Red eyes on your bridesmaids? A green pallor to most of your guests? The groom’s eyes firmly closed on every shot while it seems every picture of the bride features her chomping her way through a veritable breakfast feast. However, where do you even start when it comes to capturing the magic and not the mayhem of your big day with memories you actually want to keep?
A professional wedding photographer will charge no less than £800 for an eight-hour shot. It pays to err on the side of caution when you see a bargain package for anything less. Ask to take a look at his / her work and do not just rely on the portfolios they put online. Have a look at at least three albums and check out the colours, print quality, settings, imagination and style.
Of course, pricing plays a huge part in the decision making for a couple. A photographer should be open about their pricing structures and in turn you should be clear on your budget. It makes sense not to waste one another’s time and instead to set a clear dialogue right from the start.
A good photographer should offer a variety of packages to suit what you want and should always be flexible about what’s included within that: VAT, travel and food expenses should be considered.
Can the wedding venue recommend anyone?
Sometimes it’s worth asking the wedding venue itself if they recommend any wedding photographers. This is because their recommended snappers will already know the setting well. If the photographer isn’t recommended by the venue, then they should at least be willing to meet beforehand on a few occasions to get a feel for the best places to position themselves and for when. In addition to this, photographers should have an idea of proceedings of the day and know exactly where to be in order to capture the best moments.
What is your wedding style?
It’s certainly worth having a style in mind, too. Browse through wedding magazines and portfolios because these days you can choose anything from a natural fly-on-the-wall kind of presence to the traditional set up, where relatives come together in-group photos, more often. Try and obtain a strong competency for the look you’re after. Portrait journalism, for example, gives a free flowing approach where the day progress naturally with little intrusion, while more traditional photographers go for portraiture. It’s also a good idea to gauge whether you might like some ‘fun and frolics’ kind of shots such as the bride and groom jumping over a wedding guest! It is recommended that this is done prior to any drinking!
Keep your guests entertained
The weather could turn sour, so ensure there is sufficient room indoors for your guests to stand and for photographs to be taken. To while away the time it can be a good idea to have a band, some champers and canapés on offer. Try and get the best man and ushers to round people up and factor in this can take anywhere between 20 minutes and two hours depending on your choice. Most photographers will require the bride and groom on their own for half an to an hour or so to get some shots of the two of them together, so factor this into your timings and have entertainment on hand for the guests while they mingle.
Consider both style and substance
When at wedding fares, make sure you get a feel for the photographer – and not just their work. They might have a portfolio like Testino, but a personality like Mr. Hyde!
It is never worth considering someone who you don’t feel completely comfortable with, for your special day and that works the other way too. Couples can get blinded by happy, funny and captivating personalities, but the images that come back may lag far behind the quality they expected. You need to make sure they have both personality and talent.
Some questions you should ask your wedding photographer:
- How many professional weddings have you shot?
- Is it a full time business for you?
- What cameras do you use? (Write them down and look them up afterwards, pro cameras start at £1000 without a lens). If the equipment being used is rubbish, your photos will be of poor quality.
- What happens if your equipment fails?
- How will you plan my wedding?
- Do you know the venue? Will you visit before our wedding?
- What happens if it rains?
- What’s included in my price?
- Tell me do I get copyright of my images or a license of use? Can you tell me what that means?
- Can I see a copy of your terms and conditions before I commit?
- Do you work with an assistant?