Choosing a wedding photographer. Your wedding day will undoubtedly be the culmination of months of organising, planning and choosing a huge amount of suppliers. From finding the dress of your dreams to selecting the venue, florist, caterers, entertainment, it’s a logistical feat that finally comes together on the day.
You and your guests will see all the hard work that has gone towards making your wedding day perfect – it’s visible, tangible and, hopefully, a great success. But there is one other aspect of the day that isn’t so easy to assess, and that’s the photography. There to create a photographic record of key moments, your guests, the bits you didn’t see, your wedding photographer won’t deliver until some time after the actual event. It could be an anxious, nail-biting wait – after all, if the shots are poor there is no chance of insisting on a re-shoot. But if you do your homework, you will feel totally confident that, once you have sight of the images, you’ll be delighted.
To help you with your decision making, we asked award-winning photographer Matt Pereira to share his top tips for choosing a wedding photographer.
Ten Top Tips!
- Unless a photographer has been personally recommended, perhaps by a friend or relative after their own wedding, your first introduction is likely to be via photographers’ websites. Review their sites and any social media activity – blogs, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Do you like what you see? What are clients saying about their experiences? How does the photographer respond to comments?
- Make a decision about the style of photography you want for your wedding. Different photographers have different styles, something that will become apparent as you look at their work. An excellent portrait photographer may not be good at capturing documentary fly-on-the-wall images and will miss special little moments. Another who shoots exclusively in colour may not be prepared to do black and white photography.
- Price is always going to sway your decision, but try to put your budget to one side – at least at the beginning of the process. Find the photographers whose work you like first and then take cost into consideration. Don’t forget, your wedding photographs are going to be the most long-lasting memory of the day and you really don’t want to be disappointed.
- Once you’ve shortlisted two or three – and you’ve checked that they are available on your chosen date – arrange to meet and look more closely at their work. Do ask to see evidence of an entire wedding shoot. Was the final selection whittled down from an amazing selection or would you be hard pressed to find many decent shots? Far better that the final album shows the best of the best, rather than best of the worst. Check also that the photographer manages to successfully capture the moments that you want immortalised in your own wedding album. And do the wedding couple and their guests looked relaxed or posed? Think about what you want for yourself.
- As well as being sure of the photographer’s skill and creativity, check that they have appropriate insurance in place. And find out what happens in the event that the photographer is suddenly unavailable at the last moment, whether through illness or similar.
- Some photographers may suggest visiting the venue together to start planning shots, but there are drawbacks to this. You can’t guarantee the same conditions on the day of your wedding, so planned shots may not be possible – this means expectations won’t be met and it could result in disappointment. A skilled and experienced wedding photographer knows how to handle challenging weather conditions and will quickly come up with good ideas, whether they’ve shot weddings at your venue in the past or not.
- Communication is key – the more your photographer can get to know you and what you do/don’t like, the more likely they will produce images that you will love. Are they enthusiastic about your ideas? Do they contribute good ideas as well?
- Discuss the size of your wedding. If you have hundreds of guests you may need more than one photographer – how will your chosen photographer deal with logistics of this sort?
- Make sure you feel comfortable with your photographer. On the day, they will be like your shadow, so you need to be relaxed in their company – remember, they may be tasked with photographing some very intimate moments, whether it’s getting ready first thing in the morning or your first kiss as a married couple. Good photographers have a friendly personality and ease that will ensure your guests aren’t annoyed by their presence – they also know how to quietly blend into the background and be unobtrusive as they work.
- Be clear about what you get for your money. Go through all the details, from travel allowance to how many hours the photographer will attend to how long it will take to receive proofs for viewing. What does the ‘basic’ package incorporate and what is offered in addition?
And the secret to Matt’s success as a wedding photographer? A complimentary pre-wedding shoot is key to building a photographic ‘relationship’ with couples. Matt says: “It gives me a good idea of how the couple interact and whether they need a lot or a little direction. The couple get to know how I work and helps put them more at ease in front of the camera. I have never been told that a pre-wedding shoot wasn’t worthwhile – and that includes the couples who felt it was unnecessary and ended the shoot by thanking me for talking them into it!”
Finally, what one piece of advice would Matt give? “Relax! On the day the most important things are you, the wedding couple, and the presence of friends and family. Breathe deeply, stay calm and enjoy celebrating with your guests. If you are relaxed your wedding photographs will be amazing.”
Visit our Suppliers Directory to find more information on the suppliers that can help to make your big day a perfect day.