Wedding Photography – Tips For Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Your wedding album will be the most lasting reminder of your big day.

I know family and friends will be taking plenty of photos, but it’s wise to book a professional photographer, as we are talking about the biggest day of your life!

The first thing to consider is what style of photography appeals to you. Do you want very formal, traditional photos with lots of group photos, or would you prefer natural, un-posed images, capturing the day’s events as they unfold? “Reportage” is a term commonly used to describe this style of photography. You must also decide where and when you want your photos taken. Do you want photos in your home, as you are getting ready? Do you want the speeches to be photographed, and the first dance? A very important decision is whether you want an album, or just the digital files. With the digital files, you can create your own album, prints, DVD slideshows, and most photographers will allow you to use them on social networking sites such as Facebook.

I include the digital files with all my wedding packages, but most of my bride’s and groom’s still have an album, because it would be very difficult for them to match the creativity of the design, and the quality of the printing & albums I produce. If your budget stretches to it, then let your photographer design & print your album for you.

Once you’ve made these decisions, it’s time to find a photographer!

A good way to find a photographer is through personal recommendation, ask friends what they thought of their wedding photographer. Alternatively, you can find your wedding photographer in the bridal press, wedding directories, local newspapers, Yellow Pages, and of course, on the Internet.

Almost all professional photographers have a web site, with a large gallery of photographs. This is an excellent way to study their work, style and creativity. If you like what you see, make an appointment to meet up with the photographer. You will be able to view sample albums, and discuss your individual requirements. It’s important to view albums containing complete weddings, not just a few hand picked images.

Make sure the person you meet is the person who will be taking your photographs, and be sure this person created the albums you view. You must feel relaxed and comfortable with your photographer, and be able to trust them to work well with you on the day. Don’t be shy to tell him or her exactly what you want, what style of photos work for you, and who are the important people on the day! Point out photos you particularly like in their portfolio; this will help your photographer to understand what you are after.

Everyone has a budget, but you get what you pay for ! The cost of the photography usually includes: preparation for the day, visiting the venue, reception and any other locations, prior to the wedding; production of the proofs, and lastly designing and producing your album. All this takes considerable time, and must be charged for. If a photographer is cheap, you must ask yourself why? You don’t want your photographer taking short cuts, and compromising the quality of your wedding photography!

You should, however, check for any hidden charges. Do prices include VAT, are albums included in the price, etc. Some photographers may also charge for travel and accommodation.

OK, so you’ve found the perfect photographer… now book quickly! The best photographers have bookings well in advance. You should book as soon as possible; and it’s never too early to start looking.

So now it’s your wedding day. Here are a few tips to have you looking fantastic in front of the camera.

Enjoy Yourself! You don’t need to be a supermodel to look great in photos. If you are having a good time, relaxed and enjoying yourself, it will show in the pictures, you’ll look happy and radiant.

Don’t worry about the dress, don’t worry about your hair, don’t worry about anything.

Your wedding day passes so quickly, time travels super-fast, so soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the attention, and the smiles will come naturally! If you feel really nervous or self-conscious about photos, then choose a photographer who specialises in natural, un-posed shots, and most of the time you won’t even realise you are having your photo taken!

Give yourself plenty of time. When you plan the day, always factor in enough time for delays, traffic queues or late arrivals. It’s quite easy to get behind schedule, so make sure you have some spare time in your itinerary. There’s nothing worse than rushing on your wedding day, and it won’t be easy smiling for photos when you know the wedding breakfast is going cold!

It’s Your Wedding Day… Not a Photo Shoot . If you find your jaw aching from smiling, or just need a break from the camera, then tell your photographer you need a rest for 5 minutes. Have a drink or a chat with friends, and continue with any photos you need later. This may be difficult to do if you have a tight schedule, or want loads of posed photos, so consider this when you’re planning the day’s events.

Natural Smiles. Your chosen photographer will know how to put you at ease; it’s their job. The most important thing is to relax, pretend the camera is not there, and act naturally. I always find that a relaxed and happy atmosphere, and a glass or two of bucks fizz, put a smile on the face of even the most nervous bride and groom!

Have a wonderful wedding day!

John Haworth L.M.P.A.