How to choose the right wedding photographer
Part 3 - What to expect from your professional wedding photographer
So if you have decided to go the professional photographer route for your wedding day, then read on.
You of course need to make sure you get value for your money. And that is what this part is about. This does not necessarily mean getting things on the cheap - but be sure to get your money’s worth no matter what you spend. Many things are not cheap, especially when a wedding day is concerned. So like with anything of value, and photography of your wedding day is one of them, be sure to do your homework and make sure you get the right photographer for you.
In a world dominated by the internet, it is easy to book and order everything online. And this is a great convenience, and there are some fantastic services out there for connecting you to the right people for the job. But if you can, try and have a face to face with your photographer. Take some time and get a feeling for them. In parts 1 and 2, I talked about other options for your photography, and there are a few - with pros and pitfalls for each. If you are still reading, it may be because you understood only too well the pitfalls often outweigh the benefits when it comes to such an important, one of a kind day! And so the reason for excelling the virtues of investing in a professional photographer are many, but not all professional photographers are created equally. This is also the person that you will be spending the most time with throughout, and so, you want to make sure you get along with them, and that you understand each other’s vision for the day.
It is often great to get recommendations, I myself get most of my business this way, but people, even close friends and family, who might be the ones to recommend someone, all have their own tastes and they may differ from our own - so be sure the photographer meets your own specifications. There is nothing wrong with knowing what you want and going after it. The right photographer for you will be out there.
And because it is your big day, that is why this is all the more important - but remember that a photographer is an artist, and will have their own artistic style. It is never a good idea to try and mould a photographer to you. Instead find one that is everything you want and more. And a truly great photographer, while being happy to go out of their way in order to look after his or her clients, should not compromise on their own work simply to land a job!
As previously mentioned, meeting your photographer is important. If meeting up directly with your chosen photographer is not possible, maybe because it is a destination wedding or there are other factors in the way, then you of course can speak on the phone; I also often offer Skype or FaceTime chats if meeting up in the early stages of booking is not possible. In all but my entry level package I also offer the couple a complimentary engagement/pre-wedding shoot. The value in this for the both parties, can not be overstated. Any nerves can be put to rest, questions asked and, of course, you get some photos as a result - perfect for a save the date cards or guest signing frames. You will also see a very good insight into how your chosen photographer will be on the big day itself. Any doubts at this time still gives opportunity to make changes and find a replacement, which is the reason I often offer those complimentary shoots; I want to assure the couple that have booked me, that they made the right choice. If either of them have any fear of the attention and focus of a camera being pointed at them for the vast part of such a day, then I want them to be confident in me, the process and in the images that will be produced. Look for a photographer that offers this, as a way of really knowing what you are paying for. It can be a good test run if you will.
Just splashing the cash on something is not going to guarantee quality. And even if the work is stunning, are you all on the same wavelength? Of course you have a budget, and fantastic - you like their work. Just make sure you all click. Being relaxed and at ease is the most important part to getting the best photos on your day.
Though you’ll have a budget in mind (and only you know what you can afford), often you do get what you pay for. The average spend on photography in the UK at the time of writing, to give you some context, is around £2000 - £2500. If you can afford more, then you may be able to afford someone more established or with a wider package offering. If that is out of your price range, then maybe you will be lucky and find someone starting out, just be carful to watch out for the pitfalls that I mention in the previous parts to this blog series concerning these options.
There are of course other factors to the price, such as what is included. If you can afford X amount, and you like the photographers or studio’s work, and they are free on your day (it always pays to book in advance to make sure you avoid disappointment) then you will want to find out what you actually get for your money. If you are spending around the £2k mark, or more, then you will be wanting a damn good product. A book and prints maybe. This is one of the key reasons to pay this amount, and why a truly creative photographer will value the printed product. We at Lucria offer fantastic hand finished books, as well as a range of printing and mounting options all from the best quality companies for this very reason. We believe in a full service offering. And that is something you will just not get at the lower end of budgets.
So what else are you getting for your money?
You have found a photographer that you like. You love the work they produce, and you have had some face to face time. You believe they are the photographer to capture your wedding day perfectly. You are paying good money, so you expect more than the images on a disk or USB stick. You want printed products, and of course you want high quality. If you are paying a professional to give you professional service, then you of course expect a professional product.
The importance of the printed product can not be undervalued. If you tell yourself you will get a book or prints made up later, and you follow up on this, then you are one of the few that actually do. So credit would be due. But if you leave it to the professional, you will be getting a professional product worthy of the investment. And an investment is what truly good photography certainly is.
As an example, the books that we include here at Lucria Creative, are not your average photo book. They are styled to reflect our artistic style and to give you, the client, the best value for money. There are of course upgradable options, but the standard of the included book is nothing short of top quality; as it should be! A bespoke design, hand finished and impeccable style all come together to form a product that we are proud to showcase our work in. This is not something your local print lab or online store can offer, or can put together for the cheap prices you may see advertised. The gulf in quality difference is vast. And putting one of these together to look stylish and elegant is often not an easy task, even though that advert claims it can be done with a few clicks in 10 minutes. Don’t believe me? Then don’t take the risk, and try it beforehand to find out. Use some family images and make yourself up a nice little book, and then compare it to some on offer by your photographer and you should be able to instantly tell the difference.
To view an example of our package products click here.
We not only include the book already mentioned, together with a perfectly formed case to protect your memories; we also include our video-slideshows on a disk, ready to play at home in your entertainment centre, and all the images and digital copies on a USB stick in presentation and storage case.
We have a range of stylish print options available too. And with some of our packages there is also the chance to add more value with our same day edits, personalised website, Life in squares design collection, printed, mounted and framed, all ready to adorn your wall as well as our unique ‘customer for life’ service.
Is your chosen photographer giving you value for your money? If they truly are, as well as them, their skill and artistic merit, they should be striving to give you impeccable service, and this includes the final product. The photographer that offers this will be more dedicated, more professional and more worthy of you spending your hard earned cash on, than someone that simply puts all the images on a disk for you, with no end product. You want to be assured that the potentially higher costs to you has all the benefits that it should have. Is your photographer insured? Do they have back up systems for the precious once in a life time images. Do they have back up equipment and plans if anything were to go wrong on the day? And what exactly do you get for your money, as in a digital world the lines can often be blurred.
Which is what we will talk about next, so join us for part 4 as we breakdown what a digital file actual is, we discuss RAW files and digital negatives and give you all the information you need to know.