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 the tribes ‘Unconventional Wedding’ photographers 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 ‘mini’ guide to photography styles with some help from Nick of Nick Brightman Photography.
Traditional / Classic
Think of this as your parents or grandparents wedding album. Lots of formal, set up shots of you both with your family and friends
Think running away from a T-rex, fighting off space aliens – these guys will photoshop literally anything into your photo for you.
Reportage / Documentary
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.
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 on the internet. See which ones which you like best.
“Do your research have a look at photography styles and see which you like best. This way you’ll know where to start and what to look for when you’re searching for your perfect photographer” Kirsty Rockett – Kirsty Rockett Photography
3. Deciding on your wedding 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.
Now clearly this will flex based on whether your photos are important to you, but, if they aren’t 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.
Also remember that cheap is not always best. It’s unlikely you will get a wedding photographer for the full day for less than £500 unless they are new or studying photography. Now 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.
4. HOW 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
- Wedding Directory sites (like us!) – a great starting point as they often include a preview of pictures, so you can get a good idea 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 unconventional 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 SHORTLIST
After all the above, you need to pull together a shortlist of 2-3 photographers that you are interested in getting on board for your wedding day. When pulling your shortlist together always make sure
- They are available on your wedding date. If you’ve not got one, understand what dates they have free around your potential wedding date
- You’ve checked out their website in advance
- You’ve had a look at any reviews on their Facebook Page or Google
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!
“It’s such a personal day and whoever you pick as a photographer will be there at intimate times, like getting ready etc, so it’s important you feel comfortable with them in the same room and capturing these moments” Emily from Emily Black Photography
Arrange to meet 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!
Key questions to think about asking
- How long have they been a wedding photographer for?
- What can I expect having you as my 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 you fall ill on the day? (Yes, sometimes suppliers get ill too – you need to know what would happen)
- What is your wet weather plan?
- Who will be taking the photos? Is it yourself or do you have a team of photographers?
- On average, how many photos will we get
My best tip – Go with your gut feel – if it doesn’t feel right it they probably aren’t the right photographer for you
“Ask to see a couple of full wedding day on-line galleries, what you see on websites is a snapshot and what is photographers want to showcase but the real acid test is when they see a full wedding gallery” Andrew from A Big Neon Glitter Wedding Photography
7. What's included in your package?
- How many hours will your photographer 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
- Are there any extra costs e.g. travel, meals during the day?
- How long after my wedding day will I receive my photos?
- Check your draft contract is as per your understanding of the package
8. Do you need a second photographer?
If you have room in your budget and photography is a key priority, you might want to consider having a second photographer. This allows far more to be captured throughout the day and its often the only way you can get photos of both you are getting ready.
“This means we can capture far more of your day, with shots from different perspectives during the ceremony, speeches and reception but also the pre-ceremony preparations for both of the nearly-weds! “Becky – Rebecca Kathryn Photography
9. Do you need an engagement or couple shoot?
I’m a firm believer that these are a great idea to get to know your photographer and build up that rapport so on your wedding day you know what to expect. I also think they are a great idea if you are nervous in front of the camera – after all, a practice run never did anyone any harm!
“Before the wedding a couple shoot is great to learn about each other and get an idea of what each other is like when taking photos” Alix from Lumiere Photography
“I always include a pre-wedding photoshoot with my photography collections to give the three of us a chance to get to know each other properly before the big day. Often one of the couples doesn’t love having their photo taken so this also gets any awkwardness out of the way before it rears its head in your wedding photos. Plus, couples get some lovely pictures of themselves together, that they can incorporate in to their big day on their table decorations, photo wall or as a signing frame alternative to a guest book. “Becky from Rebecca Kathryn Photography
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)
How to do you do this
- Check their reviews on Facebook or Google
- Get a list of references from their previous clients
- Confirm they have the relevant insurance in place (usually public liability and professional indemnity) and ask for a copy if required
- Ensure you get a contract with proper terms and conditions. Make sure you read and understand them.
Key Contributors to this wedding photography blog
Featured tribe 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.
Featured tribe 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.
Featured tribe member Rebecca Kathryn Photography specialises in capturing your wedding day as it unfolds with a warm and friendly approach. Click on the photo to find out more.
Featured tribe member Alix from Lumiere Wedding Photography is based in the East Midlands and covers further afield capturing those heart felt moment from your wedding day. Click on the photo to find out more.
Nathalie Delenthe Photography is based in the South East and creates timeless fine art images to capture the emotion and spirit from your wedding day. Click on the photo to find out more.