How to choose your Wedding Photographer - 10 tips that might help you make the big decision - Poppy

This time of year so many people use the festive season to get engaged and as it's such an exciting moment in your life you may love to dive head first into research and start planning the biggest party of your life right away! Or in the other camp - if you have been a little more relaxed about it all - lots of people panic that their wedding is ONLY A YEAR AWAY (*cue running around like a headless chicken*) and quickly book the first photographer that pops into your newsfeed! Which ever camp you fall into - there are certain things to look out for - this is a big decision and one I'd love to help you make!

I am regularly asked how I chose my Wedding photographer and what I would look for... So here you go!

1. Get a feel of their entire portfolio... Does it make your heart sing?

When you look at their work does it make you feel something? Excitement, romance, a sense of adventure? This one should be quite instinctive - even if you don't know anything about photography most people can see what sort of thing they like and are drawn to. Photography is completely subjective so make sure you really love their style. Just because your friend booked someone and raved about them doesn't mean they are a perfect fit for you! (Although a personal recommendation is always a great place to start your search!)

2. Do your personalities click?

Hopefully their website should give you a good idea of the kind of person they are - enough to make you press the button to enquire further - but the next step is always to schedule a Skype or even better (if schedules allow!) to meet up in person! You want to really click, feel completely at ease and be able to relax around them!

When I shoot a wedding I want you to feel like you have another friend there supporting you on your day, someone that's looking out for you every step of the way - to make your day run seamlessly and to make sure you have the best day of your life! It's always a huge compliment when guests ask me how long I've been friends with the couple - and being that comfortable with each other really allows me to capture you authentically in a way that shows who you are as a person/couple.

3. Ask to see a full wedding gallery (or a few of them!)!

Most photographers will only show a small section of their work on their website - it's easy to only show the very best, perfect moments of the day. But you need to see how they handle all the in between moments, the bad lighting and the rowdy guests. You want to love every part of their work and know what to expect so it's not a surprise when you get your gallery back. If you are getting married in a barn in December make sure you see some dark winter weddings - your gallery will look nothing like someone who got married on the beach in June! My blog features lots of galleries with 100+ images to give you a good idea but you can always drop me an email to ask to see more - when we meet in person for a consultation I always try to show you at least one wedding with a similar venue to your own!

4. Think logistics!

I would always say to start your search with local photographers, they will know the area and most probably have been to/shot at your venue before. This cuts out travel and hotel costs and any worries about them not making it to your day on time! That being said - my first point on this list is the most important - sometimes you find someones work that just sets your world on fire and you HAVE to have them! If that is the case and they are willing to travel - make sure to pay for a hotel for them the night before so they are close and well rested the night before your big day - no stress about traffic or cars breaking down and you get your dream photographer! Perfect!

If I am shooting at a venue that I haven't been to before I always make sure to get there nice and early to have a look around and scout out where I plan to shoot groups & couple portraits. If you follow me on Instagram you will regularly see me chatting away on Insta Stories wandering around wedding venues super early just to make sure every single thing is perfect!

5. Consider your budget carefully.

The number 1 thing people say to me when they come in for Newborn photos is... 'I wish we had spent more on our Wedding Photographer'. Now I know it's really easy for me to encourage you to spend more as it's my job but hear me out. You pay for what you get. Truly. When all is said and done the only thing you'll have left is your husband/wife, your rings and your photographs. These photographs will shape the memories that you have of that day and be treasured for years to come by your children and grandchildren. Of course I don't want you to spend a crazy amount that puts you in debt - but consider your budget carefully if you can. I'd rather have an incredible photographer capture part of the day than a terrible photographer there from morning till night.

Consider also if someone is charging under £1000 for a full day - are they insured? Do they have back up gear if something went wrong? Are they really going to be able to handle any situation thrown at them?

Wedding photography is so much more than 8-12 hours of shooting your wedding. It's endless hours of prep, editing, emails, delivering etc etc etc. You get the picture. Anything from £1500-5000 is completely normal now for a full days wedding photography coverage. If you can stretch the budget to get someone that you truly adore their work and their personality - then go for it. You won't regret it!

6. Ask the 'boring' questions too!

Don't be afraid to ask the boring/hard questions! Are they insured? Can you see the documents please? How many weddings a year do they shoot? What is their plan if they are sick/can't shoot your wedding? Has that ever happened before? How long until you get your wedding photos back? How do they deliver them (Online/Usb etc.)? How do they back up your photos? Do they have back up gear?

7. What is included and do you want it all?

When you consider their packages make sure you are getting exactly what you want. Coverage from getting ready to the first dance or would you like them to stay later and capture a sparkler exit/fireworks too? Adding on a second shooter means more guest shots, another angle at the ceremony and preparation photos of both of you. Engagement shoot? Sound like fun or totally not your vibe? A stunning hand made album and copies for your parents sound amazing - or would you rather skip that? These are all things you'll need to think about - discuss it with your photographer if you aren't sure!

8. Do they require you to sign a contract?

Signing a contract protects both you and the photographer - make sure you read it through and you are both totally clear on what you are buying. If you aren't sure - pick up the phone and have a chat if they are a lovely person (which hopefully they are!) they'll be happy to talk it through with you!

9. Do you really like them?

Ok I know this is number 2 on the list but I really mean it! You are going to spend a huge chunk of your day hanging out/being followed around by them so you want to actually like having them around!

10. Read lots of reviews!

The best place to find out what you can expect is from previous brides & grooms! Are they shouting from the rooftops or are the reviews just so-so? Have a look on the photographers website for reviews and make sure to read lots of them! Google also hosts reviews as well as Facebook! Also lots of the top wedding blogs invite top photographers to join their recommended lists - check for badges and use the blogs 'find a supplier search' too! I'm recommended by Love My Dress and Rock My Wedding as well as lots of amazing local venues! You can find some of the lovely reviews from my amazing couples on my website here

Did I miss something out? Have any other burning questions?

I would absolutely love to help you! Just drop me an email if you would like to chat or if you would like to see my brochure!

I only take 30 weddings a year so I can give my full focus, love and attention to detail to every one of my couples but that does mean I book up very quickly! If you are searching for your photographer and think we would be a great fit just drop me and email! I can't wait to hear all about your plans!

Poppy x

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