How to choose a wedding photographer

sussex photographer

You hear some horror stories of disappointed brides and grooms hiring people calling themselves wedding photographers.  Unfortunately, now that digital cameras have made photography so much more affordable and accessible, so many people are jumping on the bandwagon calling themselves photographers when in fact they simply own (possibly) a fairly decent camera.  I own a car, but I’m no Lewis Hamilton.

I no longer take on commissions for wedding photography as my portrait photography studio is so busy, but I still feel passionately about service quality in the wedding industry and the importance of respecting a couple’s once-in-a-lifetime special day, especially in relation to wedding photography.  Ten years from now, your photographs, and your spouse (!), are all that you will have to remind you of your wonderful wedding day.  The food will have been eaten and forgotten, the flowers will have died and not many brides keep their dresses these days.  So, to help you avoid disappointment on one of the most important days of your life, I thought I’d put together some advice on how to choose a wedding photographer:

    • Don’t book the cheapest photographer you can find – book the best you can afford.  If you have to compromise, take a smaller package.  Remember, your photographs are forever and your photographer has only one chance to get it right.
    • Always meet your photographer before making the booking – you have to feel comfortable with your photographer.
    • To get an idea of their style you should view a few sample albums of full weddings they have photographed.  If their style doesn’t suit you, don’t book them.
    • If you find a photographer that you really like, but the packages they offer don’t quite suit what you would like, ask them if they could tailor a package for you.  The vast majority of photographers will be only too happy to do so.  Professionals know that every wedding is unique and has different requirements.
Remember that when you hire a professional wedding photographer you’re not just hiring someone who takes good photographs and knows how to pose people so that they look their best.  Equally importantly, a professional wedding photographer:
    • is used to the stresses of the day and so should be skilled at spreading calm,
    • knows how weddings work and how to go with the flow when things don’t go according to plan,
    • knows how to help keep the timing of your day on track and work with the venue to achieve this,
    • is skilled at managing groups for photographs to achieve the best line up in as quick a time as possible while keeping spirits up,
    • knows when to hang back in the background to best capture the atmosphere,
    • can often predict when a magical moment is about to unfold and so will be positioned waiting for it to happen naturally,
    • is insured and will have a network of backup photographers should the worst case scenario present itself so that you are not let down on your big day,
    • always carries backup equipment in case of any problems with any of their equipment.

When interviewing photographers ask if they are insured and have backup equipment.  If the answer to either of these questions is no, or not a very clear yes, they are not professional.  This is a big red flag that you should not ignore!  A word of caution though – don’t get hung up on the size of their camera – a skilled photographer does not need the latest and greatest camera on the market, as long as they know how to use it properly.  Not on “Auto” or “Programme”.  Ask if you can speak to previous clients – not all of them of course, but 2 recent clients would not be unreasonable.

There is no margin for error when it comes to wedding photography.  It is very hard work, but it is a privilege to be so intimately involved in such an important day of a couple’s life together and I like to think that professionals in the industry are passionate about achieving exceptional results of a very special day.

Enjoy finding your ideal wedding photographer – there are many great ones out there!

May your special day be full of love and laughter and may your memories be captured beautifully by a caring, professional wedding photographer.

 

If you have a warning wedding story, to help others avoid disappointment, please post a comment.