Thanks so much for taking the time to read through this article about ‘choosing a wedding photographer’, which has been written with you the wedding planning couple in mind. We want to help you make the right decision when wedding planning and searching for your wedding photographer and we hope that after you ask yourself four questions you will have a better understanding when choosing a wedding photographer, here goes…
1. When choosing a wedding photographer you need to decide on what type of package you are looking for?
Digital Photography Only – this is where the wedding photographer will shoot for an agreed period of time and at the end you will have the rights to the images but will receive no hard copies, what this means is you are able to download the images, usually in high res from an online gallery, but you do not get an album or a series of prints to take home. If you choose this package you need to be sure you get shared printing rights, so please make sure you ask that question.
Digital and Album – This is the above plus a weing album, often your photographer will ask you to choose the images to include and they will design and send to you for proofing. Always make sure have confirmation that 1. You still get the rights to all digital images asides from the album 2. They will design the album on your behalf 3. You get to amend the design pre them ordering it from the suppliers.
Presentation Boxes – a lot of photographers no longer offer these in their packages because they often increase the price by £40-50 and some clients would prefer to use the online gallery free of charge. But if this is something you would like to have, just ask the photographer.
Online Gallery – confirm with your photographer how long the gallery will stay live for, you may need to download the images and save them on your hard drive within 3, 6 or 12 months.
2. What length of coverage would you like when choosing a wedding photographer to capture your day, consider these?
Preparation to Party Shots – this is a sure way to capture the full story of your day, it starts with the excitement of the preparation, the nerves, the giggles, sometimes the laughter and tears, an absolutely awesome way to start the day, it will then continue throughout the day and finish a few songs after the first dance. The idea is for the photographer to capture the full day, the full energy and true account of that special day you have taken months to carefully plan out.
Ceremony to Speeches – this is often chosen by couples who may need to stick to a budget or are not the biggest fan of having their photograph taken and don’t like there to be too much fuss caused for them, our advice to you would be to take a the plunge and upgrade, this is great coverage but if you have it in your budget widen the coverage because the story is a little bit more special.
First Dance – Often photographers will have packages that run up until first dance your photographer offers this and you would like a little bit longer just ask them; they will often do a special deal when they have been booked for the full day anyway.
Wedding Eve or Pre-Wedding Celebrations – if you are having a religious or cultural ceremony that starts the day before, speak to the same photographer about covering both, this will allow for consistency in the style and execution.
3. When choosing a wedding photographer you need to decide on the Style of Photography you are looking for? This is not as hard as it sounds, yes there are many types of photographers out there, please consider the following:
Reportage Photography – a natural looking, none posed style that follows the natural order of the day as it unfolds.
Traditional/Formal Photography – this is a very common type of wedding photography, where the photographer will capture the key points of the day, ceremony, cutting the cake, signing the register, first dance and so on. They often also take staged group shots.
Photojournalistic Style – this is story telling at its finest, these photographers are masters at capturing the atmosphere and often focuses on the emotion of your day, as well as the detail.
Fusion of the above styles – many photographers will disagree with me on this, but the world is changing and styles are merging and making the once clear water, muddy. Some photographers are trying to adapt to offer the best bits of all of the above, they want to benefit from the combining the natural energy of the couple’s wedding day, in a true uninterrupted fashion, by adapting the natural and non posed reportage style, combined with a drive to really tell the couples story in a photojournalist manner. But in a twist they are not concerned with interrupting the flow and offering the couple the traditional group shots and some staged couple portrait shots, if they would like – hence the fusion of the styles. Some photographers say this is not possible, but that is an opinion… this nevertheless is a style you need to take into account when choosing what you like and what you want to book. So if you have seen photographers who offer groups, portraits and very candid and natural photography in one package I would consider them to have a mixed style and if you love it, you need to ensure the photographer you book offers this.
4. When choosing a wedding photographer you need to decide how much is your budget? Please consider the following when you are considering budget:
Is the photographer insured and do they have public liability?
Do they keep up to date on their training and photography workshops?
Do they send over a contract with all terms agreed?
Do they shoot using the best equipment?
Do they have back up equipment to shoot on should they have a technical issue?
Do they offer Winter discounts (there are argument for and against these discounts, at the end of the day winter can often be harder time of the year to shoot in, we would argue that the price should be higher as a photographer needs to have mastered off camera flash otherwise a lot of their work will be flat and boring once the sunset, which is usually around 4pm!!)
Do they offer a non refundable price that could fit within your budget?
Do they offer video packages that you could book at the same time?
After considering the above you need to then think of the number of hours they will shoot for on your day and then the number of hours to edit and produce your images… after careful consideration of this, decide on your budget.
Do they edit and produce all of their own images, or are they outsourcing their editing overseas, is outsourcing something you want for your wedding memories, or do you want your photographer to take the ownership of the full edit, select and edit every single image themselves.
You are now in the position to know the type of style you love, the type of coverage you are looking for, the budget you have in mind and the end product perfect for you. So now you need to take a deep breath and off you go… good luck 🙂