When you’re planning your wedding, after venue & catering, your wedding photographer is most likely going to be the biggest chunk of your budget. And choosing the right one is really important! The same as you have to LOVE your wedding venue, you have to get on with your wedding photographer otherwise those photos just won’t look amazing!
So, we’ve teamed together with some of our amazing ‘Unconventionals‘ (read wedding supplier members) to pull together these TOP 10 TIPS just for you.
1. Decide on the Style of wedding photographer
Now I don’t know about you, but all the descriptions of wedding photographers often really confuse me! However, this is your first step – decide upon the style of wedding photographer you want at your wedding.
So here is our quick guide to photography styles with some help from Nick Brightman Photography. Lots of photographers offer a combination of these styles too!
Traditional / Classic
Think of this as your parents of grandparents wedding album. Lots of formal, set up shots of you both with your family and friends.
Creative / Fun
Think running away from a T-rex, fighting off space aliens – these guys will photoshop literally anything into your photo for you.
Reportage / Documentary / Photojournalist
Think nice relaxed photos which show the emotion of the day. These types of wedding photographer essentially create a narrative story & memory of your day with minimal intervention
Often described as a piece of art, it’s quite a soft and romantic style. Usually quite traditional and classic.
2. Research, Research, Research!
If the above hasn’t blown your mind already, my best advice is to look around at different styles and see which ones feel most like ‘you’. Get yourself onto Instagram or Pinterest. You may find that you are drawn to a certain wedding photographer, or a certain style. Maybe you could come up with a checklist of essential things you’d like from your wedding photographer.
3. Decide on a budget
As a wedding planner (and ex-accountant!) myself, I’m a firm believer in setting a budget for your wedding upfront. Included in this should be an amount for your wedding photographer. Clearly, this will flex based on whether your photos are important to you. If they are a priority please do remember that they will be lasting memory of your wedding day. I’ve seen so many people regretting not spending more on their wedding photos.
Remember, cheap is not always best. It’s unlikely you will get a wedding photographer for the full day for less than £1,000 unless they are new or studying photography. New can be a good thing as they will pull out all the stops to get everything right – at the same time, they won’t have the back catalogue of work for you to look at.
You should expect to pay £1,500 and above for an established wedding photographer. Remember that this price is to hire someone (or 2 people) for the whole day, as well as their editing time, preparation time, equipment and expertise.
4. Where To Find Your Wedding Photographer
Now you’ve done your research on different styles – where do you start finding your wedding photographer! It’s likely you haven’t crossed paths with a wedding photographer before.
- Recommendations – always a good one if you’ve got good friends & family who have recently got married
- Wedding fairs – these present a great opportunity to meet your future photographer in the flesh (you can also dive into virtual wedding fairs at the moment)
- Wedding directory sites (like us!) – a great starting point as they often include a preview of pictures, so you can get a good idea of what they are like
- Venue recommendations – Its great having a photographer that has worked at your venue before, but you necessarily want your photos to be the same as everyone else’s. Also, some venues do charge wedding suppliers to be on their recommended list – if they do this only one person pays for that listing fee – you!
- Google – I love Google as a resource but it isn’t very good at finding the real gems in specific wedding areas – especially in the land of alternative weddings. Always be aware that some supplier pays £1,000s to be get the top of your search results – just because they are at the top of your search list doesn’t mean they are right for you!
- Facebook groups – I’m going to be totally honest. This can be a minefield. You could get 100’s of recommendations from all over the UK and not see the wood for the trees! If you really want to ask for recommendations in a group always put in your location and budget
5. Pull together your Wedding Photographer shortlist
After all the above, you need to pull together a shortlist of 2-3 wedding photographers that you are interested in getting on board for your wedding day. Always check the following:
- They’re available on your wedding date. If you’ve not got one, understand what dates they have free around your potential wedding day
- You’ve checked out their website in advance
- You’ve looked at reviews on Facebook or Google
- You understand their prices and what’s included
6. Get To Know Them
They are going to be with you on one of the most important days of your life, so you need to get on with them. If you can’t stand the sight of them, having them follow you around for around 9-10 hours on your wedding day is just not going to work!
Arrange to meet, or have a virtual meeting, with your shortlist – sometimes this can be over Skype if they aren’t local, sometimes in person, sometimes at your wedding venue – do whatever is right for you! You are the customer after all!
My best tip – Go with your gut feeling – if it doesn’t feel right it they probably aren’t the right wedding photographer for you.
Questions to ask your wedding photographer
- How long have they been a wedding photographer for?
- What can you expect having them as your wedding photographer? How does the day work?
- Run through any ideas you have for specific photos – can they deliver?
- Ask to see full wedding gallery – not just the selected ones on their website
- What happens if they fall ill on the day? (Yes, sometimes suppliers get ill too – you need to know what would happen)
- What is their wet weather plan?
- Who will be taking the photos? Is it them or do they have a team of photographers?
- On average, how many photos will you get?
- What is their cancellation or postponement policy? (especially in the light of COVID 19)
7. What's included in your Wedding Photographer package?
The Key items to check
- How many hours will your photographer/s be present?
- Does it include all the digital images with no logos on them? Or is this extra?
- What aspects of the day will they cover? E.g. Bride getting ready, groom getting ready etc. Make sure all the areas you want are included
- Are there any extra costs e.g. travel, meals during the day? You should expect to feed any wedding suppliers on the day of your wedding
- How long after my wedding day will I receive my photos? This includes whether the photographer has agreed to supply you with some highlights earlier
- Check your draft contract agrees to your understanding of the package
8. Do you need a second wedding photographer?
If you have room in your budget and photography is a priority, you might want to consider having a second photographer. This allows far more to be captured throughout the day and it’s often the only way you can get photos you both getting ready.
They are also a great idea if you have a large number of guests otherwise how will you capture all those moments throughout the day.
9. Do you need an engagement or couple shoot?
I’m a firm believer that engagement shoots are a great idea to get to know your photographer and build up confidence in front of the camera. Some wedding photographers offer an engagement shoot as part of their package. Don’t be afraid to ask for one as they are a great way to make sure your wedding day photos are EPIC!
10. and before you sign on the dotted line......
Always, always vet your wedding suppliers! (This is equally applicable to every supplier you get on board)
The Key items to check
- Check their reviews on Facebook or Google
- Get a list of references from their previous clients
- Confirm they have the relevant insurances in place (usually public liability insurance)
- Ensure you get a proper contract with terms & conditions. Make sure you read and understand them
Key Contributors to this wedding photography blog - Listed in our alternative Wedding suppliers directory!
UW member Nick Brightman specialises in documentary wedding photography. Capturing those key moments throughout your wedding day. Nick also provided the featured photo for this blog - who doesn't love space hoppers! Click on the photo to find out more.
UW member Kirsty Rockett Photography has a fun and vibrant wedding photography style. Based in Nottingham she covers the UK and further afield. Click on the photo to find out more.
UW Members Dave & Amy Fuller specialise in relaxed, authentic wedding photography. They are based in Nottingham but willing to travel. They take the time to get to know you and blend into the background of your big day, capturing moments while you relax and have fun. Click the photo for more info.
UW member Cassandra Lane Photography is a colourful, natural and fun creative photographer based in Manchester. She has a 'mixed' style so will get portraits and family photos as well as capturing the fun, candid moments. Click the photo to find out more.
UW member Clare Tam-Im Photography specialises in relaxed, natural wedding photography. She'll put the camera shy at ease and capture all the fun, candid moments. Click the photo for more info.
UW member Gem Wright Photography is a quirky creative wedding photographer. Her style is part documentary and part relaxed, so she's sure to capture all those beautiful moments! Click the photo to find out more.
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