How to choose right wedding photographer?
I guess a lot of B2B have a headache due to a punch list of things to be fixed for their wedding. It is a fabulous event you’ll remember forever but not so easy to organize. I went through it with my wife (ex-fiancee) quite recently. We planned everything on our own but it was easier for us because we know the wedding suppliers quite well.
Firstly, we listed most important points to be fixed:
1. Venue with catering.
2. Town hall/church.
We booked everything within one day around 1.5 year upfront the wedding. The best practice is to have couple options for every punch from the list. Our good advice is to be a quality and price-wise.
Where the hell take photographers from?
I tell you how, but be patient and I encourage to read this entire post. It may take 10-15 minutes but you save much more time during the planning, booking and you will be confident about your choices that you did a right damn thing!
To book or not to book.
The very first question you should ask yourself is: Do I really have to book a photographer and how important pictures are? You may ask uncle Ben with his drone for some shoots or friends to take pictures with their fancy iPhones. You save in fact, bunch of money and can spend it for the dress you dreamed every night or a band you love listen to. Sounds temptating? Surely! But where the trick is?
Nowadays people underestimate the photography as an occupation or subject but is much more complex due to unpredictability! In the times of a huge progress of technologies, cameras are everywhere. It is not a big deal to spend some money, buy a posh-camera and use the suffix ‚photography’ after initials. Let’s jump to the past: 1920-1970 to the time when our parents or grandparents were teenagers. The photography was different, cameras less popular and only fraction of people knew how to use them. They needed knowledge about cameras construction, composition, exposure dependencies, films and also how to lighten them to get good results.
The best shots similar to the icons above can be bought through the Magnum website for bunch of money (100th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower by E.Erwitt costs $5000). Can you imagine that the pictures which shaped the professional and documentary photography were taken by amateurs? No way!
And here is the trick – certain events or moments happen once! Will you trust in person who can take the pictures regardless weather, light conditions, situations, different circumstances or let it do someone else? The choice of a professional wedding photographer should be dictated by a trust and treated as an investment. You invest money to keep precious memories which you will share with children and grand children after years or decades.
Pricing & the budget…
…is the first limitation. My advice is to keep a relevant balance between spendings and to impose priorities. True example: a wedding with 100 guests, with cake for £500 and photographer’s cost £300. Wedding cake is more expensive than photographer? The cake will be eaten, shoes used once, dress weared but how about the memories? Won’t you regret spending a bit more getting a better photographer or an album, will you? Our couples are really satisfied with their choice and love to recall the memories with our pictures.
Pricing is not an easy thing because different photographers lead their businesses differently. Top class destination photographers may charge £4-5k for an exotic event while a local part-time guy may charge as low as £300 for entire wedding!
Professional wedding photographers invest significant amount of money for the development (photography workshops & gatherings) and business promotion like website, SEO, advertising and associations of photographers through wedding fairs, up to gear upgrades.
Scope & workflow
We generally cover weddings from preparations till reception / party late at night, sometimes more than 14 hours. During a standard wedding we take around 5000 pictures which we select the best from. The selection is a very important because it influences how interesting the story will be. The pictures’ locations are well thought and every frame has its own place in the story chronology. We do not repeat shots. Do you have a feeling that some portfolios are simply boring? The reason is that photos are ordered in a mindless way without feeling of action & flow.
After the selection we post-process every picture with our own style – no bulk processing of 300 or 400 pictures in a batch. We generally provide 150-400 pictures per wedding. It depends on the coverage (half day cover/ full day cover/ formal shoots/ reception). Now, take a look at photographers who deliver 1000 pictures or more. I grant you that they are not selected correctly, the story is boring with poor post-processing. My advice is to follow a good quality and getting pictures you won’t shame. Always ask for an access to the FULL story reportage just for an overview. It will give you a valuable info about quantity vs. quality.
When the processing is done all pictures are uploaded on USB stick and online gallery which you can share with your family and friends immidiately. Nowadays it is a standard solution regardless pricing.
Style of work & postprocessing
The second important factor next to the workflow is a style. Every shooter has own preferences. Some photographers use flashes, direct weddings or shoot from the distance.
From our side, we offer a discrete and unobtrusive style which makes our couples comfortable and natural. We don’t influence action and this is key for spontaneous pictures. What is important for you as a client is the output as a product and how comfortable you will feel with certain style.
As you probably observed photographers have different postprocessing from candy saturated colours, film simulated, black-white, pastel to dark/shadow exposures. Everything is up to you and what you like. Don’t be mistaken by the family or friends because every person has own taste.
We prefer pictures without exaggeration of colours or unnecessary tints and vignetting. Our starting point is to use mainly ambient light and to not distract with flashes.
Other details which MATTER!
There are also other points you should pay attention to such as:
1. Contract – how it looks and what contains.
2. General look of photographers and how they represent their business.
3. Open to share work (full stories provided to client) for preview.
4. Consistency of the work.
5. Ready to meet and talk in the office/home/place of work.
Roadmap for brides
Here is the answer to the heading question. I listed the points which may make the decision easier:
1. Find the style you’d like your pictures to be (colour style, type of pictures (documentary vs. portraits) and way of taking them (candid, unobtrusive or influential photographer). Be aware of portfolios full of gorgeous portraits in loveley scenneries. Check if documentary picures are also as good as the photo-session ones. Pay attention how consistent the stories are and how interesting the sequence is. Take your time, nobody’s rushing you because it is possible to book a very good photographer even a couple days before a wedding!
2. Set your budget and be ready for some tweaks.
3. Look for 5-8 photographers from your local area because some of them may have already been booked. View the portfolio and look at the section about me/us to know what sort of personality given shooter is. Where to find photographers? Here are some options:
– Google search or Google maps
– wedding industry portals: http://www.
4. Ask for a wedding brochure. This is your first step of a selection due to pricing, scope and additional items. Don’t look at the number of pictures but the quality!
5. If you find and choose the right person or team of photographers you can finalize your decision but prior this call be sure that just in case a substitution can be providedThe last step is signing a contract and paying a deposit.
7. Congratulations! You fixed another point from the check list!
I hope the article is helpful for you and makes your decision a bit easier and you make use of hints where to find a good & valuable photographer. If you have any questions and comments don’t hesitate to drop us a line or simply leave a comment below. Be patient and look forward our next article!
Wojtek from Box of Love team