Which Wedding Photographer to Choose

Choosing a photographer may be a daunting task, and staying within your budget may be even more cumbersome. You may consider asking a friend or relative to photograph your wedding for you; this is sure to be a bad idea for many reasons. A professional wedding photographer knows how to produce the best results in capturing all the moments by having years of experience and photography knowledge.

Finding a wedding photographer is a very easy task due to the number of photographers out there. There are numerous ways of going about finding one and many things you should take into consideration. The best way of course is being referred from another couple that got married recently and had their wedding photographed by a specific photographer. Please take note that by “photographer” I mean a specific photographer and not photographic studio with multiple photographers. Always be sure to find out who will be photographing your wedding.

There are numerous other ways to find a wedding photographer including news papers, billboards, the phone book and of course the internet. Over 70% of wedding photographers are sourced online. There are however a few things that you should know about searching for one on the internet.

1. Take Your Time
The first photographers you will find are mostly because of a large advertising budget. There is nothing wrong with this, but you should look at all available options.
2. Be Specific
When you use a search engine your search criteria should include your “state” and “professional wedding photographer”. The quotes will eliminate all general photographers and narrow your search to only wedding photographers. I recommend using Google.

Now that you know how to find a wedding photographer, which one do you choose? There are three primary factors that will determine which photographer to choose; style, price and personality. Style and price can be found on their website and is our starting point.

1. Style
There are many different style wedding photographers. Different examples are traditional, candid, formal, photojournalism, etc. Some photographers offer only one style, but the best photographers can offer all of these styles and would normally incorporate them into your wedding day coverage. It all depends on your requirements and needs. When viewing a photographers portfolio, remember that these are all his best shots. Always ask to see a full wedding coverage.
2. Price
You can spend anything from $500 to $10,000 on a wedding photographer. A good guideline is to spend about 10% of your entire wedding budget on a wedding photographer. Most photographers have packages that will include everything from the coverage to the album and final prints. Other photographers have complete al la carte pricing; if you are on a tight budget this is probably the best way to go. You will be able to select just what you want and can afford.

I would suggest buying your own wedding album and putting it together yourself. The cost of buying an album from the photographer is usually double the actual cost. Then of course doing it this way you can get it when you want and when you can afford it.

Considering style and price select your three top choices and schedule a meeting with them. There should be no cost for this. Before you meet with them you should pretty much want to hire them from the information that you have gathered about their style and price.

3. Personality
You want to meet with them to see how they present themselves and if your personalities match. You want someone that is personable and nice so they will get along well with you, your family, and friends. Never make an immediate decision, go home and think about it first and wait until you have met with all three. The meeting should be casual, discussing your wedding day in general. Never get sold on services that the photographer is trying to sell you at this point. Remember you have already decided you like the work and price before you got there, so there is nothing for the photographer to sell to you at this point. Just meet with them and get to know them.

Once you have made your decision, contact the photographer and let them know. Don’t forget to contact the other two photographers to let them know that you have decided to use another photographer and thank them for their time. Go over the details on the phone with the photographer you chose and get them to write up a wedding contract for you to review and sign. Do not pay a deposit until you have reviewed and signed the contract. Read the wedding contract very thoroughly; everything you are suppose to receive should be written down and have the price and payment schedule. Always make a very clear note of their cancellation policy.

Congratulations! You have a found your wedding photographer and have one scheduled. All you need to do now is schedule to meet with them about a month before your wedding date to go over the details again……and show up for your wedding!

The Journey to a Wedding by a Wedding Photographer

The journey to a wedding can be a real nightmare, because a wedding photographer simply cannot be late. If you plan everything carefully, you’ll have nothing to worry about; the important thing is planning well ahead. On the few occasions when the photographer is late, the whole wedding comes to a standstill: nobody wants to start the ceremony without the photographer, otherwise all of the long term memories will be compromised. Imagine this: tens of people are sitting in the church just waiting for you to arrive. What are you going to tell when you arrive there an hour late? How are you going to deal with such an embarrassing situation?

Being always late is a real disability. I know of people that are unable to keep a job, because of their time keeping skills. I myself do not keep assistants that are late. A wedding is a very important thing and being late once is enough for me not to hire an assistant again. What I tell them is this: make sure you arrive on time; if you have time keeping problems, then arrive three hours early. There are no excuses for a wedding photographer to be late. Not to talk about the financial losses you could incur into: you can be sure that you will be charged for some extras the bride and groom will incurred into because of you. The journey to a wedding doesn’t have to be this stressful, actually it can be quite peaceful and pleasant. Planning early and well, will almost guarantee that you will be there on time.

Your Vehicle:

Whatever vehicle you use (car, van, motorcycle, bicycle), make sure it’s well looked after. If you have a vehicle that is more than five years old, I would advise you have it checked out at least a couple of weeks before the event. This is because if there are repairs to be made, you want to be sure you’ll get it back before the wedding.

If your car is not reliable, rent one. Nowadays hiring a car can be very cheap and this can easily be included in the expenses bill. Also the vehicle you arrive with tells a lot about the way you work. Much more than you would think.

Imagine: you call a plumber from the yellow pages and he arrives at your home with an old noisy bitten up pickup truck with a dirty camper shell and you can tell he lives in it. Then your neighbor’s plumber arrives in the latest van, quietly, a professional advert on the side, wearing a nice work uniform. I bet you would wish you had called the other guy. You will automatically assume your plumber will not do the job properly, or at least not as well as the other guy. First impressions really count a lot.

It’s the same with wedding photographers: how you travel tells how you will work. Arrive in style and the bride and groom will already trust you more, even without having touched one of your cameras. They are paying you top dollars and they want to see their money well spent and of course they want to show their family and friends that they have selected a real pro.

Want to know what I do? Just in case that something goes wrong with my car and the journey, I always keep a folding bicycle in the trunk. When such an important thing like a wedding is at stake, you have to think about the unthinkable. What if you get into an accident and your car can no longer be moved? You are still required to attend the event. Remember that accidents do happen and they are not necessarily your fault, but you will be expected to have allowed enough time for them.

This is not a normal 9 to 6 job; you are the person in charge of the only memories the couple will have of their wedding day and it is your duty and main priority do anything in your power to attend AND to be on time (which means early).

Get a membership with the local automobile club, so that you will be prepared for any mishaps and you’ll have less worries as there would be someone to help you. Even if you only got a flat tire, could you change it on your own while wearing a nice suit and a white shirt? How clean (or dirty) will you arrive at the ceremony?

Always respect speed limits. Other than dramatically reducing the chances of having an accident, you’ll also reduce the chances of being pulled over by the police. Even if you get a straightforward fine, you will waste precious time and you will be upset for most of the day. You are going to create art on commission and your mind needs to be clear, relaxed and happy.

The Journey:

Going to a wedding is not like going to work at rush hour on weekdays, where everything is more or less predictable. Weddings usually happen on the weekend, where sometimes (always if you live in London) unusual road works take place, trains are limited and diversions are in place.

Since it is a weekend and most people do not work, the authorities don’t usually give much weight to congestion, which becomes extremely unpredictable and very heavy at times.

If you can, avoid travelling on the day of the wedding. Even if the event takes place at only 50 miles from your home, travel there the day before and stay at a cheap hotel. You will wake up nice and fresh, with plenty of time for everything… maybe even to have a nice walk in the morning before the wedding.

Make sure you know what is going on around you. A good way to do this is to watch the evening news the day before the wedding and to check for the local news website as soon as you get up in the morning. Go to any extent to make the journey go as smoothly as possible.

The Routes:

Always plan at least three routes. The first should be the quickest, the send should be the shortest and the third an emergency alternative. If your route includes a highway, plan an alternative route using local roads. Always think of the unthinkable.

Nowadays we use navigators, which are a fantastic aid in these sort of situations, but do not rely 100% on them. Always carry a city mad and a larger area map. The day before plan your route on a real map and match that with the navigator.

Keep in mind that on the weekend some roads might be closed and diversions might be in place. The journey can be severely altered and delayed, especially on a Saturday morning.

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Hopefully you’ll only get wed once and it’s no surprise that for many people this is the most precious and important day in their lives. Good wedding photography will help capture this perfect day forever and will serve a a permanent reminder of your big day. With expectations high it’s little wonder that for many brides choosing a wedding photographer proves to be a painful and angst ridden experience.

Masters of diplomacy and tact the wedding photographer must work with great speed, confidence and of course technical competence. A great one will quietly and effortlessly fit into your day without without creating a scene, a poor one will obsess, embroil you in their anxiety and even upset your wedding guests. Thankfully out of the many weddings that I’ve been lucky enough to attend or have a part in, almost all of the photographers have fallen into the ‘good’ category. Sadly though there have been one or two exceptions in recent times. At these weddings the photographers exhibited all the negative attributes mentioned above, but worst still the end results were quite awful and totally unacceptable from a so called professional photographer.

Since the massive boom the wedding industry has witnessed in recent years, the lure of big money has proven irresistible to many photographers and hence the industry has seen a big influx in the number of budding wedding photographers. It has attracted many part time or previously amateur photographers into the profession, each one wanting a portion of this big fat wedding cake. Trying to weed out the good from the ugly can prove difficult so here are the issues that I would recommend you consider before making your choice.

Photographic Style. Each photographer will either consciously or naturally develop their own unique way of shooting. Some may be skilful enough to adopt a number of styles depending on the desires of the client whereas others will become famous for having a very particular look. Therefore the very first consideration when choosing a wedding photographer is to browse and ultimately decide on the style of work you most warm to. Be it traditional, contemporary, black and white, reportage, quirky or whatever, try to narrow down the style of photography you think best reflects you, then focus your search on photographers in your area that display this style.

Finances. How much cash can you realistically afford? Only you can answer that one but try to set a budget and stick to it. There will always be temptations to up the spends, especially if your friend hired the celebrity photographer for her wedding day, but try to avoid this. There are thousands of wedding photographers out there each one with a different fee structure, so there will be one that both caters to your budget and artistic sensibilities.

Photography Folio. Just about everything you want to know about a photographers artistic and technical abilities can be easily discovered by closely studying their portfolio. A first glance a photograph may look great but take a closer look and you might find awkward facial expressions, cut-off limbs, unpleasant colour castes, poor shadow detail or bleached out highlights, especially in the brides wedding dress. Really take the time to examine these details and don’t just be blinded by the how nice the bride looks or how ugly the brides mother-in-law looks.

Affiliation and Endorsements. Every trade these days has its professional bodies and the photography industry is no exception to this. In fact the list of so called professional bodies has in my opinion become a bit of a joke in recent years and no longer automatically denotes the quality of a photographer. It does however at least suggest a dedication to their trade but in no way does it guarantee either artistic or technical excellence. Customer endorsements are therefore a much more reliable source of recommendation and if you can speak to the customer in person, then all the better. Try not to simply dismiss a photographer whose style you like just because they have no affiliation or customer endorsements. They may be relatively new to the profession and therefore what they lack in experience, they can really make up for in passion and hunger!

Face to Face. After technical and artistic ability surely the most important aspect of any wedding photographer must be their like-ability, do you actually like them? The only way you are going to tell this is by good old fashioned face to face contact. Ask them to visit your house or pop into their studio, whatever way get to have a cup of tea and a good chat. You’ll be amazed by how much you’ll find out about them. After all, wedding photography can be a very intimate experience and one that is best enjoyed with someone you both like and trust.