Every event provides it’s own memories, but in the fast pace of modern life, they can quickly fade and all that’s left are the photographs. What you can take away from that is that a) the event has to be fantastic and b) you need a good photographer. But where to start if you haven’t had to find one before? We went to talented photographer and friend of C&S, Gemma Williams for her advice.
Undoubtedly googling a photographer is going to put you off. There is so much choice out there, in style, in presentation and in content that you’ll spend hours trawling through, without making any real decisions. So its best to start with the facts:
How Much to Budget
How much budget you are prepared to spend on a photographer. This will put you in a comfortable ball park so you know what you can get for your money. Gemma’s advice is that it really is worth trying to put as much as you can into the budget for it, she says:
‘In general, the more you spend on your wedding photographer, the more experienced they will be. They will have a great reputation, with many, many happy customers, and they may even have won an award or two. They will also have better equipment for better quality results, and they will know how to handle any situation. They will have an extensive and consistent portfolio for you to get a real idea of their style and their ability – you will be sure of being able to place your trust in them to do a great job for you, and to get the results you want.’
If you find a photographer with great style that is a little out your budget, see where you can make allowances to put that money towards a photographer. You hear so many stories of hosts disappointed with the end results, who wished they had spent that little bit extra to get the photos they wanted.
What’s Your Style
Once you’ve decided on budget, think about what photos style you’d like. Good questions to ask yourself, says Gemma, are things like:
- Is your event going to be relaxed and informal, or more traditional in style?
- Do you have ideas for particular photographs you would like, or would you like the event to be captured in a natural way?
- Would you like people to pose for photographs or would you rather not know a photograph was being taken?
By asking these questions, you are shaping the type of photographer you’d like to use, one that will fit in with your vision and style.
‘Traditional photographers will generally do more posed or set-up pictures, with more ‘formal’ group photographs, for example. On the other hand, ‘documentary’, ‘photo-journalistic’, or ‘reportage’ photographers will capture your day naturally as it unfolds, without any posing or direction. Fine art photographers do this in a creative and artistic way, recording the wedding through their own style and vision.’
Photographers also have the benefit of post production effects which can also influence your final choice. Do you want something dramatic or natural looking, saturated colours or atmospheric? If a photographer promotes themselves using these effects, make sure you like it and you think your future self will like it too! Fashions come and go, but photographs can stay around for ever.
Do Your Research
If you haven’t heard some good suggestions by word of mouth, Gemma suggests spending time on Pinterest (see our boards here) for inspiration and to help you find the style you like before then searching for photographers in the local area or ones that are willing to travel.
Your venue will also have a reliable list of suppliers that will include photographers. They will know the venue well and be able to use their experience of what works and where to full effect. Gemma always tries to go to venue wedding fairs for her business as its a great way of meeting potential clients in person and talking through their style and ideas with her.
Book (well) in Advance!
Check through their portfolios to get a bit more information about style, find any reviews, just to make sure and get in touch. Many good photographers will be booked up early and if it’s a popular day of the week or year for weddings, they might not be available.
You’ll have to pay a deposit to secure the date and sign a contract. Make sure everything on there is to your liking and question anything you are unsure of. Keep in touch with your photographer and update them with accurate details in the run up to the event.
All images in this article are credited to Gemma Williams Photography.