How to choose your perfect wedding photographer
17 Jul 2017
Struggling to work out how to pick a photographer? Our checklist should help you out
Image: Sophie Elliott
Getting married is such a beautiful event that, naturally, you will want to have photographs of the event to remember for the rest of your life. There are, however, an abundance of wedding photographers out there, and it can be difficult to select the one that is perfect for you. Here is our advice for making sure you make the right decision.
Step one: set a budget
Photographer’s prices can range from anywhere between a couple of hundred pounds to several thousand pounds, so you need to set your photography budget early on. Think about how long you’ll want them at your wedding - all day, just the ceremony, or half the day – as this will make a big difference to the cost. Once you have your rough budget, you can start looking at photographers in the area and asking for quotes. The Bride Magazine Supplier Finder is a great tool to help you get started.
Step two: get in touch to ask about what they offer
Not every photographer will make it clear on their website exactly what they do and do not offer. Some photographers base their price on the number of photographs you’ll receive, whilst some will base it on the amount of time you need them for. Some photographers will solely work in print, whilst others will use digital files or USB sticks. Many photographers include a pre-wedding engagement shoot in their packages, whilst there are a few who will charge extra for this. Make sure to check exactly what you will receive from your photographer, to avoid disappointment later on.
Step three: take a look at their testimonials
So you’ve chosen a photographer who is within budget and who offers exactly what you want. Now it’s time to take a look at their testimonials and reviews to make sure they’re legitimate. It can be so easy to get caught up in a scam, so you will want to be smart. Check out their Facebook and website to see if there has been any feedback from past clients. If there aren’t any reviews available, consider looking elsewhere as this is a big red flag. No feedback means no evidence of previous clients. If they do have testimonials but they’re negative, get in touch to ask what happened. Was it a misunderstanding that's now been resolved, or was there a serious problem? See if you can get in touch with previous clients, too, to make sure they were truly happy with the results.
Step four: meet up in person or by Skype
Not everyone enjoys meetings, but, unfortunately, with most wedding vendors it’s a necessity. This couldn’t be truer for photographers. As they are going to be tailing you throughout your entire wedding, you need to ensure that they are somebody you feel comfortable with. Can you imagine selecting a photographer, never meeting up, and then realising on the day of your wedding that they are the most annoying human being you’ve ever met? It could legitimately ruin your day. You can also use the meeting to ask any questions you have, or to iron out the details of what you want.
Step five: pay your deposit and wait
Most photographers will not allow you to book without first paying a deposit. This holds the date for you so that they don’t double book, but also acts as a reassurance to them that you aren’t going to cancel. If you do, you lose the deposit. And then, all you can do is wait. You will generally want to book a photographer a year or more in advance, as they get booked up very quickly and it can be difficult to find one last minute.
Make sure that, in the time in between booking them and your wedding, you continue to communicate. Let them know when the timings have been worked out, ask them questions, and send over a shot list. If your photographer offers a pre-wedding engagement shoot, use that as a practise run for your wedding day to ensure you’re comfortable in front of the camera.