How to hire a professional wedding photographer

Categories Wedding Photography

Hiring a professional wedding photographer is the difference between amazing photos you are proud of and love to look at vs. disappointing snaps you hide away in a drawer.

Your wedding day will be one of the most important days of your life, and you’ll want to remember it forever. One of the best ways to reminisce about your wedding day is by looking back at the photographs.

I’m going to tell you why I (as a photographer myself), hired a professional photographer to shoot my wedding photos.

I didn’t want to leave my wedding photos in the hands of just anyone. I wanted someone who was going to be fun on the day and to be able to capture the shots that mattered.

Look for recommended photographers

The wedding industry is built on trust, who you know and the all-important referral. Find somebody who has used your photographer before. Research online and get in contact with previous brides and find out how they were on the day.

You don’t want your photographer turning up and being a grumpy guts because it will just sour the day.

Arrange several meetings

I had 2 meetings with my wedding photographer before the big day. The first was in an informal meeting to discuss the shots that we wanted. Traditionally we wanted all the ‘posed’ family ones so that family can have them for themselves. We also wanted a sunset shoot. I always liked those shots.

Professional wedding photographer

The second was a visit to the venue itself. This is hugely important because the photographer will scout out the location and decide where you are going to get the best shots.

They will also see where the sun shines through the building and grounds which will help them to understand the best time of day for taking certain shots.

Trust in your wedding photographer

You are putting your big day in their hands. It is the photographer’s job to capture the happiness, the laughter, the tears, the hugs and even that big cat fight between your two Aunties after far too much wine at the open bar. Priceless.

You are trusting your photographer to capture the day as it happens; to document the day, the bride and groom and all of your guests.

Being reassured that they are going to turn up, that you’ve seen their previous work and that you feel confident to have this person around you all day and in the evening is a priceless feeling.

If you don’t trust the photographer – well I don’t need to say anything other than: find another one.

How much does a wedding photographer cost?

No photographer wants to work for free. They’ve spent years learning their craft, thousands of pounds on equipment and have staked all their money and business on providing the best wedding service they can. So it’s no surprise that professional photographers will find it deeply insulting when someone asks you to work for free.

You wouldn’t ask a mechanic to fix your car for free, an accountant to do your books for free or a cleaner to clean your house for free – so don’t expect that from a photographer.

Price can vary between £500 to £3000 and that’s not uncommon! What I have always said to future brides and grooms is if you don’t trust their work or don’t get the right feeling from them – don’t go with them.

Budget is a big concern of many weddings and photographers are used to this. Many will have packages tailored to more ‘budget friendly’ couples. They won’t scrimp on quality or service, but these packages will simply limit the amount of time they will be with you for.

Talk to photographers and find out what is best for you and your day.

How long will the photographer take to deliver the images?

I was very specific with my wedding photos; I wanted them edited and sent over to me one month after the wedding day.

Any longer and it’s too long. People will have forgotten, but worst of all, you’ll get that nagging question from relatives – “where are the wedding photos, I can’t seem to find them online?”

Agree a delivery date for your photographs with the photographer. They will let you know when it is going to be possible to deliver. If you have it all written down in the contract, then its binding.

Asking a friend vs. hiring a professional photographer

Everyone has at least one friend who has a big, posh DSLR camera. You might think that asking your friend to photograph your wedding for free would be cost effective and altogether more fun, right?

WRONG!

Let’s not forget what a wedding is. Your wedding is not a day that you want to leave everything in the hands of a friend because if something goes wrong, that’s your friendship down the toilet.

It is very true that they say never work with your friends and this is especially true when it comes to weddings.

If nothing else, if you put all the pressure on your friend to take your photographs, that means they aren’t going to be able to kick back, relax and enjoy the day.

Find an external photographer and let your friend enjoy the day as much as you do.

Conclusion

Hopefully this will help you on your way to choosing your wedding photographer. With trust, reliability and a quality portfolio, rest safe in the knowledge that your wedding day is in safe hands.

Well, your photography is, anyway…

Sunset photograph by Steve Porter.

How to choose the perfect wedding photographer for YOU

Categories Wedding Photography

with so many wedding photographers out there, how do you know which one is perfect for you? Here are some tips for finding your dream wedding photographer.

Your wedding day is the most important day of your life and you want to remember it forever. The best way to do this is to have an official wedding photographer there to capture all of the important moments.

But with so many wedding photographers out there, how do you know which one is perfect for you?

Search online and go to wedding fayres

The best way to start is to get on the internet and look for wedding photographers in your area. Have a look at their websites, especially the portfolio pages to see photographs from weddings that they have previously attended. From there you’ll be able to gauge if you like their style of photography, and whether or not you want to meet with them.

Many wedding photographers go to wedding fayres to exhibit which can also be a good place to start. You might find that photographers give out discounts, special rates or freebie “add-ons” to people who book with them after meeting them at a wedding fayre.

Know what type of photos you want

Take a look at these two different styles of shots. One of them is very traditional and one of them is known as ‘reportage’.

Staged wedding photographyStaged wedding photography
Reportage wedding photographyReportage wedding photography

Traditional photographs tend to be “staged”, with people told to stand or sit in a certain way and smile for the camera. Reportage wedding photography is more natural, with shots taken of people when they aren’t even aware the photographer is watching them. This allows more emotion to be captured, as well as the special moments that may otherwise have been lost, such as a bride’s hug with her father before walking down the aisle, or the laughter on your guest’s faces during the best man’s speech.

What is the wedding photographer like as a person?

This is the all important factor in deciding who you are going to trust to capture your wedding day: is the photographer friendly?

At your first meeting you should be able to tell straight away whether this is someone who is going to work tirelessly on the day to make sure that you get the photos that you want, or someone who is just there “to do the job”.

Also (and I am being a bit stereotypical here), photographers tend to have a bit of a reputation for being slightly grumpy buggers. Why? It’s because at weddings they tend to be rushed off of their feet and are often treated with contempt or frustration by guests who “don’t like having their picture taken” or don’t want to interrupt their conversation to “smile for the camera”.

What you’re looking for is someone who is going to make you and your guests feel comfortable on the day. You need someone personable who is able to make people laugh, smile and shine for the camera.

Research costs and pricing

Wedding photographers are usually upfront about their costs. Prices can range from £600 to over £3000. Comparing the different packages available from different photographers should give you an idea as to whether you’re getting the best deal and whether or not you’re going to get the service and the shots that you really want.

Have a look at different photographers and see what services and packages they offer. What makes them different from the competition and do their prices seem fair?

It is all down to personal preference, but the most expensive isn’t always the best, and the cheapest isn’t always the worst.

That being said, you do get what you pay for with photography. Price shouldn’t be the end of the world – it’s not worth getting the cheapest photographer you can find (who is probably the least experienced) as you may end up being disappointed with poor quality photographs for the rest of your lives.

Are they passionate about their equipment?

Most wedding photographers live and breathe photography. They’re constantly on the lookout for equipment and tools that will improve their shots and their workflow.

99% of clients don’t really care about what kind of camera and lenses a photographer is using. However, asking the question “what equipment do you use?” is a great way of gauging a photographer’s passion for their craft. If they spout on about their camera make/model, lenses and lighting with all the tenderness that they might use when describing their first-born child, well, you’re probably on to a winner.

If you’re interested, many photographers will provide you with a kit list but this isn’t essential. You wouldn’t ask about the tools your plumber would use. You just expect them to know how it works and that they can do their job.

Get testimonials from previous clients

Before you book a wedding photographer, have a chat with someone who has used them for their own wedding. This can be a message on Facebook, an email conversation or a chat on the phone.

Ask the photographer for contact details of a couple of previous clients that they are happy for you to contact. If they refuse, that may mean that they have something to hide.

Another way to determine the feelings of past clients is to look on social media to find out what people are saying about the photographer. If they have a Facebook page, there’s normally a rating system in place so you can see the good and the bad things that previous clients have said.

To summarise…

When my wife and I were looking for our wedding photographer, trust was a key factor in making our final decision. We asked ourselves: “do we trust this person to capture our special day?”

We got a personal recommendation from someone we knew and trusted and had a face-to-face meeting with them before we booked to make sure we were happy.

If you don’t trust your photographer at the first meeting, or if you have doubts about their abilities, style or services that they provide, go back to the drawing board.

Your wedding photos will stay with you forever – choosing the right wedding photographer is a decision for life; don’t rush it.