So you have set the date, booked your ceremony and reception venue(s) and now you have the pretty daunting task of searching for the perfect wedding photographer. Turning in the first instance to search engines gives you pages and pages of photography companies for you to look at. Or click on one of the many wedding photographer directories and you will be presented with often hundreds of adverts all of which can be naturally overwhelming. Richard from surreylaneweddingphotography.co.uk lists the most important questions you should ask to help make the right decision.
Can you recommend someone?
As searching for a wedding photographer is then followed by searching for a string of other things such as your dress and shoes, jewelry, florists, cakes, cars, entertainment etc it’s always good to be able to benefit from the work and experience of others so you don’t have to do all the leg work. So start by asking anyone you know who has had a wedding and see if they were happy with their wedding photographer, if so then ask them about their experience and get the contact details.
Likewise, if you have been to a recent wedding, where you liked the way the photographer worked and you also liked the work they produced then get in touch with them. If these options don’t 100% convince you that they are right for you then at least you will have a good starting base for evaluating others.
How experienced are they?
Always check whether the photographer is a full-time professional or a part-time hobbyist who fits it in between their normal work job. If the latter then they may genuinely be good and are just making the transition to full time but be careful because you may be putting your most important day in the hands of someone who actually doesn’t have the required experience, or will be fitting you in with other non-related work. Professionals will have shot hundreds of weddings in all conditions so they know what to do whatever happens on the day, they literally have seen it all before and their focus( pardon the pun) is all on you.
Do they have lots of great client testimonials?
A simple check you can make is whether they have lots of good client reviews, but make sure they look genuine, you can normally tell when they are not or look for an independent source like Google reviews or social media such as Facebook or Instagram
Have they worked at venues similar to yours?
Whilst it’s not essential for them to have worked at your actual venue it certainly does help as it means they will know all the right places to take you, especially if the weather conditions are not perfect. In addition they will often have a good relationship with the wedding team which is always useful. But probably of more importance is whether they have worked at similar types of venues as yours. For example, someone who mainly shoots register offices marriages will find it a big step up if they are asked to cover more exclusive ceremonies and receptions at grand stately homes or castles where experience really shows.
Have they got lots of real complete examples they can show you?
When reviewing the work they present, go beyond a few simple images on their website…you should be able to have access to real weddings on their web pages or they should be able to put some up for you. Or if you are meeting them in person, ask them to bring along copies of past client albums. Only then will you be able to see how and what they have captured during the whole day, not just the best photos from many.
Do their package options fit your budget?
Of course it’s important that the photography is within your budget and it’s good also if they have a range of options for you. The more flexible and accommodating they are to your requirements, the more you can relax in knowing that they really want to work for you. Do, however, be careful if someone is giving away far too much for very little money. They may be genuine but a full-time professional has to earn a reasonable living so you could just be picking up someone who is just trying to get your business at any cost. As the old adage says, if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is…always remember the principle caveator emptor, ‘let the buyer be aware’.
Can you meet face to face for a chat?
It’s always good if you can meet in person or via a video conferencing platform such as Zoom or Skype. You will then get a very good feel about their appearance and manner and how they will fit in with your family and friends… remember they are going to be with you all day from getting ready to first dance and everything in between. And of course this gives you the perfect opportunity to ask them any questions you may have too.
Is their style right for you?
Obviously, their photography style needs to suit what you are looking for? Do you want relaxed, informal reportage photography as opposed to a more traditional style, do you want them to capture all the little details, or do you want them to mix in with the crowd to get all those funny moments. Then when it comes to editing there are many styles, especially as many photographers can adopt a certain common look that defines their work, usually through the use of filters in their photoshopping applications.
If you can keep all of these factors in mind then you should be able to ensure you have someone to capture your special day so you can be presented with many wonderful precious memories that will last a lifetime. Good luck with your search and I hope you have a fabulous day.