How To choose my wedding photographer
It's difficult, isn't it? There are so many wedding photographers out there that it's almost impossible to know who to choose, right? Well, if your wedding photography is important to you then I'm here to help, and I want to share some useful hints and tips with you that'll help you get ahead of the rest.
1 - Get to know your photographer
Yes, that's me, Ryan, and I'm the only photographer who represents my company, Riff Raff Photography. You might not believe it, but I've heard of brides who've booked their photographer and someone else has turned up on the big day. That's enough to put fear in to even the most organised of brides!
So, find out who your photographer is and ask if they'll be the one to shoot on the day of your wedding. Seriously, it's a biggie. You want to know that the person you're talking to is the persons who'll be taking care of you on your big day.
Arrange a consultation. You can do this over the phone or face to face (preferred!) and you'll get a good feeling of whether you click or not. You're spending almost your whole wedding day with this person, so it's important you get on.
Don't underestimate the importance of meeting your photographer!
2 - Ask for an engagement shoot
It's not always part of the package, but if you're lucky you might be able to wangle this one for free. If you've already followed tip number one, the next step to making the right choice is to ask for an engagement shoot. This isn't all about getting photos of you and your fiancé together (although you'll come away with some nice up to date photos of you both, and who doesn't like some fresh photos for social media?), but you'll find out exactly what your potential photographer's like with the camera, with you, and how he or she interacts with you in general.
Yes, you'll likely feel nervous to begin with, but it's better to get those nerves out of the way now, rather than on your wedding day. It's so effective that I've yet to receive any negative feedback from my couples.
3 - Make sure your photographer is a professional
How many people do you know from your circle of friends, or maybe a family member, who have a camera? Times have moved on so much that even the most amateur of photographer can now shoot a wedding. Let me tell you, the thought of shooting a wedding with no experience scares me to death.
Despite this, some photographers simply don't realise how difficult and important your day is to shoot. Ask what experience they have and ask for samples of their work. If they don't have a website or general online presence (think Facebook as a minimum!), then avoid - unless you want to take a huge risk.
Any professional photographer worth their name will have all of the above, and their website should look and feel up to date as you would expect. If you're being offered photography for a few hundred pounds, this is likely the sign of an amateur and a likely road to disaster.
4 - Equipment
No, I don't mean cameras and lenses. Something more important than this is backups, backups, backups. Ask your photographer what contingencies they have to avoid your precious memories being lost. Any experienced photographer will have at least two cameras and two lenses with him/her on the day of your wedding. They'll have multiple memory cards, flashes and batteries just in case there's a problem.
But what happens after this? Images are transferred from the memory cards and on to a hard drive before the memory cards are wiped ready for the next wedding. Your photographer should have a system in place to automatically back up your memories in several places.
Don't be shy in asking, a good photographer will take great pride and invest large sums of money to keep your memories safe, so go ahead and put your mind at rest.
5 - Insurance and Contract
You've booked your wedding photographer and he/she can no longer shoot your wedding, for whatever reason, and you've been informed at short notice. What do you do?
This is a nightmare and worst case scenario for everyone involved. So, before you book, ask for a copy of the contract and check it over thoroughly. It should state what happens under these (and other) kinds of circumstances that could negatively impact on your wedding day. Who will provide a replacement? Will you be at a loss? What insurance does the photographer have in place, and, what insurance might you have in place?
If you have a wedding insurance policy, check and understand what it covers. Do it at the beginning and avoid being left in the lurch at short notice. Trust me, I've been on the receiving end of too many panicked brides, wedding coordinators and family members who are desperate to find a photographer who's available.
And, don't forget, you've probably already spent your entire wedding budget by the time you find out!
Follow these top 5 tips and you'll be on to a winner. I'm proud to be a photographer, even more so when I'm allowed to be part of someone's biggest day. It's a huge responsibility and you shouldn't have to worry about your memories.