So let’s talk about photography! Just how and where do you start when choosing a wedding photographer to capture the most special day of your lives? You might even be wondering if you really need a professional photographer, or what proportion of that all-important wedding budget to set aside for photos...
Fear not lovely people because we are here to help with some 'Wedding Library' top tips and pointers, compiled with the help of some absolutely fabulous wedding photographers! You will also find a really useful checklist at the end of this Blog of essential questions to ask.
Why choose a Professional Photographer?
Because you NEED one...Yes, you absolutely do! Sadly there are no second chances with wedding photography and although it may be tempting to save some pennies, I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing someone you have absolute faith in to capture your wedding exactly as it was – from the ceremony to the sparkler send-off and everything in between.
I can guarantee that as soon as your special day draws to a close and you are home from your honeymoon to start your new lives as a married couple, you will be eagerly awaiting and longing to see your wedding photos…and it can be a nerve wracking wait if you have been tempted to employ a family member, friend or someone who is ‘pretty good’ with a camera!
I promise you a good wedding photographer is worth their weight in gold! A skilled and professional photographer will record all of those wonderful moments with your treasured family and friends.
They will know exactly what to do in a wide range of indoor and outdoor environments and variable weather and lighting conditions. They will be unobtrusive whilst capturing magical moments with your guests, expressions, laughter, memories you will both treasure and reflect on for a lifetime.
They will photograph all of those little details that might so easily be overlooked – décor and finishing touches that make your day so personal and unique, your venue, wedding cake, flowers and gifts.
Ultimately when you choose a professional photographer you are paying for their creativity and expertise. They will tell your wedding story in the most honest, heartfelt and relatable way - a story you will get to relive through your photos over and over again. Worth EVERY penny!
So how do we find the right photographer for us?
Research is absolutely key here. Check out their websites and online portfolios and you will very quickly identify whether a photographer’s particular style works for you. You may be hoping for a vibrant documentary photographic style, or perhaps you are looking for a more traditional approach. There are lots of different styles to choose from, so take your time in finding someone that really resonates with you.
I also recommend you always read reviews and seek personal recommendations where possible. Do ask your wedding suppliers for their help, as they are a totally invaluable source of information! We are always happy to help with recommendations based on our own personal experiences and feedback from our lovely couples.
Local and nationwide bridal forums are another fabulous place to seek recommendations and there are lots you can join on social media such as Facebook’s ‘Weddings and Brides 2021, 2022 & 2023’.
Once you have a shortlist of potential photographers, the next step is to contact them to establish whether they are available for your wedding date. Now is the time to ask (if the information isn’t readily available on their websites) any deal-breaking questions, for example whether travel expenses will be applicable, or if you have a fixed budget, the price of extra time over and above standard coverage.
All photographers should be willing to meet with you and your partner once you know they are available for your wedding. You should have the opportunity to look through a portfolio of their work with them, ideally of weddings that are similar in season and style to the one you are hoping for.
Be prepared for your meeting – I firmly believe if you want to have the most amazing set of wedding photos possible, asking the right questions is absolutely key. Do have a look at our checklist at the end of this Blog for the sort of things you might like to ask. At the end of the day, you need to feel entirely comfortable with your photographer, relaxed and confident that their style and approach is in line with your vision for your wedding.
When should we book our wedding photographer?
My advice here would be to book sooner rather than later, particularly if you have your heart set on a particular photographer and you are hoping to get married in high season. Key weekend dates often get booked up very quickly, particularly at the moment when so many couples have sadly had to postpone their weddings from 2020. Many photographers have their diaries open as far as 2023, so it’s never too early to secure your date if you believe you have found ‘the one’.
Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot
Lots of photographers now include a pre-wedding or engagement photoshoot for you and your loved one as part of their wedding package. However if they don’t, it’s well worth factoring in any extra charge for this. It really is such a fabulous way to get to know your photographer, and if you are at all nervous in front of the camera, it can ease those feelings and make you feel much more comfortable ahead of your big day. You will also have a wonderful set of photos to treasure that will give you a really good idea of the quality of images you can expect for your wedding.
What information will our Photographer need from us?
Your Order of the Day
Your chosen photographer will be able to talk you through exactly what they will need from you to make sure that everything runs smoothly on the day. Essentially they will require your schedule or 'order of the day', to make sure that they are in the right place to capture all those key moments - from the 'I dos' to cutting your cake and your first dance.
Family & Group Photos
Let's take a moment to talk about those all-important family and group photos - and they ARE important because there is nothing better than seeing all the people that you love together, dressed up, glass in hand, smiling and celebrating with you! Now I am not going to lie, group shots are not always the most enjoyable part of the day - and without a little planning, if you are not careful they can be quite L O N G! You will be amazed at how quickly people can simply disappear when they are needed for a photo!
For this reason, once you have booked your photographer, it’s super important to give them as much useful information as you can regarding exactly which guests – family members and friends, bridesmaids and groomsmen you would like in group photos. My top tip here is to enlist the help of your Best Man, a Bridesmaid or Usher to help introduce key people to your photographer on the day and to help get everyone in the right place at the right time. With a little bit of help a professional photographer will always be able to gather your loved ones together for joyful, relaxed and fun photos without it ever feeling like a chore.
I have absolutely no hesitation in recommending that you arrange with your photographer to build a little time into your special day for photos with your loved one. Without question some of my absolute favourite photos from my own wedding were taken just after our ceremony, when we took a little time out together, having first shared a glass of fizz with our friends and family (and cuddled a rather grumpy Alpaca…but that’s another story!).
I’d be the first to admit that I am not great at having my photo taken – it’s not something I am entirely comfortable with at the best of times! However our super lovely photographer (that's you Ellie Hoskins!) made us both feel completely at ease, and as a result she managed to capture some absolutely stunning, natural looking photos that we will always treasure.
Simply be guided by your photographer as to the best time for your portraits and factor this in to your timings and order of the day. After all some of the most beautiful couples photos are taken with a spectacular sunset as a backdrop, or in the soft fading evening light.
One of the questions asked by a bride-to-be recently on a national wedding forum was, ‘If you could change one thing about your special day, what would it be?’ The answer was overwhelmingly, ‘we wish our wedding had been recorded’.
Having a beautifully shot photographic record of your special day is truly wonderful…but without question having your wedding captured on film really takes it to another level. Of course it may be a question of how you choose to allocate your budget, but I think if you can include videography, it won’t be a decision you will ever regret. I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be able to replay your special day on your anniversary, or the day you got engaged, or simply because it’s raining and cold outside and you just want to cosy up together and remember…
Just as when choosing a photographer, take your time, do your research and ask for recommendations (we can definitely recommend some totally amazing videographers!). I think you will also get an idea really quickly from watching clips from their portfolio whether they will be perfect for you. A brilliant video will always leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, smiling and excited about the possibilities for your own wedding day.
So there we have it…except for those all important questions you might like to ask. This list is not exhaustive, but I do hope you will find it helpful and a great starting point.
20 Key Questions to ask your Photographer
1. Are you happy to meet with us to discuss our requirements in person?
2. Do you offer a pre-wedding/engagement shoot? Is this included as part of your package or are there extra charges for this?
3. What hours will you be available to photograph our wedding?
4. Will you be able to photograph the bridal party getting ready?
5. If we require extra time, over your standard package, how much is your hourly rate?
6. Do you charge for travel?
7. Are you fully insured?
8. In the event that we need to postpone our wedding due to Covid and you cannot assist on our revised date, what will happen to our deposit payment?
9. How many images are included in your package price?
10. How much will extra images cost?
11. Are you familiar with our venue? If not, will you recce the venue in advance of the day?
12. Do you have any advice /recommendations for our couple’s portrait photos?
13. Will we have access to our photos in an online gallery so that we can select our favourites?
14. Will we have access to our photos in an online gallery so that we can select our favourites?
15. Will our friends and family have access to an online gallery so that they can purchase their choice of photos from you directly?
16. How long after our wedding will you deliver the final photos?
17. Does your package include an album(s)? If not, how much will this cost?
18. Will we receive high resolution digital copies of our photos that we can print ourselves?
19. What information would you like from us to make your job easier on the day (i.e. for group photos/ timings etc.)?
20. Are you able to take any special photos of our sparkler send-off?
And finally, don’t forget we are always here to help with general wedding advice or recommendations.
When you book with us and hire our beautiful wedding décor, we really do provide complete support and help throughout your wedding journey. It’s all part of the Wedding Library service! If you haven’t had the opportunity to have a look through our lovely website yet, do pop on through to find out about the amazing venue styling services we offer...and if we can help, come and say 'hello'!
Happy wedding planning everyone...
p.s. if you have any top tips about choosing your wedding photographer of videographer, then please do leave a comment to share with all our lovely bride & grooms-to-be…sharing is most definitely caring!