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Wedding photography questions and advice. No. 1

Remember, as in life, you will generally get what you pay for. Unfortunately the old advice of “buy cheap, buy twice” doesn’t apply here as you will only get one chance of getting your wedding photographs right. You will usually be paying more for the photographers experience so check how many weddings they have actually done (not as a helper or a guest) but the first photographer. Ask how many times, if any, they have worked at your wedding venue. Knowing those special places to work on a rainy day and knowing the staff can be invaluable for an easy going, flowing day. I have actually photographed over 1200 weddings from Hull to Barbados. The photographs are usually the one thing you will remember your wedding by, so try not scrimp!!

Wedding questions to ask your photographer. No. 2

After paying your deposit for your wedding photography (in my case only £250), ask when you have to pay the remaining balance. In my case, we only ask for the rest of the fee two weeks AFTER your wedding day when you have have had the time to enjoy them and my service provided. I have the confidence to know that you will be completely happy with my work as with over 1200 wedding couple before you!

What other service or product ask for the full money up front (sometimes up to 3 months before!) I believe this came from when we wedding photographers had to pay for film, developing and preview albums straight away (I remember it well!), but as you know, the vast majority of wedding and portrait photographers shoot digitally with no outlay. Getting you money back if you are not happy with the service of your wedding (or portrait) photographer can be an expensive and heart breaking process.

Wedding photography questions. No. 3

Ask if they are a PROFESSIONAL wedding photographer, then check that they really are! Not a graphic designer, builder or beautician etc taking wedding or portrait photography “on the side”. Ask what they define as a professional. Quite amusing how some of these “professional” snappers are actually pushing using a professional in their advice. If you want to avoid cheap and cheerful, look at their pricing then their portfolio. Get the picture!

In my eyes, a professional wedding or portrait photographer is somebody who is a full timer and earns the majority, if not all, of their income from that trade. How would you feel about the butcher offering to rewire your house?

If they are a member of an organisation, they might still not be a professional. Ask if its a professional photographer only organisation and if they are qualified.

I have been a professional photographer for over 20 years and I am a QUALIFIED member of the Masters of Photographers Association. Being a qualified member of such an organisation shows higher levels of photographic skill have been achieved and give the client a professional photographic body to approach in case of issues.

Wedding photographer questions. No. 4

Question 4 is really a follow on from No. 1. Its about EXPERIENCE, which I believe is one of the most important things your wedding photographer must have.

When booking your wedding (or portrait)  photographer you are paying for someone who can  not only capture great images on a beautiful wedding day, with a couple who love posing, fantastic location, loads of time and a bride who arrives on time, but someone who can still produce the same quality on a wet, cold day with a bride running 25 minutes late, an angry vicar, awful location and a groom who really doesn’t want to be in any photos anyway! (I know, I’ve photographed that wedding!). Experience doesn’t mean 10-20 weddings for mainly friends and family but hundreds, in all places and all conditions. Many wanna be snappers have seen a top pro such as myself working effortlessly through the day and think “easy money, I can do that”. Many brides who have cut corners are now discovering that is not the case.

Ask your wedding photographer how much experience they REALLY have. Ask to see weddings taken on a rainy, cold day. Ask to see real weddings, not set ups with their mates/models in dresses borrowed for the local bridal shop or photo shoots with the wedding dress designer. They have their place but not in portfolios or adverts for real wedding photography. Ask to see lots of wedding images from from your chosen location and ask how well they really know the staff (invaluable!).

Naive overconfidence should not be confused with professionalism brought about by that word again, EXPERIENCE.

Wedding photographer questions No.5

Ask the person who you are meeting if it will be them who is taking your wedding photographs on the day. Also ask if the portfolios and albums (there should be many!) are the work of the person who will be capturing your day and not mixed together with the companies various other photographers or franchisees. If the person selling the work is not the possible photographer for your wedding day, ask to meet them and if they are a full time professional. Getting on with your photographer is one of the most important things on YOUR day, don’t leave it until the wedding to find out the chemistry (or ability!) isn’t there!

All of my wedding (portraits, PR and commercial shoots!) are photographed exclusively by myself to ensure the highest quality and service. It’s also me you will chat to when drinking our lovely coffee and viewing my work!

Wedding photographer questions. No. 6

Look at the photographers wedding (and other) work, then REALLY look at it! It is REALLY different? I know it’s an old cliche, but the difference is the difference. Is there just a lot of nice shots of wedding shoes and dresses, and not so many fantastic shots of the people in them! If they are claiming to be “art” images, make sure its not an excuse for badly composed, badly exposed snaps (a poor shot is a poor shot, no matter how it’s explained away!) A photographer trained in photographic art does not automatically make a wedding photographer (as much as some would like to think!)

If their wedding style is reportage or fly on the wall make sure they have the personality to create some groups and beautiful images with minimum fuss and effort as they don’t just happen. Most fantastic wedding images are created and not left to chance. A photographer(s) hoping something will happen is more likely to disappoint. The result of an average/inexperienced photographer taking his mate/wife/girlfriend along to help, could provide you with twice as many average/inexperienced images to choose from!

I have been blessed with a great sense of well placed humour and the ability to relax the most nervous of wedding couples and guests. Combining this with a vast knowledge of all photographic styles, drawn from over 1200 weddings, I would invite you to pop down to visit my Beverley studio near Hull and let me help you have a fantastic day. I hope these posts will help you make an informed choice on the person to capture your wedding day, and remember, if your not sure don’t be afraid to ask!!

Wedding photography questions No 7

This is really a question for the Bride and Groom!

You usually have a choice between cheap and cheerful wedding snaps (usually cheap for a reason) or spending a little more of your budget on guaranteed beautiful images taken by an experienced top professional wedding photographer. Do remember the one thing you will remember your wedding day by is the wedding images. When looking at wedding portfolios, if those images were yours, do you think you will want to get those images out again and again ? Are they REALLY different from all the other albums of your friend and families weddings you have seen? Do you feel as though the wedding photographer you have met is going to add positivity and help you enjoy  your wedding , or are they there for a quick buck and take the same copied shots you see every week?