Long after you’ve eaten the last slice of your wedding cake and your honeymoon tan is a distant memory, your wedding album will be key to transporting you back to the happiest day of your life.
With this in mind, it’s important that you choose a wedding photographer who not only has amazing style, but that you get along well with. They’ll be documenting the big day, and will be there every step of the way, so it’s important that you share the same vision.
For most people, their wedding will be the first time they’ve hired a professional photographer, so we spoke to wedding photographer Gary Nunn about the all important questions you need to ask before booking your wedding photographer.
How long have you been a wedding photographer?
It’s always good to establish someone’s credentials early on. There’s a big difference between a good photographer and a good wedding photographer.
Wedding photographers understand the proceedings and pressures of the day, and know when and where to be to capture precious moments.
“I would always recommend using a seasoned professional photographer, despite the allure of a cheaper less experienced person,” says Gary.
“There are plenty of good photographers that take wedding photos as a side hobby, but is it really worth the risk if they lack experience?”
Typically speaking, an established wedding photographer will have a few years’ experience under their belt and photography will be their full-time profession.
Can I see your portfolio?
Looking at a wedding photographer’s portfolio, be it online or in print, is an opportunity to talk-through some of their work, checking for variety of shots, breadth of experience and photography style.
Make sure that the images your potential wedding photographer is showing you are images taken at real weddings and not styled shoots or from a photography course.
Styled wedding shoots are very different to a real wedding; they might be amazing photos, but the shoot won’t reflect the pressure and time constraints that a real wedding creates.
What is your photography style?
All wedding photographers have their own unique style, so make sure you know what kind of wedding photos you’re after. Look at your friends’ wedding albums, or flick through wedding magazines to get a feel for the photography style you like best, and then once you’ve got your shortlist of wedding photographers for you own wedding, see if their work is similar.
“I’ve always felt that candid wedding photography is the best style, since it allows you to capture genuine moments that are real and in the moment, this is also known as reportage wedding photography,” says Gary.
“Naturally, you will want creative shots too, but it should mostly be capturing the day as it unfolds, telling your story.”
Are you happy to shoot destination weddings?
If you are thinking about a destination wedding, a UK photographer can be just as affordable as hiring one in the location that you’re getting married. Plus, you have the added benefit of meeting them in advance.
If your photographer can shoot abroad, ask them what costs are included in the package, it might not be as expensive as you think, and you can work your budget around it. Costs could include flights and accommodation.
How long will it take to get our wedding photos?
It’s good to have expectations managed from the start. If you would like your photos within a certain timeframe, this is a good opportunity to talk them through with your photographer.
“As a general rule, it can take anything from 5-8 weeks to get your wedding photos back,” says Gary.
Some photographers create mini blogs of weddings on their website very quickly after the wedding, to give you a sneak peek of the images.
How long will you photograph at our wedding?
Each wedding photographer will have their own style and requirements. It’s advisable for the photographer to start with the bridal party to capture all the special moments of them getting ready, moving on to the vows and reception afterwards. Some photographers will leave before the wedding breakfast, others will stay for the first dance.
“Everything can be negotiated, but my advice is to have your photographer stay as long as possible, so you capture every special moment,” says Gary.
Do I provide food for my wedding photographer?
If your photographer is staying with you throughout the day, you will need to consider time for them to have a rest and eat. This is worth asking early on to factor them in to the day.
Do I pay for your transport?
If you’re hiring a photographer who is based a long way from where you’re holding your wedding, make sure to check if they expect you to pay for their petrol / transport, or if you’d need to pay for them to stay nearby the venue.
Have you worked at my venue before?
Every wedding venue is different, but an experienced wedding photographer can turn their hand to any location.
They will constantly be thinking ahead of lighting, people, backdrops and all the other elements that come together to produce the perfect shot. It’s a bonus if your photographer does know the venue, but most will have a good understanding of the logistical elements and a recce is rarely needed.
What is included in my wedding photography package?
While weddings can be very expensive affairs, a top wedding photographer should be looked at as an investment. Packages can be negotiated, and may include high-quality prints, as well as digital versions. Think about your requirements before meeting and discuss these with your photographer.
“I try to keep wedding photography packages simple and transparent, which would include any travel or accommodation costs depending on where your wedding will be,” explains Gary.
What if you’re ill on the day of our wedding?
What happens if your photographer falls ill on the day, or something happens that means that they aren’t’ able to attend? This is a vital question to put to your wedding photographer, and they should have a backup plan in place. A professional photographer always has a plan B and a plan C, including a list of industry contacts they can call upon at a minute’s notice if something happens.