Where to start your photographer search
So the date has been set, the venue has been booked; what’s next? The photographer of course, that one person you entrust in capturing the day as you remember it to look back on for years to come.
So how do you choose? We have come up with 6 steps on how to choose the perfect Somerset wedding photographer for you.
Your first thought would be google, I am based in the wiltshire/ somerset area so I would search “wedding photographers in Somerset” or something along those lines, if I google that now i get about 1,000,000 results come back in 0.63 seconds! What a minefield! No one has that much time on their hands to go sifting through that many web pages.
So what styles of wedding photography are there? We have summarized the main 3 types so that you can get a good understanding and will know what’s best for you
Reportage style – also known as photo journalistic or documentary photography.
Your photographer will stand amongst you and your guests taking the photos as the day unfolds, never missing a shot capturing those special moments and emotional candid photos of you and your guests. This is the most natural wedding photography there is as it is unposed and shows exactly how your day was as your guests see it
Pros – natural authentic storytelling photography.
Cons – no group shots (unless you ask for them).
Traditional wedding photography
Traditional – is the classic posed style photography you usually see when the latest Royal has just got married and the photos are plastered all over the media, they are very formal and do have a kind of grandeur to them. This used to be a very popular style and involved lots of direction from the photographer, it also very time consuming for your photographer and your guests and you could miss out on other photos while trying to arrange the shoot.
Pros – lasting, timeless photos of your family and friends.
Cons – takes a lot of time setting up and you miss out on emotions from the day.
Contemporary – is more like a fashion shoot for vogue magazine or editorial mixed with reportage, its ideal if you like that artistic approach but you do need to find a photographer who has the same creative mindset as you as everyone’s vision is different. Finding this will take time but if you are luckily enough to find one then great! Another key thing to be aware of is different fashions go out of date, so try to ensure the style is not so abstract that when you look back on those beautiful photos in 20 years you still like them.
Pros – very unique creative shots that are different to everyone else’s.
Cons – not so timeless and make sure the creativity does not come in front of emotions.
Photography style round up!
Every Bride and Groom will have their own tastes, feel a mix of reportage, capturing those emotions as the day goes along with some posed photos along the way which should be agreed with the photographer way in advance so that everyone knows what they are doing and what is expected.
So hopefully following these 8 steps will narrow that search down until you find the perfect photographer for you.
Step 1 - Budget
How much do you want to spend? I think the first thing you need to work out is what you want from your photographer, do you want 3 hours of photography inc. the ceremony to the best man’s speech? Or do you want all day coverage from the bridal preparation to the first dance?
Do you want your photos put on a CD or a USB and stuckthrough your letterbox or do you want some nice keepsakes like some prints and an album? All these things cost different amounts and this amount can vary in cost from one part of the country to the other.
The first step is to set yourself a budget be it £500 or £10,000, onces you have set yourself a budget stick to it! Lots of photographers have packages on their sites or starting prices, this will give you a good indication of what you can get for your money.
The average spend on a wedding photographer for the Wiltshire / Somerset area is between £1000 and £2000, which may seem like a large part of your overall budget to spend but your photos are the most important things to invest in, it’s the only part of your wedding day that you will always be able to look back on.
Step 2 - Testimonials
Once you have found the style that you like and you know how much you want to spend, you want to make sure that the photographer you like is going to do a good job.
Any wedding photographer will be very keen to give you testimonials, most of them in fact have them spread all over there website, and rightly so, they do a tough job and are very proud of the feedback they get. The only problem with this is when a photographer is new, they may not be a new photographer, they may have years and years of experience, But this may be in a photography studio or working for another company,.
This isn’t to say that they will be a poor choice, and you may get better value for money as the photographer sets up in business and is trying hard to get clients on his or her books, but ring the photographer if you like there style and the price is right, providing he is honest and truthful about his situation then they would certainly be worth considering.
Step 3 - Portfolio
Ask to see the whole shoot from a wedding, not just the best ones they have on their website or even if they are new to weddings ask to see other work from their portfolio. What you are looking for consistent style and quality time and time again. So that you can be sure when they photograph you, you get the exact photos that you wanted.
Step 4 - Location
Step 4 is not the end of the world but it does help. Do they know the venue that you have booked? Have they photographed it before, this is not a deal breaker but it does help to know the best locations for photos, where the best light is and what location within the venues gives the softest natural light.
Although most photographers (certainly a photographer you want to book) will make sure that he does a site visit before your wedding, being in the right places at the same time of day as yours will be so that he can see where the light comes from.
Step 5 - Meeting
Arranging a meeting with your photographer, you could meet with several if you still haven’t made your mind up. It is a great way of getting to know them and talking through your ideas, this is also good so that you haven’t got a complete stranger taking your photos and it’s someone you know and have spoken with which will make you feel much more at ease on the day.
Make sure you have a list of questions for him although most wedding photographers will be more than happy for you to phone and email them with any questions that you may have. You will usually find that the photographer has more photos for you than you do for him. He will want to make sure that he has every detail possible of you, listing out key shots that you want etc. to make sure they are as prepared as they possibly can be.
Step 6 - Engagement shoot
A Lot of photographers charge an extra couple of hundred pounds for an engagement shot but it is so worthwhile doing, you get to know your photographer better and see how they work and what they expect from you, it gets you much more confident around a camera clicking away, you can try out different poses that you might like when you are dressed up on the big day, but lastly what you get are some beautiful, natural, casual photos for you to treasure.
So now you are done! You have selected your wedding photographer and you have one thing less on your list to complete – congratulations what a relief.
This may seem overkill, but out of everything else from your wedding day apart from your memories the photos taken will be treasured forever.
I hope you have enjoyed reading
Nick – Moon and back Uk, Somerset wedding photographer