I expect you think this is where I persuade you I am right for you? Wrong! You need to find the wedding photographer to suit you, so here are a few tips to help with such an important decision.
1. DO YOU LIKE THE LOOK OF THEIR WORK?
Seems like I am stating the obvious, but only you can decide if you have that instant connection with images. Don't just go with someone because your sister/bestfriend/aunty love them. Take on board their opinion, but it's your wedding and your memories.
You don't have to understand all the tech stuff or need to know WHY you like one set of images not another; your gut instinct is usually right.
2. WOULD YOU INVITE THE PHOTOGRAPHER TO DINNER?
No? I may be going against the grain here, but how important really is your photographers' personality? As long as you don't find them really annoying, it's the photographs that count and not whether they need to be life long friends. Of course you need to connect with them, they are going to be present on the most special day of your life. If they are noisy, bold and brash and going to impose their personality on your day and you are OK with that BOOK them now! If they are discreet, polite and leave you wondering where they are, thats OK too if that suits your personality. Do you like their images? You don't have to have them round for dinner.
3. WHAT'S YOUR STYLE?
Don't really know? This may surprise you but most photographers don't really know how to describe their own style. Don't get caught up in description - it's the images that count. Who cares if a photographer says they are "natural" or "documentary" or "fine art", do you like the images? Personally I like soft, light, romantic images, a style I have been shooting for over 15 years. My signature style is using every last drop of natural light, it gives a beautiful film like quality to my work. I have a studio full of techy lighting stuff too that I bring to weddings just in case or for some drama. Other photographers are dark, moody and dramatic. There is also the fashionable set with orange skin and strange hues and tones on everything. That's NOT my idea of a wedding - it dates so quickly. But if you love it, then it's not wrong, just different! Find a photographer who sees the world as you do!
4. ARE THEY LISTENING TO YOU?
Tell them what's important to you, get involved in how and what you would like photographed on your day. No point complaining you didn't get a picture of you and Aunty Mabel if you kept it a secret that that was the image you wanted above all else
5. TIMING - LISTEN TO YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER!
Chances are you haven't done this before. Things take soooo much longer on a wedding day. Documentary photographers will only photograph what happens without stepping in or interfering. If you want specific images, let your photographer be your guide on how long this will take and they will ensure it happens.
The tricky one! So how do you know what you are paying for and why are there so many different prices? Here are some of the things affecting cost:
A full time photographer will charge industry prices as they are dedicated professionals running a sustainable business. Part time photographers can afford to shoot weddings on the odd weekend to supplement their income. A wedding is typically 40 hours work for a professional photographer, which doesn't leave a whole lot of time to do anything else.
Experience costs. Do you want to be confident that on your wedding day, your photographer can work with anything from pitch black churches to full sunlight and rainstorms? A wedding day is full of so many technical challenges, will you want to leave that to chance?
What price will you put on your memories? After the wedding, your pictures will remind you not only of how beautiful your wedding day was but how you felt. As time passes they will become more and more precious.
So can I give you ball park figures? Probably not. You may get a fabulous talented student from college who will shoot for just £850. You can book a photographer who has won an array of awards for £3000+ Everyone has a digital camera now and everyone is a "photographer" but if you want more than a few lucky "snaps" then go with a tried and tested professional. Don't get a friend or relative to do it because they take nice sunset pictures. Would you want an orthopaedic surgeon removing your tonsils? Let them enjoy your wedding too!! It is an investment you will be glad you made. I speak from experience. I had to have a hotel photographer at my wedding abroad. UGHHHH. Enough said.
Lastly, try not to worry too much. If you LOVE a photographers work and they are free on your wedding day, book them! Don't leave it for another few weeks, as professional typically get booked 18-24 months in advance. Happy wedding planning, and if you need some help or advice get in touch!