How to choose a wedding photographer
How do couples actually choose a wedding photographer? After all, the wedding photography industry is absolutely saturated. But like weddings, there are so many different types of us. The world of wedding photography can be a minefield, which makes it hard to choose a wedding photographer! It can be pretty difficult to find the right photographer for you.
With that in mind, I thought i’d sit down and take a moment to reflect on all the things that will help point you in the right direction.
Set a budget
It can be hard to say, but most things in life, especially when planning a wedding, come down to what your budget is. You could find your absolute dream photographer whose style and personality is perfect and exactly what you’re both looking for. Then only to find out that they are way more money that you have to spend. It’s a bit like finding your dream house, only to find out that it’s £200k more than you can afford! We’ve all been there right?
I always think that wedding photography is an investment, so that’s how I approach the subject. An investment in each other, not just for one day, but for life. Photography should be a part of your wedding that you invest in. Photos to look back on, to reminisce over and to remember those moments for years to come.
I guess as a couple you need to work out what is important to you. There are such a variety of different styles out there and hundreds of wedding photographers just in Norfolk alone. Let alone from further afield. Research is key. Do you want traditional, contemporary, candid or colourful?
I am what they call a documentary wedding photographer who documents the day as it happens. I think wedding photography is all about your day and what actually happened on that day. If I said that I try and capture everything, then I wouldn’t be lying. From the smallest of details that you have invested so much time and love into and the tears of joy, laughter and cheeky grins, I want to get it all. Plus I’m always up for having a laugh too, so if there is some dancing on the tables or clowning around, then I’ll make sure I get that too!
I work in natural light. I’m not someone who is into strong filters and heavily photoshopped pictures. If you are, then without doing myself out of a job, i’m probably not what you are looking for. I always think that you have to embrace your day and for example, if it rains then who cares? The weather and good old mother nature is certainly something that you can’t control and I’ve almost given up looking at the weather forecast, because they never seem to get it right anyway!
I will often say to couples “Can you envisage yourselves in these photos?” That seems to be a great way to find out if that photographer is for you or not. Usually when you see a photo, if you like it, you will feel some kind of connection to a particular style straight away. Imagine yourself on Instagram or Facebook scrolling through images, if something captures your eye then usually that’s a good thing.
Hopefully now you’ve worked out what style fits your wedding and you as a couple. Next up is finding some photographers who fall into that category. In this day and age, everything is about Google. We google everything or ask Alexa! Take a look at several photographers websites. Don’t just look at one photographer, as it’s good to have something to compare it to.
Do they have experience? Have they done a few weddings and actually know what they are doing? Are they professional? Do they have insurance? These are all good questions that you need to ask or find out.
Social media can be great for couples getting married. There are lots of Facebook groups for brides and grooms to be. These can be fantastic for getting recommendations or they can totally baffle you and make the job even harder when you have over 50 different companies to choose from.
Word of mouth can be a great thing. I always think that you had something amazing or not happen, then you are going to tell everyone. Ask for recommendations from family and friends. If you were a guest at a wedding then ask the couple who they used and their views. Even if they don’t recommend them, they can sometimes give pointers on what they wished they had done or things they didn’t think about until it was too late. These things can be great starting points. I always say that the best form of advertising is word of mouth recommendations. Many photographers, myself included, have testimonials on their websites, Facebook pages or on Google too. Over the years, I have photographed all three sisters weddings. Now if that’s not a recommendation, then I don’t know what is!
You should then have a shortlist of possible wedding photographers. The first thing to then do is to find out if they are available on your date. It is always my first question to couples – have you set a date? If you have and that photographer isn’t available and is already booked, then that’s usually game over. Unless you’re willing to change your date for the photographer? If I am already booked, I usually offer to see if some other photographers are available instead for you to make contact with.
Next up, take a look at some examples of their work. This can be on their website in their portfolio or on their social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Some photographers have a blog on their website. Lots of us write real wedding blogs, which I think is a fantastic insight into how that particular photographer works on the day. When you read the blogs, do you like what you see?
If you’ve set a date and booked a wedding venue, ask the photographer if they have photographed at that venue before. That said, there are hundreds of wedding venues in Norfolk with new ones popping up each year. There used to be a Norfolk wedding venue for every day of the year. I think the same could be said for pubs in Norwich too! In fairness to all photographers and myself included in that, it’s pretty impossible for a photographer to have photographed at every single one of those locations. So basically, don’t let that be a deal breaker in your conversation. Often photographers will do their own research ahead of your wedding day and check it out in advance if it is somewhere that they are not familiar with. Alternatively, at your pre-wedding meeting, you could arrange to meet at the venue.
DO I LIKE THEM?
Lastly and probably most importantly, you will spend your whole wedding day with this person. So you have to ask yourself, do I actually like this person? They will need to fit in like another member of the family or one of your friends. Why not check out the about me page on their website. Meet up with them either at an arranged meeting or at a wedding fair they might be exhibiting at. Talk to them! But if you can’t meet up, then talk on the phone, FaceTime, Skype or Zoom.
Don’t feel restricted to just talk to one photographer. Have a few to choose from – probably around three is a good idea to narrow it down to. Once you choose a wedding photographer, they should send you a contract of what they will provide with some terms & conditions. It may sound obvious, but read the contract carefully. Spend time to understand it and if you’re not sure of anything, ask questions before you finalised the booking and pay a booking fee.
All that is left for me to say is good luck and I hope you’ve found it helpful in being able to choose a wedding photographer. I hope that your wedding day is all that you imagined that it would be. If you would like to chat about about your wedding, you can get in touch here.