How to choose a wedding photographer Pt 28th May 2012 Our Wedding Memories
In part 1, I outlined the three questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a wedding photographer. This time I'll take you through the 14 questions I recommend you ask any photographer you are considering.
If we book you, will you be our photographer?
Sometimes with large studios, you are charmed by the photography and personality of the owner of the business, but they then send a junior on the day. Always make sure you meet the person who will actually photograph your wedding, and see their work.
Are you a qualified wedding photographer?
An unqualified photographer may be good, but they may also be a disaster. A recognised qualification means their work has been assessed by a professional body and found to be at least of an acceptable standard. The letters to look for are any of the following: GWP, GPP, MPA, BIPP and RPS (any of which may have other letters in front of them). Beware of the letters SWPP!
Do you have professional photography insurance?
Professional photographers will have both Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance; accountants moonlighting as wedding photographers on the weekend usually don’t. If in doubt, ask to see a copy of the certificate.
What are your contingency plans?
A crucial question. Things can & do go wrong, and if a photographer is unprepared, that could mean no wedding photos. A wedding photographer should have the following plans in place as a minimum:
- spare camera, main lens & flashgun
- emergency arrangements with other wedding photographers in case of illness
- a professional camera with two card slots so every photo is saved to both cards
- a laptop on-site to backup photos before leaving the venue at the end of the day
How do you handle the group photos?
Everyone hates them, but your mum probably wants some, so find out what steps a photographer takes to make them fast and painless.
Can our guests take photos too?
Insecure photographers sometimes try to stop guests taking photos, which can annoy your guests. A skilled photographer knows that their own photos will be better than anyone else’s, so is happy for guests to take photos.
Can we see our photos before we choose an album package?
Many photographers insist you buy a package in advance of the wedding. Packages usually don’t include all the things you want, and you can’t know how many photos (and thus how many album pages) you want until you’ve seen the photos. Always look for one who has the confidence to let their photos do the selling, so all you pay before the wedding is the coverage fee (for taking the photos).
Can you put photos online?
Most couples and their guests want to see photos online soon after the wedding. The more with-it photographer will put photos onto facebook and slideshows on youtube within a few days of the wedding.
Can we buy a DVD or USB key with print-resolution photos?
Many photographers insist you buy prints from them, which can be expensive if you want a lot. It also means that you are relying on them to keep your photos safe in case you want prints later. Modern photographers will allow you to buy a DVD or USB key with high-resolution photos suitable for printing.
Which albums do you offer?
Album quality varies a lot, and you may have a preferred one. Make sure your photographer offers the albums you love.
How much do you charge?
I’ve left this one until now because couples often ask this question first, not realising that the cheapest photographers are usually cheap for a reason! Always ask for a complete fee schedule, including any optional upgrades you may be offered after the wedding, so there are no nasty surprises.
Can we pay in instalments?
You have a lot to pay at once, so a photographer who allows you to pay in stages can be a big help.
Is there anything you can do to reduce the cost?
Often you will love a photographer’s work but the cost looks like a bit of a stretch. It never hurts to ask whether there’s anything they can do. If you haven’t yet booked your date, many venues and photographers offer discounts for winter weddings and for mid-week weddings.
But always remember: you’ll still be looking at your wedding album in 20 years’ time, when a £250 or even £500 difference in the cost will be long forgotten, so don’t let price push you into compromising on quality.