Last time we talked about how to find a photographer and things to think about when choosing your list to go and visit. Now I want to give you some insight into what to ask and things to consider when booking your ideal wedding photographer. It is so important to get the right one!
I was just speaking to a lovely couple in the states, their solution is to bring their own to England when they get married. A great idea, they know them well and being in a different country but with someone you know will help them feel much more at home.
As well as chatting to the photographer to see what they offer and if you like them here are some questions to ask and things to consider when making your decision.
Questions to ask and thing to consider.
Is the photographer going to meet you at the venue before the wedding?
This should be a must do service. You need to know that they have a good knowledge of the venue so that that they know the areas to get the best shots. It's great if the photographer has worked there before but this is not too important. A good photographer will love working somewhere new anyway and will see it as a new challenge. If they can't meet with you on the day, suggest that they must go before the wedding day.
Are you getting a pre-wed shoot included within your package?
Many photographers include this but some do charge extra. This is exactly what is says. Usually only an hour or so and generally outside and it is relaxed and informal. It is a great way to help get you to relax in front of the camera. Especially useful if you don't like your photo taken. It will take away some of the apprehension because a good photographer will make you feel at ease. Another good idea is to use an image from the shoot in a signing frame on your wedding day. You can then exchange it after the wedding with your favourite image from the day.
Does the photographer have a back up plan of how he/she will shoot the wedding if the weather is wet?
Also if your venue does not have the best location for shots outside can he/she suggest a place to go nearby so that you can get some couple shots with a nice back drop. I have to say too that even if the weather is bad, it is rare that sometime throughout the day there won't the opportunity to go outside for a short time.
If you are using a big company consisting of many photographers check that the one who meets you now will the same one on your wedding day. You don't want to meet someone on the day that you have never met before.
If you want to, give a list of shots to the photographer that you want taken on the day. Many couples these days want more relaxed shots but usually there a few that you want with close family and friends. The photographer needs to take these into account when they plan the timings on the day. Try not to spring this on the day, a good photographer should ask you beforehand anyway.
A good photographer will ask for your family details, your Mum and Dad's names, your siblings and wedding party. It's important he/she knows who everyone is and no one gets left out. It is also nice to be called by your first name on the wedding day or the photographer have an idea you have three sisters or a brother for instance. This is a good time when a wedding planner can help round up everyone to cut down on time.
Ask how long they anticipate the photographs will take to do. You don't want your guests to be hanging around for hours and your food being spoiled because you ran over. BUT do give time for the photographer to do their job. When you draw up your timeline for the day you can then make sure everything flows well and nothing is rushed or drawn out.
If you have booked a videographer let the photographer know, they will be working together at times and they don't want to get in each others way.
Check the photographers cancellation policy and what he/she will do if they are unable to make the wedding due to illness. Many good photographers know of other wedding photographers who they work with sometimes and who can step in.
Ask if there is a second shooter. Some weddings have a large number of guest so it's good to have a second photographer to help. This is sometimes standard and sometimes chargeable. It is not imperative but it is always good to get two sets of eyes on everyone to capture as much as possible.
Book early - make it one of the first suppliers you find. Photographers are booked up sometimes a year in advance so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to avoid disappointment.
Get a detailed description of the package you are booking. Understand exactly what you are getting in terms of images on disc. It is always good to get a set of edited images to use after the wedding. If you want the photographer but they are out of your budget then just having the images may be the answer. Then when you have more funds you can go back and purchase an album.
Check out the types of albums on offer. Do you want leather, coffee book style, the photographer should be able to offer a choice. Also parents albums too.
Cost and Packages. There is a great variation in the cost that photographers charge. Look around on the internet first to check out various packages and charges to compare. For a good photographer you can expect to pay around £1,200-1,500. This may not include an album, it should cover a whole days shooting with images on a disc at the very least.
There are cheaper suppliers in the market place but be sure they are properly qualified. When some are starting out their pricing reflects their experience. Be sure you understand what is in the offer. Check additional costs for things such as reprints, CD's, framed prints and parents albums. The advantage of getting your images on disc is that you can order these yourself for a much better price.
If you want photographs right from you getting ready to your first dance be sure to ask if this is included. Check what deposits are necessary to secure your booking and when the final payment is due for your budgeting.
Do not sign any contracts unless you understand what you are paying for. If you have any reservations my best advice is to try someone else. There are many excellent photographers out there. A word of warning, a very cheap price might be good for your budget but generally you get what you pay for. It is a fact that new photographers who want experience will offer a good deal but do check out their work first.
I hope this has given you food for thought. Check out my real weddings and you can see the calibre of photographer I usually recommend. If you want help I can easily offer you a great choice.
Until next time, happy planning.
Julie Dawson - The Wedding Genie