Take Time Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
If you’re newly engaged and are planning your wedding, there are a number of choices that need to be made, amongst them choosing your wedding photographer. Most couples choose the date and venue of their wedding first, and then begin the search for other suppliers for their cake, catering, entertainment and wedding photography. Of course, you need to find a supplier that has that date free, but just as importantly a supplier that fits in with you as a couple, and your tastes and style.
Wedding Photographer Cost
When you’re choosing your wedding photographer you need to decide how important good quality photography is to you. A quick search on the Internet in your area will probably show you a range of photographers offering to photograph your day from as little as £500 to as much as £5000. This may be the first time you’ll have commissioned a professional photographer, and you may be shocked at the cost. Why is there such a huge range in price when they’re essentially offering the same service?
Experience and Reputation
A wedding photographer will base their price on a number of factors, including experience and reputation. The time spent on your wedding also plays a large part in the cost. A photographer offering to photograph your whole day for £500 is likely to need to photograph more than one wedding a week, and will subsequently spend very little additional time on your photographs. The best wedding photographers spend a lot of time after the wedding on editing and post processing your images to get the most out of them. This can take another few days to do properly, and the £500 photographer is likely to hand you a DVD with their unprocessed images which won’t produce the best quality prints.
By looking at online portfolios of photographers at each end of the price spectrum, you’ll soon appreciate where the extra money goes. On average, wedding couples use around 10% of their total budget for the stills photography, with some couples who place a higher importance on the photography spending much more to make sure they secure their preferred photographer. The best wedding photographers get booked up quickly, sometimes up to two years in advance, so choosing your wedding photographer should be a priority after you’ve set a date and secured a venue.
Photography has been evolving, along with all other types of media. As quality digital cameras and lenses become more affordable, there has been a huge increase in the number of photographers working in the wedding industry. With many photographers using similar equipment, the content of the photography becomes increasingly important.
Currently, the two main styles in wedding photography are documentary photography, also known as reportage or wedding photojournalism, and traditional wedding photography.
Traditional wedding photography places an emphasis on posed portraits and formal group pictures. A couple may want to set aside a few hours during their wedding day to work with the photographer in various locations. It’s time consuming but for couples who really want a styled wedding photo shoot, this is the type of photographer they should look for.
Documentary wedding photography on the other hand, is about being unobtrusive, and telling the story of your wedding day in an honest and unposed way. A pure wedding photojournalist will not pose or direct you, and will not alter or control any aspect of the scene. A more popular compromise is to work in this way for the majority of the day, but to include a small number of group photographs and a couple of quick portraits of the bride and groom. If you’re not keen on posing for photographs, and value quality, timeless photography, then you’re probably looking to book a documentary wedding photographer.
Fads and Trends
Another important aspect to look for is whether you are keen for your photographer to employ current trends and techniques that although popular now, may not look quite so great when you look back at your photographs in a few years time. The current trends include processing your images with a ‘vintage’ look, as well as portraits with the couples heads cropped off, or obscured by flowers or lollipops, and excessive detail shots. While it’s important to have some photographs of the flowers and the favours, a photographer who concentrates on photographing every last detail will be missing some great moments with you and your guests. Is it more important that you have lots of pictures of your rings and shoes or lots of your grandmother and niece enjoying the day?
Consistency of quality
When you’re drawing up a shortlist of photographers, you should pay close attention to the photographer’s consistency through a whole wedding, and also across a number of different weddings with different couples and different lighting conditions. Any wedding photographer who has photographed enough weddings will be able to show you a collection of great images from many weddings. But you’d be pretty upset if you only got one or two great images amongst a lot of more average photographs. This is especially important when looking for a wedding photojournalist or documentary wedding photographer, as it is the story of the whole day that is important, and there needs to be a constantly high quality of photography throughout the day. You should be able to view a set of images from the preparations to the party from the same wedding.
There are so many reasons not to trust your wedding photographs to your mate who takes nice photographs. A professional photographer with many years experience will be certain to get great results from any situation. Being able to use a camera correctly is such a small part of the job. The best wedding photographers have great people skills and are able to work hour after hour in difficult lighting conditions and with all types of personality. They will use top quality equipment and have backups of cameras, lenses and storage cards available. They will be insured, and your images will be safely stored and backed up for many years. For the only tangible product of your wedding day, it’s really vital that you choose someone you can trust completely to take care of your photography.
Albums and extras
Some photographers have extremely complicated pricing structures, with separate prices for extra hours, processing per image, print packages, each page in an album, online galleries etc. Decide what’s important to you and ask your photographer to quote based on that. As a bare minimum, you should be looking for adequate time coverage for what you’d like photographed – whether you want the bridal preparations to the first dance, or just the ceremony, this will affect the basic price. Included as standard should also be an online gallery for proofing or sharing with your family and friends, and the processed images on a DVD or USB drive, with a letter of authority to have prints made yourself. Some photographers will add a range of wedding albums to the price, others allow you to choose what suits you, when it suits you. A good way of spreading the cost is to book the best photographer you can afford with the option of selecting and ordering an album at a later date.
With so many wedding photographers at the moment, there hasn’t been a better time to find your perfect match. But with so much choice, it’s important that you pick carefully – choosing your wedding photographer is the one area of your wedding planning that you really shouldn’t compromise on. You’ll be looking at the results of decisions you make now, for many years to come.
If you’re getting married and are in the process of choosing your wedding photographer, and would like this type of unobtrusive documentary wedding photography, please get in touch.