7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Part 7)

The final part of our series, I feel is the most important of all...

7)     Communication

Last but not least, do they grasp the importance of communication?

You will probably be able to gauge early on how keen a communicator your wedding photographer is… How respondent are they to your queries? Do they offer you a direct line to be able to contact them? Do you have a phone number for them for emergencies?

Throughout what is undoubtedly one of the most stressful times of your life, you need to be able to trust that you’ll be able to get hold of your Photographer quickly and reliably should you have any questions or concerns. After all, you are paying for their services and want to feel your day is considered as important to them as it is to you, (and of course, this is their livelihood you are funding!)

Does your photographer confirm meet times/details in writing? Have they explained details of their contract with you? Are they prompt in replying and following up on promised or discussed actions?

A prompt reply to a query you may have will give a good indication of their overall manner, punctuality is obviously an important trait for whoever is capturing your big day. The last thing you need at zero hour is the added stress of not being able to find or get hold of your photographer!

Wrapping up this ultimate guide to choosing a wedding photographer.

Although not the be all and end all (and not exclusively what makes a good wedding photographer), the points I have identified in the last few weeks are things that should always be considered when choosing your photographer, or at the very least, things to expect or question when making your selection. 

Of course, it will be important to establish these key points before you pay your deposit and place a booking. Therefore, on your initial contact, be sure to ask as many questions as you can and ask to see an example of their process, (initial meeting, correspondence drafts etc.) It is also a good idea at this point to try and get in touch with other couples whose weddings they have photographed so you can ask the couple directly about their experience with the photographer and whether they would recommend them. This will play a big part in informing your decision.

Organisation is a MUST have trait of any wedding photographer and it is obviously fundamental that they gain your trust to perform such an important part of one of the most special days of your life. This is a huge undertaking and you must be confident that they take it as seriously as you do. 

Everyone likes to feel special and although many photographers depend on wedding photography as their profession, it is also important that you are not made to feel like just another couple in a long line of weddings that need to be photographed.

Look for that personable touch that makes you and your day feel special and unique.  On your wedding day you are the two most important people and you need to make sure your photographer is capable of accomplishing all of your photography requirements.

Sally & Jaime

Sally and Jaime tied the knot in a beautiful, intimate ceremony at Rugby Registration Office on a sunny Sunday afternoon in May.

The couple wore matching Marks and Spencer cufflinks and blue and grey suits and matching black shoes from the Wedding Barn in Ufton, finished off beautifully with fuschia coloured carnation button holes by Sue's Flowers of York: https://www.suesflowersofyork.co.uk/

Sue's flowers of York also created the centrepiece for the table at the Restaurant where the couple had their Wedding Breakfast; the Sarah Mansfield Country Pub in Willey, nr Lutterworth.

The beautiful Wedding Cake was made by Taste That Cake in Letchworth: http://tastethatcake.co.uk/ and the ring box was made especially for Jaime and Sally by Victoria Lewis @creativebridalwedding.

Tammy Jones sang in a private performance for the couple and this was followed by a series of personal readings from family members.

After the ceremony we moved to the Registry gardens for the group shots and portraits.  

The following week, the couple celebrated further and travelled to Mexico for a blessing in front of Family and Friends.

Jaime and Sally's special day was a gorgeous, personal and love filled celebration of their 13 years together! Thank you so much for asking us to capture it for you!

7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Parts 5 & 6)

Parts 5 &6 of this series focus on the finer details of your Wedding and the preparation your photographer should be making to ensure that these important aspects are not missed.

5)     Itinerary

Does your photographer ask for an itinerary?

In order to properly plan the photos on the day and to ensure your desired shots are captured, your wedding photographer should ask for a copy of your itinerary for the day, including the details of your wedding planner/ toastmaster/venue’s co-ordinator. 

They will then be able to plan where they need to be at what time and have a clear indication of the schedule and running of the day.  In a lot of cases the photographer will guide the running order of the portraits and it is their responsibility to ensure all desired images are captured in the times allotted. 

There will usually be a slot allocated for photos after the ceremony and before the wedding breakfast, however how the time within this is used and how the photos are organised will be the photographer’s sole responsibility.  If they haven’t asked for a copy of the itinerary, you may need to check they are fully prepared for this task.

6)     Attention to detail

Has your photographer asked for the finer details of your wedding?

Examples of wat we’re talking about here are colour schemes, theme, any traditions that you would like recognised or if there is a particular style of edit you would like? Most photographers will have developed a style specific to them and this is something that you would have undoubtedly considered prior to booking them.

However it is important that your wedding photographer pays a general interest to the finer details of your wedding in order to make your photos as personal to you as possible. For example, making sure extra care will be taken to capture decorations or table props or accessories if a couples theme is an important aspect of the day.

Another example could be if your wedding is of a vintage theme then your photographer may feel it appropriate to employ a black and white edit choice when processing your images to accentuate the feel of the day.

Above all, you want to choose a photographer who demonstrates an honest interest in your day and who appreciates the efforts you have gone to make it special.

Coming Next: Part 7; Communication

7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Parts 3 & 4)

In parts 3 & 4 of this series we will look at the documentation your photographer should complete with you and start to assess the prep work that takes place in regards to research around your booking.  In this week's case, the venue visit.

3)     Photo Worksheet

Does your wedding photographer give you a worksheet to complete? 

This should list the key photos that you would like (group shots etc.) and a list of names of key family members including any particular special notes that the photographer needs to be aware of. 

This makes the formal photograph part of the day run much more smoothly and again, if the photographer is aware of who’s who it will help put people at ease and make the day much more enjoyable for everybody. 

It also means your photographer can ensure they get all of the photos you want – which of course should be any wedding photographer’s primary aim!

4)     Venue Visit

Has the photographer done a venue visit or is it a venue that they are already familiar with?

A familiarity with the wedding venue will again allow for a much smoother running of the photos on the day.  Your wedding photographer should be aware of where certain aspects of the day are to be held so that they are able to prep equipment and they should have already scouted out places for group shots, couple photos and alternatives if it happens to be a wet wedding (heaven forbid!). 

Time won’t be limitless on the day and there will probably only be narrow allotted slots for each set of photos, so having already done this preliminary visit will ensure none of the key points of your day are missed.

Don't be afraid to ask your photographer if they are familiar with the venue, if they are - great! If not, ask them if they will be visiting or if you haven't had your initial pre-wedding meeting yet, maybe suggest this takes place at the venue.  This will enable you to discuss your requirements in more detail and play out where you would like specific photos taken and where you expect certain aspects to take place on the day.  If the venue holds open days, visiting on one of these will give the photographer the opportunity of discussing intricacies with the staff, if they have any and also potentially finalising any requirements in regards to insurance or guidelines that the venue may have. 

Coming Next: Parts 5 & 6; Itinerary & Attention to detail 

7 Qualities to Look for When Choosing Your Wedding Photographer (Parts 1 & 2)

Choosing a wedding photographer is by far one of the most important steps in planning a wedding.  It is also often the task that takes the longest and requires the most research and consideration.

It is therefore important to make sure the photographer you choose will put as much consideration, thought, planning and time into photographing your wedding, as you have done in choosing them to do it.

Over the next few weeks, we will outline seven key qualities to look out for when you are choosing your wedding photographer and detail some useful questions for you to ask to ensure you are getting the best deal for you. At the end of the series we will combine these points in a printable, comprehensive guide to assist you in your decision.

1)     Engagement or Initial Mini Shoots

Do they offer an initial mini photo shoot to cover your engagement or simply as a dry run?

Engagements shoots are an important part of the bonding process with your wedding photographer. It provides an important opportunity for you to get to know one another on a more personal basis.

This helps you both feel at ease in one another’s company, which makes discussing requirements frankly and posing those all-important couple shots at the wedding that much easier. A good photographer will naturally make you feel at ease regardless of whether they have previously photographed you, but a familiar face and one previous shoot already in the bag will help further calm your nerves on what will be one of the most important days of your life.

Whether a photographer offers a specific engagement shoot or simply a half hour mini session, you should check that they are prepared to offer some sort of pre-shoot as part of the wedding package.

A shoot prior to the wedding will also give your photographer an opportunity to assess how you photograph, so they are able to get it just right on the day.  Everyone has a best angle and if you have a “best side” or a bit of yourself that you may be self-conscious about (even if you know you shouldn’t be!). This is the time to let your photographer know so they can bear this in mind when taking your portraits on the day it matters most.

2)     Pre-Wedding Meeting

Do they request a planning meeting before the wedding and make it clear when this should be scheduled?

This will almost certainly be done at the time of the engagement/pre-mini session.  Either way, it is important you check that your photographer will offer you the opportunity to meet before the wedding to run through any specific requirements you have and for you discuss any concerns if you request it.  Once again it will give you an opportunity to get to know your photographer and for both parties to fully understand one another’s expectations.

Coming Next: Parts 3 & 4; Photo Worksheet & Venue Visit