Six steps to find the perfect wedding photographer
Creating the perfect wedding takes an incredible amount of time, preparation and planning; most people know this and are prepared for the task that lies ahead of them. Although they may have a clear idea of what to look for when choosing the dress, venue or the catering company, many couples are lost when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer.
Choosing the right photographer is vitally important, as it is their work that will be remembered by you, your friends and family for years and generations to come, of your wedding day.
1. Mood boards – deciding your style
Before you can find the photographer you really want, you need to know what you’re looking for. An easy, practical and fun way of doing this is using a trick that designers have been using for decades: mood boards.
Gather up a big pile of magazines and start going through them, cutting out any photo that you like. Either stick them onto a board or spread them out on the floor and see what pattern emerges: are they posed or relaxed? Formal or journalistic? Colour or black & white?
This will help you decide on a photography style, before you begin your search and it’s also a useful term of reference when you meet with the potential wedding photographer.
2. Budgeting – count the cost before you start
Before you approach wedding photographers, it’s a good idea to have a rough idea of how much you want to spend. This may sound obvious, but it will save you a lot of wasted time later.
At this stage your budget shouldn’t be set in stone, so don’t be scared of by some wedding photographers’ price lists. Most photographers are open to negotiation, or you may want to increase your budget if you find exactly what you’re looking for.
3. Researching and searching
Naturally there are photographers with high street shops and there are your local phone books to thumb through, however the Internet is the best tool for this job - with prices and examples of their work, only a click away.
A Google search for ‘wedding photographer directories’, will give you dozens of results with hundreds of wedding photographers. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it’s a good place to start your research.
A better idea would be to make the search more localized: ‘wedding photographer (your town)’ or ‘wedding photography (your county)’ – the reason for this is that you should meet the photographer, feel comfortable with them as a person, as well as confident in their work.
4. Short listing – saving time in the long run
With a wedding to be planned, time is in short supply, so draw up of shortlist of half a dozen photographers that you think would be suitable for the job: that have the style you picked out from your mood boards, and are roughly on target for your budget.
Now it’s time to pick up the phone:
- They will need to know the venue, approximate budget and feel for what you want
- You will need to know their availability (good wedding photographers can be booked over a year in advance)
From seeing their work and talking on the phone, you should have two or three favourites which you can then arrange to meet and discuss your plans in further detail.
5. Meeting – time to click
The advantage of choosing a wedding photographer from your town, or county, is that you can easily arrange a meeting. Some of the larger studios have representatives, but you need to meet the actual photographer who will be there on your big day.
The role of the wedding photographer is very personal and it’s important that they have the right personality – in short, you need to trust your feelings, you need to ‘click’ with them.
6. If in doubt – leave them out
Some people recommend that you contact the wedding photographer’s previous clients, to hear first hand how they performed on the day. If you have doubts in your mind at this stage, after seeing their work and meeting them face to face – it would be best to walk away. Go back to your shortlist and take your time to find the right wedding photographer for you.