I’ve had at least a dozen attempts at sitting down to write about what to look for in a wedding photographer. But each time it’s ended up being either too simple or too complicated. Luckily the talented Eric Savoie from Savo Photography wrote an excellent piece on onefabday.com which sums up it all perfectly. So I’m going to put my slant on that article!
Eric lists the four main things you should look for in a photographer “style, budget, personality and experience” I couldn’t agree more. There’s no particular order, they are all as important as each other and should be weighed up by the couple when finding their photographer.
You need to get on with and like your photographer. You need to make sure that the photographer is on YOUR wavelength and you are on theirs. I can’t stress how important this is. I think of the couple as my friends, not just clients. In fact quite a lot of my wedding clients are now firm friends. So meet the potential photographer. Check them out. See if you like em.
You need to make sure the photographer’s style matches what YOU want. Each and every photographer is unique, they all take different images and have a unique style. Even those who work to a standard set list of shots are unique. You can’t compare one photographer with another. So look carefully at your photographers work. Make sure you have a good look through a cross-section of their work on their blog or in albums. You need to be comfortable that you can just let them do their job and trust them!
Like Eric says “Obviously style is subjective and what attracts you to a particular photographer’s style may not be someone else’s cup of tea.” – “The important thing is that while looking over the photographers portfolio it speaks to you. Can you imagine yourself in the same photos you’re viewing? The photographs may be absolutely stunning, but if you get cringy at the idea of yourself and your fiancée in the same type of photos, it may be a good idea to consider looking for something that suits your own personal style better.” – Eric Savoie
So, just have a darn good look at their work and if you like it then see if they are available for your date!
Just pick a figure out of your head. It could €300, it could be €50,000. Whatever figure you think of there will be a photographer somewhere in the world to match that number. Often a couple will ‘budget’ a figure for photography before looking around. They may also have seen the average cost on a survey and that’s their guide. But this is the wrong way round. No-one in business makes a budget without knowing what it’s for. Planning a wedding is no different. Find out what you want first. Research. Find the things you like and get a good idea of what’s going to be needed and roughly how much those things costs. They you can start planning your budget. You can decide which items are more important than others, which ones can be done ‘DIY’, which ones family and friends can help with. This way you get to spend more of your budget on the things that are more important to you as a couple.
Don’t forget about the album either. Your wedding needs to exist in something other than social media or a JPEG on a USB Drive. You need to have your images in print. As with the range of photographers, you’ll find a range of wedding albums they supply. They all range in quality. I spent a lot of time researching albums and use Queensberry who I (and many others) consider to be one of the best in the world. These albums are an investment, beyond a life time, they are your legacy. Will your grand kids be looking fondly over that flashy USB drive that can’t be used years down the line? Nope.
If someone is charging €500 for a full day wedding and an album then try to figure out why are they so cheap? If it’s too good to be true then it usually is.
A good wedding photographer is so much more than some guy/gal with a good camera. It’s someone with TWO good cameras (and spare lenses) if one breaks. It’s someone who does this full-time, has insurance, dresses smartly, knows how to be polite and professional with you and your guests, has access to a backup photographer should they get ill. It’s someone who knows how to manage the timing of things on the day, who’s your own personal wedding planner on the day. The good wedding photographer will know how to pose people so they look good, get the cranky kids smiling, looks for the microphone stand in the background that’s coming out of the brides head. They will know how to be polite and respectful to the priest or celebrant, communicate with the venue so they can plan the start of the dinner. Have scissors, sewing kit, spare hair slides and more – just in case. They will know how to straighten a crinkled wedding dress, fix the flowers on the groomsmen, re-fix the veil when it comes out. A good photographer will make sure you are no longer the person ‘that hates having their photo taken’. They will even have a good pen in case the priest comes out with a crappy Bic biro – YOU’VE NO IDEA HOW OFTEN THAT HAPPENS!
This is just a small part of what an experienced wedding photographer does as well as capturing your wedding! So experience is invaluable.