If you have just got engaged, congratulations and we hope you enjoy cloud nine. However there is going to come a time soon when reality kicks in again and you have to start making some big decisions about your wedding day.
The first two decisions you will make are all about creating the setting for your marriage; the time of the wedding and the venue. What comes next is how you capture the memories of your wedding day.
Therefore, the third decision most brides and grooms make, is who photograph our wedding day. Who will be our wedding photographers.
Choosing your wedding photographer is no easy task today. Once upon a time every village had their own portrait and wedding photographer who photographed every wedding at every church in their village. They came to the ceremony and finished when you sat down for your wedding breakfast. How things have changed!
Now a days wedding photographers travel not only all over the country, but around the world in their style of wedding photography is in demand. So don't limit your search for amazing wedding photographers to just those who live around the corner from you.
This year Elise and I live just outside Cardiff in South Wales. But this year we will be photographing Brides in Newcastle, Leeds, Derby, Rome, Italy and the South of France.
Artistic and stylised Wedding photographers are in demand and can often be booked two to three years in advance. So how do you choose the right wedding photographers for you?
Tip 1. How Important Is Your Wedding Photography?
Ask yourself : Do I really value great photography? Do I love Photographs? Do I want 'wow' wedding photography? Do I want people you be wowed by my wedding album?
Now be honest, sit down together and ask each other that questions. Because the answer is going to take you in one of two routes.
If you both answered 'No' to those questions, then you can get almost any wedding photographer and you won't have ago pay a lot either - you could even get your cousin who is an aspiring wedding photographer to follow you around all day because by the law of averages if he or she takes enough wedding photographs and by enough I mean 3,000 - 4,000 images you are bound to get at least one good one.
But if you hesitated on those questions for just a moment or answer 'yes' to any of those questions then you really have to invest in professional wedding photographers who have got a good reputation.
This leads us neatly on to how to decide what kind of wedding photography and which wedding photographers are right for you.
Tip 2. Style Me Pretty
Every wedding photographer will have a dominant style. They may integrate several styles into their coverage of your wedding, like reportage, photojournalism, posed, classic, illustrative, fashion and many more, however there will be one style which will show through more than the others.
Find out what that dominate style is - in fairness, its probably what attracted you to their wedding photography and their website in the first place.
Spend plenty of time looking at as many wedding photographs on their website as possible. If you can only see a handful of wedding photographs online, by all means book mark them and move onto websites that have plenty of wedding photographs showing of the wedding photographers style and abilities.
When you meet your wedding photographer the make sure you ask them where their 'roots' are in photography - what is the source of their inspiration? Then you will start to understand the kind of style that will feature in your wedding photography.
For example our wedding photography comes out of our work for the fashion magazine market. We love classical and contemporary painters like Jack Vettriano and so our dominate style is Artistic, stylistic, natural but chic.
Every wedding photographers going to have a dominate style: The Question you must ask is - do I like that style?
Than all you have to do is find a wedding photographer of that genre which will significantly reduce your Google search results.
Tip 3. Go To Page 4 of Google
Not everything you want is on page one of Google.
Now if you answered 'No' to the questions in Tip 1, then page one of Google is just fine, you probably want to look at the three adverts at the top of the page, because they are likely to be the most local and the cheapest choices.
However if you want something a bit more avant-garde. If you want wedding photography which has an edge of chic and sophistication running through it, then you will likely have to start digging more heavy into the web.
In fact most of the really interesting stuff is found only when you dig a little deeper. The picturesque out of the way wedding venue. The hand crafted wedding ring. The artistic wedding photographers.
This is going off message a little, but I am building a house, yeah, great fun. I needed an SDS drill. When I searched Google for that term all the usual candidates came up; Black & Decker, Bosch, etc. Non of them were what I really wanted, Then on page 10 I found Silverline a pneumatic SDS drill. It's wonderful, I know how sad that sound, but it is.
You get the idea. If you want memories that are going to take your breath away every time you open your wedding album, pieces of Fine Art to hang on your walls at home. Then you are going to have to start digging into the web.
When you have found three wedding photographers whose work you like on the web, its time to move to the next stage.
Tip 4. Face To Face
Make sure you meet your wedding photographers face to face. Good wedding photographers will either come to your home after work or meet you at their studio. There are a number of things you want to be certain about.
First is, can you get along with them? Is there some kind of chemistry between you all, or do they make you nervous and put you on edge? You need to be able to feel relaxed with your wedding photographers on your wedding day, so getting on is quite important.
Second, are your wedding photographers 'drama queens'? Ask some questions about what they would do if the bride was running 30 minutes late because there has been a gas leak. How would they handle bridal preparations in those circumstances? You are looking for an answer which is calming and reassuring, not one which is going to add to the pressure of the problem.
Third, the wedding photographs you see on the web do not always translate into what you see printed in your wedding album. Make sure you see a lot of wedding photography prints and more than one complete wedding album. And when I say a lot, I mean more than 50 individual prints of all different sizes up to 20x16 inch image size so you can check quality. See at least two complete weddings albums, make sure they show you larger sized albums like a 14x10 inch or a 16x12 inch because you will see the true quality of the finish more so in the larger print size.
Tip 5. Show Me
There is nothing quite like experience. The theory is all so well and good, but actually being photographed is a world apart for the idea of being photographed.
Apart from asking your wedding photographers at the meeting the obvious questions like:
- What is your coverage; when do you start and finish?
- How many wedding photographs can we expect from our wedding?
- How long do the wedding photographs take, how long are we away from our guests?
The most important question is - do we get to tryout our photography before the wedding day?
The reason this is so important is because very few brides and grooms are professional models and so have absolutely no experience.
What happens if your wedding photographers have no experience of the venue where you are getting married?
Having a complimentary wedding photography session about six weeks before your wedding day will really help you with your nerves. It will help you to understand how your wedding photographers will work with you on your wedding day.
Your pre-wedding photography session is a great opportunity try out ideas, poses, styles and the like, non of which you want to come to cold on the day of your wedding.
No pre-wedding photography session; no wedding photography booking, go back to tip 4.
Choosing the right wedding photographers is crucial. They are handling the most valuable and precious things in your life right now; your memories. Who will you trust to capture your memories?