With the venue chosen and invites firmly on their way, it’s time to find the person responsible for capturing every goofy grin, misty eyed moment and key event of the big day; your cameraman. While your mate might think he’s the next David Bailey, and guests’ own photos can certainly make for some cracking results, you want to be sure you’ll have a good quality set of wedding photos to look back on. Without doubt, finding the right wedding photographer matters. With a few important points to consider along the way, we’ve put together a brief guide to help you get cracking.
Styles of Wedding Photography
First up, gents – you need to get an idea of the overall effect you’re looking for.
When it comes to wedding photography you’ll have three main styles to consider;
Usually involves a set list of photos, including the all-too-familiar send the best man to find Aunty Ethel line ‘em up and shoot ‘em group shots, posed portraits and capture of key moments throughout the day (signing the register, cutting the cake, first dance etc).
In a nutshell; Classical rather than contemporary, with a formal approach and a hefty chunk of time spent on posed portraits.
Takes a ‘fly on the wall’ approach to produce a natural docu-style account of the day; from close-ups of the dress, rings and bouquet to the candid shot of the moment your best man thinks he’s lost the rings.
In a nutshell; Informal, unobtrusive, with emphasis firmly on the story telling and details.
Offers a modern blend of both worlds, with a fun upbeat approach to traditional poses and genius use of location. Special effects often applied post-production. Think running, jumping, props, a T-Rex or two… anything goes!
In a nutshell; A less formal style, mixes storytelling and directed (rather than posed) portraiture.
Choosing a Wedding Photographer
Once you’ve established a budget and agreed on the style of wedding photos you’re after, it’s time to get cracking on finding the right man for the job.
More specifically; the right photographer with the right style at the right price.
So, gents – where to begin?
Word of mouth
Recommendations from friends and family always make for a solid starting point… more than likely with a huge collection of albums they’ll (she’ll?) be only too happy to show you in the process (you have been warned!).
When the worldwide interweb comes into play, wedding databases like www.findaweddingphotographer.co.uk come in handy for seeking out photographers in a specific area (although it’s worth bearing in mind that most are happy to travel for the occasion), and resources like the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, the Master Photographer Association and the British Institute of Professional Photography give a good idea of experience and quality. Check out photographers’ own websites, blogs and galleries to get a handle on their style, personality, quality of work and fees, and head to their social media (GoGroom twitter?) to review feedback.
Out and about
Wedding fayres offer the chance to meet, greet and check out portfolios, while other wedding venues/retailers often hold materials from photographers in their local area.
Draw up a shortlist of candidates, and narrow it down to a strong but manageable selection.
Search the site of any of the UK’s top wedding photographers and they all give you one glaring piece of advice – schedule a meeting and go introduce yourself! Without a doubt quality matters, but bearing in mind the photographer will be with you for the entirety – quite possibly longer than any of you other guests – you need to make sure you’re on the same page. You might not have a choice over inviting your fiancee’s brother’s girlfriend’s hairdresser (twice removed) from Timbuktu (?) but when it comes to hiring a wedding photographer, personality goes a long way to being confident in your choice.
Make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting for your hard-earned cash. Look at a few albums, discuss the venue and ideas, confirm exactly what’s included in the package (number of photos, hours of coverage, basic extras..), and find out how they’ll co-ordinate with a wedding videographer if necessary. Don’t forget to check out who’ll be there on the day – a lot of photographers bring a second shooter to make sure they’ve got every angle covered (literally). Insurance, back-up equipment/procedures, and your rights to the wedding photos are all relevant questions you need to ask.
With quality comes demand, so as with any aspect of pre-nuptial planning, the sooner you get started (home page?) the better!