How to Choose a Wedding Photographer


Obviously your wedding is one of, if not the biggest day of your life. Getting the right photographer is so important, as they will provide (if they are doing their job properly that is!) the only formal, lasting, and best record of your day. There are many other details that need to be sorted out for a wedding, but the photographer will be providing the only tangible, lasting record of the day, which should contain within it all those details you have worked so hard to get as you want them on the day.

Obviously now we all have digital cameras, mobile phones etc there will be a wealth of photographs taken on the day, but I can absolutely guarantee you that none will compare with the photographs taken by a professional photographer. In my writing today I am making the assumption that the professional photographer I am referring to is competent in their field, and is providing a professional service.

So what do you need to consider when choosing your wedding photographer?

A professional photographer should give you a written quotation, with terms and conditions, and exactly what you are going to be getting for your money. If you are paying for a professional service this is a must. Anything less than this is not acceptable.

Your photographer should pretty much run the day for you, as along with potentially a wedding planner/ organiser, they will be the only people with you from first thing in the morning to the first dance – and after that you probably won’t care anyway!!

In discussions with the photographer you should say what you want, might want and don’t want, such as

Style of photography,

Specific shots you want,

Formal shots,

Informal shots,

Group shots,

Who gets on,

Who doesn’t get on!!

Album, DVD, prints, video.

Any other additional products and services, such as a DVD slide show of the images included in the album, additional albums for parents, family members and guests, trash the dress on return from their honeymoon, editing of a pictures to specific requirements, etc.

Once you have said what you want, listen to what else is available, and to what the photographer can provide for you. Remember the photographer may be attending, and working at, 50 weddings a year, which you surely won’t be, so their experience is invaluable to you.

Timings on the day should be discussed, to ensure that there is enough time to achieve what you want to achieve, because I can assure you the time will go so quickly on the day.

Be wary of “up selling”. Some oahu photographers make their money by what is called in the trade “upselling”. They appear cheap at first, until you realise that they are not providing everything that you want. When you add in all the things that you do actually want, sometimes after the event, you would not have committed to that much money! An example of this is where a photographer charges you 400 for the images copyright free on DVD. Now there is nothing wrong with this, and it is a photographer’s right to charge what they think is appropriate, but surely you have already paid for this by engaging them in the first place?

Expensive does not necessarily mean better by the way.

But having a photographer you feel that you can get on has immense value. Your wedding day is a day to be enjoyed, and a photographer can, believe it or not, pull together the parts of the day and help make things go smoothly. If you think about it, how else are they going to record the day? A competent, professional, organised and most important in my opinion sociable wedding photographer will really make a difference on the day, and give you a few things less to worry about. If you let them take control of the day, to allow them to do their work, they will be happy and hopefully so will you!

Examples of a photographer’s previous work are helpful, along with references from previous clients, and possibly venues as well. I know of photographers who are recommended by venues as being a dream to work with, but have also heard of tales of photographers being banned from venues for causing so many problems! If a photographer does not have previous wedding experience, but appears to know what they are doing and has worked in a professional capacity in a different photographic field then fine, but expect to pay a bit less than for a seasoned quality professional wedding photographer.

After sales are important, when will you see the images, how do you get albums, how do guests buy pictures? A really great feature made possible by the internet is to have your wedding photographs online, so you can view them on your honeymoon. This can be password protected so only you as the married couple, or whoever you want, can view them.

I will say it again – if you like your photographer this will help. You might be considering hiring the best photographer in the world, but how would you feel on the day if you did not actually like them?

One final thought, and that is getting a friend to photograph your wedding. Lots of people think that they can take professional photographs by having a good quality camera. They may be able to, but there is a chance that they may not! How many non-professional photographers know how to custom white balance to ensure that the brides dress is actually the correct colour? I say very few. You might get a set of photographs that you are delighted with, but you might not. And if you don’t imagine how your friend would feel?

It may be that you cannot afford to pay someone, and fair enough if that is the case – just don’t expect a friend, acting in your best interests, to produce professional results. Be kind to them as if they are a true friend they will be doing the very best that they can for you.



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