When it comes to booking your wedding photographer, there’s some essential stuff you should be aware of. Not all wedding photographers are made the same. Some are full time professionals like myself, others are part time enthusiasts whose prices reflect their experience.
On the face of it, photography is a minefield. How can you figure out who is the best photographer for you?
The key component is to decide how valuable photography is to you. Then find a wedding photographer whose style you like and get to know them. Follow them on social media and see if you like the cut of their gib!
Once you’ve narrowed it down, go meet them for a beer or chat over skype and talk all things wedding. It pays to be knowledgeable however, so here’s my top tips on what to ask your wedding photographer before you invest:
The answer to this should always be a resounding YES! Because if they are a weekend warrior or part timer, or they’ve just started out in the business, there’s a chance that they haven’t got round to sorting out insurance. And if something goes wrong, you wanna know they are insured. A lot of venues require a certain amount of public liability insurance too – the National Trust and a lot of old barns like to ensure your professional wedding photographer is covered for round about £5million in case something goes wrong.
When it comes down to it, most wedding photographers these days do documentary work, and whilst it may not feature on their website or portfolio, it’s good to know whether or not they get an essential handful of family group photos. I normally encourage my clients to do no more than 8 small family group shots so we keep everyone happy – including mums and grandmas! Whilst most couples want informal documentary style work, I think it’s important that we do a handful of family groups for posterity’s sake. Plus I always try to do a cool bridesmaid and groomsmen shot too!
So this is some crazy stuff invented by magazines and venues. Your wedding photographer does NOT need to have worked at your venue beforehand. Photographers need about five minutes to recce your venue and figure out the best places for photos. They take into account stuff like weather (which is constantly changing), backdrop and time of day which affects light, so trust your professional! If they DO need a venue recce, then the likelihood is that they are just starting out and are a bit nervous.
Some photography businesses have associates – this means that they can use one of their other photographers, or trainees to shoot your wedding. If you are booking a wedding photographer, make sure you ask who will actually be turning up on the day. Associates can sometimes be slightly cheaper but if you do opt for that over the primary photographer, ask to see their portfolio before booking.
If your partner is getting ready at the same venue as you, and you’re having less than about 80 guests, then I would say don’t bother. If you want coverage of you both getting ready and you are several miles apart, then it’s a good idea to have a second wedding photographer. Most photographers have a selection of skilled second photographers, but make sure they aren’t just trainees and ensure they have a style similar to your main photographer.
Again, the answer to this should always be yes. Spare lenses, spare cameras, spare batteries, spare flashes, spare memory cards. Things break all the time. If they haven’t got a backup, then they shouldn’t be working at your wedding. Imagine for a minute that your photographer’s camera broke just as you walked down the aisle and they didn’t have a back up? It pays to ensure that they are fully kitted up so that you don’t miss out on all those critical moments.
Most pro photographers provide an album service. They usually produce a handful of lovely fine art matted or press printed albums with a selection of covers and personalisation. At Toast, we work with three different album companies and you can even design your own album online using our software straight from your gallery. It takes about 30 minutes to design it yourself or you can have the system create a design for you. Some photographers include an album in their packages, whilst others prefer to leave it til after the wedding,
This can vary from photographer to photographer and the time of the year. If you get married in the Spring, chances are that the delivery time for edited images is pretty quick. In high season (July through til Oct), wait times can increase up to three months, but each photographer is different and has different systems. I always like to email you to let you know where you are in the edit queue.
All photographers have one and we know that occasionally things go wrong which can mean you have to delay or cancel the wedding. Booking fees are not normally refundable, but again, this is at the discretion of the photographer. Check their cancellation policy too.
Check what the wedding photographer’s booking fee is and when the final balance is due. Some wedding photographer’s do an instalment plan to make it easier on your budget.
Yorkshire wedding photographer, Yorkshire photography by Shelly Mantovani at Toast of Leeds. If you’re having a wedding in the future in Leeds or elsewhere in Yorkshire, get in touch by visiting my photography website at www.toastofleeds.co.uk or you can find me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest. I photograph weddings across the UK in tipis, barns, country houses , iconic hotels, Industrial warehouses, town halls and cool city boozers . For more information and to check availability, contact me now.