how to choose a great wedding photographer

It can be quite daunting to choose the person who is going to take your wedding pictures. Faced with a wedding to organise, I have noticed that booking a photographer is surprisingly far down the list, despite the fact that this is the one aspect of the celebration that will be with you forever. The attitude is, couldn’t my mate take the pictures? He took great shots of the holiday last year and it will save me money.Well, maybe, but to be honest it’s unlikely. It’s pretty daunting as an amateur to be given that job. A wedding photographer once said to me that most professional photographers will screw up their first five wedding shoots. And you’re giving the job to an AMATEUR?? Do you want to be the practice shoot? You’ve spent all this money on your day. I believe that while it’s well worth encouraging your mates to take a few pics if they feel inspired, you also need a photographer. Being the photographer at a wedding is a very technically demanding role. A good photographer will bring a sense of creativity and a keen eye, and see things that you might not have noticed. They will also perform a role, help your guests enjoy themselves, co-ordinate the group shots and then present you with a beautiful album and framed pictures at the end. This product should be a joy to you for years to come, and something to delight your friends with.So when you are looking for a photographer, look first and foremost at the website. Do you like their style? Don’t worry about whether you like the weddings they have photographed, look at the quality of the images. Are they correctly exposed, are they sharp, are the compositions good, do they give you a sense of the wow factor? Do the guests look happy and engaged? And is the photographer trained? What is their experience? Don’t think that just because they are shooting for Vogue they will be good at shooting weddings. In the photographic industry, shooting weddings is considered to be far more challenging than shooting a fashion shoot where you can pose everyone exactly as you like and spend hours fiddling about with lighting. A wedding is a long, fast paced day involving negotiating with a wide range of people and an even wider range of photographic styles. And a hardened divorcee advertising photographer may be happy to take your money but might struggle to get into the spirit of romance! Then again someone who shoots only weddings might well become stale as they churn out set piece photographs.Look closely at the photographer’s website. If the photos lack freshness, they will probably be in it just for the money and your photos will be cheesy and dull. Look for someone who genuinely has passion for photographing weddings and photography in general. Compare prices, but be prepared to spend around 10% of your budget on the wedding photography, as good photographers will have trained for years, have expensive equipment and will spend days editing your images carefully, and all that costs money. You wouldn’t settle for the cheapest venue, so don’t just settle for the cheapest photographer! After all, the photos will be with you for so much longer than the day itself.Remember, once you’ve found a photographer you like, you should meet them. The florist will turn up with the flowers and then leave, but the photographer will be there all day. It’s important that you get on with them. Think about whether you’d rather have a male or female photographer. It all comes down to personal preference, but a woman may be able to capture the getting ready aspects of a wedding more easily, and women are often more naturally enthusiastic about weddings. Have a contract, read it and make sure it’s fair. If you book through a wedding photography company, make sure that you are booking a specific photographer.My approach to wedding photography is that the photographer is both playing a role in making the day a success and offering the vital service of recording the day in all its glory. I am passionate about wedding photography and about creating stunning images that you’ll want to look at over and over. I’m also a working photographer in other areas including gallery work and branding, and I believe that keeps my work fresh and creative. Technically I trained with some of the best and continue to hone my skills through top level masterclasses (most recently with Magnum photographer Donovan Wylie.) I also use very high quality kit including the acclaimed Nikon D3 camera. If you’d like to discuss having me photograph your wedding, give me a call on 07977 538424.Whatever happens, may you have a wonderful day and an equally fabulous record of your day for posterity.