Have any of these happened to friends on on their big day?
1. Does the photographer have a money-back guarantee?
2. How long will you be with us?
Some photographers’ prices are only for the ceremony and reception, some charge for a set amount of time, so by the time you’re stepping onto the dance-floor for your first dance they’ll be long-gone – or you’ll be asked to pay them over-time. Sneaky! I offer the full package – from bridal preparations right through to when you start throwing your shapes on the dance-floor. So when comparing prices, think about what you’re actually getting.
3. What will I actually get?
4. How will you help the day go smoothly?
One of the most important things a photographer has to do is arrive on time, on the right day, at the right venue. So – arriving an hour late at the wrong venue? Does this happen? Believe or not, I have heard of it!
Ask your photographer how they prepare for a wedding. I always try to scope out the venue before-hand and note the best places for light at certain times of the day, where are the sheltered areas for the group shots if it rains and so on.
Your photographer will be with you for most of the wedding, so you don’t need the “site foreman” or a “70s comedian”. You need someone polite, friendly and unobtrusive. Make sure your photographer will not take over the whole wedding – I’ve even seen them with mega-phones! It’s your day, not their’s. A good documentary wedding photographer will capture the essence of your beautiful day – the tears, the laughs, the joy, without dragging you away by the hair through every cliched pose in the book.
A good documentary wedding photographer would of course also be aware that you want significant people in the photographs throughout the day – not just the best man’s pretty girlfriend, but all the friends and family you love! So they will prepare and ensure they know who is who.
5. How soon can I see the photographs after the wedding?
I find that after a wedding there are about a further 20 hours of work to do – downloading the images, editing them and creating slideshows or album structure and design where necessary. So you might find with some photographers, who cram in 2-3 weddings a week, that you could be planning your first wedding anniversary before you get your photographs! I book a maximum of 20 weddings a year so I can provide you with the best possible service as I won’t be rushing to my next wedding and having a “wedding log-jam” on top of each other! I usually have the photographs manually edited and uploaded within 2 weeks of the wedding, but you will definitely have them within 3 weeks.
6. The web-site looks great – but will we actually be happy with the photographer?
When hiring a photographer you don’t know , or who hasn’t been recommended, you do need to feel comfortable with your choice. The photographer will be recording precious memories for you, and you don’t get a second chance at your big day! The best way, after looking at their work, of seeing if your choice of photographer is any good is to read their reviews and testimonials. After all, you’d do that if you wanted someone to fit your new boiler! Why not with a photographer?
Also – talk to your photographer! Do they put you at your ease? Do you feel comfortable and confident with them? Trust your instinct!
7. What style of photographer are you hiring?
There are many styles of wedding photographer, the three main ones being traditional, fashion editorial and documentary or so-called photojournalism style. This latter being the style I specialise in.
Trawl through any Google search for documentary wedding photography and it will bring up 100s of so-called photojournalist photographers. A closer look at their web-sites will soon reveal they are traditional photographers in sheep’s clothing, and their images are largely posed. This is all very well if yo want a traditional photographer, but don’t be fooled. Documentary style photography is a completely different skill-set and requires a complex range of techniques to capture the stunning images you desire.
8. Can you see an entire set of wedding photographs?
When I shot weddings on medium-format film cameras we got 12 square photographs to the roll. We shot 4-roll weddings and presented the pictures in a 48-page album. This meant that every shot had to be picked and presented in the album. No room for error there!
With the world of digital photography a photographer could walk around, throw his camera in the air and maybe get a couple of good pictures. What are the odds? Some photographers use a technique called pray and spray, where you hear the constant sound of the motor-drive clicking as 1000s of photos are taken during the day on big cameras with big cards. An infinite number of monkeys might reproduce a single Henri Cartier-Bresson masterpiece this way! But can they produce an entire weddings-worth of interesting images? The only way to find out is to ask to see a whole wedding.
9. Why should I use a Professional Photographer and not just ask Uncle Eddie?
Uncle Eddie always has the latest camera, with the biggest lenses and all the most up-to-date filters and gear to go with them. So why not ask him to take your photographs? The problem is, however good an amateur photographer he is, Uncle Eddie takes objective, bland photographs. He’s also one of your guests, so you can’t expect him to be on duty all day! A professional photographer knows what images to look for on a wedding day; it’s not just about the equipment, although yes that is important. It is mainly about the trained eye behind it.
I use high-quality professional cameras – I have backups for my backups – I use the right lenses that can shoot in a range of conditions from the darkest church to the blinding sun in the sahara desert (should you get married there!). I also have a professional backup system for our valuable images at home, and I carry an abundance of memory cards and spare batteries. I believe in Murphy’s law. so come prepared. Most of the backup stuff stays in the car, so I come looking like a mountain climber who needs a team of sherpas. I use small unobtrusive digital cameras that enable me to mix freely and shoot with a learned-eye that sparks to life. I know when the moment is right to take a photograph because I feel it almost before I see it.
10. What happens if you’re ill on the day?
I maintain reciprocal relationships with a number of other photographers in the area who would be prepared to be on standby should the worst happen. However I would endeavour to do everything to make it to your wedding! A few years ago I sprained my ankle and photographed a wedding on crutches – I just needed a driver for the day! No photographer can guarantee 100% that they will not be sick or run over by a bus on the your wedding day; but you do need to make sure that they have plans in place to make sure that they don’t let you down.
Right – you now have all the questions that will put all but the best photographers on the spot. Or you could cut the bother and just
call me on
and see if I’m available for your wedding.
11. The Nitty-Gritty
Ok Rik, let’s get to the Nitty-Gritty. How much do you charge? There are so many wedding photography packages out there, at so many different prices. But what is actually being offered? It can be so confusing!
I keep it nice and simple. I charge £995 for all=day coverage from the preparations to when you start throwing your shapes on the dance-floor, when I will drift off into the night. I won’t go until I’m sure I’ve got everything you need.
This price includes a usb in a beautiful presentation box of all the images and a slideshow set to music and an online gallery.
Albums are available from £400, and you can of course also order a variety of prints. Other options are also available – just ask me.
But if you don’t choose me as your wedding photographer, I do hope that my tips wil help you choose someone who will meet all your needs, and above all, enjoy your day and congratulations!