Your wedding photographer is one of the more important vendors at your wedding. They’re the ones responsible for yours and your family’s future memories. If you are newly engaged and looking to find your perfect wedding photographer, it can seem a slightly overwhelming task…so I thought I’d write a little blog post about the best ways to find your wedding photographer.
1. Ask Your Wedding Planner
If you have a wedding planner for your big day this should be your first port of call for supplier advice because these planners have the experience of working with many photographers and suppliers already and can give you an honest review of their work, personality, manner. Planners will tend to have a handful of wedding photographers with different styles, approaches and price points who they recommend so this can give you a really good insight.
2. Research Wedding Blogs
In general wedding blogs feature an average of 3 real weddings a day meaning they’re introducing you to 3 new wedding photographers daily, so spend some time browsing their pages and see if you get any inspiration. A lot of blogs these days have their own ‘recommended supplier’ database which is a good starting point too but make sure you understand that the people who are on these lists are doing so because they are paying for their space there i.e. its not always the most impartial of recommendations but it does give you the introduction, from there on out it’s for you to decide if that person is for you.
Here are some of my favourite blogs:
Style Me Pretty, Wedding Sparrow, Green Wedding Shoes, Magnolia Rouge, So You’re Getting Married, Rock My Wedding, Love My Dress, Fly Away Bride.
3. Personal Recommendation
I think that the very best way to hire a wedding photographer is through a personal recommendation from a friend or family member who has used them in the past or attended a wedding where they have been doing the photography.… This usually means there are no surprises and you can ask someone else’s advice about the service the photographer provided as well as the all important what were they like on the day!?
4. Google Search
Make sure you know what you’re looking for, the google search term will depict which type of photographers so up so for example you can state whether you want a London based wedding photographer, or a destination wedding photography (who will travel) you can also specify what kind of wedding photographer you’re looking for such as alternative / fine art / reportage / documentary / editorial. Don’t be afraid to keep looking past the first page, just because a photographer is on the first page of google doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best photographer for you, just that they’re really good at SEO / paying for google ads etc.
5. Wedding Fairs
Attending wedding fairs is a great way to find your wedding photographer because you get to see their work up close in person as well as meet them and suss out if they are the right kind of person as well as the right kind of photographer for you and your partner. Wedding Photographers tend to put a lot of time, effort and money into these shows because they want to get out in front of people instead of relying on their website and social media to do the work for them, so definitely seek out the ones you want to meet and ask any questions you need answering!
6. Social Media!
Increasingly brides and grooms are finding their wedding photographers on instagram!
Us wedding photographers put a lot of time and energy into our social media accounts so that they reflect our business and approach, so its no wonder that when a couple become engaged they start to look at social media avenues such as instagram searching for relevant hashtags and falling in love with photographers and their instagram page!
1. Harness your Wedding Photographers’ Experience.
If you haven’t been married before, you’ve never had to plan a wedding before, meaning there are certain aspects which you simply cannot know! That’s why I believe that when you employ the services of a wedding photographer you are also getting access to a secret wealth of knowledge if you decide to harness it! Especially if you don’t have the benefit of a wedding planner, a photographer can become very valuable in telling you things you wouldn’t know unless you’ve had to host, feed, entertain dozens/ hundreds of your nearest and dearest! Here are a few things a wedding photographer can help you with:
– Recommendations of trusted wedding suppliers who they have worked with before and who they know provide excellent service, customer satisfaction, who will go the extra mile for their couples.
– What wedding schedules works best and will give you enough time to get the photos you want whilst also giving you enough time to kiss and hug your guests.They know how to help you look your best with flattering lighting, posing etc. What a schedule looks like that wont make you feel stressed on the day.
– How to get your family photographs done quickly and efficiently so that you can get back to your party!
– Of course how to get the best photographs of you on your big day!(Who should walk down the aisle first in order to get photos of all your bridal party, asking your registrar or priest to take a step to the right or left as they pronounce you man and wife so that they’re not in the background of a first kiss! And many more!)
2. Ask them what they need from you in order to do the best work they can…
A wedding photographer will often tell their clients what they need in terms of time for photographs but openly telling your photographer that you’re willing to work with them to get the best photographs possible is music to a photographers ears. We photographers are not miracle workers but we can and will do the very best with what you give us and constantly work in many varied situations with lots of distracting influences such as over-zealous guests and their cameras, changing light conditions, missing family members when the family photos are to take place, but knowing that the couple value their photography and are willing to work together and take that extra few minutes to get things right, is so valuable and is a great starting point for you to get excellent photographs!
3. Feed Your Wedding Photographer(s)!
This is a standard addition to most wedding photographers contract, but ensuring that your photographer eats the same time as the rest of the wedding means that if you’re having your speeches after the meal your photographers are refreshed and ready to do their best for you as apposed to scoffing down some sustenance because they have been served last and haven’t had time to eat or drink. Communicating this to your venue/ caterers is really important and your photographer will thank you!
4. Give your Wedding Photographer your time and your trust.
I always tell my couples that I need 30 minutes from them on the wedding day in order to get the type of photographs they see on my website. If a couple can’t provide their photographer with the time they need they must also be aware that it will have an affect on the amount of images and potentially also quality of the end product. Make sure that whoever you pick to be in charge of your wedding photos is someone you trust. Being micro managed by a couple will distract your photographer from getting the kind of shots that you fell in love with in the first place. I always tell my couples (as do most photographers) that I will not re-create other peoples peoples photographs but that I need to work more organically than that. Trying to replicate other photos makes your own that much less original. All photographers have their own process of how they feel they work best be it doing a venue location scout before the wedding day or the morning of the wedding etc.
5. Your Wedding Photographer is not a mindreader so communicate with them.
As a photographer you are sometimes expected to also be a mind-reader. I have lost count of the amount of friends who when asked have said that they didn’t have a photos of just them with their mother in law, or just them and their sister, or just them and their father…when I ask whether they specifically asked this of their photographer, they often say that they did not. I try to mitigate this happening with my couples by doing two things. Firstly in our pre wedding consultation I ask if there is any one guest who there absolutely must be a photograph of or with them. I suggest sisters, brothers etc. I write it down in a pre-wedding form which my couples then sign off, this way there is a record of what they asked for which is helpful in later conversations.
On the actual wedding itself I make sure to grab the bride and mother of the bride / mother in law / grandfather to ensure I get a few individual shots of them even though they didn’t necessarily ask for them. Worst case scenario they never use that photo but best case scenario they did actually want this and that person is important to them but forgot to ask. Later they may use this photos to give to that relative / friend as a thoughtful gift.
My worst nightmare would be a client asking me for a photo that I knew didn’t exist so if there are photos you must absolutely have or you’d be disappointed if you didn’t have, please please make sure you ask for them!
**(link: http://www.juliemichaelsen.com/about text: Julie Michaelsen) **is a creative fine art wedding photographer with reportage elements based in Kensington London, she believes in love and authenticity and likes to create beautiful imagery for kind hearted and exceptional brides and grooms. She mixes documentary style photography with editorial and fine art wedding photography ensuring that her clients have a set of images which accurately tells the story of their wedding day, highlighting all that makes them individual. Julie shoots weddings, engagement and family photoshoots in London and throughout the world. If you would like to book me please do and tell me about your big day!
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