How to choose your Wedding Photographer
Photographs are the lasting reminder of your wedding day. They record the atmosphere of your wedding, your choice of dress, colours, venues and guests. They will be on display in your home, and the homes of the people who shared the day with you, or those who were unable to attend. They are a record of the most special day of your life for you to look back on with future generations. how to choose your wedding photographer
How to Avoid the Disaster & Heartache Of Bad Wedding Photographs
If having a set of photographs to cherish from your wedding is important to you, then this could be the most important article you ever read! how to choose your wedding photographer
With the advent of affordable, professional standard digital cameras, just about anyone can call themselves a professional photographer. It may come as a surprise to you but the law does not require a professional photographer to have any qualifications, training or experience! It is all too easy to get a website, some business cards, and an impressive looking camera and start calling yourself a wedding photographer, even if you have never been to a wedding. how to choose your wedding photographer
Each year I go to Photography shows around the county, so that I have the opportunity to view the latest products, attend classes to learn new skils and … to chat with other photographers…..and it should come as no surprise that you definitely get what you pay for, but sadly sometimes its not until after the wedding that this becomes apparent.
If you feel that you would not be happy with the following comments from photographers … then you need to take a close look at how much you are paying and what you are receiving for your money….
“If a bride books someone who she later has to take to court because they didn’t produce a quality set of pictures, that is the brides own fault for not doing enough research”
“Not every bride can afford a wedding photographer. If I can keep costs down by not paying out for training, qualifications or insurance, I’m doing them a favour”
“As long as my pictures are better than those taken by her guests, the bride will be happy”
“I think brides accept that they won’t be getting professional standard pictures from me, they just need someone else to take the photos because they can’t do it themselves”
“I’m just hoping my boss never calls me in on a Saturday that I have a wedding booked.”
Each comment above was made by a different person, all of whom are currently advertising themselves as professional wedding photographers. how to choose your wedding photographer
Wedding photography is something that most people only ever buy once, and because of this, brides seldom know the potential pitfalls or what relevant questions to ask to sort the good from the bad. Remember, there are cowboys in every industry!
To help you choose the right wedding photographer for you and avoid the type who’s comments are displayed above, I have put together a list of tips to follow …. and if you would like to ask me any of the questions listed below, please contact me on 01795 437314 and I will be more than happy to answer them for you.
- Recommendations are Key! how to choose your wedding photographer feature
Most of my work comes through recommendations, I would say 80%, which I feel does speak for itself.
- How many weddings has the person photographed alone?
Do you want someone who’s still learning their trade or someone who has mastered it? I started my business in 2008 and with every new year my business doubles, with next year looking to triple or more …. and this is because of my recommendations. I covered 25 weddings last year and this year im looking to cover 40 weddings or more. My forecast for 2013 is 6o plus weddings.
- How long have they been photographing weddings for payment?
A statement such as “I photographed my first wedding in 2005” can be very misleading. This could have been their best friends wedding and they only started earning money from wedding photography last month. Three years ago I became a professionally paid photographer.
- Does the person carry both Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurances?
No one can guarantee that everything will go perfectly on your wedding day. Planning for the best is great, but a reputable business person will also prepare for the worst by having the appropriate insurance in place. Public liability protects you & your guests in the event of an accident. Professional indemnity insurance will pay out in the event of the photographer not delivering the promised results, loss of images or memory card failure etc. Because of the lack of professional indemnity insurance, many of the couples who have recently been awarded compensation by the courts, have still yet to receive any money from their photographer. I have full Indemnity and Public Liability insurance. how to choose y hour wedding photographer article
- Do they have back up equipment?
If a photographer only has one camera, what do you think will happen if it develops a fault during your wedding? I have a back up of every single equipment item in my kit, these means; 2 cameras, 2 sets of lenses, 2 flashes, memory cards, batteries, everything! how to choose your wedding photographer article
- Is photography their only source of income? how to choose your wedding photographer
Many photographers claiming to be “professional” actually only photograph the odd wedding here and there to get some extra money. No law against that, but how committed will they be to delivering a quality service? When photography has to pay your mortgage and put food on the table, your whole focus is on making your clients happy, which may not be the case when photographing weddings is nothing more than a hobby and your day job pays the mortgage. Photography is my full time vocation, it is important to me, I am passionate about it and I care about you, your family and friends, and give nothing less that 100% effort with attention, skill, professionalism and quality with every job that I undertake.
- Do they have a comprehensive booking form with clear terms and conditions?
Some people can be wary of signing contracts, but a written contract is as much in your interest as the photographers. Read all the terms and conditions prior to signing and make sure everything that you have agreed on is included. A Contract is signed with every booking to ensure that every aspect of the wedding photography is covered and secure for you and for me. how to choose your wedding photographer
- Is the person you are speaking to the person who will photograph your wedding day?
I hear it all the time, the photographer the bride and groom spoke to initially is not the photographer that turns up on the day, and with no prior warning and this is because they have double booked weddings, with no intention of attending. With my photography service, it is only me that will be covering your wedding, I do not double book and will only ever have your wedding booking on that day, the day is kept totally clear for you, just as it should be. how to choose your wedding photographer is right here
- Are the photos they show you original images created by them and of real weddings? If you are not shown photographs of at least one complete wedding, beware!
If you are being shown sample albums with no photos in, beware!
If you are being shown album catalogues rather than actual albums, beware! Some people will attend one of the many “portfolio builder workshops” available to novices, where for a fee a professional photographer will set up a number of shots of models in wedding attire and allow people to take the photo as if they took it at a real wedding. A tell- tale sign of this is the photos are only of the bride and groom. Some people will assist professional photographers and take photos of their weddings, or just take photos of a family wedding. A tell-tale sign of this is the subjects never looking at the camera. You can see so much of my work on my blogsite and facebook, I can give you references of couples who can give you an honest opinion of the service and the quality and creativity of the images. Please also see my testimonials page.
- Ask to see images from a whole wedding; preferably more than one wedding. Photographers will show you what they consider their best images. If they only show you a sample that contains one or two photographs from many different weddings, beware! A good photographer will have lots of images from a single wedding. Only showing a couple of images from each wedding could indicate they only took two decent pictures all day.Please feel free to contact me for passwords for COMPLETE weddings, this way you can be sure you are seeing exactly what you are paying for.
- Many photographers advertise themselves as photo-reportage or “fly-on-the-wall” unobtrusive photographers.
Some photographers are brilliant at this as they trained and worked as freelance photo- journalists or for newspapers, some are just naturals. Expect to pay hefty fees for a good photo-journalist as they are in great demand. Other people are merely “snappers” and shoot like this because they do not have an eye for what makes a good image, are not able to “create” a good image and/or are not comfortable dealing with groups of people. Chances are they will only give you a collection of random images, often no better quality than what your guests take. Again please feel free to browse my site and become a Facebook Friend and Twitter follower so that you can view lots of my work as it happens.
- REALLY IMPORTANT…You get what you pay for
We all love getting a deal and saving money, but a cheap starting price nearly always means low quality. Very often it can also mean hidden charges. If you buy cheap shoes and the sole falls off the first time you wear them, you can take them back. If you buy a cheap diamond ring which turns out to be a fake, you can take it back. If you hire a cheap plumber and they flood your house, you can get the house fixed up as good as new. In all these instances, if things go wrong they can be put right.
But your wedding day is a one shot deal so the photographer has one chance to get it right. If they don’t there is no coming back next week for another go, and even if you do, you will know the pictures are not of your wedding day, but of the day you staged to make up for your wedding photos being ruined by someone claiming to be a wedding photographer, who turned out to be nothing of the sort. By all means shop around for a good deal, but don’t decide based on price alone. I photography many family photoshoots and I get to hear their wedding photography stories, and time and time again that by cutting back too much on the photography cost, they ended up wishing they had paid a little more, so that they could have that amazing wedding picture on their wall, or that quality album which they could of proudly shown their family and friends for decades to come.
- Trusting a family member to photograph your wedding
In the majority of cases, if you have a friend or relative with a good camera and ask them to photograph your wedding to save money they may say yes, but you have none of the comeback when something goes wrong. The photographer needs to have professional detachment in order to get the best images. A professional wedding photographer makes it look easy because she is a professional and has a vast wealth of experience to draw upon.
- Do they have a plan in place for if they can’t attend your wedding?
They can tell you they have never missed a wedding yet, but there is always the first time. Accidents happen, usually when you least expect them. Reputable photographers will usually have links with other photographers and they cover for each other should the worst happen. Can they provide a named photographer who will shoot the same style to take their place? I network with other good photographers and would provide you with another of the same standard as a replacement, should this ever happen.
- Do they only provide a disk of unprocessed images straight from the camera?
If so, it is doubtful if they have any post-production or image processing skills. It could also be an indication that they have no arrangements with the suppliers used by the professionals. I spend a whole day selecting and editing the wedding images, each images is checked, colour corrected and perfected. So with the combination of great photography and editing skills you will receive the best possible images. I hear stories of couples receiving over 1000 images, this sounds great, but its a little bit like sampling perfume, after so many average pictures you can not differentiate those from the quality ones. I work with the ethics of QUALITY OVER QUANTITY and I will not hand out average images, every image you receive will be of the highest quality.
- Don’t believe that it can be fixed in Photoshop.
Image retouching and manipulation is a skill that has to be learnt over many years. There are no quick fixes. People new to photography do not realise this. Much of the time images need to be created with post-production or Photoshop in mind. how to choose your wedding photographer
A Final Thought
Your photographer is charged with the task of recording your wedding day for you. They will be creating the only material thing that survives past the honeymoon. They will have to interact with the Vicar/Priest or registrar, the reception venue staff, your wedding planner (if you have one), the car drivers, the DJ/Band, the toastmaster (if you have one) and all of your guests. You will be spending a good proportion of your day with your photographer. They will have one eye on you all day, watching for the special moments that make great pictures.
This means your photographer is more than just a service supplier. To get the full return on your investment you will need to work with them before, during and after your wedding. So book someone you can get along with, someone who can work around and within your plans. how to choose your wedding photographer
I hope that all of this information will help you with your wedding photography decision. If you would like to have a chat over the phone, via email or in person, this is all fine. Please feel free to contact me via my contact page or on 01795 437314 or mobile 077 969 343 99. how to choose your wedding photographer
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.