There are an awful lot of things to consider when preparing for your wedding, and one of the most important is your choice of wedding photographer. You need a professional photographer, because you only have one chance to get it right: you can’t go back the next day and take some more photographs because something was missed out!
For this reason, although your uncle Charlie may enjoy photography and have taken some good shots in his time, and although he may even be prepared to offer his services for nothing, this is something with which you really don’t want to cut corners.
Wedding photographers do come at varying price points, and they tend to be more expensive in London and the South East, and in major cities.
The best thing to do is to look online and select a few photographers who seem like a good fit from what they say on their website and the sample photos that they show.
Once you have a short list of, say, six or eight, the first thing to ask when you call them is if they have your date available. This may seem rather obvious, but the fact is that good wedding photographers can quite easily get booked up 12 – 18 months in advance, so there is no point in meeting up with them if they can’t attend.
You do need to meet up with prospective photographers because you need to see how well you get on with them. After all, they are going to be with you for perhaps eight or ten hours on the day, so you need someone with whom you can gel.
You should ask them how long they have been a wedding photographer. Weddings are busy events, and your photographer needs to have experience of being in the right place at the right time. He or she needs to know how to capture all the standard and candid shots while preparing for the wedding, the ceremony itself, drinks reception, wedding breakfast, first dance, cutting the cake, and more.
In fact, you may well want to have two photographers. This is because one photographer cannot be in two places at once, and if you have a big wedding it can be spread across several rooms and outdoors as well. If you have two photographers it will certainly cost more, but they will know how to work together in order to capture a lot of shots that you would otherwise not have got.
You also want to have a look at some albums that they have shot in order to get an idea of their style. If you are talking to an agency, you also need to ask if they are photos that they have shot themselves, and not someone else from the same agency.
Also ask if they have shot at your venue before. If they have, they will have an idea of the layout, the lighting, where to take the best shots of you as a couple and with bridesmaids, groomsmen, close family, and so on. If they haven’t, they should be happy to visit the venue beforehand.
If you are using us for your wedding hall decoration, it would be a good idea for them to visit when we have set everything up the day beforehand in order to choose the right places to work from.
Ask your potential photographer if you can give them a list of specific shots that you want. You may want certain shots such as a special one of the two of you with a particular couple of family members. Most photographers will be willing to do this, but don’t make it too long a list because you will take them away from being able to take other candid shots.
Ask if they have a backup. It is possible for people to have an accident or go sick, and you don’t want to be there on the day with no photographer!
Ask exactly what you are getting for the money. You should get a complete set of digital photos as standard, and you need a personal copyright licence which allows you to print them off. You need to enquire if an album is included in the cost. If not, ask how much they will charge for this, and ask to see some samples.
Above all, get everything in writing, including time of arrival, how many hours they will work for, how many digital shots you will get, how long before they arrive, and so on. This will give you peace of mind.