Flash, bang.......WALLOP! Choosing your wedding photographer
"Here he goes again" I hear you all say (or not, as the case may be). "Can't stop banging on about wedding photography and why it's important on a wedding day blah blah blah...."
You may have a point. But it's who and what I am, so I just want to help couples get the best and do their best for their big day. Nothing more.
So what's this blog specifically about then? Well, funny you should say that...
How do you choose your wedding photographer?
Think about that for a moment. Not that easy a question to answer is it really? And that's because every couple has a completely different set of criteria when it comes to wedding photography. So let's look at the checklist of considerations:
Wedding Style: Boho wedding, alternative wedding, traditional wedding etc?
Firstly, what style of wedding are you having? Is it a traditional style wedding? Is it a more alternative wedding? A boho wedding or a more modern wedding you're planning? If it's the latter, then you need to find a wedding photographer who does this and knows what you want and can work around your plans. More and more often, the boho wedding is doing something quirky, creative, different and unique to that couple and a wedding photographer who can work with you to get what you want is essential. The more traditional wedding can be captured by any good wedding photographer and there are some fantastic traditional style wedding photographers out there. But be aware of what you are planning for your own day....the style, activities, decor, venue, guests, attire and so on. Hire a wedding photographer who is attuned to whatever it is you have in mind and match that style. I myself like any wedding, but my style lends itself much more to the alternative or boho style wedding as it very much fits my own ideals and the kinds of things I like myself. Also, do you want something that encompasses all of the above, but straight up style wedding photography or more along the documentary style wedding photography that will tell more of the story? Again, the latter is more my thing and is very much the majority of wedding photographers out there now, but there is a still a market for the more “set up” wedding photography at all budgets.
Research you wedding photographers!
Secondly, do your research. This very much follows on from the first point. Know what you want from what you already know and go out and research them. If you find a photographer who's style you like the look of, then dig deeper. Find out about them, check out their testimonials, see their references, their social media and so on. Meet them! Ask questions (see this blog about this kind of thing).
Wedding Photography Budget….how much you got?
Thirdly, of course, and for some couples, this is (wrongly in my opinion) the biggest contributing factor and that is budget. I very much believe you get what you pay for with wedding photography. If you want to pay someone £500 for all day coverage, an album, prints etc, then go ahead. But don't expect showstopping wedding photography that will blow you and the guests away. And the likelihood that if you are paying so little, that person isn't fully in business (no photographer can live off £500 a wedding, unless they are doing 100 weddings a year. If they are, good luck to them as that's a highway to hospital, believe me!) and they have a style that is inflexible and is what it is for the money. You MAY get lucky and find someone who is super talented and just starting out on their wedding photography journey, but don't rely on that. They are thin on the ground! You should have seen my first attempts at wedding photography! Well, you won't. They won't see the light of day, that’s for sure! But you get the point.
I am fully aware that a lot of couples are very much on a budget for their wedding and that's fair enough. I get that. But when a budget is there, compromises need to be made sometimes and I could sit here and say, yeah, blow it all on a wedding photographer, but that's not a good solution. You have to have a good day too! But, if budget allows, pay for what you think you will get from it, which is a top professional, with good references and someone who’s wedding photography fits your style of wedding and ideas. It's not easy, I will admit. There are some great photographers out there who are doing things for good money, but just be aware. There is a level, then there is "another" level that which becomes the standard. See where they are at and where you want to be. If you can, pay as much as you can for someone who is proven, good, stylistically on the ball. You won't regret it.
And example of this was a couple I recently booked who definitely had a budget when I first spoke to them. They said I was too expensive, but we had already had a good chat when that question came from them. I could see them turning cogs in their minds. I said to them you get what you pay for and that it’s really the main memory you take away from the day. They agreed but couldn’t afford me. They walked away, we said goodbye.
15mins later, they came back. They said that they had thought about it and there were things in the rest of the wedding they thought they could cut back on or didn’t really want or need and decided to drop those so they could put the money towards hiring me. They liked me so much, my work so much and the wedding photography was that important to them, they rethought what was important to them. Which I thought was absolutely lovely! Testament to their thinking really. I can’t wait for their wedding. It’s going to be awesome! Such a fab couple.
So, yes, budget is important, but how important is the photography to you too? You have to make that balance, you have to find people that fit and see what is doable of course. But don’t scrimp for the sake of it. Hire the best you can afford. You will have a much lower chance of regretting it down the line.
There’s more to budget….
There is an extension to this too. When people find out I am a wedding photographer, a heck of a lot of the time, the next thing they say to me is "Ahhh wish we could go back and do our photos again. Our wedding photographer was rubbish". What a shame! And the thing they say after that? "Our photos really don't bring back those memories of the day. I just look at them and feel sad". Oh my giddy word!!! Can you IMAGINE? You have to feel bad for these people, of course. But the opportunities to get it right now are huge. There is so much out there you can barely get it wrong! You only really have yourself to blame if you do. Don't be those couples who regret it years later by making a bad choice. Those bad choices can be that you don't meet them, you pay cheaply, you don't research their work.....there are many reasons. The photos you get from the wedding photographer, other than what is in your head, will be the only memories of the day that last a lifetime. Don't lose that. You will realise only AFTER the event how important your photos from the day actually are...
Meet your wedding photographer!
You are going to be spending the whole day with someone you barely know! You need to get on with them. Have a drink with them, arrange to go for a cuppa, chat, have a laugh, get to know each other. And don't just do this with one wedding photographer. ALL photographers get rejected all the time in favour of others, so if you do this with 3-4 different people, the 2-3 you don't pick won't be too hung up about it. Test the waters, spend some time in their company. I absolutely insist on it as a good personality match means so much more than you get on with them. It also usually means you're similar people, have similar ideas, you can read from the same page and get what each other wants from the day.
Any other business?
Are there any other things? Have a list of questions and base your decision on their answers (see the link to the blog above for questions). If possible, ask around and get recommendations from others you know who have got married recently. See what they thought of their wedding photographer or would they recommend? Are they the kind you would like to use?
I know this sounds like a minefield. Its not. We aren't a different species, I can tell you that! But what we are is human and on the whole a helpful, creative bunch who just want to do the best job we can. For you.
So take this all into consideration. It seems a lot, but when it boils down to it, think of it this way........do you like this person? Can they do a job in a style we like? Did we get in with them? Can we afford them? If all of the above is affirmative, then I suspect you might have found your photographer......
Im still taking bookings for 2019 and now for 2020 too, so get in touch if you have just started your planning stages and still haven't sorted your photographer (what HAVE you been doing?!!!). Happy to chat, see if dates match etc.
Good luck! I hope you find the ideal photographer for you (I hope it's me, I hope it's me, I hope it's me, I hope it's me, I hope it's me, I hope it's me, I hope it's me.......)