Choosing a wedding photographer is one of the biggest decisions you will make when you are planning your wedding. It can often cost quite a big chunk of your overall budget, but in order to capture all of those amazing memories of your big day, it is an essential purchase to make. Today I’m going to discuss the factors you should take into account when thinking about how to choose a wedding photographer, as well as telling you a little bit more about what I do.
A wedding photographer with a good personality is essential for a number of reasons. Someone with a warm and welcoming personality will make you feel more at ease on your wedding day. If they are confident, they will be able to give you direction without making you feel overwhelmed. Ensure you meet with the photographers you are thinking of booking before paying a deposit so that you can see if you ‘mesh well’ together – someone who you get on with and who immediately makes you feel at ease will be a good match on the day. What is very important in making a couple feel relaxed is always remembering that I am there for them and not for myself. Having the bridal preparations as part of the day’s shoot is always beneficial as I’ve just blended into the mix by the time the ceremony comes around. Part of my job on the day is to guide the couples but not dominate their day. If a couple or bridal party or their guests for that matter, are not relaxed with what is happening then it will be reflected in their images. Every wedding shoot is unique to that couple and what might suit one couple wouldn’t necessarily be comfortable for another couple. Ideally, I will have met my couples more than once before their wedding day and chatted about all aspects of their plans and what’s important to them.
Is photography his or her full-time job, or is it something they do a couple of times a year to supplement their income? Someone whose whole career is dedicated to photography will have the very best equipment for taking the photos, editing and producing your albums. Someone who has already invested in the right equipment and can work out their costings exactly will often be able to fit into your budget more easily, rather than someone who is perhaps taking a day off their full-time job to shoot your wedding and needs to cover that cost as well as their equipment and time.
Each photographer will have their own personal style. Some specialise in posed photographs, with a list of shots they need to get throughout the day. This may suit a couple who are very specific about what they want. Others specialise in ‘candid’ or documentary-style photography, which will capture a more natural look and often involves lots of shots of your guests having fun. My style is a mix of ‘candid’ and ‘directed’ images depending on the stage of the day and often they blend into each other. I may arrange a particular shot but it’s the follow-on images I’m really interested in. For me weddings are about the people involved, not just the couple but also the bridal party, the guests etc. I like to be interactive and try to make people feel at ease. Great venues and decorations are good to shoot but it’s the emotions & interactions between the people that really counts.
When it comes to how much to budget for wedding photography, it is a very individual decision for each couple. While some couples have a very comfortable budget, others may not have as much to spend. Some wedding experts suggest that your wedding photography will cost 10%-15% of overall budget. Many photographers however will have a number of different packages that can suit a variety of budgets, for example providing your finished photos in digital format only. This could be a great option for a couple on a smaller budget who may choose to get their photographs printed and framed at a later stage. It is important to bear in mind that a photographer coming in a lot cheaper than some of their competitors may not always mean that you will get the same quality. The overall time involved in shooting and editing photos right through to delivering the final product can be 30+ hours. You must decide how important the photography of your wedding is to you, and decide how that matches into your budget. If it is an essential part of your day, then your budget should reflect that, as it would for any major purchase in your life be it wedding or non-wedding related.