Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Choosing a wedding photographer

Over the years I have noticed many potential clients are confused when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. This post is not aimed at convincing potential clients they should book Stephanie or myself as their photographers, but I really do hope it helps bride and grooms make a more informed and ultimatly the right choice.


So lets start with some very basic research and I hope this helps clear up some confusion.

Firstly, its important to consider the style of wedding photography you both like. How do you want the finished album to look? Lots of names are given to styles of wedding photography, but do you really understand what is meant by terms such as reportage, editorial, traditional,lifestyle and candid? If not ask the photographers you meet to explain these often misunderstood terms. Also after doing some internet research or possibly meeting photographers at wedding shows, choose photographers who's style you like and enjoy to then be shortlisted as your wedding photographers.

We class ourselves as reportage wedding photographers but we do capture posed images of the bride and groom and we do a few group photographs at all our weddings. But we are not the sort of photographers who do lots of posed images or turn up on your wedding day with lights and other equipment to produce fashion photography style editorial images. No, our aim is to capture the story of your day in a natural and unobtrusive manner. So you see right away we wont be right for clients looking for lots of posed and contrived photographs.

From my own point I have a style and its my style so don't expect me to do the type of pictures photographer ''X'' does just because Im a photographer, dont think I can adapt to another photographers style and produce pictures like his or hers. Simply book your chosen photographer because you like THEIR photographs.

Alt Reg Signing

Another very important point is to see examples of FULL and REAL weddings your shortlisted photographers have done. Here the important point is real weddings. Many photographers wanting to get into weddings go on courses and use pictures taken on these courses as their wedding portfolio. Its very easy to take a good picture of professional models with an experienced professional photographer setting up your shots for you. But how would these photographers cope at a real wedding with normal people, possibly indoors or in the rain. All really important points to consider.So look for full sample wedding albums which show people other than bride and grooms.

Always ask to see examples of finished albums. This way, you will know how your album will look when completed.On the subject of albums, Graphi Studio, Storybook and digital are NOT styles of photography. They are simply makes of albums. Look at the images firstly not the actual album. Then decide if you have a liking for one or other type of Album. In the end whilst important, the album is simply a means of displaying you images.


Once you have viewed the photographers work and decided you like the style and quality you need to make sure the photographer is professional and by that I mean a full time working photographer, not a chap who works in a local factory and shoots a few weddings for pocket money. The number of times I have heard of couples not getting any images at all or cameras developing faults or in fact photographers not turning up on the day is amazing. As full time pros we make our only living out of photography we survive like many pro photographers on our reputation in fact over 60% of our work comes from recomendations from past clients. Your wedding is important so don't risk leaving vital parts of the day to non professionals. I do know of some very good keen hobby photographers, but weddings are not the place to learn your photographic trade.


Last year I heard of one real horror story. On an internet forum which claimed to be for professional wedding photographers one chap asked for advice. He had been booked to photograph a wedding only to find a week before the event his boss in his real day job had called a meeting and all days off had been cancelled, he HAD to attend. How, he asked, do I explain to my wedding clients? Its not a one off either so just take care and consider just how important your wedding is to you.

On the subject of recomendations, many venues pass on chosen photographers details its a great source of work for many photographers. But certain venues take a cut of bookings and only pass on details of photographers who pay to advertise in the hotel or venue guides. Don't be led astray by such information.

People often ask have we worked at venues before. Being established over 10 years, yes we have worked at a lot of venues, but it is no advantage at all to have a photographer who kows a certain venue of has shot weddings there. Your wedding is unique and should be photographed as such. Not just in the same way as some other wedding at the same place last year or last week. Its a great buzz to work in new and different wedding venues, so again don't just go for photographers who know a specific bush in the grounds of your chosen venue.


Many photography companies promote the use of two photographers but make sure the people you are paying for are in fact photographers. All to often its just the wife or husband who tags along to help carry the bags and boost the confidence of a less experienced main photographer. One guide is can I book the second photographer on their own and can I see some of their work? If you can then there is a very good chance you are getting the advantage of two experienced photogrpahers. In our case both Stephanie and myself work on our own seperate weddings getting both of us is more expensive because we both make a living from wedding photography. Just be certain of what the other photographer will be doing. If its just a few ''snaps of guest'' I would avoid it at all costs.

It is also worth understanding how long it will be before you can view your wedding photographs and how long the finished album will take to complete. As a guide we have images available to view within 2-3 weeks but often sooner and finished albums are ready for collection in 6-7 weeks.

I hope this information helps in some small way to you choosing the right photographer and I hope if you are the right type of client for us we will be invited to photograph you wedding, but please feel free to ask any questions in the end its important to make the right choice.

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