What To Look For In Your Wedding Photographer



Choosing your wedding photographer can be an extremely personal and tricky choice to make.

Notice how I said your photographer, not a photographer. It’s as much a personal choice as the colour of the flowers, the flavour of cake or the size of the venue.

A wedding photographer isn’t just there to turn up, act bossy, take a couple of snaps and chuck them on a CD for you. (unless that’s what you really, really want…)

If you really think about it, the photographer is the only person, apart from the Bride & Groom themselves, who will be there for every single minute through the day. No one else who you hire or attends your wedding will be there as long and be as involved as much as your photographer. You are allowing a complete stranger, to be closely and regularly interacting with your closest friends and family, on possibly the biggest but most personal day of your life.

It’s a huge deal, so you really need to make sure that you have a photographer you can truly trust, feel comfortable around and would want to interact with your friends and family. Oh, it it helps if you really love their photography too.

In order to gain that trust, and to feel confident about the photographer, there are few key areas to look out for. The points below are all valid, regardless of the budget or where a photographer places themselves in the market.

This my opinion, but these are the core areas; the bare minimum any photographer who calls themselves professional should be able to clearly and confidently explain to the client. Wedding photography isn’t a black art, and your chosen photographer should be clear, concise and open about every aspect of what they do and what they offer.

Experience



Experience is everything in wedding photography. There is no substitute for shooting a diverse, emotional event like a wedding, time and time again with consistently excellent results. Don’t underestimate it, wedding photography is difficult. Not everyone can do it, and it involves a lot of specialist experience, knowledge and equipment that is often built up over years, not weeks. On the other hand, certainly don’t discount new photographers if you love their work, you get on with them and most of all trust them. Confidence and passion for photography can be a more than capable substitute for years of experience. Again, it all comes down to trust, just make sure it feels right.

Photojournalism vs Traditional



No two photographers are the same, that’s the fantastic thing about photography. Personalities, passions and ideas go into every photographers methods and approach. The important thing is to choose a photographer that matches the style that you like and want for your wedding photographs. Hate posing for the camera for those cheesy groups shots? Then chose a photographer with a more photojournalistic approach.  Love to dress up, show off and be the centre of attention? Then a more traditional approach to photography may be right up your street. A lot of photographers will offer a style that fits in-between the two distinct styles. Just make sure you know what you want before you try to choose from a million different wedding photographers.

Insurance, Emergencies & Backup Equipment



All photographers, regardless of budget should have public liability and public indemnity insurance. Both to cover themselves for damages to the expensive equipment they use, but also in case anything happens during the day that would cause damage to the venue or personal injury to the guests, no matter how unlikely that may be. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Also, one camera is not enough. Not even two. In fact a well prepared photographer will have at least three separate cameras and a multitude of lenses. Accidents happen, lenses get dropped, memory cards and batteries fail. You wouldnt take risks on your wedding day, and neither should the photographer, so check they have this covered.

Finally, what will the photographer do in the case they are ill? Or their car breaks down on the day? Always make sure to ask the photographer these kind of questions. It probably wont ever happen. But if the answers put you at ease and give you confidence in the photographer, that’s a great sign.

Contracts & Paperwork



Always sign a contract with a photographer. A formal contract means everyone is reading off the same page..literally. It’s there the protect both the photographer and the clients, especially in the case there are different expectations on the finished product. Make sure to take the time to read through the contact in full, and ask the photographer to explain any aspects you’re not sure about. A well written and fair contract will be a positive thing for everyone involved. If it reads like it offers the photographer everything, and the client nothing, then my advice would be to walk away. If either party feels pressured to sign up to something they don’t want to, then things will be stressful from the start.

Timescales



This should be mentioned in the contract, but if you still aren’t sure, just ask. Knowing what will happen, and most importantly when it will happen, will make everyone happier. The client doesn’t need to chase the photographer every other day, and the photographer isn’t waiting on the client to return emails or phone calls. Everyone’s happy.

Does It Feel Right?



Easily the most important aspect of choosing your wedding photographer. Follow you heart. Or your gut. Whatever it is, make sure it feels right. All the backup and posh paperwork and quality albums wont mean anything if you don’t get on with your photographer. You are going to be calling, e-mailing and meeting up with this person for maybe up to 18 months before the wedding day itself, then you are going to put your trust in this person for the most important, emotional days in your life. Do you want this person part of it?

Let me finish by saying this post certainly isn’t a sales pitch for my own wedding photography services. I take the time, effort and commitment to this blog, because I enjoy sharing knowledge and am passionate about helping others.

It just so happens that by researching and engrossing myself in the wedding industry I want to be a part of, by necessity and association, I have learnt a lot about it.

This blog post is advice and guidance that I hope newly engaged couples and other photographers will find useful. For other takes on this subject why not check out some of the links below. Thanks for reading.

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