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:

1: Are you insured?

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.

church floral decor yorkshire wedding photographer

2: How Many Weddings Have you Shot?

Wedding photography is unlike any other photography and requires a certain skill set. I know commercial photographers who outright refuse to do weddings because they are fast paced and lighting can be tricky. Make sure you invest in someone who has relevant experience and knows what they’re doing. This is especially important if you are getting married in a dark venue or in the winter where lighting can be particularly challenging. A lot of wedding photographers might be ok in natural light, but if its raining all day, or your ceremony is at 4pm in December, you need to have faith that they know how to make you look good with artificial light or high iso. If you’re getting married in a barn with no windows, your registrar won’t be too happy about a flash going off every few minutes, so it’s essential your wedding photographer has pro gear that can shoot in difficult and extremely dark conditions.

3: Do you do Group Photos?

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!

bride with bridesmaids at carlton towers wedding

4: Do I get Black and White or just colour images?

Most wedding photographers will do a selection of colour and black and white, whilst others will provide you with a full collection in colour and a full collection in black and white.

5: Have you worked at the venue before?

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.

wedding ceremony at york maze york wedding photographer

6: Will you be the one photographing our wedding?

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.

7: Should I have a second Wedding Photographer?

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.

8: Do you have backup equipment?

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.

first kiss at star inn harome natural wedding photography york

9: What happens if you are ill?

Like most self employed people, sometimes we get ill. Fortunately these incidents are few and far between but emergencies do happen. Fortunately, most pro photographers have a back up system that includes lots and lots of fellow pro photographers. We can usually call upon one or more within an hour or so. But check with your wedding photographer just to make sure they have a system in place.

10: Do you charge for travel and accommodation?

Many photographers have to charge extra for travel and accommodation. In the UK, my package includes all travel, but for others this won’t be the same, so always ask your photographer in case they need to add in extra travel or hotel charges on top of their package price.

11: Do you do albums?

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,

fine art wedding albums

12: How long after the wedding will I receive the images?

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.

13: What’s included in the package?

Every photographer is different and every package is different so choose the one that includes the things that are important to you. If you want extended coverage, check what time the photographer will arrive and what time they leave. Does it include an album, fully edited images, a print box…? So many things to consider.

14: What is the refund or cancellation policy?

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.

15: What are your Payment Terms

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.

Sperry tent wedding

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 or you can find me on TwitterFacebook 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.

For wedding planning advice, tips and tricks, head on over to The Wedding Vibe YouTube channel.

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