14 Tips On How To Choose Your Photographer
Your wedding is one of the most magical days of your life, do you really want to leave those memories to chance and book just anyone ? Your photographs are your legacy and a family heirloom to cherish forever. We are hearing on a daily basis of couples being scammed out of precious money and left with nothing or regrets because they chose the wrong person, so please do your research. We know it is an exciting time and you often get caught up in the moment, but take a step back and breathe. Take your time to find the right professional for you and read on for our top tips on how to choose your photographer.
1. Image quality/style
Do their photographs and editing style talk to you ? If you like light and airy photographs, there is no point looking at and hiring someone whose style is dark and moody. Take time to research several photographers and narrow it down to a short list of those whose style you like. Do you want reportage (also known as documentary) style photography, more formal images or a mixture of both ?
Make sure to meet with your photographer before you hire them, or at least skype with them. If you form a connection with them, have similar interests and personalities your photos on the day are sure to be a hit. The more comfortable you are with your photographer, the better. We meet several times with our couples before their big day so by the time it arrives we are more like friends and know how to get them relaxing and laughing with us.
Don't be afraid to ask about their experience. How many weddings have they photographed ? Have they covered a wedding at your venue before or somewhere very similar ? If not are they prepared to do a venue visit before the day ? We always do a visit and ask our couples to attend with us where possible. This way we get to see what they love about their chosen venue, what made them choose it and where we need to focus more attention with photography.
4. Cost/value for money
Make sure you know what you are actually getting for your money. The last thing you want is hidden extras or overtime charges. Are photo books, albums, usb pens or online galleries included in your package or are they extra ? The most expensive, or cheapest photographer is not always the best fit for you. Going with budget, after all the money you have invested in your big day is not always a good option if you only end up with a usb pen of images. These are your memories that will last a lifetime, After the day, all you have is memories and your photographs.
Does their website have a good selection of reviews from past couples ? Are you able to talk to any of their previous customers (this does obviously depend on past clients giving permission) ?
Does their website show full wedding albums, or are they able to show you some at a meeting ?, Are images consistent from start to finish ? Where you have a partnership, you may find there are two editing styles. If you prefer one over another don't be afraid to say so. You should feel able to ask your photographer anything.
Have they shot at your venue before, or will they do a venue visit before your wedding day to make sure they are familiar with the location ?
Do they have a back-up plan for illness or equipment failure ? How secure are your images ? Do they shoot on multiple cards ? Where/how are your photos backed up to after the wedding ?
9. Gut feeling
It is often a good idea to go with your gut feelings. If something feels wrong then trust your instincts.
Do you have to choose an album straight away or can you add this at a later date or even as a 1st anniversary present to yourselves ?
Do they have professional indemnity and public liability insurance ? We all hope nothing goes wrong, but in the event it does, it is great to know that things are covered by insurance.
Do you get to sign a contract with your chosen photographer ? This is for your protection as well as theirs and breaks everything down in detail, so you know exactly where you stand.
Does your photographer include a second shooter in your package or is this extra ? Two photographers will always be better than one as they can be in two places at the same time which means they are not rushing from bridal preps to groom preps and then to your venue. Everything is much more relaxed with two photographers.
When you pay your deposit does this ensure your photographer will only be covering your wedding on that day ? Also, do not pay in full at the time of booking. Reputable photographers will usually ask for a reasonable deposit with the the balance being due a few weeks before your wedding date. If a vendor pushes for payment in full the alarm bells should be ringing, unless they have a seriously valid reason such as your wedding is only a few weeks away.