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Choosing your Photographer

Steve Barber Photography gives advice when choosing the right wedding photographer. Hugely important and at the very cornerstone of your wedding memories


Choosing the right Wedding Photographer

When planning your wedding day choosing the right wedding photographer will be one of the most important decisions you will have to make. After all the planning and attention to detail you have put into making your big day so memorable, you will want to be sure you remember all those special moments. Choosing the right wedding photographer for you is hugely important and at the very cornerstone of your wedding memories. Choosing the wrong one for the job can bring tears and heartbreak.

I have provided step by step advice to making the right decision when hiring the right photographer for you, who will provide you with memories you will treasure forever.

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Begin your search as soon as possible

Choosing the right wedding photographer is possibly one of the first things you should do. Steve Barber Photography, like many other professional photographers, will take bookings as far back as two years and beyond. If you want amazing photographs then I would suggest searching for your photographer as soon as you have your date and venue arranged. If you have ever tried to book a table at a popular restaurant and failed you will understand that with popularity comes high demand.

In recent years the wedding seasons have shifted, from the more traditional spring and summer dates to include autumn and winter themed weddings. And no longer is a Saturday the only day available to you, wedding days take place 7 days a week including Sundays which have now become ever more popular.

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All photographers are different

No two photographers are the same. They all have different styles and approach to both working with a client and their photography. If your preference is for the traditional family group shots and formal pictures of the bride and groom, look at photographers who can show you great photographs in that particular style. Don't waste time talking to photographers who only show you "reportage" type work.

Make sure that the approach fits in with what you want as some photographers will spend a couple of hours taking group shots. Some will just want the bride and groom alone, away from the reception for an hour or two.  There is nothing wrong with either of these.

Many couples today want a good balance of creative, reportage and formal styles in their wedding album, if so look for a photographer who has this flexibility. It is said that variety is the spice of life. I personally like to express this in my approach to photography with a good blend of different styles giving the client a diverse selection of photographs. Give some thought to what you want and do some research to find photographers who can offer what you want.

Look at Wedding Photos to suit your taste

Look at a Photographer’s website blog and image gallery if you are looking for a particular photography style. this is the place they will showcase their very best work. look for creativity, consistency and well composed, sharp images. If you choose a photographer who can’t provide these traits in every image you will potentially end up with a very average wedding album.

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Relying on friends and family to take your photographs

Have you been to a wedding and thought "the photographer makes it look so easy"? the photographer makes it look easy because they are a professional and photographed numerous weddings.

I would always advise against asking friends and family to take your photographs for a number of reasons. An amateur will likely own one camera. What if it develops a fault on your wedding day?  A professional will carry at least two cameras and will probably have back-ups of most other equipment a professional will certainly have the right equipment to do the job. 

Allowing your photographer enough time to do their job

Mistakes can happen when you rush! If you would like some formal, romantics or group photographs taken, allow time for it in your schedule. Ask how much time is needed your photographer once you have booked one.

Do you have any special photographic requirements?  Your photographer will know you want pictures with your parents, best man, bridesmaids, groomsmen and close friends but they won’t know if you have a special aunt that you haven’t seen in 10 years and really want some pictures taken with her. Please make sure this doesn’t get overlooked. Inform your photographer of this before the big day. I always arrange a pre-wedding meeting with you to discuss the fine details and develop a photography agenda for the day.

It can be a great help if your best man or toastmaster can help to make sure that everybody is where they need to be at the right times.

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Buy cheap, Buy twice!

At first glance the cost of a photographer may seem expensive but remember the photographs will be there long after the party and the champagne, I believe it is important to share some of the things you don’t see when hiring a photographer for your wedding day.

A good photographer will meet you once or twice before your wedding day to discuss plans, ideas and complete an agenda for your photography. I usually prefer to do this at the wedding venue of choice covering areas and ideas for group shots and romantics. As well as the photography on the day the photographer will spend days professionally editing your photos with high end software, removing any unwanted objects or blemishes that may ruin a perfect picture. Once your images are edited they will be packaged and sent out via recorded delivery. On many occasions I made good friends through my photography and have met couples after the editing to personally hand over the photos and enjoy a coffee or a spot of lunch.

Don’t alienate the people you really want on your shortlist. price is important and we all want value for money, but it is not more important than quality product and service.

Trust your instinct and intuition

If you decide to meet your photographer to discuss your plans and ideas, you will have a good idea if they are right for you. Sometimes something seems too good to be true, and it usually is.

Always read the contract

A professional photographer will ask you to sign a contract. You would be surprised how many people just sign the agreement without knowing what they are signing for.  Or they just skim read the terms and conditions before committing to a legally binding contract. Contracts include an upfront deposit don’t be surprised to pay as much as £400 to secure your photographer followed by the outstanding amount owed for services seven days before the event. Please make sure you are happy with the written contract before signing it.

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A Final Thought   

Your photographer is charged with the task of recording your wedding day for you.  They will be creating the only material thing that survives past the honeymoon.  They will have to interact with your vicar/priest or registrar, the reception venue staff, your wedding planner, the car drivers, the DJ/band, the toastmaster and all your guests.  You will be spending a good proportion of your day with your photographer so it is important you feel at ease with them. They will have one eye on you all day, watching for the special moments that make great pictures. Some photographers can be a little intrusive when sticking a camera in your face, a good photographer will understand if you are a camera shy and tailor their approach to suit this.

This means your photographer is more than just providing a service. To get the best for your investment you will need to work with them before, during and after you wedding.  So book someone you can get along with, this will without a doubt enhance the photography results if you choose someone you feel comfortable working with.