Choosing the right wedding photographer for your wedding day can be an absolute minefield! Some people only want “the best” wedding photographer, some people are happy to let their guests capture their day on mobile phones etc. For some people money is not an issue, for others they struggle to afford who they really want. Our first tip is not to let your wedding photography be one of the things that you try to save money on. Any decent wedding photographer will tell you that your budget for wedding photography should be approx. 10% of your total wedding budget. So if your wedding is £10,000 allow £1000 for a photographer (the same applies with videographers – but you can combine the 2 and save a bit of money – we’ll talk more about how to save money in a later post).
There are so many options for choosing a wedding photographer as wedding photography packages and wedding photographers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Budget will play the biggest part in who you choose to capture your wedding day. But don’t forget to look at what their photography packages include and get to know a little bit about their personality and style.
For those with no or next to no budget (£0-£250) in the wedding kitty for a photographer there are always the options of a family friend, a student or a newbie. Although these can be considered to be high risk options for your wedding photography, as you are putting your trust in someone with very little experience and most probably low-end wedding photography equipment, they can be ideal for just making sure you have something to show from your wedding day without needing to worry about spending a fortune.
Your next option is low budget wedding photography (£300-£800). This can range from a well experienced photographer who has been churning out wedding photos for years, to a relatively new/eager photographer who is looking to build their wedding photography business up. Chances are they will have a limited portfolio or just stick to very basic photos on your wedding day. Join a wedding chat group on Facebook and chances are you will find hundreds of photographers in this range. Now just because they are low budget it doesn’t mean they are not going to be as good as the higher budget photographers, all wedding photographers have to start somewhere.
There is more risk in this area of photography as it’s often photographers in this area that let their clients down or don’t live up to their client’s expectations. You will see horror stories in the newspapers but what a lot of people don’t see is how much the photographer costs which often makes people wary of all wedding photographers. At the same time, you can easily find a budget photographer who will go above and beyond and exceed your expectations.
Those brides and grooms who really value their wedding photography and want to guarantee high quality photos from their wedding day should really be looking at mid-range wedding photographers (£1000-£2000). You are getting into the range of wedding photographer who has an amazing portfolio of images, thousands of pounds worth of equipment, possibly an assistant/2nd shooter available in their wedding photography package. These photographers will likely attend workshops to continually improve their portfolios. There’s a good chance that they will also be in high demand and often booked up 12-24 months in advance. Although there is always a risk in booking a wedding photographer you are eliminating the likelihood that these photographers won’t show up or fail to meet your expectations.
The final option is a wedding photographer who has the kind of wedding photography packages were money is not an issue or wedding photography is near the top of the list on your wedding budget (£2500+). These are the guys and girls who have likely worked their way up through the ranks below and are now considered to be highly reputable in their field. They likely run their own photography workshops and teach other photographers how to take amazing photos. You won’t find these in Facebook wedding chat groups. There’s a good chance that they will turn up to your wedding as a small team. If money isn’t an issue this is likely going to be the area for you but it’s not to say that they will be right for your wedding or provide better photos than some of those mid-range photographers.
So what other factors should you consider when choosing who you want to capture your special day. We mentioned photography packages and the photographer’s personalities before. You should study your potential wedding photographers packages and discuss them in advance so you are clear on what you are getting. Some will offer digital only packages, others will offer album only packages, some combined. Many will offer one but then allow you to add the other as an extra. Be sure you are getting “high res” or print quality photos when booking a digital package. Personality is the other key factor as we said above budget plays a big part but there’s no point spending thousands if you don’t like the photographer but you love his/her work. So make sure you talk to them in advance either meet them face to face, phone them or get to know them via Facebook messenger etc. You need to think about, Do I want someone that’s formal who will look smart at my wedding? Do I want someone who’s laid back? Do I want someone who’s loud and fun? Do I want someone who’s quite militant and strict.
At the end of the day we like to live by the motto “Each to their own”. All weddings are different, as are all brides and grooms as are wedding photographers. We recommend you decide your budget first, decide what sort of photos you want – lots of ‘wow’ shots, fly on the wall style photos, or a mixture. Why not do a search for “your wedding venue wedding photography”, ask friends who they’ve used or find local photographers. Just be sure to do your research before you book your wedding photographer.
Sarah & Joe