Having recently got married, I thought it was a good opportunity to write about our experiences of Wedding Photography from the point of view of the Bride and Groom. I hope this series of articles will benefit both future couples looking to make the choice of wedding photographer and also new or existing wedding photographers looking for an insight into what couples may be looking for. What I’m not trying to do is profess to have huge amounts of knowledge of wedding photography.
Deciding what you want
I think one of the best things we did before getting out there is deciding what you want. Initially this may sound stupid and you’re thinking I want someone to photography my wedding but it really helped thinking about it in more detail than that. For example, what kind of things do you want your pictures to capture – informal candid shots, posed formal shots or a mixture of the two, how do you want your pictures presenting – formal albums, digital images or again, both. Having some ideas for what you are looking for will make the initial search easier. Before we set out, we knew we were going to want quite a few formal pictures but still wanted some candids. We also were sure we wanted a digital copy of the images at a printable resolution along with a printed album.
Making a Start in your Search
Common sense ideas are obviously a good place to start – Google, word of mouth, recommendations etc. We were getting married a long way from our home so we didn’t have some of these options so we actually started our search with a couple of wedding fairs. In my point of view meeting wedding photographers was about all wedding fairs were good for. We were going to 2 fairs on the same day and there were a lot of photographers to see – I would estimate in the region of 20. This is where having some idea of what you’re looking for should save you some time.
Do they offer what you are looking for?
As we went round the photographers, the first thing we wanted to find out was whether they offered what we were looking for. In some ways, it was surprising to me that a high number of the photographers wouldn’t consider giving us a digital copy of the images taken at a printable resolution. They wouldn’t always say a straight no, but would instead explain that they would provide a DVD for viewing images on a pc and on further investigation these images would be water marked, so definitely no printing, and reprints could be ordered from them at any time. Now, I can understand that this is the photographers business and they are there to make money but I think they need to start understanding the fact that there are good photographers out there now who provide this product and if they want to get people’s business, they need to consider offering it. I wouldn’t expect it to be free – in fact I would expect to pay a considerable amount.
So, for us, the first an major filter was the DVD but there were other things we were finding out in our discussions that can still make it worthwhile talking to people even if you are sure you’re not going to choose them. For instance, a couple of companies told us they could offer the services of two photographers on the day – something I thought was a nice idea but we never looked into it further.
Quality of Work
Some people would probably say that Quality of the photographers work should be your number one priority. However, I think you’ll waste a lot of time if this is the first thing you focus on. Out of all the photographers we spoke to, there was only one company where the quality of the work wasn’t of what I would consider a professional standard.
All the photographers had albums to look through to show off their work as well as prints and canvases on wall and stands. Looking through the albums was reassuring that they were decent photographers and is certainly worth doing but in the end, we didn’t really find anything in any of the albums that really made one photographer stand out over another.
Price, Availability and anything else you can think of
If the photographer has shown they can provide what you want and you are happy with their work it’s time to start getting as much information out of them as you can. Important information to get is price and availability. If they exceed your budget or they aren’t available on the day you get married then there is no point carrying on. Also, make sure you get there contact details and website address.
We’re now down to the last major thing we considered before leaving the wedding fairs armed with the information we needed to make the final decision, and this came down to the personality of the photographer. What we were looking for was someone that was friendly yet had a strong personality and importantly came across professional. To use a couple of examples, firstly my wife nearly burst out laughing when I questioned one of the photographers we were talking to – “would it be you be doing the photography on the day?” The reason I asked was that his suit looked like it was well due a clean, he seriously needed to find a comb and use it and a tooth brush would probably have made a huge difference (the reason my wide nearly burst out laughing was because she knew exactly what I was thinking). Secondly, the final photographer we spoke failed at the first hurdle, even before we got to finding out what he offered. Having seen so many photographers I was completely fed up so my approach came out unintentionally aggressive – “So what do you offer that’s different to anyone else?” The answer “well nothing really” put end to the conversation straight away.
So, that’s what we were thinking about when first looking for our wedding photographer. We’ve recently received the initial images from our photographer and things are looking good. Once we’ve got the album I’ll write the final article discussing the pre-wedding shoot, the big day and then our final experiences of dealing with our chosen photographer.