Treasure the skill of your photographer
What is impossible to recreate, can instantly make you laugh, will be treasured by future generations and has the ability to take you back in time?
A photograph. A click of a camera shutter. Anyone can do it, can't they? Especially in this age of easy access to smart phones and digital cameras.
Your wedding day, however, is a time when only the best is good enough. But how can you choose a wedding photographer - someone you like, who will capture all the blink-and-you'll-miss-them moments?
Here are some tips for choosing the right wedding photographer for you.
Decide if you are a good fit for each other. During correspondence with your photographer, ask yourself how they make you feel. If they are genuinely interested in you and your day, that attitude will translate into their photography. Some photographers offer their services for an engagement session, which is a great way to work with them before your big day. Your photographer will be spending a lot of time with you, so it's important to make sure you are comfortable in their presence.
Get to know their photographic voice. Are you able to view a full gallery from weddings they have photographed? Viewing their complete coverage of a wedding day will help you gauge the consistency of their work. If the photographs were of your wedding, would you be happy? Keep in mind that a good photographer will be able to capture your style, as well as staying true to theirs.
Give them advance notice. At what point in your wedding planning should you reach out to a photographer? The answer varies, as some photographers have a policy of booking no more than a year in advance. If you are planning your wedding in Spring or Summer, be aware that this is a busy season. Generally, a good time to make contact is after you have your date locked in and have decided on a venue.
Don't make a decision solely on price. A common fallacy is that wedding photographers only do one day's work. Even without taking into consideration the costs of equipment and insurance, plus the preparation beforehand and post-processing afterwards, a photographer has spent years training to hone their craft. Don't be afraid to ask for bespoke pricing, especially for a smaller wedding, but recognise that the value of your wedding photographs will increase as time goes by.
Once you have made your decision, communicating with your photographer well in advance will let you know what to expect regarding delivery of the photographs, whether they offer professionally designed and printed albums and when you can expect to see the photographs. Your photographer should be looking for ways to exceed your expectations – for example, they might show a same-day slideshow of images at your reception or get a preview gallery available for you to view that very night.
For a large wedding, coverage often starts with photographing the couple each getting ready for the day. After photographing the ceremony, the photographer will then organise you and your families for some formal but fun shots and will also be recording all the details you have worked so hard to source, including flowers, invitations, table settings, decorations, shoes and jewellery. As well as capturing all the candid moments, such as during the speeches, first dance and cake cutting, a photographer will usually ask for some dedicated time with the couple.
Is time alone with the photographer really important? Your guests are waiting for you, some of whom you haven't seen for many years, plus you're tired, hungry and your feet are killing you. It's during this time, however, that a photographer can take beautiful and creative portraits of you both. By giving them time, you are enabling them to tell the complete story of your wedding day. You are not paying for someone to just take snaps during the day. You are paying for a skilled professional to guide you into the best light, most flattering pose and translate the personal emotions of the day into photographs. You are paying for tailor-made art. (For example, during an initial client meeting with one of our couples we discovered that they first met when rock climbing. We wanted to symbolise their original meeting and show the new heights they would reach – the result was a photograph of them happily scaling a tree and sharing a kiss. That may sound like an extreme example, but dedicated time with your photographer will help them to translate your personalities and your stories into photographic form.)
You're not looking for a photographer with the most likes on Instagram, the most published in wedding blogs and magazines or who has won the most awards. You're not looking for who the world says is the best wedding photographer. You're looking for the best wedding photographer for you.
Taking time to choose carefully will ensure that you have someone who fits with your personality, helps ensure a smooth-running day and, best of all, will give you tangible memories to take you back in time.