?
Does the photographer bring an assistant?  This can be an advantage to make sure all those intimate moments are captured – with the best will in the world, no one person can be everywhere!
How many images are included in the final package?  Is there a limit to the number of images he will edit (answer should be no!)
A stunning posed photo at a winter wedding at Lake Tahoe — click the picture to go to the Pinterest link
 How long will it be before you see proofs?  Will you get a CD/DVD or must you order all your photos through the photographer?  How do guests, family and friends order prints?
 Is an album included?  Do you get to choose which photos go in the album? – ask to see actual album samples – not just photos of albums
What will the photographer wear?  Ultra casual kit is not acceptable – it shows a lack of respect for the customer!
Will the photographer ask the ceremony and reception about their photo protocols?  The last thing you want on your special day is awkwardness between your photographer and the minister/registrar or the venue!  If the photographer doesn’t sort out the photo protocols, you will need to and will have to make sure he is fully aware – if you email him, make sure he responds that he understands!
Is a video included in the package?  If you decide not to have a video, will he reduce the price?
What arrangements will the photographer make to ensure your wedding is covered in the event of accident or illness? 
What is the cost, amount of deposit, and when is final payment due?
What is the photographer’s cancellation policy?
 Last but not least –   A Practical Wedding has this advice:
Do you like the photos and do they make you feel happy? Not a super visual person? Then it’s totally fine to ignore the first question and move onto the second: Do you like the photographer and do they make you feel happy? More important than lighting, composition, or any fancy technology, those are the power rules to live by.
And if you gulp at the cost, don’t worry!  They have some great tips for your own DIY photographs

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