7 Things To Consider When Choosing A Wedding Photographer
We strongly believe that choosing the right wedding photographer is the most important decision you will make whilst planning your wedding. Admittedly, you do also have to choose the person you are going to marry. I am going to assume if you are reading this you have already made that decision, so firstly a huge congratulations on your engagement.
So... How do you choose who will document the most important day of your life?
Luke Granger, who is arguably Kent's best wedding photographer, shares his expert tips with our readers on how to make a decision you will not regret.
1 - Be Prepared To Break The Budget
My first piece of advice is that you must think of your wedding photographs as an investment. Placing a monetary value on the ability to preserve memories you haven't made yet is understandably a hard concept to grasp; I assure you, having a healthy photography budget will be worth it.
Although there are cheaper wedding photographers out there, I must remind you of two phrases that I am certain you have heard before. "You get what you pay for" and "Buy cheap, buy twice". Quality and skill both come at a price; I have spent thousands of pounds on developing my skills and buying quality equipment to enable me to be the amazing wedding photographer that I am today. That investment shows within my work and enables me to deliver a quality service to my clients.
It is important to remember, your wedding is not a dress rehearsal, it is set to be one of the most memorable days of your life and those memories you create will only happen once. Your special day should be captured perfectly, your photographs should reflect the love that surrounds you both as a couple and should be able transport you back in time. I aim to deliver this to each bride and groom I work with, in a relaxed and friendly way.
2 - Its All In The Edit
Every wedding photographer has their own style and it is important that you feel comfortable with the way the photographs of your big day are taken and edited. I would describe my style as mostly documentary, meaning the majority of shots taken throughout the day are not staged but a selection have been given an added splash of WOW!
Flying the drone for some aerial shots of the venue can really add the wow factor and always creates a buzz amongst the wedding guests, especially those who love a gadget. If your venue (and mother nature) allow, I aim to get the drone in the air for a few extra group shots whenever I can. Being creative with the use of light whilst incorporating props such as sparklers or popping a bottle of champagne enable us to create some amazing memories together, these turn into fantastic photographs that you will no doubt treasure throughout your marriage. The two styles mixed together allow a fantastic balance.
When choosing your wedding photographer, it is important you take a good look at their work portfolio and that you are happy with the style of photographs they deliver. Their website and social media channels should showcase a wide range of their work and help you get a feel for what you will receive.
3 - Don't Rush Perfection
If a photographer claims to deliver your full wedding gallery within 48 hours of the wedding, I suggest you avoid them like the plague. Why? Because if they do not value their work enough to invest time in the editing process, then they are not giving you the quality you deserve.
The editing process itself differs from one wedding photographer to another, some just crop, turn a handful black and white and deem themselves finished. I however assess all the technical aspects of each image using a number of techniques; I wouldn't dream of signing off a gallery without adjusting the highlights and shadows of every photograph and like to use a wide range of filters to create different capsules of photographs within your gallery.
Other than a handful of teaser photographs, the best photographers will agree that it is not uncommon for the happy couple to have to wait a couple of weeks before viewing their entire gallery. This gives the professionals valuable time to critique and perfect each photograph before deeming them ready for print. I am sure you can appreciate, editing 500+ individual photographs takes a great deal of time but I promise the wait will be worth it.
4 - Build A Relationship
One of the best things about being a wedding photographer is that I get to build genuine relationships with my clients. Whether we first speak via email, by phone or we have met at a wedding fair; I like to arrange a casual chat, a browse of my wedding albums and a cup of coffee with all my couples. This helps me get to know more about the all important wedding plans but also helps you feel more comfortable around me. Any wedding photographer you have shortlisted should be encouraging the same, after all, you are trusting them with the most important day of your life and should have a personal connection with them.
I also invite all of my clients to follow me on Facebook & Instagram, this helps you stay updated on my work and see what adventures I have been up to, but seeing all your wedding related posts allows me to share a little of your excitement. Social media also opens up additional channels for you to contact me; I want you to feel able to ask me any questions, no matter how big or small and I will always do my best to answer, I also post lots of blogs which may help you with your wedding planning.
5 - There may be something there that wasn't there before
Every wedding is unique, every couple is unique. My role as your wedding photographer is to deliver photographs that preserve the memories of your big day, not copy the same cliche locations used by all the couples before you. Although you may have a mood board of photographs you wish to recreate, you need to be mindful that some may not be possible. I aim to deliver something new, something innovative and something fun to every wedding I photograph.
"Have you ever photographed our venue before?" has got to be the most common question I get asked by couples when they are enquiring about my availability. It is important for you to choose a wedding photographer based on their skill. A skilled photographer will adapt to any environment, they will seek creative opportunities and create art based on what they see in the moment. Although I am a Kent based wedding photographer, I photograph weddings all over the country because I love exploring new venues, I would never turn away a couple due to their venue because there is beauty to be found within every wedding.
6 - Coverage
Many Kent wedding photographers appear on the surface to be good value but when you delve deeper into their packages, there can sometimes be a few red flags. In all aspects of business I appreciate transparency, therefore having detailed packages displayed on a user friendly website is an important first impression for any wedding photographer to leave on their potential clients. If the price advertised is a little above budget, It is still worth making contact as there can often be promotions or payment plans available.
Anyone who works on an hourly basis should be of concern; regardless of how well regimented your day is planned, there is always the chance timings on the day will have to change. If you have booked your photographer to work from 2pm for 5 hours, they are perfectly within their rights to leave at 7pm whether you have had your first dance or not.
I have heard a number of stories where the wedding has over run for one reason or other and the photographer has had to leave as they had other commitments to get to, leaving the bride and groom without photographs of their cake cutting or first dance. I also heard one horror story where the mother of the bride ended up making an extra payment in the middle of the wedding breakfast to persuade the photographer to stay until they had finished their meal and were ready to cut the cake.
I value each and every one of my clients and therefore will only ever book one wedding a day. If you want me to arrive at 9am but you are not actually saying I do until 2pm then I will be there, camera in hand ready to snap away. You have my full attention for the whole day and I will stay until I have achieved what we have agreed. If that means I am driving home at 2am then so be it, its all part of the custom service that I am proud to offer.
7 - Do You Get A Wedding Album?
Unlike many other Kent wedding photographers, all my packages come with an album. “Why?” I hear you ask, because true art does not belong on a USB stick. Handmade in Italy, my wedding albums are too beautiful and valuable to be hidden away in the back of a cupboard, couples often have them on display in their homes, treating them like a piece of art.
I want your wedding album to preserve those special memories, to transport you back to your wedding day every time you turn a page. Viewing your photographs on a computer screen does not have the same effect as a family crowded on a sofa, pointing at photos in your album, sharing stories of how Auntie Sarah's hat was way too big or how Nanny Jean partied harder than the bridesmaids could handle.
A lot of couples overlook the importance of owning a wedding album but I must ask you to think of your wedding photographs as a preservation of memories. Your special memories, and those of your family too, deserve to be kept safe and what better way to do so than in a stunning album.
I hope my advice helps you a little in narrowing down your shortlist, If I can be of any assistance then please feel free to visit my website www.lukegranger.co.uk and get in touch.
As I am sure you have already worked out, there are an abundance of wedding photographers out there who all appear to be offering a similar service; I urge you to search for the 'unicorn' amongst them. It takes a fair bit of research yes, but you must be certain that you have made the right choice.
The wedding photographer you choose will become part of one of the most important days of your life and the service they deliver should be made from quality and trust.
Happy planning, Luke