by Sugar Photography, Sarah Hargreaves.
Choosing a photographer is often one of the most important decisions to be made when planning a wedding. Your photos will be a lasting record of your Big Day, so you need to ensure you choose a photographer with the right combination of professionalism, creative flair, skills and experience.
Here’s my list of top considerations, to help you on your way.
Decide whether you want to document your day in journalistic style with traditional, posed photographs; or whether you want to capture candid, fly-on-the-wall moments, full of emotion. Think about the photo content. For example, is it important to capture professional pictures of those centre pieces and the table plan that you spent hours making by hand?
Any good pro photographer will have a portfolio to show you. Choose a photographer who is experienced or specialist in your preferred style. Ask to see a full wedding album, to be sure that you’re choosing someone who takes consistently good shots (don’t just been shown the lucky few ace photos from a photographer’s wedding collection).
Bonding and venue:
Personally, I like to get to know my brides and grooms, and to see their chosen venue in advance of the wedding. I believe this increases my emotional investment and gives you peace of mind that we will get along and produce a fabulous wedding album. (I offer a pre-wedding engagement shoot with this in mind: www.sugar-photography.co.uk/
A tour of your venue is an opportunity to spot the best photo opportunities and to have in mind a bad weather contingency plan (although, some of my best photos have happened as a result of dramatic weather).
Another major query is whether your photographer will have an assistant at your wedding. Often larger weddings call for this – extra coverage ensures that no moment is missed. Alternatively; where an elaborate set-up is needed (to introduce extra lighting, for example). Additional photographers are not a problem, but it’s likely that you’ll want to know in advance that they’ll be present.
Contract, package and insurance:
To rule-out nasty surprises, you should expect to sign a contract that includes contact details, states the costs alongside any agreed payment schedule and lists out all of the elements included in your package.
Insurance is essential (professional indemnity and public liability for £2-5 million).
Put all of these considerations before your budget and only think about costs once you’ve shortlisted the photographers who can tick most of your boxes first.
As a rough guide, ring-fencing 8-10% of your overall budget will ensure that your photography is of a quality that fits your special day.