Our first guest blogger in our series of articles providing useful tips and guidance in the world of wedding planning, is the talented Henry Wells. Henry Wells has been photographing weddings at Ramster for many years, and provides some invaluable advice on what to think about when choosing a wedding photographer, the person who is going to capture those special memories of your big day.
It’s tempting to say the same way we choose anything else - go online, look at websites, pictures and prices, and then fire off a few emails. Many Brides and Grooms do just that, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you get a better result and someone exactly right for you.
What is your dream set of wedding photographs and will you get on with the photographer?
The first is to project yourself to one year after your wedding and think about what you would like to see in your set of pictures - and what you would be disappointed to find missing that you didn’t have. The second, and here’s the key that is all too often overlooked, you need to like the pictures you’re seeing, but you also need to like the photographer(s) who are going to be around you for an awful lot of your wedding day. Just looking at a website is not going to tell you about the kind of presence your photographer will be at your wedding. Feedback from other brides on a photographer’s website will give you an indication, but you really need to talk to any photographer - on the phone is a start but meeting them if you are seriously considering them is miles better.
Start with recommendations and then do you research!
There are literally hundreds of wedding photographers for you to choose from, recommendations from your venue and your friends should provide a good working shortlist - Ramster’s list has a number of very different photographers with different styles and different prices. Explore their site in detail, not just the first few images. If a photographer is going to hand over 500+ pictures after the wedding you want to get a sense of what the set will feel like, not just the one fantastic image on social media.
Decide on the style of photography you like.
Are you looking for a traditional photographer, do you want lots of posed or arranged groups, or do you want wow factor pictures that look natural, but have been very skilfully and time consumingly set up to look like they happened of their own accord? Or do you want fly- on-the-wall pictures that capture the day naturally? Or perhaps a blend of all the above? What you choose will make a difference to the feel of the day - is the photographer organising, bossy or intrusive? Is that what you would like, someone to shape your day, or is it the last thing you want? There are fans of both approaches - which works for you?
Check a photographers portfolio in the season you are getting married.
Most photographers should be able to show you fabulous pictures from summer, but if you’re getting married in winter - and photographically really that’s from the end of October when the hour changes to the end of February - make sure you see pictures from your time of year to see how the photographer copes with your conditions. Ramster is an amazing venue at any time of year, but how it looks on a rainy day in December is different from a 90 degree day in June.
Do I need two photographers?
Two photographer teams would not surprisingly say yes! It really depends on how many guests you have - over 150 it’s a probably good idea if you can run to it. If you want your photographer to blend into the background and to feel like a guest then stay with one. For less than 120 guests unless there are very specific logistical problems one photographer is absolutely fine. It’s better to have 600 pictures from one photographer whose style you like than a thousand from two photographers who aren’t quite right for you - less can often be more.
How long will it take to receive your photographs?
One really important and often overlooked question is how long it will take for your photographs to be ready. It usually takes me four days to edit a full length all day wedding. If all the pictures are online the morning after the wedding then clearly not a lot of editing is being done. But more and more I’m asked at weddings by guests whose weddings I didn’t photograph why their wedding pictures took 8 -12 weeks to arrive. The answer is that more and more wedding photographers are part-time, so at busy times of year they simply won’t have a chance to edit your pictures if they have to go back to their day job on Monday morning. It may not bother you in the least to have a 3 month wait, but make sure you ask the question so that there are no surprises later on.
Make sure you ask for back up!
If you follow the above you should end up with a great photographer who will capture your day for you in the way that you want and produce pictures you want to look at for the rest of your life. And one final don’t forget’ - always ask about back up, both in terms of equipment and what happens if the photographer is ill or unable to get to your wedding for any other reason. If there’s anything I haven’t covered you can always reach me on 07979 645540 or via www.henrywells.co.uk- there’s nothing I like more than talking about weddings !