How to choose the right Wedding Photographer
Seven simple words that should not be taken lightly. The following advice is my own personal opinion and therefore not related to any one specific photographer.
When I started wedding photography in 2008 there were a hard core of approximately 20 photographers that got regular work shooting weddings in Kent. This has now changed, just do a quick search on Kent Wedding Photographers in Google!. As you can see there are pages and pages of them! Choosing the right photographer for your wedding can be like walking through a photography minefield wearing ski boots. With this mind I decided to write this article on what I see as the best way to approach this.
Budget, budget, budget!
Yes, that nasty word that keeps howling in the back of your mind. Like it or loathe it we are all dictated by how much money we have to spend on a photographer. Weddings are becoming increasingly more and more elaborate, and why not?, were all special aren’t we?. Well yes you are, but you have to be realistic as you have other things to spend large amounts of money on like the wedding venue, three course meal for family and friends, flowers, cake, live music..you get the idea.
Weddings are big business and many venues realise this and will charge you the premium rate to have a wedding during peak times in July and August. So, bearing all of this in mind, you need to get your budget set in stone and do not deviate as I guarantee you however much you think the wedding will cost there will always be little things you haven’t thought about.
Wedding Photographer Minefield
Sorting the good from the bad, and ignoring the ugly! A photographers website and Facebook page is the obvious place to start and a good informative site should give you most of the information you need. The site should be clear and not stuffed with silly gimmicks. Many photographers do not put there prices on their site and I think this is a mistake and makes it harder for the couple in two ways.
- You see all the beautiful images and fall in love with the photographers work
- You then decide he/she is the one for your wedding, until you enquire and “BANG” the budget you planned for your photographer has just doubled!
Personally, I prefer to put the prices on my site so this does not become an issue. Many people will look at a few images, maybe just the slideshow on the front page. Then, if available, they will go straight to the pricing structure page and check the costs are in line with their budget. This makes more sense to me but thats just my opinion.
My advice on how to choose a wedding photographer when looking at their site is to study the home page and get a feel for the photographers work. Then go straight to the “prices” page and check what their price range is. If this fits with your budget then great! you can then go onto looking at a larger range of images from the “portfolio page”.
Face to Face
Ok, so we’ve seen their work and it’s stunning!, we’ve checked the prices and they fit nicely with the budget! so just one more thing to do, right?, check the photographer is available and book them!…WRONG!
This may sound obvious but you’d be surprised how many requests I get where people have looked at my website and just want to book me on the information they have obtained. I cannot emphasise how important it is to have a meeting with the photographer. This can be done via Skype, but the preferred option is to meet face to face. I meet many clients it my home address or in a coffee shop somewhere.
Make sure the person you meet is the photographer that will attend on the day. Some photography businesses have more than one photographer and it’s not been unknown for clients to have a consultation with one, but on the wedding day a different photographer from the same company turns up. I’m not saying this would be a disaster and I’m sure it’ll be totally fine but it would be nice for the photographer you met to turn up!
Remember, the wedding photographer will be at your special day mixing with all close family and friends (as we are a social bunch!) so, there needs to some sort of trust that he/she will be friendly and get on with your guests. I always recommend a meeting with clients, in fact I would go further and say that I have only had one couple out of the 300 odd weddings I have shot that I didn’t meet up with before their wedding day. That was possibly because they lived in The Netherlands….
Things to ask a Wedding Photographer
I am sure they will be many questions you would ask the photographer but below is a list of questions I suggest you ask as standard.
- How long have you been a working wedding photographer
- How many weddings on average do you shoot in a year
- Have you shot at my chosen wedding venue before
- Are you fully insured
- What happens if you cannot make the wedding!
- Are my images I receive copyright free
- Do you insist on being fed (applicable for a all day wedding shoot)
- Will it be you that turns up at my wedding
- What do I get for my money
- Will you have back up equipment with you
Ok, so the above list is just a basic idea of what you should ask but you can go into more depth with questions that you feel are relevant.
I hope the above information on how to choose a wedding photographer is of some help and I am sure that most of the info is quite obvious. But I am going on experience and sometimes the basic things do get over looked. Good luck with the hunting and hope you have a fantastic stress free wedding.
Finally……how to choose your wedding venue??