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How To Choose Your Wedding Photographer

Updated on May 25, 2015

So you've finally set a date for your wedding - the only think that's left to do now is organise everything. There will be plenty of things on your to do list, but perhaps one of the most important tasks is finding the right photographer for your big day, but as this is most probably the first time you've had to do this, how do you go about making sure you choose the right wedding photographer? These handy tips should help.

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First Things First

Just like good wedding venues, the best photographers can get booked up many months in advance, so it pays to start thinking about your wedding photography as soon as possible. A good wedding photographer can also take up a sizeable chunk of your budget too, as much as 10% in some cases, so sorting everything out early on in the process can make it easier to manage your costs. And if you're put off by the cost of a good photographer and think a friend or family member could do just as good a job, that's rarely the case. Professional photographers are expensive for a reason, and that's because they are good - do you really want to entrust the memories of your big day to someone who's experience is limited to taking a few snaps on holiday? If cost is going to be an issue then that's even more reason to put some time and effort into finding the right photographer, so you can decide exactly what it is you need, compare prices and make sure you get the best deal.

Think about what kind of photos you would like and how much time you're going to need the photographer to spend with you. Do you want them there just to take pictures of the wedding ceremony itself, or would you also like pictures of the bride and groom getting ready, as well as all the celebrations at the reception? Think about how many pictures you want from each of the different parts of the day, and also what are the 'must have' pictures for your album. What kind of style are you looking for? Do you want the traditional style of wedding photography, with various posed shots of the bride and groom and all the guests, or are you interested in a more natural, documentary style that captures all the reactions and emotions of the day? Whatever style you choose, try to avoid anything that relies on lots of effects or an outlandish style that will men your wedding pictures are going to date very quickly. You might even decide that you'd like a mix of styles - perhaps documentary style photography to capture the wedding party getting ready, and the more traditional style photography for the ceremony itself. If that's the case then you need to put a bit more effort into looking for a good photographer that can do both.

Research, Research, Research

There are hundreds of good wedding photographers you could choose from, and that can be half the problem - how do you know which one will be best for you? A good place to start is to ask friends and family if they know of any photographers that you should consider. A referral from a trusted friend or family member can go a long way to putting you on the right track and it should certainly help narrow the field down a bit. As well as that, you can obviously find plenty of wedding photographers on the Internet. The great thing about using the web to help in your research is that you can do it all from the comfort of your own home, and the best photographers should have good websites with plenty of examples of their work, which should help make it easier to create a shortlist. You could also look through the main wedding magazines, and wedding fairs can be a great way of checking out a number of photographers all at once. you can also check out the MPA () website, and it's a good idea to make sure that any photographer you're considering is a member.

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Making Your Decision

Once you have a short list of potential photographers for your big day, it's time to consider each of them a bit more closely to find the perfect one. To do this, it's always a good idea to meet any photographer you're thinking of using. This isn't just so you can ask them the questions that will help you make your decision, it's also so you can see if you're going to get on. Do they understand what you want from your wedding photography, are they easy to get on with, will they be able to get the best out of your guests so that you will have some amazing memories to look back on? If you have quite a few photographers to consider, you can start by speaking to them on the phone, but always meet those that are most likely to get the job.

When you do do meet them, ask to look at their previous work. Ideally you want to see all the shots form one or two weddings, so you can make sure that your photographer is consistently good over the course of the whole day, rather than just an album of the best shots from all the weddings they've done. If you're looking for a traditional style, look to see if they've got the lighting right and that they've chosen a good background for each of the shots. If you've opted for a documentary style, again make sure that they are able to capture the whole day in this more natural style, rather than just the odd photo.

If their previous work looks good then you should spend some time telling them exactly what you're expecting from your wedding photography. A good photographer should also be able to present a few of their own ideas of what might work well, but these should be suggestions rather than them trying to push you towards something that works better for them and, whatever you agree between you, make sure you're confident that it's something they are going to be capable of delivering. One good way of getting to know your photographer a bit better before the big day, and also helping to make sure that you're a little less nervous when you're stood in front of the camera, is a pre-wedding shoot. Often at the actual wedding venue, these can be a great way for you to make sure you've made the right choice for your wedding, and make any necessary adjustments to guarantee the day itself goes smoothly.

Things To Check

Make sure you discuss the details of what your getting with your photographer. This means getting a full breakdown of what is and isn't included in the cost (which will help compare like with like when you're looking at different photographers) so there are no expensive surprises after the event. Find out who will own the copyrights to the photographs. Some photographers may retain these, which means you would have to go back to them if you wanted any reprints, so if you want the freedom to do whatever you want with your pictures you need to make sure that you will have the copyrights once the photographer has been paid.

Check that they have the appropriate insurance, to cover any issues with their equipment on the day, or your images one the photographs have been taken. Even with insurance, a good photographer should be prepared for ever eventuality so they can make sure that your big day isn't going to be spoilt. Find out how your photos will be supplied once they are ready. These days there's a much greater choice than just a traditional wedding album. You might want to have your wedding photos printed on to various items, or even create your own website to really show them off. Whatever it is you're going to do with them, you need to make sure you're using a photographer that can supply them in a format that works for you.

Finally, once you've made your decision and chosen the photographer who's going to capture all the memories of the greatest day of your life, make sure that you confirm them a couple of times before the wedding itself. It's always a good idea to keep in touch with them, but checking that they're ready a couple of months before the date, and then a week or so before, will help to put your mind at rest and make sure there are no nasty surprises. After that there's really very little else to do other than enjoy your wedding safe in the knowledge that you've done everything you can to choose the best wedding photographer for your big day, and the the memories they are going to capture for you will last a lifetime.

If you're based in the South East and you're looking for the perfect photographer to capture your big day, visit Your Surrey Wedding Photographer.

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    • weddingphotosca profile image

      Manny Van 3 years ago from Vancouver, BC

      Nicely written.

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