Congratulations, you’re engaged! You’ve celebrated, announced your engagement to family and friends (and the rest of the world through social media) and now you have a Wedding to Plan!
I have been shooting Weddings for some time now and have a pretty good idea of the organisation involved. But in December I got engaged myself, so I now have a whole new appreciation for what it means to organise a Wedding! I have started to see the vendor selection process in a different way, I have a whole new perspective.
As a newly engaged couple, you have lots of decisions to make, when? where? Who? What to eat? What to wear and of course who is going to photograph the biggest day of your life?
Every decision that you make is huge, but (and we may be a little bias) deciding who photographs your Wedding is one of the most important. Photographs are the memories of your day captured in the way that you envisioned them, and they will last way beyond the day itself.
So, from my professional and personal point of view here are some of the things I think you should consider before hiring your Wedding Photographer….
1 Style! Firstly, decide what your style is. How do you imagine your Wedding Day being captured, how do you picture yourself looking in your photographs? Remember this is about your personal style, not the latest trends and fashion. You shouldn’t compromise on your style and a good photographer will not either. Some photographers have a very specific type of style, from documentary to fine art (there is a lot of choice – The knot investigates wedding photography styles here) So if you prefer a classic style of photography, do not go for a documentary wedding photographer – you are not going to be a great match. Our style is a mixture of reportage/ documentary, fine art and artistic portraits. We find the mixture of styles complement each other well and allow us to cover every moment of your Wedding Day.
2. Do your Research! Spend time looking at Photographers websites and social media, does their style match yours? Do you love their work? Have they got good reviews from past clients? Have they shot similar weddings to yours? A good wedding photographer will want the world to see their work, so they will display it for you to see and will not mind you asking questions and reading reviews.
3. Ask to see a full album or gallery! Although lots of their work will be displayed on their website or social media, remember that these are the highlights handpicked by that photographer. Ask to see a whole wedding gallery, a good wedding photographer will want you to be sure that you love their work before hiring them, so this will not be a problem.
4. Consider Quality over Quantity! It is understandable that you will want to hire a photographer with a decent amount of experience shooting weddings. But don’t full into the trap of hiring somebody just because they have covered hundreds of weddings, this doesn’t necessary mean that their work is the best quality. Even if they are a very well-established company take the time to look at their work and ask all the questions that you have. Sometimes it can be better to go with a photographer who covers less weddings but concentrates on quality.
5. Have they covered similar weddings to yours? Look into the experience that the photographer has had, is it similar to your wedding (in size, style, venue etc) some photographers are much more comfortable covering small and intimate weddings whilst others are well practised in organising large formal affairs. I have been lucky enough to cover a real variety of weddings from grand castle celebrations to small and quirky city weddings. I love covering different types of weddings and feel it keeps me creative and stops me from offering a one size fits all service – every wedding is unique (even if it is at the same venue) the cover is always different with me.
6. What’s included in the Wedding Photography Package? This is so important! It’s easy to get caught up in the creative and not spend enough time looking at what is included in what you are paying for! I have tried extremely hard to make my packages really simple and easy to understand (however always ask questions even if they seem silly I would hate it if a potential client did not enquire because they were not quite sure about something) All of our packages include all of the digital rights to your images so you will be able to download the high res images of your wedding and print with whoever you like or you can order through me its your choice. Other photographers may not offer all digital rights to your photographs and instead offer a service where you choose which photographs you would like and buy them in different formats from the photographer (so you will need to allow for extra budget on top of the photographer’s package. All our wedding packages include an engagement shoot which is the perfect opportunity to get to know each other a little more and usually get familiar with the venue too.
7. Will there be a second shooter? You will find that some wedding photographers include an assistant shooter as standard. We do not, we have designed our packages so that you pay for exactly what you need, and we are honest when we advise on which package we think you should go for.
8. Do you like the wedding photographer! I always make every effort to meet potential clients before they hire me to cover their wedding. I genuinely believe that we need to click, I want to know your story, your tastes, vision and dream and I want you to feel confident that I understand this and that you are going to be comfortable with me. I really think that even if you love the photographers work but do not get along with them in person that you should keep looking for somebody you click with.
9. Will they actually be covering your wedding day? If you are looking at large companies, it is worth checking that the person you have been speaking to will be there on the day. We are a small company and I am the lead shooter on every wedding, so it will be me that you see on your wedding morning, if you have selected a package with a second shooter / videography etc I will introduce you to the team who will work under my supervision.
10. Do they have a back up plan? Check that your photographer has a back up plan in case of illness or emergency. I have built up my own network of talented photographers over the years and we act as back up for weddings in emergencies (it doesn’t happen often, but it is always worth checking that there is a plan in place.)
11. The boring stuff! Your wedding photographer should produce a contract for you to sign, which will cover the finer details (deposit and full payment terms, details of the package that you have selected, refund policy etc). Make sure you read it and keep a copy for yourself.
I could go on and on. Photography is such an important part of your wedding day so take your time, ask as many questions as you like and choose somebody you feel comfortable with and confident that they will capture your day and those special memories just how you imagined.