Let me start by saying, I am NOT a wedding photographer and I am not trying to sell you my service. I’m just another bride that has huge regrets when it comes to my wedding album.
Imagine spending thousands to ensure that one 24 hour period of your life is filled with beauty -from your outfit, to the ground that you walk on right down to the napkins that you wipe your face on and then the next day, you never get to see it again – because the memory card in your cousins camera failed or the flash didn’t work on the disposables.
Stories of this nature are growing more and more common! There was a case recently of a photographer that lost the memory card containing a couple’s photographs. As heartbreaking as this would be, it was made all the worse by then allegedly trying to pass the families’ Facebook photos off as their own.
For my very own wedding I don’t have a single photo that shows off my dress! The train was beautiful but you can’t see it in a single picture because I made the mistake that many do, either calling in a favour or going so cheap that the photographer doesn’t truly understand what is important to you. Either that, or they lack the experience to caputre it.
It gets worse
My photographer also showed up as I was getting in the car (if he’d have been 3 minutes later he’d have missed the entire wedding, he never asked the venue details!) and took more photos of the guests’ children (some of which I didn’t know!) than he did my own son who featured in all of 5 photos and not a single one shows him looking at the camera.
Although we did hire a professional, the price seemed too good to be true at the time, it clearly was. Annoyingly, we’d budgeted a lot more for the photographer but the bargain hunter in me took over and grabbed the great deal, rather than stop to ask if he’d ever actually photographed a wedding. It was just another ticked box in my wedding planning book (another mistake learnt the hard way). Have a read of ‘Brides, Why You Need to Throw Out Your Wedding Planning Checklist Right Now!!’
Now I know not everyone can afford a top photographer but make a list of all of your wedding buys and assign each a budget (or grab our free one HERE) Also work out what you can do yourself, can you make your own venue decorations or invitations for example? There are loads of ways to save yourself money and anything you can spare should definitely be considered for the photographer budget.
So here are my tips to finding a good wedding photographer;
- Get loads of quotes! (Hey, did you know that’s what we do on WeddingItYourWay?)
- Understand your price bracket and what it gets you, does it include an engagement shoot and photo book or just a memory card? Remember, more is not always better, this could compromise quality.
- Spend time browsing their portfolios, you can’t rush this. Have they got shots you’d like to replicate, do they show off the wedding dress, the venue, the guests and the tiny tiny details that you spent months painstakingly sticking ribbons or lace to?
- Review review review! Before you make contact, check their reviews – and not just the ones on the homepage of their site, tap their name in to google. If they’ve deeply upset someone at some point, you’ll likely find it.
- Meet with them! Now you may think this is unnecessary (I did!) but you need to make sure you ‘click’ with your photographer, you need to see that they are confident with their work. They will need to arrange your guests into organised positions, someone shy or too quiet may not exhibit the authority needed to move potentially hundreds of people in to different rooms or certain shapes. Show them any shots you’d like to recreate and talk through what you like and don’t like. You also need to make sure you get on well enough that if you have an idea for a photo you’d like to try in the spur of the moment, you can speak up and tell them!
You can go through this checklist with photographers of any budget, if they’re hesitant to meet with you or show you their previous work – alarm bells should be ringing.
If they understand it’s a big decision and are happy to answer your questions and discuss ideas with you, then you’re probably on to a winner.
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