Some of my clients come to me because they want to know how to look good in their wedding photos, so I do get asked from time to time if I can recommend a wedding photographer. I thought it might be useful therefore to include a few words of advice on that subject:-
Before choosing your wedding photographer you need to think a little about what you want. Wedding photographers can have very different styles and there can be a considerable difference in cost.
It is generally more practical and less costly to commission a photographer who is based in the area in which the wedding is going to take place. So local contacts, Thompson’s Directory and Yellow Pages are useful sources of information. You may, of course prefer to use someone that did a particularly good job for your friend/relation a hundred miles or more away. If so, ensure that they can provide you with the time and service that you require at a price that is acceptable to you.
If you are having your wedding at a special venue or hotel, it is worth asking them about local photographers that people use frequently. As we will see later there is a considerable advantage if your photographer is familiar with the venue and and the exact spots that lend themselves to good photographs. (I’ve seen too many bride and groom photos spoilt by the obtrusive drainpipe in the background)
There are a huge number of photographers’ sites on the web which are well worth looking at, to formulate your ideas of what you like and what you don’t want. For example do you want everyone looking as though they have just stepped out of Vogue, or do you want something more relaxed. Do you want mood and attitude or do you want smiles and alleged reality. Do you want lots of family groups or do you want lots of impromptu shots of family members enjoying themselves.
None of these things are mutually exclusive, you just need to decide what you want. Have a look at some photographers’ work and decide what you prefer. You can’t expect your photographer to be a mind reader. You have to tell him or her what you want. Don’t be afraid to show him or her examples that you have seen and liked. More importantly, obtain samples of work done by your prospective photographer. Wedding photography is a commercial business. You need to shop around for what suits you best.
Okay, call me a romantic, but I still think you need to bond with your photographer. When I say you, I mean you, your partner, your Mum & Dad, bridesmaids etc. There are some fantastic technically able photographers who have little in the way of people skills. Look Good on Camera would not exist if every photographer knew how to get the best out of their clients.
So I would advise you to choose someone you are comfortable with, and who is going to be receptive to your needs and requests. I would also recommend that you look at the tips on this website to ensure that you are going to look your photogenic best.
The days when wedding photographers just turned up on the day, took a few standard photographs and rushed off to attend another wedding are long gone. You should expect your photographer to give your wedding the attention and time that it deserves. You need to interview prospective candidates and get a clear picture of the service that they are going to provide.
In my view a good wedding photographer will meet with you and your partner, and possibly other family members, ushers, bridesmaids etc beforehand to determine the scope and timing of the photographs. You may wish them to include photographs of the wedding party’s preparation for the ceremony (hair styling, suit fitting, make-up application etc), so choose someone who you are going to be comfortable with photographing you in those situations.
Your photographer needs to be familiar with your requirements and the venue/location in which he or she is going to take photographs. As a UK based photographer, I am only too familiar with the vagaries of climate and weather. Your photographer has to have contingency plans for fine and foul weather conditions in/near your wedding venue. Don’t forget to ask about them.
Background to wedding photographs can be so important. We can’t all get married on a Hawaiian beach with the sun setting behind us, but your wedding photographer should be able to choose an appropriate background near to the Wedding venue for you to pose for those photographs that are going to adorn the homes of your nearest and dearest for years to come.
Prices vary. Make sure that you compare like with like. I would advise getting a package that includes a set number of appropriately sized photographs plus a disc of all photographs taken that you can use to print more photographs at a later time, if you so desire. [Please note that you do need to ensure that the photographic files are of a sufficiently high resolution to allow good quality prints to be made from them. As a rule of thumb the file sizes should be in megabytes rather than kilobytes. This may sound a bit geeky but it is important. You should remember that copyright stays with the photographer unless otherwise negotiated.]
In conclusion, I believe that the choice of a wedding photographer is a very personal matter. I can only hope that the above few paragraphs are of help to you. Good luck with your wedding plans.