Wedding photographers have only one chance to get it right, so experience is vital. Ask who will be shooting your wedding? Did they take the actual photos you’re looking at? How many weddings have they personally shot and is wedding photography their full time job? Do they have back-up gear on the day in case things go wrong? Do they guarantee to back up their/your precious images in case the worst should happen? Check out their work preferably in person giving you the chance to meet them and see if they are someone you would be happy having at your wedding. If a face to face meeting isn’t possible then go through their wedding portfolio online including images they have shot at your venue.
If possible, check out testimonials from previous clients on wedding websites such as www.guidesforbrides.co.uk which is a popular online wedding resource for the Berks, Bucks & Oxford areas. Does the photographer have professional indemnity and public liability insurance should anything unfortunate happen on the day? Most professional photographers wouldn’t dream of shooting a client’s wedding without it but part-time and hobby photographers often aren’t fully properly insured.
Experience is one thing, quality is another. Take some time to assess their photography. Ask to see at least three full client wedding albums and also an entire wedding shoot start to finish, not just a few carefully chosen “best of” images. Are the images sharply in focus, properly exposed and with a good colour balance and skin tones without any colour casts? How do the people look, especially the bride and groom? Is the lighting well balanced? How well do they cope with challenges like bright sunshine or rain? Most importantly can you imagine yourself on your wedding day in these pictures?
Think about the style of photography you like – whether that’s casual, formal, documentary, journalistic or a mix, black & white, colour or a mixture. Your album will be treasured and a family heirloom for generations, so it’s good to think about how you and other people may think about it in times to come don’t be tempted to go for a style that is trendy now but will obviously date quickly Great wedding photography is timeless (apart from what people are wearing/hairstyles etc.). Look for a photographer whose work you really love and whose style reflects your own. It’s so easy to check out photographers online these days and start to build a shortlist.
As always, in life you get what you pay for and wedding photography is no different, a professional photographer with the right experience, style and personality is well worth the investment. It’s also important to find out exactly what’s included in the price. Does the price include an album? If so, of what type and quality? Will you receive the image files? If so will they be high resolution, edited and colour corrected? Does the final price you pay include VAT (if not this can be a nasty surprise)?
You’ll spend more time with your photographer on your wedding day than almost anyone else – other than the person you’re marrying of course! Quality, style and experience are very important, but so is personality. Whether they’re fun, polite or unobtrusive, you do need to be able to get along together on the day!