The first thing you should consider when choosing your wedding photographer is: are they perfect for YOU?
Every wedding photographer is different. And these days you have so much choice. But the most important thing is that you love their style (and a very close second is that you also like them).
As a reportage wedding photographer I document the day exactly as it happens. Nothing is posed. I want my couples to feel completely comfortable – they don’t want to stand in a line for half an hour with forced smiles aching their faces. They want to get some nice pictures then go join the party they’ve spent so long organising. My photography is natural, candid and emotional. I try to make it fun too. And so I attract people who want that from their wedding photography.
The third most important thing is that your wedding photographer is free on your date! Fourth comes price. But, if you’ve found a wedding photographer you really love, you’ll find a way to afford them. Do you really need a chocolate fountain and a £3,000 dress? So how do you work which wedding photographer is for you?
I was recently asked by Stylist magazine to talk about this topic for a feature they were writing about how to choose your wedding photographer. Here were my answers:
What’s the best advice you’d give to any couple getting married?
“Do not scrimp on your photography budget. The photos are the lasting memories of the day, and so many couples are left upset and disappointed because they chose a cheap photographer who didn’t capture the emotion of the day and missed all the important moments. A professional photographer will also have invested in the best kit and will put in the time and effort to make sure your wedding photos are incredible – and this includes hours of post-processing to really make them shine. Cheap photographers will just ‘shoot and burn’ – giving you flat, dull, unedited photos. You should put aside at least 10% of your wedding budget for the photography, and make sure you look at your prospective photographers’ portfolios, and even ask to see a wedding in full to make sure they didn’t just get lucky on a few shots.”
How important is it for the couple to spend time with their photographer before the wedding?
“If you don’t meet your photographer before the wedding, even just on Skype, you’re taking a risk, because you don’t know if you click. This person is going to be with you all day long, on one of the most important days of your lives, so it’s vital you feel comfortable with them. I often meet my couples twice – once to visit the venue with them, and again just for a cuppa and a chat. Also, if the photographer gets to know you well, they will be more emotionally invested in the day – at my most recent wedding I actually teared up during the speeches! Wedding photographers aren’t just suppliers, they’re one of the most important guests at your wedding.”
How important is the background?
“Not half as important as the light. If you find a great background in beautiful light (ie not bright sunlight) then you’re winning. Would you prefer a squinty face with a great background or a photo where you look absolutely incredible? Let’s be honest – if you look stunning, no one’s looking at the background anyway! A good photographer will know this, and make sure you look your best in every photo.”
When you come to choose your wedding photographer, make sure they’re exactly right for you. In 20 years when you’re showing them to your kids, you won’t remember how much it cost – but you will have amazing photos.