James Richard Photography

8 Tips To Help You Pick the PERFECT Wedding Photographer!

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but there are a heck of a lot photographers out there for you to choose from! The question is, how do you know who is the right photographer for you? How do you know that you will get the wedding photographs that you’re hoping for, rather than feeling like you’re taking a gamble on someone you don’t know? I’ve put together some of my top tips to try and make it easier for you…. after all, your wedding photographs are one of the only things from your wedding that you will keep for the rest of your life so you’ve gotta get it right!

There for the big moments

The photos that you love will show you what kind of photography you want from your day. I’m a documentary photographer so the couples that get in touch with me want fun, relaxed and unposed photographs that show the various parts of the day as they naturally unfolded. And because that’s what the couples that book me are looking for, they love their photos, both the ones they were present for and the ones of their friends and family having a brilliant time together. To make sure you pick the right person for you, make sure you ask to see more than what a photographer puts on their website. Make sure you ask for a selection that shows an entire wedding day. I make a slideshow of roughly 200 images for each wedding I do which I then send to couples that enquire with me and these are a great way to display a lot of photos without you having to trawl through hundreds of images. The slideshow shows the whole story of a day and gives a much more rounded view of my work- perfect for perspective couples to look through!

It’s all about the style

Are the photographs you’re drawn to light and airy or strong and moody? You will naturally be drawn to an editing style. Have a look through a photographers work and see if they match the style you like. This may not be a deal breaker for you but it could really make the difference when you get the final images back from your photographer.

Can you afford to get this wrong?!

I know wedding budgets are tight- believe me, I’ve been there. But as I said before, your wedding photos are the only thing from the day that will go the distance. You’re not going to be eating any of the food again, the flowers will die and sadly you probably won’t fit in your dress or suit forever (I found this out this the hard way!). But your wedding photos will come out again and again… and then some more. So don’t base your decision solely on the price- stretch that budget to get the best you can possibly afford! Confession time- my wife and I spent a lot of money on our photographer! We were fresh out of uni and spent more than we could afford but am I glad we did! We have wedding photos that we absolutely love and we certainly don’t miss the extra money we stretched to 3 years down the line. The question I would ask you here is can you really afford to get this wrong?!

Keep your nearest and dearest at arms length

Similar to the above so I hope you don’t think I’m banging the same drum here! The temptation when looking at photographers is to opt for your Uncle Bob who has a DSLR and will do it on the cheap. Stay away people! I’m sure he means well and just wants to save you the trouble and the money but wedding photography is serious stuff. You need someone who can deal with the stress, the change in schedule and the straying attention of a crowd. In essence- you need a professional. In my job, I’ve calmed nervous brides, problem solved, been the time keeper and organised 150+ people for a group photo and I’m good at those things because this is my job. Like any photographer worth his salt, I have kit, back up kit, insurance, a plan A and a plan B. And most of all, I have experience in what makes good wedding photographs. Trust me on this, give your Uncle Bob the task of bringing a cake for after the ceremony- not the photography.

Don’t pick a stranger!

When trying to choose between 5 different photographers, all of which you have found online, how are you supposed to know if they are actually nice people?! Your photographer will be with you for most of the day so make sure you get to know them a bit before you book. They should be someone you get on with and who you can see fitting in well with your day. I know its a busy time and you suddenly have a very long to do list but meeting your photographer, or even talking to them on the phone or on Skype will be worth your time- trust me. Not only will you be able to get more information from them but by getting to know them, you will naturally relax more in front of the camera and have more fun on your day.

Tried and tested

I really do love living in the 21st century. If I want to buy a new toaster, I have access to hundreds of peoples opinions on which toaster is the best one to get- so I’ve got a pretty good chance of getting it right first time. If I’m gonna do this for a machine that cooks my bread, you can bet I’m going to do it for a decision as huge as this one! If you know someone who has had the photographer you’re thinking about, ask them every question you can think of about them. And check the reviews others have given them. Top tip- check the testimonials on their website but also have a look to see if they have any reviews on Facebook or Google.

Check out this lovely review one of my recent couples left me:

“Relaxed, professional and creative… I am so happy that James was the photographer for our wedding day. His approach throughout the process put both my husband and I at ease, and it was like he was part of the party on the wedding day- all of our guests loved him! The results are exactly what we wanted… genuine photographs capturing little moments and details- we will treasure them forever.”– Susie & Ben

The all important extras

So you’ve found someone who has the style you want, you’ve met them and you get on well- the only thing left to consider is do they offer everything you want? You’ve probably just got engaged and it’s important to remember to celebrate that before diving headfirst into wedmin. So you might want an engagement shoot- does your photographer offer that? After the big day is over and you’ve got back from honeymoon- the main thing you will be looking forward to is receiving your photos. Wouldn’t it be amazing if, alongside your full collection, you also have a beautiful, luxury album to look forward to, including all of your favourite photographs? We all know that Mum, Dad, the Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents, friends and nosy neighbour from down the street will all want to see the photos. How amazing to be able to present them in your wedding album which was just sorted for you by your photographer? Alot of my couples opt for a wedding album so it’s important to make sure you ask what extras are on offer so you can get the full package.

Get ahead of the game

My closing piece of advice is simple but important- don’t leave it until the last minute. This is partly because a lot of photographers get booked up very quickly- I know I can be booked up to 2 years in advance and only take on a limited number of weddings each year. The other thing is that you want to have the time to find the best photographer for you and get to know that photographer before you part with your deposit. Allow yourself time to ask all of your questions, look through their portfolio and mull over the different packages on offer. After the venue, your photographer should be the next task you take on. Do your research and take the time to get it right.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope you’ve found it helpful! If you’re getting married and are looking for a wedding photographer I would absolutely love to hear from you! I have a limited amount of available slots in my calendar for weddings over the next couple of years so don’t hesitate to get in contact with me by clicking the link below:

Let’s see if I’m avaiable for your date!

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