Choosing your wedding photographer. Not decided yet?let's do this!

Most of the emails I get from brides ask me questions on the process of choosing a wedding photographer. They have never done this wedding thing before and Pinterest will lead you astray in the mist of your decision making.

Why do I need a professional?

When the guests are fed, cake is cut, feet are sour from dancing - all that is left with you and people around is "memory". Wedding photographer creates a story of this memory and lets you re-live those moments over and over again.

This post is meant to be a guide that serves you and the Wedding you have always dreamed of!

Want to make your wedding photography dreams come true? Let’s dive in!

1 .When is the right time to book your photographer?

After he proposes, and venue is picked and the date is booked, you are ready to book your photographer. Usually, couples spend the most on engagement rings, venues and photographers so knowing that you’re investing in the big things first can help you set a realistic budget. Don’t delay in choosing your photographer as I book clients pretty far in advance and your date may not be available by the time you decide to inquire.

2. Where do I start researching photographers?

If you know a friend recently married, ask them first! Or ask your venue for recommendations. A lot of photographers have referral programs that might benefit you. Google local photographers and hashtags like #DublinPhotographer or #MeathPhotographer and click on the pictures that make you feel something. If you notice that you click on the same person’s photograph’s, reach out- that’s a match! 🙂

You can check selected photographers galleries to see if the story unfolds in the way you like it to see. I always say to my brides that every story has a beginning. So I strongly recommend starting with morning preparations and capturing the fun, the worry, the emotions.

3. Should I reach out to all the photographers I like?

You should narrow down your search by your style and preferences. Ask yourself: What similarities do you see in the images you like? Dark and moody? Candid or posed? Dramatic flash lighting? Does this photographer flatter his/her subjects? If it looks natural? Has the photograph let you be part of the event? Can you feel it? Learning what you like helps you communicate style preferences with potential photographer. Pick about 4 favorites and contact them to get a conversation going.

4. Should I ask them for their pricing first?

Aside from providing your wedding date, photography budget range and venue info, you should include a nice message that gives insight to relevant points of your day.Remember, you’re going to have this person with you on the most important day of your life, having a connection with your photographer is the start of a trusting relationship. Opt-in for an in person meeting or via video call to get all your questions answered and see the pricing list. By meeting him, you’ll get an idea of what it will be like to spend your day with them and actually see what he is offering. Email conversations can delay the process of booking your photographer and you might not know if you like them or not.

To conclude – price does matter, but equally the quality matters. To have a photographer that you trust is essential. Only then he/she can create stunning Documentary series of the day.

5. What should my budget be?

Having a realistic budget is crucial because when the cake is eaten, the flowers wilt and the dress is hung, all you have left are your wedding pictures. I’m a believer that you deserve the wedding photography of your dreams. For reference, wedding resources (One Fab Day) say that at least  10%-12% of you wedding budget should be allocated for wedding photography. If you’re like me and think that photography is the most important item of your day, you will increase that percentage. Mine was 15% of my budget. According to UK/Ireland statistics- weddings are estimated around EUR 28,000. Be upfront about your photography budget range with your photographer. Understand that “you get what you pay for” is true. The higher the skill set and experience of the photographer, the more expensive it will be. Consider cutting costs in areas and things you don’t value as much to increase the photography budget. Ask about payment plans if available.

6. What questions should I ask my photographer?

This part is crucial to your consultation with photographer. Should I hire a second shooter? Second shooters are helpful when your wedding has a large guest count or you have multiple venues the day of. Also if yourself and your H2B want to have really good focus on preparation photos of the day. A lot of people recently are asking for a second photographer to cover the groom preparations. Ask the professional about what they recommend. How much coverage will I need?

Most weddings have a 10 hr coverage with a comfortable timeline but you might need more or less coverage than that. What wedding packages are most popular and why? Packages save you money instead of a-la-carte custom pricing. Having prints and albums at the end of the wedding experience is ideal because you don’t have to worry about those things after the honeymoon and it will save you money in the long run. It took me 3 years to purchase my own wedding album because it wasn’t a priority. I regret not purchasing it when I booked my photographer. It’s our favorite thing to share with friends and loved ones. My daughter loves going through it 🙂

7. What about engagement photos? Engagement Shoot?

Engagement session is going to set the pace for what your pictures will be during the wedding. It’s like a stress free trial on the experience. You’ll end up feeling comfortable in front of the camera, trusting your photographer and be much more relaxed when the day comes. Consider the main benefit of the engagement session as becoming comfortable with your photographer and photos secondary. This will ensure your wedding images are the best they can be. Also this is a great opportunity to talk about some specific shots you have imagined to have for your wedding. This can also be an adventure Engagement session, hiking, boots etc…

Making the final decision over the wedding photographer should be between you and the fiance. If someone else is paying for the photographer, I suggest inviting them to the consultation so that they have the opportunity to ask questions and set expectations. Did you connect with the photographer and love their photos? If your answer is yes, ask for a contract to pay the deposit for the package you want. Deposit is normally in an around EUR 300, depending on the coverage and package you choose.

Photographers are hired as first-come, first-serve basis and once they book, they’re booked! You don’t want to lose your first choice because you took too long to decide. I recommend 7-14 days to have a response. And finally, if you talked to other photographers and ended up not choosing them, let them know. You’re not hurting their feelings, they appreciate not being “ghosted”. Go the extra mile and provide feedback on why you didn’t choose them. That information is valuable to their business and helps them serve clients better. They will love you for it!

Good luck and happy Wedding planning :)

If you would like to get in touch and discuss more questions you might have in relation to the above - feel free to reach out to me!!
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As the time goes by, your memories will fade away. This is when you will look back at your wedding photographs. Having a privilege to save your memories in a set of images is really rewarding for me. Not only I fulfill my heart and soul by sharing positive energy in my work, but I also document a real story of the day…