Your wedding photos are crucial. After your special day, they are you main, physical memory of one of the happiest days of your life. These photos will stay with your family for generations to come. So it goes without saying, you need to make sure you get this right.
Here is our guide to help you make sure you have the right photographer on the day and that you are fully prepared. For many couples, who may not know much about photography themselves, put all of their trust in the person or company they hire. However, you do have to take some responsibility and you can't assume the photographer you hire will do what you think they should.
Here's a handy check list of things to ask them so you know you're covered:
- What's their back-up process? Accidents happen and you don't want to lose your photos. A true pro will back-up your photos so there is a second set saved somewhere in case the files get wiped off of the card or computer. It's devastating when photos get lost and there is little that can be done to compensate for the loss.
- How many wedding seasons have they done? You want an experienced photographer that's a couple of years in. By that time, they have learnt from mistakes and have a style. They will be confident under pressure and can cope with any eventuality.
Would they like a meal? It shocks me that some couples don't think to feed their photographer. It's a 12 hour day, they can't leave for a lunch break and you need them nearby. Offer them a meal on their own table away from your guests or let them order off of the hotel bar menu and charge it to your room. Look after your photographer and they will look after you.
- Do you want them to bring a second shooter? Some couples ask for this so they have two photographers to cover all angels and both parties in the morning. Most photographers can hire a second, but some prefer to work alone. It's up to you what you want and you need to factor this in before you book.
- Do they shoot in raw? They need to shoot in raw and not JPEG so they are able to have maximum scope to edit. If a photo is over-exposed in JPEG, you can't rescue it; but if it's in raw, to an extent, you can gather the detail to save the photo.
- What's their editing style? Make sure you look at their work. Photographers have different editing styles. They won't want to give you unedited photos and most contracts state this. So make sure you like their editing styles. I have spoken to photographers that have had complaints about their style, through no fault of their own, because a couple haven't thought to check if that's the right style for them ahead of booking.
- How long do they take to turn the photos around? Be reasonable as in peek season a photographer is stacked and it takes a long time to edit a whole wedding. Ordering books can also be lengthy. 8 weeks is standard and reasonable. I have heard of brides waiting a year and that's not acceptable.
When you meet your photographer for the first time at a wedding fayre, arrange to meet up again for a coffee. Booking an engagement shoot is a great way to figure out if they are right for you. It works both ways and a photographer will also need to decide if you are the right client for them. They may turn you down, which is nothing personal.
Gather all of the information you need to be best informed you can be, before you book. The better prepared you are, the less you will have to worry. Always get wedding insurance to cover any supplier that cancels your booking at any point.
Happy wedding shopping!