by Gail Braznell
Looking for a photographer for your special day and photo’s you can treasure for a lifetime. With so many photographers it’s tough out there, so here’s my guide to help you get started.
For most of us getting married is a once in a life time event and it may be the first time you have needed to hire a photographer. We are different to other people you hire on the day because of how we get involved. The cake, the flowers and the venue may all be gone at the end of the day but the photos will last a lifetime. When you look for a photographer you are looking for social skills, creativity, professionalism and quality.
Start looking early, booking your wedding photographer should be one of the first things you do, after you’ve booked your venue of course. Many photographers will be booked up well in advance. The best wedding photographers usually develop a reputation, and may be known locally to your friends and family. Ask them if they have any recommendations, either through personal experience, or word of mouth.
Create a shortlist once you have been through enough profiles, then arrange to meet each photographer and view their portfolios. Don’t just judge somebody from a website, try to get a picture of their personality. Photographers love to talk about portfolios, gear, albums and packages so it can all get a bit confusing. I consider myself a people’s person and I love to be asked lots of questions about my work but equally I love hearing the planning arrangements for the big day. Colour schemes, how many bridesmaids you have chosen, who’s giving you away, what the cake looks like, the first dance and every little detail you can think of. I need my couple to know I care about their big day almost as much as they do. Then they can relax and feel comfortable with me in the driving seat.
Think about what style of photographs you like, it could be traditional posed pictures, a more contemporary style or even a documentary style. Discuss your needs with the photographer before you make a decision, each photographer has their own style. If you are drawn to a particular photographer, make sure you ask to view all of their images and check the quality is consistent.
Most photographers shoot lots of images, don’t expect every image they shoot. Let them curate their own work and trust that you will see all the best images after editing. Find out how long post processing takes so you are not seemingly waiting forever. Countless hours can be spent perfecting your photographs with image enhancement software such as Photoshop.
An engagement shoot is a great idea, you’ll get relaxed fun shots and the chance of working and relaxing in front of both the camera and your photographer. Lot’s of people are nervous about this kind of shoot scenario, but it’s best to lose the nerves ahead of your wedding day.
Make sure your photographer has spare equipment, a cheap photographer may not have invested in a back up camera. This lack of professionalism is unlikely to happen away from the cheaper end of the market, but ask the question anyway. It’s too big a gamble to book a photographer who only has one camera.
I simply can’t stress enough the importance of asking for a contract. In most cases it doesn’t have to be anything more than what you have discussed and agreed. Personally I prefer to write all the details down for my couples too browse through. Then I can answer any further questions they may have forgotten to ask me. A contract will genuinely improve the situation for everyone and offers protection for all parties involved.
Check your photographer is covered by professional liability insurance. In my experience nothing has ever gone wrong, but if something was to go wrong with the camera or it was to get lost or damaged then the photographers insurance would cover the entire cost of re-staging the event (This is highly unlikely, but it makes everyone feel much more comfortable).
Getting amazing images from start to finish, creating the expected, capturing the unexpected, having a true connection with your photographer whilst feeling relaxed is the least you should expect from any professional photographer.