There are a myriad of things to consider when booking your photographer for the big day. You have a budget, your family are sending you links and images from dozens of photographers and looking for vendors can be a stressful experience.
I had a meeting with a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago to discuss his wedding, not as necessarily as his photographer but in terms of things to consider when looking and he asked a lot of questions.
Which was great, but I wasn't used to it.
I mention this because, in the stress and whirlwind that is planning a wedding, it's not uncommon or unnatural to forget things you might want to ask or mention. But one of the questions he asked was also one of his first.
"What should we look for?"
I thought about this for a moment because that's a huge question. Photographers are all different and have different approaches, personalities, methods...
It's a mine field. But here's the most important thing it all boils down to...
That's it. Nothing more or less complicated.
When choosing a photographer for your wedding your first and highest priority should be their style. And let me tell you for why...
Ultimately, your pictures are the most important part of your day. Ok 2nd most important... FINE, 3rd most important part of the day. After your partner and the marriage itself, your pictures come next.
In the grand scheme of things this may seem narrow minded and you might be sitting at your device now thinking "Jon, you would say that. You're a photographer!!" and you're right. Being a photographer has given me this insight.
Look at it this way, you'll never wear the dress again, the suits will probably be returned to the hire company, the venue will be cleaned and setup for another wedding (probably the next day), the cars will be put in the garage ready to be sent out again and the catering (including the cake) will be consumed. Aside from the rings, the only thing you purchase for the big day that you get to keep are your PICTURES!! Ok, 4th after the rings.
And this is why style is so important. If you book your photographer based on budget, personality, convenience or any other of a dozen reasons you can choose a supplier for and not their style, there's a strong possibility you will grow to hate the images of the happiest day of your life.
Your pictures will find their way into frames and placed around your home, around your family members homes. You want to be proud of them and if you're even slightly unsure on your photographers style, then don't book them.
I found this out the hard way.
I've shot weddings for old acquaintances who insisted they wanted me to shoot their wedding. Then, when the images are delivered the complaints started and every single one of them was to do with the style of the images.
Style is a very personal thing for a photographer and it can be quite difficult to adjust a style especially if you haven't shot the day with that style in mind. For example, I'm a light and airy photographer. I like light, bright, colourful and a natural light balance. I can adjust my style to be more desaturated for a more vintage look, but if you want dark and moody with a rich warm tone, I'm probably the wrong photographer for you.
And that's fine!! I would 100% rather you book someone who worked with your aesthetic than you book me (which is what my accountant wants you to do) and be unhappy with the most important memento of a day you're (hopefully) only going to do once.
"But Jon. We're on a budget!! Our perfect photographer is just too much"
I hear ya. But here's the counter. Money is an obstacle, not a barrier. Many photographers will offer payment plans (I know I can... somehow) or there's a loan or even ask guests to "gift" donations to pay for a photographer. It will be the best decision you can make for your wedding... Besides choosing an amazing partner... We assume... I mean, why else would you be marrying them?
There are, of course, other things to consider...
This person is going to be spending around 12 hours with you and your family. You don't want to choose someone who tells racist jokes and hits on grandma. But personality traits are easier to rein in and, ultimately it's your photographer’s responsibility to behave in a courteous and professional manner.
Added extras in the price are also things to consider but be wary. Albums, prints, canvases all cost the photographer something including their time, which will push the price of that particular item up. Which is important to consider when looking at cost v value. Getting a £1500 package with £750 worth of extras is not the same as booking a £1500 photographer. But all this is secondary to the main consideration, style!!!
Find a photographer whose work reflects you, who you are and what you like.
And then, every evening when you sit on the sofa with your partner or your friends or when your kids ask about the picture of you over the mantle piece you'll smile, be proud and filled with the warm reminder of how you felt on the happiest day of your life.