You are entitled to have an expectation of your Wedding Photographer
Congratulations on your engagement. If you have set a date you now have the fun task of selecting your suppliers for the ‘Big Day’ including your Wedding Photographer.
With so much choice it really comes down to what you both want for your special day.
Assuming you have set a date and started making arrangements with a venue one can also assume that you will soon be looking for a wedding photographer.
Obviously there are a number of ways you can begin this process either by searching online within your local area or visiting Wedding exhibitions where various types of suppliers will be demonstrating their expertise. Or, by word of mouth;
- If you are searching online there are a few key things to be looking out for. See if you can get a feel from their site as to what type of personality they have. What style of pictures do they seem to take? Traditional posed type pictures or more of a journalistic paparazzi style. Perhaps it’s a mix of both. Do they use more than one wedding photographer ? Have they given examples of the whole day from one wedding in any of their galleries or just cherry picked a few great shots from many different weddings. Have they captured key points that you would want to see from your wedding photos. Do they also have any reviews on their website. Hopefully they are positive.
- Wedding shows or wedding fairs are probably my first choice for meeting your prospective Wedding Photographer as you will most likely get chance to meet your wedding photographer or photographers that will actually be taking your pictures on the day. You will immediately get a sense for whether you gel well personality wise. This is your opportunity to have a look at their work too as they will most probably have a few albums available for you to browse through.
As Wedding Fairs can be a bit noisy and you want to get around all the different stands make another appointment to see your prospective photographers in a more appropriate setting. They will more than likely be delighted to visit you at home and be able to give you much more information.
- Word of mouth is another great place to start however a word if caution that what one person likes about a wedding photographer or his pictures isn’t necessarily what you would like. So again be sure to check their credentials to ensure a good match.
Once you have arranged a one to one visit here are some typical questions you may have prepared. Listen carefully to the answers to ensure that they meet or exceed your expectation.
What is your style of Photography?
You will find that the answer to this will vary so you must make sure they are capable of shooting the style of pictures that you would like. Typically there is the more traditional posed style photographs (the sort your mum would like) and then there is a more informal but stylish way of capturing the day. Almost as though taken from a bystander’s viewpoint but still capturing all the key points of the day.
Traditional Posed style Photograph
My venue is ‘X’ Have you ever taken Wedding Photographs there before?
There are so many popular venues that cater for Weddings these days that it would be almost impossible to have been to all of them. If couples are serious about using us as their wedding photographers I almost insist on doing a Pre Wedding or Engagement style shoot. This helps prepare the Bride and Groom and us for the types of shots that maybe available to us on the day. It also gives us an idea of what contingency is available should the weather be against us.
How many Wedding Photographs can I expect from the day?
Depending on the complexity of the day and the number of wedding photographers this is a tricky one to answer. Typically your wedding photographer will probably take upwards of 1000 pictures – many of them repeats to ensure good quality outcomes. You could probably expect to receive 400 – 800 proofs lightly edited. The final number of colour balanced and properly edited ie. Background rubbish removed and light cosmetic adjustments etc probably around 150 – 200
Is it normal to have a second Wedding Photographer?
Personally we always use 2 wedding photographers as we feel the overall coverage is just better – For example in the morning one wedding photographer will be with the bride and one with the groom – it also means that should there be an equipment malfunction (rare) or some other incident there will still be someone capturing the moments as they unfold. It also allows coverage of different areas such as group photos with one photographer whilst the other is photographing seating or table settings etc. We hope to capture things you won’t be able, or have time to observe on your day – those are the main reasons.
What Equipment do you bring?
All wedding photographers should have a backup camera, in my opinion, and at least one flash gun each – we carry a spare too. It would be sensible to ensure they have multiple batteries and memory cards and the ability to back up said cards at least part way through the day if not just at the end.
Do you provide or work to a shot List?
When you commit to using us for your wedding day we provide you with a tick box style list that covers most things from your day. We encourage you to add anything extra to that list so that we can act on it during the day. You will have lots to be thinking about without worrying about whether or not your wedding photographer is capturing the right pictures for you. That being said don’t make the list so long that there is no room for his or her artistic flair.
How many hours does you package include?
Wedding Photographers will vary here so be sure that their contract is clear on the amount of time or at least what they will cover. Some will only cover ceremony and reception/wedding breakfast but charge more to stay on until the evening. Some, such as us would maintain that if you have booked us then you have booked us for the day. Typically we would cover getting ready – through to the first dances (Bride and Groom – Bride and Dad etc) We don’t usually stay right until the end unless you are planning on having a need for us to photograph your departure from the event or fireworks etc this should be negotiated before paying your deposit so that the price can be calculated accordingly.
What will you wear and will you need food?
Again most wedding photographers will be aiming to blend in to your day so at the very least I think you should expect shirt and trousers and possibly a sports jacket or suit. Our aim is to be ‘Guests with Cameras’ and therefore as discreet as possible. We are not the main attraction – you are. Food would be good as it’s a long day and limited time to organise anything on the day itself – however if you don’t plan to feed your wedding photographers please tell them so that they can make and bring something with them. Also check any food requirements to avoid any embarrassment.
What are you Wedding Photography package Prices and when will you need Paying?
Obviously Packages may vary depending on your requirements – please be sure you have been honest and given your wedding photographer all your requirements – also check what extras maybe added if for any reason you decide to extend his/her time at the wedding or make other changes on the day. Does the package include albums, prints or other final products if so what? Confirm a Deposit and final balance payment time – most Wedding Photographers will require at least 25% with the balance becoming due a few weeks before or on the day of the Wedding itself.
How will I receive my Wedding Photographs?
Again this will depend on the wedding photographer – These days a lot will provide you with a USB stick with them on. Typically we make a DVD slideshow with some music that you can pop into your PC or DVD player and have them scroll across your screen. We also provide a disc and digital online password protected gallery with them on – either way please please please make sure you back them up somewhere safe possibly more than once. Your wedding photographer will probably keep backups but don’t rely on this. There may also be an opportunity to have them in a secure web gallery for your friends and family to view and purchase prints should they require. Check with your wedding photographer what their policy is on printing pictures from the disc or usb. Our opinion is that you have paid us to take your pictures – now they are yours. You may be asked to allow a few to be used for their portfolio – obviously that is your decision.
As you can see there are a myriad of things you can ask your photographer – there are many more but I hope I have covered most of the key points for you. The bottom line is, you need to be happy and confident that you and your Wedding Photographer are on the same page. Also remember that they will have quite a bit of experience so do allow them to add their own ideas and expressions into your photos – there was a reason you chose them in the first place and that was most likely because you liked their style. Your Wedding Photographer will be with you all day so enjoy your time with them and remember to have fun, it will dramatically improve your pictures if those smiles and laughs are genuine.
I wish you every success on your most special day but if there is anything else you would like to know please feel free to get in touch in the comments below.