How To Choose A Wedding Photographer
Everyone seems to be a wedding photographer these days, so how do you pick the right one and make sure that you get the perfect photos?
I spoke to some of Yorkshire's best wedding photographers to get their input on how you can choose the right photographer for your big day.
Set A Budget
We’d recommend setting your budget before you do anything else. Firstly it’s the most boring part of the process and you want to get that out of the way, but also because it's quite easy to get carried away finding a photographer you love but may not be able to afford.
In the UK, the average cost for a wedding photographer in 2020 is just over £1,500. Prices vary but this should give you a figure to keep in mind when considering a photography budget.
It's worth bearing in mind that prices will vary depending on location and the package you decide to go for. The price above is just a rough guide.
Weddings are expensive and a photographer can seem like a big part of that but wedding photos last a lifetime and you absolutely do not want to be disappointed with the results.
Choose A Style
There are countless different styles of wedding photography, from documentary to traditional and not every photographer covers every style. It’s important to make sure you choose a photographer that shoots in your chosen style. We spoke to Alex from Saltaire based Studio Lester to get his thoughts.
"If you’re into swing music, you wouldn’t hire a rock covers band to play at your wedding, right? The same logic applies when choosing your photographer.
As is the case in any art form, photographers work to a range of styles - and what suits one creative may not work for another. To avoid disappointment, always check whether the photographer you’re booking caters for your preferred style. In practice this means that couples looking for lots of staged, romantic shots, will be better off choosing a fine art wedding photographer, while those looking for a more laid back, candid style, will certainly benefit from opting for a documentarian."
Finding A Wedding Photographer
Once you have a budget in mind and a style, you need to actually find a wedding photographer. If you're unsure about how early you should be looking for a wedding photographer, take a look at our ultimate wedding photographer checklist for a complete plan.
Freya from Freya Raby Photography has some tips to help you find the right photographer.
"When looking for photographers the best places to start are wedding blogs and looking at who’s work is being published on there (Brides Up North is a good one); seeing who’s images your venue is sharing on Instagram; and attending wedding fairs.
Once you’ve found a few people who’s images you like make sure you do your research - have a good Instagram stalk, see what they’re like as a person and look at full weddings on their blog.
The most important thing is that the photographer is capturing the whole day well and constantly producing good images from morning preparations right until the evening, not JUST sharing pretty posed portraits."
It’s a wise choice to speak to friends and family too, recommendations count for a lot when making a big decision like this, any inside information you can get is really useful.
Once you’ve found some photographers that you like, you need to take a detailed look through their portfolios. You want to see the full range of photos they’ve taken at a wedding rather than just two or three shots. Focus on individual weddings and looking at photos that cover the entire duration of the day.
Meet The Photographers
With a shortlist of photographers, now is the time to meet them. We’d recommend setting up meetings with at least three wedding photographers to help you make an informed decision. Francesca from Littles and Loves gave us her thoughts on meeting your photographers.
"My main piece of advice when choosing a wedding photographer would be to choose someone that you can relate to. Other than your other half you will probably be spending a long time with your photographer, you want to choose someone that puts you at ease and that you can have a laugh and a joke with!
I love getting to know my couples on the lead up to their big day and seeing all of the excitement on the build up. You will be sharing your experience with your photographer so you want to make sure you feel as relaxed as possible with them!
Engagement shoots or pre-wedding shoots are a fantastic way to get to know your photographer, to have a bit of fun, to get to know how they work & to learn to relax in front of the camera not to mention you will come away will some beautiful images for your home!"
Questions To Ask Your Wedding Photographer
Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. There are a lot of details you need to know from your wedding photographer. Here are a few questions that are worth asking your wedding photographer.
- How many weddings have you shot?
- Are you available on my wedding date?
- Do you know the wedding venue?
- What information do we need to give to you?
- Can I speak to some former clients?
- Is an engagement shoot included?
- What hours do you shoot?
- What happens if you can't attend due to an emergency?
- How many photos will I get?
- How long after the wedding do I get the photos?
- What resolution will the photos be?
- Will I get prints or digital files?
- What retouching options do I have?
Your photographer should give you all of this information but it’s worth making a note of these questions just in case.
Book An Engagement Shoot
Booking an engagement shoot with your chosen photographer is a great way for you to get a feel for how your photographer works and what it will feel like on the big day. Many wedding packages now include an engagement shoot.
You may have met your photographer already and found that you get on well and they’ve shown a lot of enthusiasm which is great, but this is your chance to see them in action and to find out how you interact with each other when they have a job to do.
If you have any reservations following the engagement shoot then you may decide to cancel your booking with your wedding photographer. This is one reason why an engagement shoot is a good idea and it's designed to work both ways and make sure both parties are happy to work together.