It goes without saying that on your wedding day the last thing you want to be worrying about is whether your photographer is getting the shot and capturing your day in the way you imagined and that’s why choosing your photographer is a task you and your partner need to spend a lot of time on, researching the style you want and the availability of photographers in your area. Many wedding photographer’s are booked up months if not years in advance so it should be one of the first tasks you tackle together to make sure you can book the one as these are the photos you’ll treasure for many years to come.
There exists a huge variety of photography styles that can feel overwhelming when you start trying to refine your look, so take a step back and take a deep breath before jumping in. Instagram and Pinterest are great sources of inspiration when it comes to all things wedding, and when it comes to photography they really come into their own. Start by initially saving/pinning any that catch your eye trying not to pay too much attention to how well they work together – to begin with it may look a bit mismatched but once the initial excitement has subsided you may find that your focus is pulled towards just one or two styles that represent who you are as a couple.
Once you have got your favourite looks down to just one or two, try and spot any similarities between them. Are they both capturing those intimate, smaller details that go beyond the group shots and posed ‘moments’ or are they both shooting a record of the day that means you have a document of all the main parts of the day? Recognising what it is you’re drawn to at this early stage may help you get a better grip of how you want the rest of your wedding to look like as it’s easy to get swept up in the hype at the beginning where you want white doves, fireworks and a wall made of flowers alongside a humanist ceremony in a hotel’s ballroom moving to a tipi in the grounds for a disco. You will quickly find that when it comes to actually nailing down the details of your big day you may have to sacrifice some of your big ideas due to limitations by the venue, budget factors or even the amount of time you have to fit it all in and getting a clearer idea of what you want your wedding to be like right at the beginning of the wedding process will make the whole process much simpler. You’ll also be able to make decisions that will help you get those pictures you’ve identified as must-have’s, making sure you don’t get left feeling disappointed when your photographer hasn’t been able to get that shot because there’s no archway for you to pose by or your backdrop doesn’t allow for the sunset picture you’ve pinned over and over again.
ONE. DON’T SHOP FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER BY BUDGET
Naturally your budget is a big decider when it comes to planning your big day, but when it comes to photography a higher cost doesn’t necessarily mean a better photographer. There are a huge number of factors that will affect the price a photographer charges, from the amount of kit they will be required to bring with them to travel expenses, and if they need to bring an assistant along with them to capture all the shots you want this will be an additional cost too! Yet you’ll notice that even just those three small examples plucked from the air don’t actually influence how good the end results will be but will have a huge impact on the quote that pops into your inbox, so it’s important that you have seen their portfolio of work before storming ahead or paying anyone any money.
TWO. SHOW THE PHOTOGRAPHER YOUR VENUE
Whether you have booked it or just have an idea of where you’d like to get married, sharing this information with your photographer will quickly identify how much experience they have shooting in this setting and flag up any potential issues that you may need to consider. Ask if they have any previous work they can show you that was shot in a location similar to yours, and don’t forget to consider options if the weather isn’t too favourable. If you’re meeting potential photographer’s to discuss the job, why not take it one step further and arrange to meet them at the venue itself? You’ll be able to scout the spots together for your photos and you’ll be able to see how well their creative eye matches up to yours. Don’t lose sight of what you want to an overenthusiastic photographer though, this is your day and they’re the photos that you’ll have in your home forever so you don’t want to be looking back and kicking yourself for not putting your foot down at that first meeting.
THREE. MEET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER FACE TO FACE
As a necessary part of capturing all of the candid moments on your big day, your photographer is going to there every time you turn around and more often than not it can be quite intrusive and encroaching in your personal space. A necessary evil, but on a day where you have handpicked the loved ones to stand by your side all day a stranger pointing a camera at you every time you turn can be a little frustrating. To keep the day as precious and memorable as possible it’s important to meet your photographer face to face beforehand, making sure you get along and hey, it’s not unheard of for photographers and brides to become friends! A photographer who is polite and respectful of you and your guests but is confident enough to seek out those shots you’ve been dreaming of is a real treasure, and one who isn’t going to insult or offend your guests is a must so meeting them beforehand will give you a good idea of what they’re like and how they’ll interact with your loved ones on the day.
FOUR. HOW DO YOU FANCY BEING IN AN AD?
Something commonly forgotten, it’s essential you ask your photographer who owns the rights to your photographs. Many photographer’s state that they own the rights to the images taken on your day meaning that not only could your most intimate moments be used in an advert or posted online, it may also mean that you can’t upload your images to your social media profiles without the photographer’s watermark. Although not everyone wishes to upload them onto social networks after the big day, if you have a loved one who couldn’t make the big day and wanted to share the photos online with them you may find yourself in trouble. You could also find yourself with an extra unexpected cost if you don’t enquire about ownership as if you choose to print the images yourself a photographer may require you to purchase the rights to your own photographs, and if not asked about beforehand could be a nasty (and costly) post-wedding surprise.
FIVE. THE WEDDING DAY ISN’T THE END…
A majority of your hard work will all be over once the last guests tumble out of your wedding and the DJ packs up hit kit, but this is just the beginning for your photographer. Don’t expect your photos within a few days of your wedding as they’re going to need plenty of time to upload, edit and touch up all of those images they took on the day. They’ll have to sift through hundreds of photos to find the one that perfectly captured each special moment, check for any blinking eyes in the group shot (there’s always one!) and correct any overexposed images. The post-production process is where your photos will go from pretty to phenomenal and it’s a process that takes time, and it’s here where your photographer will be able to do any touch-ups and colour balancing so if you’re wanting overly saturated colours, a monochrome colour palette or something almost fairytale-esque, your photographer will create this after the big day. Don’t forget that the more changes there are to be made, the longer it’ll take to get your hands on your photos but make sure you discuss whether you’ll get to see your photos before touch up or after to ensure you keep full control over the final result – some photographer’s get a little overexcited when it comes to Photoshop and you don’t want your close-up shots to come back looking nothing like you where they’ve gone a little over the top with the airbrush tool… If you’re getting printed photographs factor this into the time frame as this can add some extra time onto the process and although it may be a little pricier, it’s likely your photographer will know a great printer to get the top quality result you’re paying for. If you’re undecided whether to print your own photographs or trust your photographer, ask for examples of previous work to get a better idea of the quality you can expect and as mentioned earlier don’t forget to ask about the rights on your photographs!
Instagram and Pinterest can feel overwhelming at first, but they’re an excellent way of seeing what is possible when it comes to wedding photography and really broadening your horizon to help you find your style. Whether you’re looking for classic and traditional, soft and bohemian or stark and urban, there exists a photographer for every style you just need to find what speaks to you and find the person who can best deliver on that. Do you have any top tips for finding the perfect wedding photographer? If so make sure you leave a comment below!