This week’s supplier blog comes from a very good friend of mine, and talented photographer, Claire Burns from Burns Rowatt Photography based here in Darlington. As we caught up over a cup of tea and a scone, Claire shared with me some of her top tips to choosing the perfect wedding photographer.
Do some research…
There are lots of amazing wedding photographers out there and they all have differing styles. A bit like choosing your fabulous dress, you need be sure to have a good look around to see which photographer will best capture your personalities and your day. Visit Weddings Fayres and browse the internet to make sure you see as many styles of photography as possible. And don’t forget to actually meet your photographer in advance of making your decision – can you see yourself spending most of your big day with them? The internet is great for initial research but nothing beats getting to know your photographer personally…
After the big day is over perhaps the most important thing you’ll have, as well as your amazing dress and your new sparkly wedding ring, are the photographs of your day. The one thing that will capture the day as it was…memories are great, but in time they will fade, so make sure you are 100% happy with the way in which it will be remembered forever.
…and then get together!
It’s important that you like and get on well with the photographer you select, as this will help you be more comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day. So, as well as seeing examples of their work and style, even if they’re a friend’s recommendation, you can actually meet them in person before booking them. Claire chooses to offer a pre-wedding photo shoot before the wedding so she can get to know her bride and groom better. This allows her to show them how she works and her style(s) of photography so they’ll know what to expect on their wedding day.
Consider also a meeting with the photographer at your venue – perhaps after you’ve agreed the final details with your wedding planner. This way you can walk around together and discuss details, locations for group shots and anything you especially want the photographer to consider.
Be sure you know who will be there on the day
It’s not unusual for some companies to have more than one photographer working for them, so make sure that the person you meet will be the same photographer that will be taking the photographs on your big day. If not, then make sure to ask to see a portfolio of work from the person who will be taking your photographs, and be sure to confirm all the details in writing.
On a scale of 1 to 10…
Not all couples see photography as the biggest part of their day – everyone is different. But if photos are your number one priority, then you need to make sure that you make the most of your budget. Like all things, there are many different price ranges for wedding photography, and every photographer has their own pricing structure.
A lot of people don’t know what to expect when it comes to wedding photography, and may initially budget less than they should. To help work out how much you want to spend on photography, think about what is important to you. Is it the quality and style of photography, the album quality, other products on offer, duration of time they will be at your wedding, if they are doing more than one wedding in that day. All of these factors will contribute to the overall cost, so it’s good to know what your priorities are when discussing cost with photographers. Many photographers will offer packages for wedding photography; inspired from the choices of previous brides and grooms this might be a great place for you to start.
Allow yourself enough time
Your day will absolutely fly by and your photographer should be able to advise you about the timings of your day. The photos are usually taken between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, so make sure you allow enough time for photos of the two of you together, and allow a little bit extra if you want some formal group shots too – it can take a while to get everyone together in the same place. There is always someone who will go missing!!
The photographer should be experienced enough to know how long great pictures can take. If they offer you advice and you choose to work to a different timetable, it might not be possible to have all the great images you’d like. On the flip side, it shouldn’t be taking up hours of your time if you’d rather be relaxing and enjoying yourself with your friends and family. It’s all about getting the right balance for you.
What about Winter Weddings?
Winter weddings are absolutely gorgeous – the sparkle of a snowflake, the warmth of an open fire – but if you are getting married in the darker months of the year (end of October – March) you will need to consider the lighting to make sure the day is captured perfectly. If you have an afternoon ceremony, remember that it can get dark as early as 3pm – so make sure that when choosing your photographer they are prepared for the fact that there won’t be much natural light available.
You should understand that the style and lighting in the photographs of a winter wedding will be very different to that of a summer wedding. So when looking at the photographer’s portfolio, make sure you look at winter weddings as well for the best examples; a summer shot can look completely different to the exact same shot in the winter. Again it’s best to ask questions and talk through your plans with your potential photographer before booking.
These are a few of my favourite things….
Don’t be afraid to talk to your photographer about what’s important to you. If you’re the type of person who has spent hours poring over and organising the tiniest details for your wedding, then it’s going to be important that you have the most perfect pictures – so make sure your photographer knows this!! The same goes if you prefer black and white images, a vintage look or high colour – take all of these into consideration when looking at their work and whether they can work with you to achieve what’s important to you.
Fashion models…if only we all could be that relaxed in front of a camera!
The majority of people find it hard to be themselves and relaxed in front of a camera, as generally this isn’t an everyday occurrence for them! If you’re looking for very natural and relaxed shots, then working with a photographer you’ve already met and one you feel comfortable with will help to bring out the best in you. Unless you’re an experienced model, being comfortable in front of the camera and a room of family and friends can result in a few nerves and butterflies fluttering around, and you may need a little direction and positioning. This is where your photographer can help – particularly with the couple shots to be able to make you look your best and most flattering.
Here comes the boring bit, so concentrate!
There are a lot of wedding photographers you can choose from, and before you sign the dotted line make sure you have read any contract and Terms and Conditions. If they don’t have a contract, then walk away; a contract is the formal agreement between the two of you – not just for your protection, but also theirs. Be sure that the photographer has the necessary skills, professional background and experience. All brides worry about bad weather on their day, so if the worst should happen, you want to be confident that your photographer is prepared for all situations such as bad weather, cancellation, illness etc.
Now you’re ready to create history!
Once you have chosen the right photographer, style and package for you, then all you need to do is relax and enjoy your special day, safe in the knowledge that someone is capturing everyone moment and creating your first family heirloom!
Claire Burns specialises in wedding and lifestyle portraiture as she has a creative desire to capture the true spirit of her clients. For more information, please visit www.burnsrowattphotography.com