1) Know what you want – Wedding Photographers come in all shapes and sizes, cover all types of styles and offer countless package combinations. Consequently, it is important to work out what you want from your wedding photography before you even begin your search. Some important considerations include:
- Budget – Know how much you are looking to spend on your wedding photography package.
- Photographic Style – Do you prefer reportage style wedding photography, or traditional wedding photography? Or maybe even a hybrid of both? Artistic, Contemporary, Bold are other common types of wedding photographer on offer.
- Wedding Package Inclusions – Are you interested in a Basic Wedding Photography Package, or would you like a wedding album, engagement shoot, a second shooter to increase your coverage, etc. Also, consider how you would like your photos delivered – prints or digital files?
2) Start the search early – So you have locked in your date, and put a deposit down for your venue, now is the time to start searching for your ideal wedding photographer. Wedding Photographers, especially those who are popular, normally take bookings over a year in advance, so to avoid disappointment, it is a great idea to begin your search early. This is particularly crucial if your wedding is during peak season.
Another benefit of booking early is to lock in a quote for a fixed price. Most Wedding Photographers increase their prices on an annual basis, so booking early can also save you some extra money from your budget.
3) Ask for Recommendations – Word of mouth is one of the leading techniques for finding potential wedding photographers. Asking friends and family for recommendations is a great way of receiving honest feedback regarding a photographer, from their service to their photos. You can also ask your wedding suppliers and venue for recommendations, as they will only recommend wedding photographers they trust, as it is their reputation on the line.
4) Review Portfolio’s – Most wedding photographers will display their favourite shots on their website, which is a great way of determining a photographers abilities and capability, but you should dig a little deeper. Ask to view a wedding gallery of an entire wedding. This is a fantastic way to gauge what your finished images will look like. Pay attention to the number of images, and the variety – have they captured the whole day how you want your wedding captured?
5) Wedding Photography Experience – A photographers experience is important, as not only will it reflect in your wedding photos, but it will also ensure a smoother running throughout your wedding. The more experienced a photographer, the better they will know how a day should run, where they should stand, when and where they are and aren’t allowed to take photos, etc. As wedding photography prices generally reflect a photographers experience and popularity, opting for a less experienced photographer is a great way to save some extra money if you only have a small photography budget.
6) Photographers Back-Up Plan – Wedding Photographers do fall sick, cameras malfunction, lenses do break, so it is vital that your photographer has a back-up plan. It is a good idea to check what options they have available in worst case scenarios. Professional Photographers should always carry back-up equipment (camera’s and lenses), and should be able to call upon a standby photographer if they are suddenly unable to make it on the day.
7) Photograph Copyright – Checking what you can and can’t do with your wedding photos is often overlooked by brides and grooms. It is important not to automatically assume that you have free reign to replicate, print and distribute your images, especially if you are receiving digital files. Ensure that you ask what restrictions (if any) are placed on the use of the photos, and ensure that this is included within the final contract.
8) Photographers Location – Having a local photographer eliminates any potential commuter problems, such as bad traffic or a faulty car on the morning of your wedding. But this doesn’t mean you should avoid photographers who are further afield. Many Professional Wedding Photographers are more than happy to stay in nearby accommodation the night prior to your wedding.
9) Shortlist and Meet – So you have spent time filtering out all of the photographers who are not available, cannot deliver the style you would like, are too expensive, are too cheap, don’t have the perfect amount of experience or a back-up plan, and you are left with your shortlist of potentially great wedding photographers. Now it is time to arrange meetings with each of your photographers to see if your personalities work well together. You must remember that you will be spending most of your day with or near your photographer, so it is extremely important that you are comfortable and happy with their personality. Meetings are also a great way to view printed albums and to ask any other questions you may have, such as what will they wear on the day?
10) Insurance – It is a legal requirement that ALL Photographers are covered by Public Liability Insurance, and will have a certificate that they can present to you upon request. Public Liability Insurance ensures that any damage or injury caused by the photographer or their equipment to you or your guests will be covered by the photographers insurance. It is highly unlikely that the insurance will actually be required, but every photographer should still be covered.
11) Check the Contract – Your contract will be the legally binding article which denotes each party’s responsibilities, on your wedding day, as well as before and after. Ensure that contract has all of your package inclusions mentioned, and be careful to look for any hidden costs. It is also a good idea for the contract to include the photographer’s copyright restrictions, so everyone is clear as to what can and cannot be done with the photos.
12) Pace Yourself – Finding the perfect wedding photographer to capture your big day is a big responsibility, and certainly should not be rushed. Ensure you have a clear idea of what you want before proceeding to search. Be clear of your requirements and expectations when contacting a wedding photographer, and be patient – most wedding photographers are self-employed, so may be away from their email, photographing an event or an engagement photo shoot, but they will get back to you as soon as they can.
Have a look through the fun Essential Wedding Photographer Checklist for Brides and Grooms Infographic Below: