If you're reading this blog post it's likely that you're interested in wedding photography, maybe even in the process of trying to find a photographer for your wedding. Either way, welcome!
A common approach to finding someone to capture your wedding day is going to Google and searching "[insert location here] wedding photographer". You're likely to have hundreds of results over dozens of pages. If you're patient, you may scroll through the first three or four, scanning portfolios and checking prices.
You will find all sorts of styles. Posed vs unposed. Modern vs classic. Realistic vs dramatically edited. When you add this search to all the other things to plan for a wedding it isn't always an easy process.
So here are five things to consider in the hope that it makes the process a little easier and provides confidence in the choice you make...
1. Ask friends about their experiences (it's obvious but important).
A significant part of working with a photographer is how you interact with each other. You only really get a sense of this if someone you know has worked with them before. Were they approachable? How did you find the couple shoot? was he/she noticeable on the day? These are useful things to understand before you part with your money. Your wedding day is not the time to find out you don't work well together.
Some photographers are also good at business management and can get themselves on page one of Google, maybe they can shoot as well, but a good referral can cut right through the fog. If you can, meet them in person before booking to get your own impression.
2. What style do you like?
Look at the style of someone's work. You may not have ever thought about 'what category of photography' you like, but when scanning through those portfolios there is probably a theme to what catches your eye. That is the person you should be considering. A person shoots in that way because it's what they think is best, but more importantly, it's what they focus on and likely to be what they're best at. A photographer is unlikely to change their style for you, and you should have an expectation of what you'll get delivered after your wedding.
Don't focus too much on photographers with 'awards'. Some are very credible, most are not. There are photographers who are very talented but never entered a competition. Likewise, others enter plenty of competitions in the hope they improve their marketing. Focus on the images. Are they within your budget? Read through their blogs, social media, testimonials, is this someone you engage with and would trust to capture your big day? If yes, then that is more important than a certificate.
4. What does it cost?
The majority of couples have a budget in mind, and of course this influences who you choose to photograph, cater, provide entertainment for your wedding day. From my very biased point of view I would state there are only a few things that last beyond the wedding day. Your rings, dress and the photo album (however you get that done) are the things you can hold again in 10 years time. The images you have are what you can share with family to re-live the experience. How much is that worth? That's up to you to decide. But if you ask me which part of the wedding budget you should be flexible on, I know what my answer would be.
5. Understand the product.
Do not find yourself asking questions like... How do you get the images? How many photos will you receive? Are they edited? Do guests pay for the images they download?... after your wedding day.
If this information is not online, ask them directly. There are a huge variety of ways photographers go about their work. Some will provide every image and edit a select few. Some send a USB, or maybe provide an online gallery, sometimes both. You might get one hundred photos edited and need to pay more for the rest. Some take a few weeks to provide the images whilst others spend months. If you don't like any of the answers to the above, or there is no flexibility in them, move on to the next photographer.
I think most of my answers to the above questions are available on the website, but if you have any more just send me an email and I'll get back to you. But in short, I shoot in a reportage style and provide every edited image I like via a custom USB drive and online gallery. I do not agree with charging guests for their downloads as my work is done and there is no need to keep collecting money. I will of course meet for a coffee and listen to what you have planned. But I think it's fair to say there is a reoccuring theme to my testimonials, which I'm delighted about because that is exactly what I aim to deliver.