I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – your photographer is your most important supplier. Controversial? Yup. True? You betcha! After all is said and done, all you have from the day is the photos (and a video, if you’re lucky) and trust me, having just got married, I’m really starting to appreciate just how important those photographs are.
Weddings don’t last forever. People don’t last forever. But photographs do. That’s why choosing the right person to capture your big day is so vital. So let me run you through a little “how to” guide when it comes to choosing your photographer, to make sure you end up with the right person.
Why I chose my wedding photographer – and how to choose yours!
First of all, to let you know, I chose Rick Bronks of Satureyes. I’ll get into why I did so a little later on, but let me just say, we, along with everyone in our family, were thrilled with our choice. I saw the brief unedited shots and the sneak peeks coming our way now are more than we could have ever wished for.
All images in this post are sneak previews of our wedding photos by Rick Bronks of Satureyes
♥ Allocate a budget – unless you’re the luckiest people in the world and you find an excellent photographer starting out, or who’s totally underpriced themselves, I’d put aside at least a grand. Two if you really want the best. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware a crap photographer could well price themselves too high to look good – I’m also aware that a great photographer could have low self esteem – but as a general rule (there are exceptions) with photography, you get what you pay for. I know not everyone’s budget stretches that far, so look out for special offers and competitions on blogs well in advance, or start saving early, and whatever you do, don’t have an amateur family member take the pictures. You won’t be happy with the results, trust me, no matter how nice the photos are they probably won’t capture the same magic.
Also, an amateur won’t know about lighting, lenses, timing etc. Really consider whether it’s worth staring at Uncle Bob’s blurry shots for the rest of your life for the sake of saving money.
♥ Do your research - do not, I repeat, do not, just go for the first photographer who comes up on Google in your area. First of all, that only means they have good SEO (search engine optimisation) and says nothing about their photography skills. Secondly, don’t sell yourself short. Go for the photographer you want, almost all photographers will travel nationwide, even abroad, so keep an open mind and don’t just look by location.
Blogs are an amazing resource as you can look through different images and see which style you like best, clicking through directly to the photographer’s site. Looking at lots of pictures is pretty much the only way to determine which style you like but here are a few pointers (and things I thought about too):
- Do you want very formal, posed pictures or do you prefer a more natural style? If you’re after lots of big group shots, a quirky, alternative photographer might be the wrong choice.
– Is the photographer good at capturing detail? If you’re having a very detailed wedding you don’t want a photographer who consistently misses the fantastic shots.
– What do the women in the shots look like. A good photographer will show a bride at her best – if they’ve captured all the wrong things, perhaps reconsider? The women in Rick’s photos just looked beautiful – so I knew he could make me look gorgeous too (somehow).
– How clear are the images? I hate fuzzy wedding images. Yes, I know that’s down to file size, but for me, if images look grainy or like they’ve had a fake vintage filter chucked on, I get put off. Rick’s images were sharp and stunning.
♥ Make a shortlist – Once you’ve figured out which style you like and who the fab photographers are within that field, make a shortlist of three. Then ask to see portfolios, with a few full real wedding spreads so you’re not just seeing the very best images. After that you can choose your favourite of the three to meet up with (just arrange one meeting at first, don’t confuse yourself too much, you can always meet the others if you don’t like the first one you meet).
♥ Have a meeting – it’s so crucial that you click with your photographer, so really listen to your gut on this one. Do you like the person in front of you? Because they’ll follow you around your whole wedding day! Then listen to the kind of things they’re saying. I know a bride who rejected a photographer because he seemed more interested in their venue than in them. Our photographer clinched the deal by asking loads of questions about us, as a couple, what we liked and didn’t like, and even suggesting that, though he’d love to do our wedding, we ought to shop around properly and make sure we’re happy with our choice. He didn’t seem desperate for our business and seemed to genuinely care that we did the right thing. Given that he was already a mate of mine, I knew I’d feel comfortable with him, but John just clicked with him straight away, finding him absolutely hilarious – a photographer who can make you smile and laugh on cue is a rare gift!
Once we hired him, I remember him saying that he was totally there for us and that he’d like to be the one thing we’re not stressed about! And he was right (apart from a couple of other brilliant suppliers) he was one of the only people involved in our wedding that we had a consistently relaxed and pleasant ride with, reassuring us and staying in touch every step of the way.
So there you have it, folks, that’s how we chose the wonderful Satureyes as our photographer. I think it’s a foolproof formula based on discovering exactly what it is YOU want – but have I missed a trick? How did you choose your wedding photographer? Did you spend a lot or get a great deal? I’d love to hear from you!