You’re getting married. Yayyyyy!
Planning a wedding is so exciting; from the venue to the decor, the menu to the playlist – every detail is an expression of who you are as a couple and the things you love. And that’s before you’ve even decided on the dress! Now you get to choose a wedding photographer!
But, how to choose a wedding photographer?
Most people have never employed a photographer until they come to plan their wedding. There’s a lot to think about: the style of the photographer’s work, their level of experience, how their personality and presence will make you feel on the day – will they put you at ease or stress you out? Not to mention the price. So how do you filter through all of these things and come to a decision? You’re going to want to cherish your wedding photographs and show them off at every opportunity as a reminder of your amazing day. It’s important to choose the right wedding photographer for you.
Lots of couples I speak to when discussing their wedding photography are a bit stumped when I say “so do you have any questions for me?”. Often, they haven’t thought of any questions. Or they don’t really know what they should be asking, choosing a wedding photographer is hopefully not something that people do more than once!
Here are a few things that you might want to consider when the time comes to choose a wedding photographer:
1. What experience do they have of the type of wedding you’re looking to have?
Winter weddings can have a totally different vibe to summer weddings. Similarly, different venues can present lighting challenges. Is your venue a cosy chapel with dark corners or an industrial-chic refurbished mill with lots of light-leaking windows? (I might have just described my dream home there!) Are you planning an outdoor wedding which could be affected by bright sunlight/rain/wind etc? When choosing a wedding photographer, it’s essential to know they have all skills and expertise – as well as the equipment – to make the most of the light and space they’re working with, so that you get the best possible shots.
It’s not essential however that the wedding photographer has worked at the venue before. This is a myth; a good wedding photographer is used to working in new environments all the time and it can actually make you more creative. The photographer’s experience will also be reflected in their price, so think about this too when choosing a wedding photographer.
2. Got an aunt that will probably be downing jagerbombs when she’s meant to be in the family photo?
Yep. It’s important to understand your photographer’s personality and how comfortable they will be at handling situations on a tight time budget. There’s not usually much spare time in the itinerary and guests can often get distracted when they’re supposed to be keeping themselves available for group shots (especially if there’s a free bar). Your wedding photographer should be skilled at dealing with people confidently, whilst keeping the mood relaxed and enjoyable. No one wants to be barked at and everyone needs to be at ease to get the best out of the photographs, especially the bride and groom. Read reviews and testimonials from past couples to see what they say.
3. Do you like the style of their photographs?
If you are looking for something that is very posed and traditional then there is no point choosing a wedding photographer who has a much more natural documentary approach or vice versa. Look at the photographs on the photographers website. Do you really like them, I mean really like them? Can you see yourself in the images? Hopefully they should give you all kinds of good feelings! If yes, perfect! But if the answer is no then they probably aren’t the photographer for you. The way each photographer works is very personal to them and they can’t change their style at the drop of a hat, so make sure you like what you see on their websites.
4. Do you think that your personalities will fit together?
Do you want this wedding photographer at your wedding? This is so so important! Have a chat beforehand, on FaceTime/Skype/Zoom or if geographically possible meet up for a coffee/tea/wine/beer. This will give you an idea of what you’re both about and you can get to know each other a bit better. When I am photographing a wedding I often get mistaken for one of the couples friends. For years this used to really annoy me as I would be all “No, I’m a professional photographer!” But actually, now, this makes my day. I’m so pleased when this happens as it means that we fit together perfectly, and it looks like we’ve known each other for years. This when the magic really happens.
5. Lastly, once you have chosen a wedding photographer – congratulations!
Thats a big tick off that to do list! Now all you have to do is trust them, know that they have got this and all will be good. They really do care about you having the best possible images from your wedding day.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Get to know your photographer and understand the level of their experience so that you’re totally comfortable. Video calls or coffee catch-ups are a great way to go through the details before your big day and put your mind at rest if you have any concerns. The most important thing is that you can enjoy the preparation and feel happy and relaxed on the day.
Engagement shoots are also something to consider if you are nervous of being in front of the camera – think of it as a little practise run – and that’s something I can help with too!