Selecting Your Wedding Photographer
I can only advise you from being a Wedding Photographer myself but my clients often have the same concerns and questions. I have prepared a list of points that I cover myself when meeting with any prospective clients. It is important that you feel comfortable with your chosen photographer – they are with you for most of your day. Meeting up with your photographer and discussing your requirements, will give you the opportunity to get to know the person better. There are many wedding photographers available – probably more choice than any other area of planning a wedding.
Tips for Wedding Photography.
- Start looking for a wedding photographer at least one year in advance of your wedding date if possible – especially if you are getting married in the summer and on a Saturday – reputable Photographers will book well in advance of a year.
- Look at their website – there should be lots of images on their galleries of weddings and you should be able to view whole weddings not just the best shots! This will also give you an indication of the type of photography that the person does – is it all informal, candid photos or is it very formal group shots and are there examples of colour and black & white shots?
- Once you have looked at the website and narrowed down the field, talk to the photographer on the phone, better still, arrange to meet them and see their sample albums of whole weddings.
- Costs and packages will vary from one photographer to another – check out what they are offering, how long are they staying with you on the day, do their charge by the hour or will they cover from bridal preparation throughout the whole day? If you want your photographer to cover your first dance/evening celebrations, ask if there is an additional cost involved. Discuss each package that is offered – are they flexible? Can you tailor a package to your particular requirements.
- Ask what happens if the photographer should be unwell on the day – will another photographer be available?
- Ask if the photographer has professional photographic insurance.
- Most importantly, ask what formal qualifications the photographer has – there are several photographic bodies which award professional qualifications – the British Institute of Professional Photographers and the Master Photographers Association. Others are the Royal Photographic Society and the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers.
- Ask if the photographer will visit the venue with yourselves prior to the wedding to discuss timings for the day, required group shots and spend time discussing the style of photography that you like.
- Ask when you will receive your prints/CDs and when they will be available to review on line – many photographers have a facility of uploading the wedding images to the website for family and friends to view and order on line if they wish.
- Have a good look at the various albums available – there are so many to choose from – from traditional leather albums with prints to glossy wedding storybooks and digital artbooks. Remember to ask how long these albums will take to get to yourselves – and of course, who selects what goes into the albums the bride and groom or the photographer?
- Don’t forget to cover the added extras – photographers will charge travel expenses, overnight costs if they are travelling a long distance from your venue. Is VAT included? Also, you may well get asked to provide food for the Photographer if they are covering all day including your evening reception.
- How many photographers will be present on the day – 1 or more? If 1 photographer is covering your day, do they need an Usher to assist with organising the group shots?
- How many photographs will the photographer take on the day and how many will the bride & groom get to see/keep? Will these be in print (what size?) or on CD/DVD and if so what quality is the CD/DVD – can you reprint from the disk or is the quality sufficient only for e-mailing? Lots of photographers will provide you with your images in various ways, some will charge extra for the high resolution images.
- Ask if you want black & white images, sepia or soft focus images – or do they all come in colour only.
- What about extras – can you purchase parent albums or picture frames/canvases/acrylics?
- Discuss copyright – a whole topic on its own. Nearly always the wedding photographer will keep the copyright – this means you would be unable to pass any images on and these be reproduced with the permission of the photographer. It might well be however that you can have all the images and reprint whatever you like, for yourselves and family.
- Check out the wedding fayres – there are so many now – usually all year round but primarily in the Spring and Autumn. It could be that your venue holds its own wedding fayre and it would be well worth going along and talking to the photographers at these fayres as they probably have good knowledge of your chosen venue.
Finally, you should feel comfortable and able to discuss any queries or concerns that you have with your wedding photographer – it’s your day – don’t let them tell you what you need – you tell them!
Sarah Critchlow LMPA,LBIPP
Sarah Critchlow Photography