Choosing Your Wedding Photographer - Tips From a Professional Photographer

This article is by a wedding photographer, and it is about wedding photographers. My advice has been kept neutral.

1. What is their personality like?

Your wedding photographer is your most important friend. A bad relationship can show up in your photos. It’s a good idea to get along with your photographer. You should not be put on edge by them for any reason.

2. Take a close look at the photos.

Although it may seem obvious, I have seen many photographers take large bookings without showing even one photograph. This is marketing on the basis of price only. If a photographer you booked doesn’t have an extensive portfolio, don’t be surprised. You can find many talented photographers starting out at a low price. Many people don’t even know how to use a camera.

Are there enough photos? Good photographers will be able to take photos even in the most challenging situations, such as dark churches or difficult venues for receptions. It could be that the photographer is not able to capture indoor shots if the photos are taken outside on a sunny day. To get a better idea of the photographer’s weaknesses, ask to see a complete wedding. (I am a photojournalist and group shots are my weakness).

Are the photos all posed? While some photographers specialize in capturing the action as it happens, others prefer to capture the moments in photographs and pose for important events such as the cutting of the cake or the first kiss. It will be easy to see the difference.

3. Are they out of control?

To protect themselves and your rights, a professional wedding photographer will ask you to sign a contract. It is essential that you read the contract carefully and bring up any concerns. Do not be pressured to sign.

They will also be transparent with the taxman. Unfortunately, there are still people working in the industry that do not declare their earnings. These have been known to disappear prior to the wedding. If a photographer insists that cash is in hand, it should alarm bells.

They will also be insured. Make sure your photographer has Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance.

4. Are they ready?

Professionals will always have backups for all their equipment, including lenses and cameras. They will also have plans in case of bad weather. Photographers need to be organized.

5. Are they a source of help?

While some photographers prefer to work solo, others may bring an assistant or a second shooter. If you require photos of the bride and groomsmen getting ready, a second photographer will be able to help you cover the day better. A second photographer assistant can help set up lights, hold reflectors, change lenses, and back up your wedding photos.

6. What are you going to get?

How long will they be there? Do they cover the ceremony preparations, ceremony, and evening reception? If a photographer is present for most of the day, it is nice to provide food. Some photographers are strict about what they cover, while others are more flexible.

Prints and albums – Do you want an album? Or just a collection of images? Check if you have permission for personal printing if you’re buying a disk. There are many styles available for albums. This will be covered in a future post, but I hope you have an idea of your preferences. Ask for examples. Are you interested in additional albums to give as gifts to family members?

And when will you get it? It’s not worth waiting for half a year to get your wedding photos. Many photographers say that they can deliver your photos in four weeks. This is not the best-case scenario.

7. The pre-wedding shoot

Many photographers offer pre-wedding and engagement shoots. This can be helpful for those who are shy around cameras, as it will help you get used to the camera as well as provide material for your website or stationery.

Simon Dewey, a Derby-based wedding photographer