I may be biased but one of the most important things to do when planning your special day is your Wedding photographer. Out of all the services you will use ultimately it would come down to how the day is captured. Recently friends decided to fly to an exotic location to get married. They had a beautiful day and a wonderful time, but they regretted they didn’t spend the extra dollars to ensure they had a quality wedding photographer for the day. They, like most people relied on their friends to take lots of photographs for them. As you can image in the excitement, guests are so caught up in those special moments, they inevitably forget to take photos. And if you think about it, images from your wedding is the only tangible and enduring thing you will keep long after the day ends.
1.Research, Research, Research
Before you even start to consider photographers, you need to work out what you like. By working out what you like, it will be easier for you to identify the type of photographer who is going to work with you and for you. Research is the absolute key in figuring out what you both really like. Before seeing potential clients I always ask them to go through their bridal mags and mark out the images they love or Google wedding images to get an idea of a couple’s taste. In the case of gay couples, don’t worry too much about whether images are of gay couples or not, the point is to have some ideas of style and look for your day. Spending a few hours together doing this will make the process of looking for a wedding photographer much simpler and less stressful.
2.Like their style
There are literally thousands of wedding photographers out in the market with lots of different styles and approaches to producing images for weddings. Navigating them is sometimes a job in itself! Based on my experience there are 4 main categories that most photographers fall into. Some will borrow elements of each of these to create their own distinctive style.
a.Traditional or Formal
b.Contemporary or Sleek polished look
c.Quirky or Eclectic
Understanding your own expectations is a massive step to making the right choice for your special day. Let’s be honest, any wedding photographer you see is only going to show you their best work, the work you will look at and think WOW! A huge tip is to always have a look at a “Whole” wedding. This will give you a real insight into their style and what your photographer is really capable of.
3.Like your photographer
A huge factor should be, “Do I actually like this person?” some may say “Why does that matter?” If you think about it, you will be spending more than likely a whole day with this person in your face on what is to be the happiest day in your life. How well do you think your images are going to be if you don’t like the person who is photographing you? It seems a pretty obvious thing but the amount of people who have complained that they did not like their images on their wedding day can be traced back to the fact they simply didn’t like and therefore trusted their photographer. A cheap and easy way of testing the waters is by engaging your photographer for a Portrait session at early stages of planning. I call it a real life interview, good for you and good for the photographer! I also suggest this if couples are unsure between two photographers. A bonus can be if a fantastic shot from these sessions can also be used as an image for your invitations. Either way it’s a cheaper option than finding out after the big day.
4.Real value for money
As a child I loved “visiting” my grandmother’s parlour and looking at my grandparents wedding portraits. Those portraits included sets of each of my great-grandparents and became the central part of their home and life. When they married they of course didn’t have much money for photography but they spent the majority on framing those particular photos. Those framed photographs still exist today and have become a family heirloom.
So here is where most photographers are going to disagree with me. When couples come to see me, inevitably the question of a wedding album comes up. I actively encourage my clients to instead of paying thousands of dollars on an album they may only look at for 6 months, to invest wisely in a set of quality photo prints and professional framing or canvas prints instead. I explain a wedding album is a lovely thing to have but the value of having professionally printed and framed (or canvas) photos in the long term are going to be more value for their money.
Don’t get me wrong, my clients still get an electronic copy of all the photos in a quality proof album with upsized photos that they can show off to family and friends. It may seem a radical idea but most clients appreciate the honesty of the advice and will often come back time and again for other occasions just because they feel you have been honest and fair with them.
5.Agree on a budget before you see photographer
Weddings are an expensive thing and costs for your perfect day can skyrocket before you know it. It’s really easy to get caught up in the moment and want things added to package and have a heart attack when you total your bill up. Be honest with your photographer about what you are prepared to spend during and afterwards and always allow for a bit of wiggle room. Again good for you and good for them as being honest will build trust and save on cost issues at the end of the day! A good photographer who wants your business will do their best to accommodate and tailor a package to suiting your budget. My biggest tip is, don’t be afraid of asking questions on how to minimisecosts.