So you’re now engaged! firstly congratulations and secondly allow me to give a shameless plug for our Engagement Portraits (complimentary with all of our Wedding Photography Packages)
Now comes a big question, who will capture my big day?
Choosing the right Wedding Photographer is a crucial decision that boils down to a number of questions that you need to ask both yourself and also any of your potential Wedding Photographers. This article is designed to try and help you to have a clear picture of who you are looking for when it comes to your wedding day because after all, these are the photographs that you’ll be looking back on for the rest of your lives together.
How much will my Wedding Photographer cost? OR How much should I spend on a Wedding Photographer?
The answer to both of these questions will vary depending on any budget you have in mind, your location, the time of year you’re getting married and many other factors. While this is true please do me a favour? don’t go straight to the prices page of a photographer before going to their gallery/portfolio page first. It truly saddens me when I receive an email direct from the contact page with a bride just asking about my prices. Money is such an ugly thing and while I know it’s certainly a consideration, please choose your photographer based upon if they are a good fit for you all over, not simply that they are the cheapest.
The amount of times i’ve heard about a bride who asked a friend to take pictures or an uncle who was a keen amateur and then the results have been less than perfect or in some cases brought the couple to tears, it really upsets me. This is your wedding day, it’s a special and perfect day to you that is meticulously planned and you deserve to have every detail captured perfectly to look back on for years and generations to come.
Ok and breathe. Sorry I just dislike discussing prices however you can, on average expect to spend between £800 up to £2,000+ on your Wedding Photographer. There are exceptions to this both sides of course, I start at £900 for my wedding packages.
How do I find my Wedding Photographer?
Now the fun begins, searching Birmingham Wedding Photographer alone for example will yield 8.1 million results so expect to need a cup of tea and a large pack of biscuits when the search begins. Of course there’s also dedicated Wedding Fayres (though personal experience has sometimes delivered shark like pressure sells at these type of events), specialist Wedding Directories and mobile phone apps as well.
Truly one of the best ways you can hope to find your photographer is through a referral from a friend whose got married, however what do you do when, in my case when I got married, my friends photographer was no longer working as a wedding photographer? I literally sat in front of Google and pulled up around 50 pages of results (thank god for tabs in browsers!) searching Midlands Wedding Photographer until we found our photographer at which point I then checked her prices and contacted her.
So how do you dwindle down the thousands of photographers out there? I recommend you to choose by style.
What style of Wedding Photographers are there?
A Wedding Photographer’s style is there absolute core, it’s what they take with them, knowingly or unknowingly to each and every wedding they capture and it is that style that they will place into every one of your photographs.
Now it seems logical to take style buzz words such as ‘modern’ ‘reportage’ ‘magazine’ ‘traditional’ and incorporate them into your Google search however unfortunately not every Modern Wedding Photographer describes themselves as that, perhaps they have put Reportage Wedding Photographer and so it can be both a help and a hinderance to add buzz words into the search.
Ultimately you will know what style you like and be on the look out on photographers websites. I believe that when you see the right photographer then everything fits together but it’s important not to rush too quickly or fall for that photographer too fast, take some time to check their social media pages, blog posts and portfolio before clicking the ‘contact’ button.
What should I expect and what will I receive from my Wedding Photographer?
When you think you have found the right photographer or short list of photographers from their Gallery’s/Portfolios it’s time to start looking at their main wedding information. Now this can be presented in the form of a PDF downloadable brochure, in bullet points on their website, a FAQ page, in a video introduction or perhaps in a ‘request more information by filling in your details’. Though personally I am not a fan of these, which is why my prices are up front on their own Wedding Photography Prices page. When you have got the information, you’re looking for some important specifics:-
Coverage – when will they start and finish capturing your wedding day (some Photographers will put ‘unlimited’ and actually mean 8 hours), some may offer extra charges to cover past certain key times, I for example cover Bridal Preparations to The Speeches as standard but charge an extension fee to First Dance if the couple want me to stay longer.
Amount of Photographs – how many edited images will be delivered to you. I promise 500+ in my contract but usually deliver 600-800 images depending upon coverage requested.
How will my Photographs be viewed? – often photographers will deliver your Wedding Photographs via an Online Gallery which will also allow guests from the wedding to view and purchase prints through – one less thing for them to nudge you about while you’re trying to enjoy your honeymoon.
Will there be any effects included? – Colour is always important however some photographs look stunning in Black & White or other effects such as Vintage Wash which is included in addition to Colour & Black and White with my work.
Will any digital files be included? – Whether delivered via email, USB or CD/DVD, digital files of your Wedding Photographs are by far the most common option for modern weddings, allowing the happy couple to print what they want and whenever they want to (make sure you receive a Print Licence to alleviate any potential copyright issues when taking them to be printed)
What equipment do you use and what backup strategies do you have in place? – Professional grade equipment including an extra camera body should be standard for a professional photographer as well as a strong backup strategy. Personally I use 1x external hard drive as a main backup, 1x external hard drive as a library and then 2x more external hard drives which are mirrored and stored in a different geographical location as well as an internationally backed up Cloud storage solution.
How often should I meet with my Wedding Photographer before the day?
Now this is a difficult question, if you have a photographer based far away then it may be difficult to meet face to face, however technology is there and there’s no reason why you can’t Skype with them to have a good chat about your individual needs.
Where possible though I meet with my brides and grooms at least 3 times prior to the wedding, first we have an initial meeting at my Shop to discuss their wedding, show them some examples of my work and albums and talk about my Wedding Photography Packages.
Secondly I see them in the Studio or on location for their complimentary Engagement Portrait, which is a fantastic opportunity to get used to having your picture taken professionally (something many people have never had done). Finally I arrange a Venue Visit to have a good look around the venue for the wedding to discuss what in particular the bride and groom like about it, why they chose it and ideas I have for where I would like to capture their photographs. This all comes together to help the bride and groom feel relaxed and confident with me as their photographer.
Aside from this I am available by e-mail, Skype and phone if they feel they want to meet more frequently or to discuss any questions they may have.
Ultimately you need the right Wedding Photographer as this is a once in a lifetime day that you will look back on to re-live and you need photographs that capture every detail perfectly. If you compromise and get a friend to do it, you may end up regretting it and also your friend will not enjoy the day in the same way if they’re worrying about getting your photographs right. Make sure that you get a contract with your photographer to seal everything together so that you’re both clear on what you need and what you will be receiving.
I hope this has helped you to work out which wedding photographer is right for you however if i’ve missed anything please feel free to comment below and i’ll try and add it to the article.