One of the important decisions that you’ll be looking forward to making long before your actually wedding day is who to choose as your wedding photographer. In this article I am hoping to give you a few tips and pointers to help you work out how to choose:
Long after your wedding day has been and gone what is left to remind you of your special day? You may have kept your dress and the flower decoration from your cake but it is the images captured and created by your photographer that remind you of all the details of the day, that you will hopefully treasure for a lifetime.
Are you looking for documentary, portraiture or fine art? Research their websites, ask for references from them and then choose to meet (if possible) with those who you think fit the bill. If not make sure to have a good chat on the phone or Skype together to make sure you feel comfortable with them. Ask lots of questions, for example, are you looking for someone to take group photos or are you looking for a photo journalistic style of the whole day from the brides dress and hair preparations, right through till the evenings festivities? Are their travel costs included or extra?
Some photographers offer images on DVD, but are those high quality images with rights to print them or is it just a slideshow that you can view on your PC or TV?
What type of album or photo book is being produced and how many images will appear in it? Ask to see an example of the finished product so you can see the print quality.
Not all French photographers have private on-line viewing of images for family and friends yet, let alone e-commerce built into their sites so that you can order prints, photo-books and enlargements via the website. They are catching up but if it’s something that is important to you as, for example, you have friends travelling from abroad for your big day, how can they see your photos, can they order prints, in their currency with international delivery to their homes?
Do you have French & English guests and if so, can your photographer help you with the group photos by being able to guide all your invited guests at the crucial moment? Another great reason to have a bilingual photographer is that they can approach officials, celebrants or other wedding suppliers if necessary. You know you're in safe hands should they need to introduce themselves at the church to ask politely for permission to photograph throughout the ceremony, for example. It can be great to know that you've got someone by your side who can help out with a quick translation should something crop up.
It's so important, I suggest more important than the budget for your wedding photography, that you feel comfortable with your photographer. You'll potentially be spending 12-17 hours of the most important day of your life with them. You need to like and trust them. You need to feel sure that they know when and how to be discreet in capturing your day. You need to feel comfortable that they are attentive and adaptable (to timings that sometimes change and light/weather conditions).
Feel free to write down the questions that you’d like to ask if you're meeting with the photographer and take notes if you’d like. Your photographer should always outline exactly what they are offering for you at what price and with what payment terms, in writing so everyone knows what to expect.
The more questions you ask beforehand the more relaxed and confident you’ll feel about your photographer and the skills that they are bringing to your wedding day. If in doubt, ask!
Well, there can be several reasons. Like many things in life if you think that the price is too good to be true then it probably is and this can be applied to wedding photography too. Whilst good value for money is important, getting the results that you are looking for is even more so. Imagine being disappointed in your wedding photos…they simply can’t be retaken.
Much of the cost of a professional wedding photographer isn't just the actual wedding day. Wedding photojournalists, like me, can take on average 1000-2500 photos during a wedding day, from the bride’s preparations right through the day and into the early hours. With those hundreds of photos are days of work choosing the best ones, photo correction and manipulation and finally preparation of the layout of the photo book and preparation of on-line photo galleries. For every hour taking photos there are often 2-3 hours of editing time afterwards.
Look at all the options first. A destination wedding photographer might have considerably more travel expenses to add or include in their price where as an English speaking (or bilingual) photographer who's already in France would hopefully have lower costs. They also would have an understanding of cultural differences and how other wedding suppliers traditionally work in France.