A friend asked me this week what questions she should be asking photographers for her wedding, so I thought that instead of just letting her know, it would be useful for anyone out there looking to find the right photographer for them.
So, you need to work out the main qualities you want in a photographer before you do anything. Photographers are also business-people; most are good at selling and can persuade you that what they offer is what you want, so make sure you decide in advance.
For example, do you want a photographer who takes really arty photos, or are you after a more traditional feel? Do you want someone who will stay all day? What are your priorities – lots of group photos, or photos of just you and your partner? Are you after someone who is really helpful on the day or someone who stays out of the way and just captures what is going on from the background? There are so, so, so many different types of photographers that it’s really important you decide what matters to you – then make sure your photographer does/is/has all of your desired qualities before you book!
- Work out what budget you have for a photographer. £1500 is the average for the UK, but I suggest going through and deciding who your favourite photographers are before you look at price, because this can influence you a lot and skew your perceptions of how decent the quality is. For instance, you might think ‘oh they can’t be good they’re too cheap’ when, if you hadn’t seen the price, you might have loved the style. And vice versa! So select a few favourites and then ask them their prices. Make sure you include the day of the week on which your wedding is planned in your enquiry, because weekdays will probably be cheaper!
- Ask the photographer where you can find their reviews, and make sure you check out social media… I.e. the ones they have no control over!
- Ask how much experience they have at shooting weddings! Just because they can photograph a cat doesn’t mean they can capture your big day.
- Fine out how long after the wedding you will receive your photos. And consider – do you really want to wait 8 weeks?
- Get a sense for what kind of person they are. And make sure you book face-to-face meetings with your shortlist – you need to make sure you get along and have a connection.
- Check how long ‘full day coverage’ is – this can vary with each photographer.
- Talk to them about how they handle group photos – for instance, what is their system? Do they seem confident? This can be one of the trickiest aspects of photographing a wedding if they haven’t cracked the code for successful group shots.
- Find out how many photos you get for your money!
- Ask them how they’d describe their style of photography. Is it what you had previously decided you wanted? If you want to be 100% sure that the photographer takes the type of photos you like, book an engagement shoot with them.
- If they say ‘two photographers’, check whether the other one is a professional or just a glorified assistant.
- Ask how you will receive your photos.
- Confirm a price with the photographer, making sure you discuss albums etc. that you might want after the wedding, and find out whether they’re the same price if you wait until after the wedding day to order one.