A 4-step Process to Select the Right Wedding Photographer for You

Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the key decisions you will make
in preparing for your wedding. In your preparation, it is important to find a
photographer that is providing the package that will best meet your own
personal requirements. It is useful to focus on 4 key areas in your selection:-

  1. Quality and Styles of Photography
  2. The Photographer’s own Style and Rapport
  3. Any Additional Services required
  4. Your Budget and the Photographer’s Price and Package Details

By working through the following questions and options, we believe you will be
better prepared to make the right choice.

1. Quality & Style of Photography

What type of photographs do you want?

Formal Photos.
Most couples want some formal family and group shots of their wedding. They
are often the “set pieces” of the day (Best man and bridesmaids, Brides family,
Grooms family, Confetti shot, Cutting the wedding cake etc). These, if you like,
are the historical record. For some couples this may all that may be required.
For others these shots may be a small part of the photography, and the couple
may want to keep them to a minimum.

Candid, Reportage, Informal Photos.
These are much more relaxed shots, catching the bride and groom and their
guests during the day. The shots aim to build a story of the day, and to get
pictures of the wedding couple and their guests as themselves and enjoying the
day.

Creative, Artistic shots.
The wedding couple may want to hire a photographer who can also add an
artistic, contemporary style to some or all of the pictures. This may include
fashion magazine type shots, or adjustments to colour and contrast.

How much coverage do you want?
Do you want your photographer to be with you from the moment you rise until
the last dance or do you only want them at the ceremony or until the first
dance? Most photographers will have a range of packages to suit your needs,
ranging from ceremony only to full day coverage (and some will even go
beyond that if required and join you on the stag night or include some studio
or on location engagement shots in the package).

Check photographer capabilities.
The internet gives you a great opportunity to view the work of a wide range of
photographers and help you to build a shortlist of the photographers you
would like to go to see. Most photographers will have an on-line gallery which
will give you a good indication of the type of photography they like to do. When
you meet with a photographer, ask to see further samples of their work, and
look for examples of a full wedding rather than a “Best of..” compilation culled
from a number of weddings. (If you want a candid photographer, do the
example pictures tell the story of the day? As a quality test, do the photos show
the subtle details of the wedding dress). Does the photographer have
Professional qualifications (not just memberships)? Has the photographer won
any awards for their wedding photography, or do they have testimonials from
previous weddings?

Does the photographer’s style match your ideas?
Does the style of photography match your own ideas on the resiults you want
to see in your wedding photographs?

Time, Location and Advice.
Has the photographer worked at the Church/Reception you are using? Does the
photographer have ideas on good location shots either at the Church/Reception
or close by to get the best results? Do your wedding timings(season/time of
day) enable the photographer to get the results you are looking for? If the
photographer is pro-actively giving you sound advice on how to get the
pictures you want, or offering options you have not considered, it is a good
sign that you will end up with good results.

2. Photographer Style & Rapport

Meet the Photographer.
It is fundamentally important to meet the photographer that would actually do
your wedding. You need this to be confirmed to you. Check that the work you
see is the individual photographer’s work, and not examples from the company
he/she works for.

Do you like the photographer?
If you like the photographer (and he/she has met your criteria for the quality
and style of work you want done), you will have a much better wedding day,
and get much better results if you enjoy being with the person who will take
the pictures.

Will the photographer take time to build a rapport?
What pre-wedding activities does the photographer offer to provide? For
example: Pre wedding run-through, Site visits together, Studio portrait
session.

3. Additional Services.

Do you need any additional services?
If not, then it is important to make sure that these, if stripped out of a package,
are not included in the price. If you do want additional services, identify those
that are important to you and test the photographers capabilities in these
areas. For instance:-

  • Advice and range of Wedding Albums
  • Advice and range of picture frames
  • Uploading images to the Web
  • Providing pictures on CD
  • Providing pictures on DVD with/without music.
  • Digital manipulation/compilation.

4. Package and Price

Decide your budget for photography.
There is a wide range of cost and levels of service in Wedding Photography and
you need to have a clear budget in mind before establishing your photographer
shortlist.

Check what is in the package and what is not. It is important to spend time to
understand what exactly is in the package you are signing up for. This can
avoid dis-satisfaction from misunderstandings later. Some points to consider:-

  • How many prints (and what size) are included in the package?
  • What is the cost of extra prints and reprints?
  • Is a wedding album and/or folder mounts included?
  • Who has the copyright to the pictures?
  • Are additional services (e.g Web upload) and miscellaneous expenses (e.g.postage, travel costs) included or not.
  • Back up and Insurance. What happens if your photographer is ill and is unable to photograph the wedding? What happens if the images are lost or destroyed during processing?
  • Does the photographer have professional indemnity insurance?

The photographer is an important part of your wedding in that they not only
provide a lasting record of the people, events and emotions but thay are also
an integral part of the structure and organisation of the day. A photographer
who can work quickly and easily and who you feel is someone you can rely on,
can make a big impact on your enjoyment of your wedding day. It usually pays,
therefore, to invest in a photographer who has the experience to deliver the
pictures you want and to work with you to make the day a success.

Good luck with your search and have a great wedding day!