How to Successfully Choose your Wedding Photographer
You have been proposed to and are beside yourself with excitement! You want to show off your beautiful ring and “husband to be” to everyone you know. However, the reality of organising your wedding has now started to dawn. The biggest question being how to select the right suppliers and ensure that you are getting the best value and quality for your money! In today’s world of tight economies you need to ensure that you are making your money “work for you” in the best way possible.
Chris van Zyl, from Focal Fusion Photography, has been a professional wedding Photographer for the past 15 years and has the following tips for anyone looking to book a Professional Photographer for their big day!
One of the most important factors is deciding on the style of Photography you want at your wedding. By looking at various websites and Photographer’s work, you will quickly get a distinct understanding of the various styles. For instance, are you looking for romantic photos, or fun photos or journalistic photos or possibly a good balance of all the above? Once you have determined the style that you like, you can move onto the next step, which is identifying the Photographers that you like and setting appointments to meet with them.
Meeting your Photographer:
The Photographer that you choose for your wedding will be one of the people that spends the most time with you on the day. In some cases – even more than your husband as he/she is with you right from the beginning. It is therefore imperative that you find someone that you are comfortable with and who is able to make you feel at ease in front of the camera. If the Photographer irritates you at the initial meeting, he could quite possibly ruin your entire day! The personality fit between Photographer and couple is paramount and as such, it is always a good idea for both the Bride and Bridegroom to meet the Photographer before making a booking. Spend time at the meeting outlining your specific needs and ensure that the Photographer is happy to cater to what you specifically want and not the other way around!
It goes without saying that finding a Photographer within your specific budget is very important. However, I would like to point out that you get what you pay for! You cannot expect to get “Champaign” photos on a “lemonade” budget! The rule of thumb with the amount that you are spending on your Photographer, should be between 12% and 15% of your entire wedding’s budget. Should you find a Photographer that you really like but he/she is out of your budget, speak to them and see what they can do to assist you. Most professional Photographers are aware of the cost of weddings and will, within reason, find a creative way to assist you and make your “money go further”! If you are on a very tight budget, keep in mind that many Photographers, and in fact suppliers across the board, offer winter discounts.
Booking your Photographer:
Once you have met with your Photographer and are comfortable with the above, ascertain what the payment process entails and fully discuss the contract that you will be entering into, with the Photographer. Ensure that once you have completed all of this, you pay your deposit and follow up with the Photographer to ensure that the day has been booked. It is imperative that you do this as soon as your venue and date has been confirmed, as many of the good Photographers are being booked up to 18 months in advance.
Questions to Ask your Photographer:
- Is he/she a full time Photographer or is it a hobby? (You would never consider going to a part time Dentist, so why consider going to a part time Photographer especially since this is one of the most important days of your life, and you will only get one opportunity to get it right.)
- How many weddings does he/she book a day? If a Photographer is going to do a morning wedding before taking photos at your wedding, he/she could be delayed or tired which could impact your day.
- Is the person you have seen and whose work you like, actually the Photographer that will be arriving on the day?
- Is the Photographer using professional equipment and what back-up equipment do they have in the event of a problem?
- How long does it take to receive the photos or album after the wedding?
- Ask to see a complete wedding’s photos to ensure that you are happy with the style and photos throughout.
- Ask to see an actual example of the album/designer album that you will be receiving.
- Will there be any additional charges that are not be reflected ie travelling etc?
- Will you be receiving the images of your wedding and if so are they in high resolution or low resolution and will they contain a watermark? Low resolution images cannot be printed and are solely for digital use.
- Is the Photographer prepared to do a pre-shoot?
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, the only thing you have left in the years to come are your photos. Ensure that you are not tempted to skimp by booking a Photographer on price alone. Your photos are not only a reminder of a very special day, but become an heirloom to the generations still to come!
Chris van Zyl – Focal Fusion Photography