This might seem like an odd blog for a photographer to write themselves and you might be expecting me to say “just pick me – job done”, but the reality is that it isn’t that simple and that really isn’t the best thing for either of us. We’re blessed in the South West to be home to some incredible photographers and each boasts a different style and each are differently priced.
So how do you choose the right one for you? I’m going to give some pointers that will hopefully make the decision easier.
You should really LOVE their style
This is maybe the most important factor to consider.
How your day is represented in images is going to be with you hopefully forever, so choosing a photographer whose style you can relate to should be high priority. Do you want high involvement from the photographer where they’re placing you into position and taking high-end fashion photographs, or at the other end of the spectrum, do you want someone who is more of an observer and documents things as they happen all day?
Don’t select a photojournalistic photographer and expect them to produce editorial-style work and vice-versa. Every photographer is the accumulation of everything they’ve taken in and the styles they’ve followed over the years – and they’ve intentionally developed their own look and feel. All of us see the world differently and that unique approaches are all beautiful; you just need to choose someone whose way of viewing things appeals to you the most.
Each photography style actually relies on different sets of skills and each of those skills takes time to build up. I couldn’t go and emulate the photographer shooting the next high-end fashion campaign, and at the same time, that person probably couldn’t emulate the classic social documentary photography of someone like Dorothea Lange. They’re different skills and that should be celebrated.
You’ll spend a lot of time with your photographer; make sure you like them.
I spend more time with the couple on a wedding day than almost anyone else, and so it’s important that when you’re choosing your photographer, that they’re someone you like to have around.
SO much of photography on a wedding day is driven by how you feel and whether you’re comfortable, at ease and enjoying yourself. You need to ensure you’re going to have someone around that does those things for you.
If you’re reading the photographers writing on their website and thinking, “god, this person is so annoying!”, then you probably don’t want to spend a whole day with them. Finding someone who makes you feel comfortable, makes you laugh and whose sense of humour matches your own (well, hopefully you’re marrying this person, too) is going to make your day so much better.
If photography and remembering the wedding day is important to you, invest in it.
You don’t get a do-over with this wedding day so don’t book someone in if you’re not sure they’re for you. Experienced and quality photographers around our area range anywhere from £1,200 to £3,000 for a full wedding day.
That’s a pretty big range, right? Everyone develops their costs differently based off experience, what they include in their packages and so on. Make sure you judge a photographers work accordingly; don’t expect the £1,200 photographer to produce the same level of work as the £3,000 photographer.
On the same note, obviously not every single couple is going to get a professional wedding photographer; some may have a friend or family member that has a camera doing it for them and I cannot stress enough that this is TOTALLY OKAY. Everyone is in a different position and the expense of a photographer might no be justifiable. The only thing is, don’t expect them to produce professional photographs. They might be doing it as a hobby, or still learning and it’s unfair to expect them to cover your day the way a professional will. However, inversely, don’t expect your professional wedding photographer to work for amateur prices – they’ve spent time learning their craft and their prices reflect the costs of running and maintaining their business.
Just as a side note: photographers generally don’t give out their raw images so it can be rude to ask. For me, the effort I go to when editing is a huge part of what you’re paying for. I don’t want work that I consider half finished potentially being out in the world representing my brand.
Get all the information and know what you’re getting in return
Each photographer may deliver differently; I personally favour quality over quantity and would rather deliver 600 beautiful photographs than 1200 average ones. However, some couples may just want a heap of photographs to remember the day and that’s cool too – just know what your photographer is delivering so you’re not disappointed.
Some photographers are cheaper but don’t offer digitals and rely on the purchase of printed goods as their income. Others may offer all digital and purchasing prints or an album is an add on. I like to deliver digital images and offer printing via my gallery, but this of course means prints are an additional cost.
Another variable is how their coverage is charged; some charge a half-day/full-day rate, some charge by the hour, some offer coverage like ‘bridal prep to first dance’. Make sure you know how long you’re getting your photographer for so you don’t miss important moments that you wanted covered, or that you’re not paying for someone to hang around when there’s little more that you want photographed from your day.
There are other extras to consider such as whether they include a second photographer, whether that’s a charge to add on, whether they charge travel to your area, or whether they are always the one to photograph the wedding or whether they operate as a studio and will send an associate photographer in their place.
Do your research
Once you start looking at different photographers, you’ll start to get an idea of the style you like and what you’re looking for from your photographer. I recommend finding 2 or 3 that really hit home for you and get in touch with them as soon as you can because good photographers can book out on popular dates 12-18 months in advance. You should receive a little more information about what they offer, how they work and what their prices are and from here hopefully you’ll feel confident making a decision.
Generally photographers have a lot of their work available on Instagram and on their website, so check through that thoroughly and look for things like consistency in editing, a range of images, and a style that draws you in.
If possible, meet with them before booking
Meeting with your photographer is going to immediately give you the feeling of whether they’re right or wrong for you. You can ask questions about how they work on the day, what their demeanour is like and just see if you want that person around you for 8-10 hours on your wedding day.
Most photographers are pretty happy to meet with you before you book and grab a beer or wine or coffee and have a chat. It’s great from the photographers point of view, too, because we want to make sure we’re a good fit and that the couple are going to be happy with having us around all day.
During the meeting, I personally talk about how I’ll go about covering your ceremony, what I do for the reception, and what my location shoots are like. For instance, I really love getting people to be a little adventurous in the pursuit of cool images, so if I know ahead of time that this really isn’t your vibe at all, I’ll know to keep it safer on the wedding day so I don’t make you uncomfortable.
Also, you don’t plan a wedding everyday. You may not have been involved in planning one at all before. Photographers have been around a lot of weddings and we know what works and what doesn’t and we know how to ensure you’ll get to enjoy as much of the day as possible.
Go with whatever feels right
I freaking love weddings. I love them. And I’d love to be a part of your wedding day! But only if it feels right to you. Consider everything above and sit down with your partner and make a decision that is good for both of you. Don’t think you need to make a snap decision and settle – spend the time and find the right fit for you and trust your gut.
Lastly, honestly, I really want you to have the best day ever. I want you to be surrounded by love and affection and people who think the most ever of you. If you think I’d compliment a day like that for you, I’d love to hear from you.
Well that’s all folks! If you think of anything else that helped you in choosing your photographer, please let me know. I’d love to hear your stories!