Photography – where to start and what to expect

Long after your special day has passed, your wedding photos will be the main reminder of your wedding day. This is why it is really important to find a photographer that understands your needs, whilst understanding your budget.

The single most important thing to look for when looking for a great photographer, is whether or not they are part of the regulated guild ‘The Guild of Photographers’. If they are a registered member of this association then you can trust that they are a quality photographer.

Cost:

The prices of hiring a photographer will vary greatly depending what you require from them. For example, if you only want the ceremony and post-ceremony family shots covered, you’d expect to spend less on the services of a photographer. However, if you wanted multiple photographers to stay for the entire day, covering the Bride getting ready, all the way through to the evening celebration, plus professionally made albums using their photos, you’d need to expect that you’d be paying a considerable amount more!! If you are on a budget, ask for a ‘disk-only’ package. You will get all the images on a disk and you can print, edit and copy them as and when you like. Its a load cheaper than buying an album from them, and plus you get to have free choice over how you want to use the pictures!

Prices will also depend upon how long the photographer has been in the business; a photographer with 20 years professional experience will be considerably more than one who has not long graduated and is just starting up in the wedding business.

Although it can be tempting, most Brides would advise against using a guest/member of the family/friend to be your photographer. Yes, they may have a photography qualification and they would be cheap/free, but surely you want them to enjoy your day, and not have to ‘work’ through it? My sister has a photography qualification but even though she wouldn’t charge to take our photos (which is a tempting offer), she is also a Bridesmaid and cannot physically be in the photo and take the photo at the same time!

Mr M and I have chosen our photographer already; she is a young lady who has just started in the wedding photography business and is a friend of one of my sister. Her prices reflect that she is a ‘newbie’ in the wedding photography world, but the testimonials received from the couples’ weddings she has covered show she comes highly recommended. We are going for a simple half-day coverage – shots from before, during and after the ceremony provided on a high-resolution disk. I am not a fan of traditional wedding albums (or their cost) and I have found a company that will create exactly what I am after, but for a considerably smaller cost.

Previous experience and photography style:

A good photographer will be able to show you examples of previous weddings they have covered; look at the style of the photos.. are they mostly posed shots? Or are they shots where you can imagine the individuals had no idea the photographer was there (in a good way)? The kind of photos the photographer shows you says a lot about their style; each photographer has a style they stick to, so if you are looking for a photographer that shoots naturally (i.e. no set poses), then it’d be unlikely they’d feel comfortable at (or be very good at) taking all posed shots.

If you have a large family, or you want to have photos of certain guests taken, give your photographer a list before (and on) the day. Make sure you voice exactly what you are looking for, and who you want photos with and of, because you do not want to receive your photos a month after the big day and be devastated because you didn’t have a photo taken with your favourite Granny. The photographer may be a professional, but it is partly YOUR responsibility to make sure they know what you want to get from hiring their services. This day only comes once and you cannot recreate missed opportunities like these.

Using props in your wedding photos can be great fun – but make sure this is something that your wedding photographer likes to do and is prepared for. It is unlikely that a really-traditional-posed-family-photo photographer will encourage you to take fun shots where you are jumping about, or holding balloons or signs – these kind of photos will just look awkward and wrong if you and your photographer don’t ‘get’ each other.

Ask your photographer beforehand if you can make some time for you and your partner to have a bit of time away from the rest of the guests. This wedding is about YOU and although getting shots of your guests is an important part of wedding photography, you want to make sure that the photos are as natural as possible – there is nothing worse than posing for a photo whilst you know you have 100 beady eyes staring at you.

REMEMBER:

Wedding photography is often one of the biggest expenses of a couple’s wedding day (excluding food and drinks) and so you want to make sure you get it right. Do your research, MEET your photographer (I cannot explain how important this is – simple contact through the internet is just not good enough to base your decision on) and go with what you feel is right!

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