Choosing your wedding photographer
Your Wedding Photography is going to be one of the most important aspects of your day. Memories are great but you will find that over the years you go back to your photographs time and time again, so finding the right wedding photographer to take those photos is a very important factor.
But what so you need to look for when choosing a photographer? There are so many to choose from, all have their own style and own personalities.
Here are a few things to look out for and some important questions to ask to help pick the perfect person to capture your day.
Things to consider
· Do you like the photographer? You are going to be spending a lot of time with this person throughout your wedding day, if you don’t like them or make you feel uncomfortable then your not going to get good pictures.
Always pick a photographer who you both get on with, who you can talk to and who your feel relaxed with. It’s all about the RELATIONSHIP with your photographer. Always meet a few photographers. Don’t book the first one you see without seeing a few others.
· What is your budget for the photographs? Do a bit of research before you decide to meet with anyone. There are some very cheap photographers out there and some very expensive. You don’t want to meet with someone and then realise you can’t afford them. You need to know what the market rate is and what you are prepared to pay so you don’t go over your overall budget.
· A lot of couples get friends or friends of friends to do their wedding photography as a way of keeping costs down. Don’t do this unless they are a professional photographer and know what they’re doing. It’s a big ask and it doesn’t bear thinking about if they make a mistake or things go wrong! Plus they as a guest will want to enjoy your wedding as well.
· Ask for recommendations from your friends. Who did they use, would they use the again? A recommendation is worth its weight in gold!
· What sort of style photography do you like? Look through wedding magazines and tear out pictures you like the look of, remember both the bride and the groom need to agree on this. From this you will be able to establish what sort of style you like; Posed and Formal, relaxed photojournalists and reportage, artistic, candid, high fashion or traditional.
Once you have decided on your style then this will help decide on your photographer, no point highring a photographer if they only do classic shots when you want relaxed and reportage.
Questions to ask the photographer when you meet them
· Always ask to see examples of their work and albums that they have done, but ask to see a full album not just selected shots. It’s important to see the quality of all of the photos, what does a whole wedding look like?
· How do they define their style, from the examples of work you should be able to see, but it is always interesting to see what the photographer says themselves.
· Why does the photographer photograph weddings in particular? This question will help gauge who your photographer is as a person and if they actually enjoy weddings. Do they seem enthusiastic? People who love what they do are generally very good at their job and working with them is going to be much more fun!
· Who has the rights of the photographs? As much as the photographer will own the photos, you want to know that the photos are of you and they won’t be using them without asking you.
You also want to know that you have access to the pictures without having to buy each copy. Many photographers will charge you a package for a certain amount of prints to go in the finished book and then add on a price for extra prints after the agreed amounts. This can often be very costly, you may have agreed on say 50 shots but once you see them want another 100. Also what if you want prints for your family, or prints to be framed around the house? Will they charge you per print for these? If you don’t have print rights for the pictures how much is each extra print?
· Are the pictures available on a CD? If so is there an option to just have the CD and no album? Some photographers will include a disc in the package, some will charge extra. You need to know how much more it will be if it is extra.
· If you’re getting a CD of images, what resolution are they and what print size will you be able to go up to?
· If you do get a disc what improvements will be made to the files? All digital images on the disc should be toned, adjusted and worked a little to make them better for printing, plus it’s amazing what a bit of Photoshop can do!!
· Is the photographer a member of one of the Professional Photography Bodies in the UK? This could be BIPP, SWPP, BPPA, MPA. These are all organisations that work with professional photographers to make sure that the work they do is of good quality. All photographers who are members of these institutes have to have been accepted which means their photography has been seen as being of a good standard.
· Does the photographer have Professional Indemnity and Public Liability Insurance?
· What cover is in place in the event of illness/accident preventing them from covering your wedding? Any good photographer will have an established network of photographers available for emergency help.
· How does the photographer back up their work? Every photographer should be backing up their work to make sure nothing happens to your photographs. Do they use an offsite backup? And what about their camera?
· Will they be the actual photographer on the day?
· Will they be bringing an assistant or 2nd photographer with them? If not is there an option for this and if so how much extra is it?
· When will the proofs be ready? Most digital photographers aim to get your proofs up 2 weeks after the wedding, some will even put then up on facebook for you. You need to know how long they will stay on their on line gallery for, some are a few months some will be a year.
· How long will it take for you to get your album or CD after the wedding?
· What packages do they offer? Some photographers have one package and that is their standard, others have a number of packages depending on what sort of album you want. Always look at the album choices, and the quality. There are so many different albums these days, and each photographer will tend to have a selection of ones they work with.
· Extras? Are there any extras outside of the packages on offer? Lots of photographers will now offer a pre wedding shoot, or a guest book, books for the family? Prints for friends and relatives. Some will invite you back to view the photographs after the wedding accompanied by music. Sometimes these things are extra, sometimes they are included.
· Ask if you get to choose the pictures that go in the album, as much as the photographer may want to design it for you, you need to know that the specific pictures you like going in the album and not end up on the cutting room floor.
· How long will the photographer stay for? Some have different packages with different times attached, some stay all night, some till the first dance. You need to know if things run late your photographer isn’t going to run off without a picture of the cake being cut, or charge you double if the speeches go on longer than expected.
· Travel Fees. Make sure you know what they charge for your location. Most photographers will offer free travel within a certain radios, then add on extra for locations outside their area. Make sure this agreed before hand, also accomodation and food need to be considered.
· Does the photographer know the venue? If not can they get to the venue before hand to find the best places to take pictures and get to know the lighting.
Many thanks to
Katy Thomson at http://www.serendipityphotography.co.uk and
Eliza Claire at http://elizaclairephotography.com/
For their help in writing this article. xxx
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