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A Quick Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

By admin on November 22nd, 2006 3 comments

103016_50s_wedding After the wedding reception itself, our biggest expense is our wedding photographer, who’s costing the equivalent of a month’s salary for one of us. I don’t regret it for a second, though: while favours and wedding cakes will be forgotten, the photographs are the one thing we’ll have forever, and so I think the expense is justified.

Not, of course, that it’s in any way easy to just hand over such a large amount of cash: as one of the most expensive parts of our wedding, choosing a photographer was the thing I’ve spent most time on (it took me longer to choose my photographer than it did to choose my dress). Here’s a quick guide on how to do it – and if you have any other tips I’ve missed, please tell me about them!

1. Spend some time discussing the type of photography you’re looking for
We’ll be having mostly reportage style photography, so, rather than the hours of posed shots, where the whole family stands in a line and says cheese, we’ll get a selection of candid, un-posed shots instead. Of course, there will be one or two of the "family in a line" style pictures – mostly to keep the parents, who are used to a more traditional way of doing things – happy, but only a couple. We’ve picked a photographer who’s happy to take both styles of pictures, but who specialises in reportage style.

2. Got through their portfolio with a fine tooth comb
A photographer’s portfolio will give you at least some idea of their style and ability, but don’t rely on their website or a portfolio of pre-chosen photos – these will tend to contain the very best examples of pictures from all of the weddings the photographer has shot. Instead, once you’ve narrowed your selection down, ask to see some albums of a full wedding: this will give you a better idea of what you’ll be getting.

3. Meet your photographer in person
A very important one, this: you’ll be spending a lot of time with this person on one of the most important days of your life. Meet them in person to make sure you "click" with them personally as well as admiring their work.

4. Decide how much time you’ll need
Our photographer will be taking pictures of me getting ready (yes, I wanted some close-ups of my shoes and dress), the groom and best man before the ceremony, the ceremony itself and the reception up until the first dance. You can save money by skipping the "preparations" stage, or pay more by having the photographer stay right until the bitter end.

5. On a budget?
Speak to your local art college, who may have photography students who’d be willing to offer you a reduced rate package.

6. Negotiate!
Our photographer offered several set packages which laid out the number of prints we’d get, and the type of albums we could choose. He was, however, happy to offer us the digital pictures on a CD only, so that we can save some money and have them printed up at our leisure. If your chosen photographer doesn’t offer exactly the package you’re looking for ask and you may well receive.

Anything I’ve missed out?

  • Helen

    For us, it was really important that we keep hold of the copyright on the pictures – we didn’t want our friends and family to be charged lots of money for copies and neither did we want our shots used without our knowledge. Thankfully we know someone who thinks exactly the same as us and is so much cheaper than anyone else we found.

  • Ooh, excellent point Helen! We were very careful about that, too – my fiance is a web designer and we’ll probably want to use the images on the web etc at some point, and to email them to people, so that’s definitely something you need to think about.

  • caroline

    I totally agree with all your comments Amber. We are lucky enough to be able to have two photographers (both with slightly different styles) who work together on our day, actually for roughly the same amount as other photographers on their own. One thing I would add – it is important to make sure that your photgrapher is a member of a proffesional body – such as the MPA (master photographers association)whilst this is never going to protect you from dodgy/fuzzy/badly lit photos it will help to put your mind at ease when parting with such a large amount of cash!

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