There are so many different things to consider when planning a wedding and choosing the right photographer is just one of them. But choose wrong and you risk making a mistake you cannot rectify. So what should you be looking for in a photographer?
Obviously your budget plays a big part on what on who you choose and there is a wealth of photographers from the budget end right up to the high end. Type cheap wedding photography into Google and you will get a lot of results. But cheap is not a word I would want to associate with something as important as capturing the special moments of you day. Value yes, cheap no. Likewise, just because a photographer charges very high prices, doesn’t mean his images are neccessarily better. So price, in relation to your budget is obviously important, but only after you have considered your other criteria.
This is possibly one of the more important decisions. What style of photography do to you want to remind you of your day. Traditional, contemporary, documentary? You may well find photographers who can provide images that cover all of these styles but does that work for you. If you want traditional wedding images, you are going to be disappointed with what you get back from a documentary wedding photographer and vise versa. Research photographers in your area and look at the styles. What do you like? No one style is better than the other, it is just a case of personal preference.
Ok so this is really tied to the first point, but it is worth mentioning separately. What is the actual cost of the photography you want for your wedding. For example is the photographer charging by the hour or for specific coverage. For example I offer a full days coverage from getting ready to the first dance (and longer if you want). I did a wedding at the weekend where the hairdresser arrived at 9:30am and the last dance was 10:45pm. Compare that to someone who’s full days coverage is 10 hours and you can see that you are either going to miss some of your special moments or end up with an additional bill as unfortunately you can’t always control the timings on the day. An indeed why should you, it’s your day. What are the extras? What are you actually getting for your money. My base package covers the days shooting and the fully edited images copyright free. That means you can do what you want with them. Some packages offer you edited images but if you want copies for friends and family you have to pay extra. Are the extras for mileage if the church is 20 miles from the venue?
I’ve saved this one for last as I think it is the most important decision. Do you get on with your wedding photographer? A good photographer will take the time to get to know you and as such will have much more of an investment in your wedding. My couples sometimes spend more time with me on the day of their wedding than do with anyone else because I am there from the beginning to the end. If you don’t get on with me then ultimately the images will suffer as a result. I place a limit on the number of weddings I will do because of what I put into them, both physically and emotionally and there is a limit to how far that can be stretched before my standards would fall. Also consider the impact the photographer has on your friends and family as well. All in all if you have satisfied you requirements in the points above and you are comfortable with the your wedding photographer as a person, then you are going to be happy with the images you receive from the day.
In my next post on this subject, I talk a little bit about how to get the best our of your relationship with your photographer and the impact that has on your wedding photographs.