Your Guide to Hiring a Wedding Photographer
After the booking of your venue and the date of your big day confirmed, one of the next things you should consider looking at is the hiring of your wedding photographer. Wedding photographers can be booked up to 1-2 years in advance so if you find someone you want to capture your day, it is important to get them booked.
Hiring a Professional Wedding Photographer
When it comes to finding a wedding photographer there are many sites that allow you to browse top wedding photographers in the UK, also when you find your venue you may also find photographers that have shot at your venue too. Photos on our venues are credited to the photographer who took them, so you can easily find a photographer that has worked at your venue and view their website.
Wedding Photographer or Videographer
It is important to note the difference between the two, a wedding photographer is a photographer and is about capturing your day through images, a videographer will capture your day via video, creating and editing a mini movie and story of your special day.
You would usually have a wedding photographer and then you may also have a videographer as well. Some photographers may also offer this service too, or be able to recommend a videographer they have worked with before.
Many wedding photographers will travel, so you are not limited to photographers that live local to your or your venue. If you are getting married abroad then again many will happily hop on a plane and fly over to capture your day too.
The benefit of hiring a photographer that has worked at your venue is that you can see full weddings captured by that photographer at your venue, the different shots and places they have taken photos. Your photographer will know the venue, they will know the layout, the best places to go for those intimate shots of just the two of you as a newly married couple, they will know where to capture the best shots for any group photos, or when you enter for your reception.
It is also good to see full weddings captured by a photographer at your venue, you can see their style, the types of photos they will take and what backdrops they use for their photos.
Cost to Hire a Wedding Photographer?
When it comes to budgeting for your photographer it can cost anywhere from £1,000 to £3,000 plus. Costs can vary depending on the photographer, their style, experience, and their location.
Another factor is the package and what is included, as standard you get edited photos that you can download and also view online. Some packages will include a high quality album beautifully created for you, some will include an engagement shoot so you can get some pre-wedding photos, this is also a great way to get to know your photographer, and also feel more comfortable in-front of the camera.
There are many different photographers, each with their own style, some may have shot at your venue, and for some it maybe a new one for them, although there are benefits to a photographer that have shot at your venue it is not an issue if they haven’t. A creative photographer will find the best places to get those great shots in the morning, or may pop up the day before to have a look around the venue.
Different styles can include more traditional photos that are more formal, great for group and family shots. A popular style is reportage and documentary, this is a more candid and relaxed style. The focus is on capturing more natural photos that are not staged or posed, capturing moments and emotions on the the faces of your guests without them knowing a photo is being taken.
View different styles to find one you like and a way you would like your day captured and how you would like you wedding day story told.
The key is to find a photographer and their work that you love, it is also important to make sure you get on with them too, and that you feel comfortable and relaxed around them. The more comfortable and relaxed you feel with them, the more relaxed you will feel when having you photo taken. This makes for more natural and fun photos, if you feel awkward then it will sadly show in your photos.
It is good to meet photographers if possible so you can see how you get on with them, it is also good so that you can also see full, edited and complete wedding albums they have done. When viewing these you want to see high quality photos throughout the album, you are looking for consistency. You don’t want just a few really amazing photos and then a mixed lot filling the rest of the album.
With your wedding budget being used on hiring a professional photographer, it is also worth thinking about having an unplugged wedding. Having your guests not take photos throughout the ceremony and just enjoying the moment with you allows your photographer to do what they do best, and for your guests to be there with you, and not behind their camera or phone.
Questions to ask your Wedding Photographer
When meeting your photographer here are some questions you may wish to ask, as well as things to consider when meeting them.
- Can I view some finished and complete albums?
- How many photos should I receive from my wedding?
- How many hours are included in your package?
- How long after the wedding should it take till I see my photos?
- How will I receive my images? (USB, Download, Album)
- What happens if you are ill, or there is an emergency?
- Do you have any reviews or testimonials?
When looking at photographer websites they will display some of their best photos, however you want to see this consistency throughout the whole album of that wedding. High consistent quality is the what you want.
Once you have found a photographer you love, they are free on your date, you love their work and get on well with them, then you should get them booked. Many photographers are booked up to and over a year in advance! Some of the best will take bookings for weddings two years away. So don’t leave it until the last minute, once you know your date, look to get your photographer booked.
Tips when Booking your Wedding Photographer
Award winning Devon wedding photographer, Ashling of weddingsbybutterfly.com said “A professional photographer knows where to be at the right time, is a dab hand at putting shy couples at ease on front of the camera to ensure they come away with the most gorgeous, natural photos of them. And at the end of the day, these photos will be all you have left when the cake is eaten and the dress is put away. These photos will be cherished for the rest of your life, by both you, your family and your children.”
“So how do you pick a photographer when there are so many of us!? Well, once you’ve found a few where you like their instafeed and website portfolio, the next step is to get in touch! ”
“Ask to see a full wedding gallery. This will give you a good idea as to what to expect.”
“When looking at a photographers portfolio, consider the time of year/venue lighting and does it compare with what you’ve got planned. For instance, if you’re planning a January wedding with a ceremony at 3pm, and it’s only light until 4.30pm, is a photographer who’s main body of work is shot in the summer, with lots of sunny outdoor shots the perfect fit? If there is a photographer you love, but you can’t see a comparable wedding on their portfolio, get in touch and ask! They might very well be able to show you a gallery of a similarly timed/lit wedding.”
“Please do not choose a photographer based on cheapest price. Choose them because you are head over heels in love with the work!”
“An album package is not the bee all and end all. Your budget might currently not stretch to an album with your favourite photographer, but wouldn’t it make the perfect first anniversary gift? First year is paper after all.”
“Finally, once you’ve narrowed it down to a handful, pick up the phone or meet up for coffee and see how you get on. This is the person who will be pretty much shadowing you all day, so you definitely have to be at ease with them.”
Professional wedding photographer Aljaž Hafner said “The first thing you should as a couple is to set a style you are going for. If you don’t even have any clue where to start I would suggest to just start viewing wedding photographers pages and you’ll soon be able to narrow down your expectations. For example if you like lighter or more moody photos, reportage or editorial style and so on.”
“After you’ll set a style I would suggest you dig deeper to find a photographer or a few of them that you really connect with their portfolio. At this point you will probably be able to quickly eliminate the ones that you really don’t resonate to. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or just Google search would be a great tool for this step. I would also suggest you don’t limit yourselves for local market only since a lot of photographers are open minded and always ready to travel for weddings and not necessarily more expensive than some local, well established photographer with a high price tag.”
“Next step would be getting information on photographers availability for your wedding day and prices. Photographers often have packages based on different variables such as length of coverage. Don’t compare photographers too much based on the number of photos you’re getting since you wan’t to have quality over quantity so around 500 photos for a 10 hour coverage should be enough and a good start.
Of course this also depends on number of the events you’d have, number of guests and so on. Once you’ll find a few that you really like, are available on your wedding date and are within your budget I would suggest you organise a meeting or a video call to see if you’ll be able to connect on a personal level. You would want a person that is going to be with you for the fair amount of your wedding day to be someone you feel comfortable around. You also might ask candidates to show you a few full wedding galleries or an album design to make sure there is more to it than just a few photos in their galleries on their website or a few photos on their Instagram feed.”
“Once decision is being made make sure you sign a contract with a chosen photographer and pay a booking fee if necessary. That is how you’ll know the date is reserved for you two and you be able to focus on other things regarding your wedding day. Make sure about some important things about your wedding day and how and when you’ll get your photos. Wedding photographers also have a great insight on weddings so discussing a timeline with your photographer shouldn’t be such a bad idea since timing or better said light is often key to some great photos, especially for couples portraits session for instance.”
“Last but not least, I would really like to point out that you don’t want to make your decision solely on a price base since memories and photos are the only things you are left with once the wedding is over unless you’d hire a videographer as well. And we all know that memories fade with time. So spending a bit more on a wedding photographer should be seen as an investment and not as an expense.”
What about an Engagement Shoot?
Once your photographer is hired you may wish to consider an engagement shoot, some photographers include this as part of a package, however if not you may wish to ask your photographer about such a shoot. It is a great opportunity to get some professional photos of you both before getting married, and it is also a great way to get use to being in-front of the camera as well as working with your photographer.
The shoot can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed and help when it comes to your wedding day and having your photo taken. You can use it as a pre-run and a practice, a great way to help with different poses, and just feeling more relaxed infant of the camera.
Your Photos Tell your Story
Your wedding photos are one of the few things that will be left once your day is over, your photos will be your memories of the day that can help you relive your special day. There is certainly something special about viewing your wedding photos a few weeks after your wedding day, getting to relive it all again once and then sharing them with your friends and family.
Photography is so important, it is one thing that helps treasure, store and share those memories and moments of your day. It tells the story and something you can look back over in years to come. Make sure you take your time to find a wedding photographer you love, and also make sure you get them booked.