9 Things That Are A Must Before You Book Your Wedding Photographer
Cheesy smiles, an awkward stance and your auntie trying to hide in the back of the group shots are not how you want to remember your wedding day when you look back on your photographs. Amber Leach of Liberty Pearl Photography has given us her top tips for finding your photographer, to make sure when you look back on your wedding photographs you are grinning from ear to ear!
Research, research, research!
Of course, to ensure your planning and the wedding day itself is stress-free, should thoroughly researching all of your suppliers and that includes your photographer. Read any articles, questionnaires or the about me section on their website to find out how they work, look for feedback on their website or social media channels and take a closer look at their wedding galleries online. Ask to see full wedding galleries, not just a few images from each wedding that they consider to be the best. This will help you get a clear picture of how they photograph a wedding day and what you can expect from them. You can also get a picture for what their focus is. Have they captured all of the little details, are the group shots posed or do they photograph in a reportage style? Asking to see a few weddings also shows consistency in their quality and style, allowing you to imagine what your photographs will look like.
Arrange a meeting
Posing in a wedding dress and feeling relaxed on one of the biggest days of your lives isn’t always that easy. However, choosing a photographer you feel comfortable with can help you to feel much more relaxed throughout your special day. Before booking your photographer ask to meet them in person. They may shoot amazing photographs but you might not feel comfortable around them or gel with them. If you can’t meet them in person then perhaps speak on the phone or Skype, this will help you get to know the photographer a little better and see if you like their personality, which is more important than you might think, you will be around them for most of the day.The right photographer will be able to keep you calm and find all the parts of your wedding that are uniquely you.
Ask how many photographs you will receive
You don’t want to be left disappointed if after the wedding you are expecting to receive 500 photographs and only end up with 100. Check if they will be in colour or black and white, perhaps you can request a mixture? Brides can assume their package includes all the images from the day, but that isn’t alway the case. Some photographers only give 100 images from a 10 hour wedding package and charge extra for each image above this. At Liberty Pearl Photography I always give 500-800 images in full colour and black and white so my couples receive over 1000 images in total. Bear in mind that you might only receive 100 edited images but your photographer might also send you extra images that are unedited, depending on the package you have agreed.
Book an engagement shoot
Practise makes perfect! Get comfortable in front of the camera and practise posing with an engagement portrait session. You’ll also be able to get a sneak peak at the type of photos you can expect from your big day and how your photographer will direct you (if at all). You might like to hold the session at your wedding venue so that you can identify all the best spots ahead of the wedding and so that your photographer can get familiar with the venue. Or, if you have the time, you could opt for a different location but at the same time of year that you will be marrying so that you know what the lighting might be like.
Preparation and planning
Ask the photographer how they plan for each wedding and what their approach is. Whether you have a long list of must-have family portraits or you’re feeling inspired by some fun images you’ve seen in a magazine, deciding what you want from your photographs is key. You might prefer natural, documentary style photography or perhaps you have some more dramatic shots in mind? Whatever it is you’re looking for, discuss any needs and requirements with your photographer ahead of the wedding.Be mindful that while it’s great to have a plan, sometimes things may not always go the way you hoped.There might be a torrential downpour during your summer nuptials or the timings of your day could run off schedule, embrace the changes and be flexible.
Don’t miss a minute
Careful planning, with each couple, before the wedding will usually mean the photographer has a list of shots to work through. Everything from family portraits to your first dance, plus any special or extra shots that they would like to include. When I am capturing a couples wedding I will double check this during the middle of the day and at the end of the day to make sure I have photographed everything. I capture all of the really important moments, but I focus on the in-between moments as well. These are so important because sometimes these are the moments the couples don’t see. Lots of couple’s feedback states that I capture so many things they didn’t know had even happened during their day.
Check what type of cameras the photographer uses, will they have a backup in case something breaks or doesn’t work? If you want the best pictures, hire someone who uses the latest top-quality equipment. A true professional will arrive at the wedding prepared with more than one camera and lens. It is also important to checked if they are insured incase (in the worst case scenario) they accidentally damage memory cards.
Wet weather plan
What happens if it rains? Unfortunately in the UK, no matter when you wed, there is always the possibility of rain, so make sure your photographer has a plan for it. If you are marrying in the summer or are planning on having an outdoor wedding you should discuss a plan B incase it starts raining. Most photographers carry a couple of large umbrellas and modern cameras can withstand a lot of rain, so it shouldn’t stop you having stunning pictures outdoors. But, if you don’t fancy braving the rain, your photographer should be flexible in their timings and come back to some of the photographs later in the day when the rain has eased. I used to be really discouraged whenever the weather was grey and gloomy, or at the other end of the spectrum too bright, but I challenged myself into turning a bad situation into a lovely moment for the couple. Some couples insist on shooting in the rain and wind which I love and it always results in amazing photographs.
A forced smile can look really bad in a photograph. A natural expression is much more engaging and makes the image come alive. Your photographer will do their best to make you feel relaxed and natural, creating real moments by making you laugh and helping you to be yourselves in front of the camera.I usually make my couples laugh or ask them to look into each other’s eyes and think of the funniest thing their partner has said. I sometimes get the groom to whisper something in the brides ear, this always creates a reaction and a beautiful.