As you all know I in the not too distant past got married to the love of my life, as ClaireySweetie operates on a big sisterly basis, sharing advice and the like, it’s only right I continue to share some of the key lessons I learnt during the process of planning my wedding. Today I am sharing my top five tips for how to choose your wedding photographer.
- Find your style
If the photography is an important element to your big day (which it should be!), allow plenty of time to find your wedding photographer. The internet is chock full of photographers waiting for your business and you need time to search through and narrow down your options. Pinterest is an excellent starting point as you can create boards showing your favourite wedding photography –style, location, poses etc. and this will help your search going forward. Wedding fairs are also an excellent way to find your photographer as you’ll get to meet them and see their work up close, as well as ask any questions you may have. I found our Photographer at the National Wedding Show in London and out of the hundreds I met that day, I felt we connected well and I liked his work. Remember also that you’re essentially inviting a stranger to not only be at your wedding (who will need feeding), but capture it also so attention really must be paid here.
Along with the essential components of the day, the next biggest thing you need and should allocate a decent budget to is your photographer; because at the end of the day, memories are the only thing you’ll be left with and you want as many of them as possible captured. You also need to have an idea of the types of shots you want and for things like the get-ready-process, do you want both the bride and the groom captured? If so, you’ll likely need two photographers to cover the day which will increase the price.
Some people try to haggle their chosen photographer(s) down in price and while most packages offered can be adapted to suit your needs, remember that you’re not just paying for their time on the day, you’re paying for all the work that goes into editing your photographs afterwards. That being said, when scouring the internet for my wedding photographer, I found one or two that added ‘lens cleaning’ and the like into their costs and I’m sorry, I should not be paying you to keep your equipment in top order, that’s your job buddy!
Additionally, some wedding photographers offer for you to pay the total cost in instalments leading up to your big day. For us this definitely helped with budgeting but equally, make sure you agree dates in advance and ensure you receive confirmation of receipt. Our photographer after our final (and largest instalment), went quiet for a week or so and this caused me no end of stress trying to get hold of him, thinking that he might have disappeared with our cash. Turned out he was out of the country (either working or on holiday) and that sort of information should be communicated in advance.
- Book a pre-consultation
I can’t stress this enough, although with our wedding photographer we had this incorporated into our package, it resulted in a five-minute phone call a couple of days before, rather than the Skype call we were promised. Some couples choose to have an engagement/pre-wedding shoot and while Ian and I didn’t really want this, it’s still a great opportunity for you and your photographer(s) to find out how you both work, what you feel comfortable with, the shots you like and what you’ll want on the day. My wedding didn’t suffer, but some shots were definitely missed that had we had a proper discussion beforehand, wouldn’t have been. This also applies to communicating how much or little of something you want captured; for example, all the little touches you have around your reception venue should be a nice keepsake for your album(s), but twenty images of the same table centrepieces are probably a bit unnecessary.
- Set Realistic Time Scales & Expectations
After the wedding, you’re eager to receive your photos and a date for this should be agreed in advance. We were told that we would receive our photographs two weeks after the big day; when I followed up with our Photographer, I was told I would receive a sneak peek on Monday, which didn’t actually happen until Wednesday; and the rest of the photos were again not revealed to us when they said they would be. In our contract we had also agreed our photographs would be sent to us on USB but again I had to chase up our photographer on this who until that point, had just sent us the link to our file on his website to download. You want these photographs for life so get them saved to at least two USB sticks to store away for safe keeping. But again here, we were told the USB was in the post and with us by the weekend, but the following Thursday I received a text asking for my address! My point fundamentally here is to get your photographer to set realistic deadlines and expectations, it’s always better to over deliver than under deliver.
- Set an Agenda for the day & Finalise all Arrangements
So your big day is finally here, you’re getting your makeup done but your photographer hasn’t turned up yet –ahhhh! You said 10am, they rocked up at 11am because they got lost on the way to your house/the hotel/your venue! In my recent wedding planning tips post (here), I mentioned my wedding schedule which had all the locations, timings, contact information etc. of the day that is sent to everyone involved –friends, family and suppliers; basically everything anyone would need in the event someone needed to know or be contacted. Your photographer particularly needs to know where he/she needs to be, what time, when the opportunities are for photographs, and when their working day ends.
I know the above for most people will sound pretty obvious stuff but you would be surprised at the types of things that get forgotten, even for the most organised of brides (me being one of them!).
Have any of you recently got married or are a bride-to-be? What are your tips for finding and working with a wedding photographer?
Until next time xFollow