Finding your Awesome Photographer

What do look for in a photographer? Someone who takes amazing pictures right? Who’s Instagram is kickass? A Facebook Page full of great Memes? I know it’s a minefield right? So how do you choose? Well, I’ve been doing this for a few years now and I have managed to work with some amazing people, who have explained what they looked for; here’s a few of their pointers that they looked for……and got with me :-).

Look at the Portfolio

They say that the quality of a photographer’s portfolio should make you smile and leave you with that “WOW” feeling. You should be saying “I want that shot!” as you hammer the like button. The photos that you review in a portfolio should leave you imagining your own day, inspiring you to think about how we can capture a moment in time from your most special day in all its glory. The style should be clear, consistent and match what you are looking for. As you know, you’re looking for awesome right? Whether it’s the refined sophistication of the lean against an aristocratic palace or the fun of you both mid floss on the dance floor, the work should resonate with you and conjure up empathy, that makes you think I want a piece of that! .

Northover Manor

Personality

Now whilst I realise that I didn’t actually get an invite for your special day (you are forgiven) I do genuinely want to share in your joy and celebrate with you and your guests by making sure that I can make you feel at ease and that I don’t come across as one of those bossy and demanding people that make taking photos such a chore! So my personality needs to work for you.

In my opinion and thankfully many of the couples that I have had the pleasure of working with agree, being comfortable and at ease with each other, makes such a huge difference on the day as by the time that day does come around, I have a sense of who you are as a couple, because we have met and discussed what you are looking for. Now I appreciate that most people don’t actually like the prospect of being photographed, so I see it as my role to try and get rid of that awkwardness and make you feel relaxed and in doing so, the day will flow much easier and allow me to capture those awesome images. I will be spending a lot of time in close proximity to you throughout the day so we need to have a good rapport. I need you to feel relaxed with me around you as so many memorable moments occur throughout the day seeing your face light up as you read the card or open the gift that your soon-to-be wife/husband has written for you, seeing how amazing you look when you try on the  wedding attire for the first time that day and you both melt as you and your partner share a loving kiss……don’t worry, I also know when to stop taking photos too!. But I have to do all of this on one of the most important days of your life, so I want to be able to guide you and  enhance your day by just knowing what needs to be done and when, yet by being invisible at the right times, silently working away to make sure I get those all breath-taking shots. 

Obviously, I recognise that you’re not the only ones at your wedding, so the next challenge is to make sure that I can deal the overpowering Mother or the slightly inebriated best friends and the rowdy children. Believe me I have experience of dealing with these types of challenges and more……..through my work obviously (just in case someone is reading this 🙂 ). But in all seriousness I can tell you that I love blending in to a crowd, capturing people having the time of their lives. I can only do that by being approachable and unobtrusive, by connecting with your guests and having fun with the kids it all helps massively get the best images from the day.  

So I would definitely suggest that we meet,if not in person, then at the very least over a video call. I want to make sure that we “click” (sorry that was a photographer’s pun!) and that you feel we are compatible. I want you to feel at ease, and just feel “right”. 

If by the end of the meeting or call, you don’t think it feels right, it’s ok to walk away. Photographers want the right couples too – we are big boys and girls we can handle it.  

Pennard House

Practical Experience

I’m not just talking about how many weddings someone has photographed, it’s genuinely about the experiences that have happened in the build up to and after the wedding day itself. Differentiating between offering a standard, off the shelf service as opposed to working with a photographer who truly knows what is important to you and how to make that happen for you.

With all the planning in the world, sometimes life just happens and it has the potential to side-track your day, but having someone with you who has the experience to know what needs to be done and the experience of dealing with challenges on the day is something I take pride in and it has certainly earned me extra brownie points with some of my guests. 

Here is a list of some interesting things I have had happen on a wedding day outside of my role as photographer. I Have…..

* Driven the Bridesmaids to the church, when their car didn’t turn up – we cranked up the tunes and we all arrived safely!

* Swapped shoes with the best man for the day, as he brought black ones instead of brown – killed my feet but worth it for the pictures. 

* 5 times I’ve tied cravats for all the groomsmen, because they didn’t know how to – thought YouTube would save them.

* Helped a best man write his speech, 1 hour before he delivered it – he nailed it! 

* Organised for the makeup artist to cover up a chemical burn from a facial on the groom, he had done the morning of the wedding – he looked like he crashed his bike! 

* Let mother of the bride use my tripod to film the wedding on her phone 

Oh yeah and all of the above was just in the last 12 months! 

Actually taking pictures is a small portion of a wedding Photographer’s day, as well as the random situations above, most of day is taken up with being a children’s entertainer, coordinator, master of ceremonies, umbrella/dress/flowers/shoes/veil holder, getting canapés and problem solver. With all of that going on, being able to work creatively under pressure is essential

Old Down Manor

Recommendations

When you’re in the planning process, recommendations come in thick and fast and you should absolutely take them on board….then explore to find if they match your requirements and style as I mentioned previously. 

The vast majority of my weddings come from previous couples and recommendations, which is heart-warming. Knowing they were so happy with me and my service, they want others to experience it too and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy

Investment

Now to the difficult subject of money. All couples try to work to a wedding budget and hopefully that sometimes includes some allocation for the amazing Photographer that you will choose to get your awesome shots on the day. It should be noted that the UK average for wedding photography in 2019 was £1200 for all day photography. For photographers around this price range; generally it is their full time job, and it is priced as such.  Budgets range though and this is an average, some will be much less and these will tend to be starting out and some may be much higher and offering greater numbers of photos and formats, you need to choose what is right and what works for you. 

I would offer a word of caution though to those that have a talented Uncle John or that friend that is always on Instagram with totes amazeballs shots of food and destinations. After the day is done, you can’t go back and capture that smile you missed or ask the best man to say his speech again, because you ran out of ICloud storage, let them relax and enjoy the day with you and be part of the celebration.

These are some of the things that my experiences and couples have noted, as important to look out for when choosing a photographer. I truly hope you found it useful, and wish you all the best in finding your perfect wedding photographer.

Priston Mill