A picture paints a thousand words… How to choose your photographer

May 19, 2011

After reading and hearing about all the bad press for photographers at the moment I thought that I would post this updated article for you that we wrote for County Brides & Cheshire Brides magazine.

It is a sad fact that over the last couple of years the most disappointing aspect of a couples weddings day as quoted by ‘Hitched’ has been the photography. More and more couples are suing their photographer’s as featured recently on the Jeremy Vines show and BBC Radio 2. Too many bridal publications have been giving out the wrong advice for far too long telling you to search for a bargain! Would you buy your wedding dress just because it was a bargain? Of course not you have to love it! Unlike photography most things can be tried on/looked at before the big day so that you can get it all perfect. Your photography has to be right because other than the wedding rings it is all that is left from your wedding day, please read on.

A Guide To Choosing The Best Photographer For You

Your Questions Answered

Finding the right photographer is as important as finding your perfect venue. Quality photography does not just happen, so here are a few tips to help you make a well-informed choice.

Q. How do I find a reputable photographer?

A. Many good photographers will showcase their work in quality bridal publications, at bridal fayres and on the web. However do remember that just because someone owns a camera and fancy website that it does not mean that they are experienced or qualified so do delve a little deeper. Ask about their qualifications, any self-respecting wedding photographer is going to be passionate enough to try and gain qualifications in their field of expertise. The M.P.A. Master Photographers Association is worth taking a look at too, this organisation will only accept full time qualified photographers.

Initially you should find only 3 photographers whose work you admire and are within your budget. Any more and you will just become confused.

Study their work, personality and prices. If you can find someone who fits all 3 criteria: a nice person with whom you will both feel comfortable for many hours, fabulous work and the right budget, then look no further – book them on the spot before someone else does!

Expect to have to reserve the date with a booking fee of £200 to £500. Once you have paid this, your chosen photographer is working for you from that moment on, and should offer you a contract and any advice you require.

Q. What should I look for?

A. Remember that after your wedding day is over, all you have left to enable you to relive the day over and over again are your photographs . Your wedding day will be one of your most memorable events. Can anyone put a price on those priceless images? Mum with a tear in her eye, you and your bridesmaids giggling with excitement as you drink champagne together. Find a photographer who can capture all of those elements for you.

Make sure that the photographers you plan to see show only a full wedding day coverage in their display albums. This way, you can see if they are able to capture the whole day consistently, usually with very little time, and quite often the weather against them! It is no use looking at several nice shots taken from many separate weddings. You will not get the feel of the day and how it was covered by the photographer.

There are many photographers who are sole operators and will therefore only cover one wedding per day. Their dates can be booked up as far as 18 months to 2 years in advance. Alternatively, if you choose a studio, they may well have many photographers working for them and undertake several weddings per day. If you choose a studio with several photographers, make sure you see the person who will be taking your photographs and see only their display work. All photographers styles differ, so you need to see the style of your particular photographer, not a mixture of several photographers in one album. Can you picture yourself in those albums?

Q. My uncle/friend owns a very good camera and has offered to take our wedding photographs. Should I accept?

  1. Lots of good-willed family members and friends will own very good cameras and mean well, but are they trained in lighting, difficult weather conditions and crowd control? Do they hold professional insurance to recapture the day should the unimaginable happen?

Good photographers do not just own a good camera that will allow them to take beautiful images of your day. They have trained and spent many years perfecting their craft. Remember, they are well equipped to deal with every eventuality. They are capturing weddings every week, so they know when to anticipate reactions. They can capture the spontaneous moments that mean so much. Too often after the event we hear of disasters, which could have been easily avoided if only the couples had done their homework, and not taken a gamble on a day in their lives that can never be repeated. No! Do not accept unless you are happy to take the risk.

Q. How much should I pay?

A. We all have a budget, but remember that if your photography is important to you, it should be there at the top of your list, alongside your Church, venue and dress.

Most good photographers will usually charge upwards of £1000, depending on the coverage you have chosen. They will all have different packages, so it is up to you to do your homework. Listen to everything they tell you about their collections, and then decide how much you would like to pay and what you will get for your money. Professional photographers are not a luxury: they are essential.

Q. Why does wedding photography cost so much?

A. Many people do not realise that there is more to capturing a wedding than turning up on the day and taking photographs. They spend time with you at your initial booking, then again at your pre wedding appointment. To help you to become more relaxed in front of the camera the photographer might take some engagement style photo’s Then there is the wedding day itself and all the other planning. Finally, there is your album preparation, which can take up a further 30 to 40 hours.

You are also paying for your photographer’s qualifications, experience, style and creativity. The more expertise the photographer has, the more in demand they will be. A good photographer will make you feel at ease on your wedding day and know how to flatter you. Many couples say that they don’t look good on photographs, but a good photographer will most certainly make them look good.

If you want to remember your wedding day perfectly, then don’t skimp on your photographs. They are the only things left after the day….but not the reason for the day.

Your dress is off to the cleaners and packed away, the champagne has been drunk and your cake eaten……

But you can still relive the magic of your wedding day all over again……… through your wedding album.

Congratulations and good luck. Enjoy all the preparations, and most of all, have an amazing wedding day!

With a beautiful wedding album to follow………….

Article written by Lesley & Shaun Meredith Craftsman S.W.W.P. & L.M.P.A.

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