The Do`s, the Don`ts and the secret sauce
how to choose your wedding photographer
Choosing your perfect wedding photographer.
Let’s Do This!
Uk & Destination Wedding Photographer
Here's our 2021 guide to picking your wedding photographer
Wedding photography prices start from £500 and can go up to £5000 depending on the region you live, the package of your choice (digital only packages vs printed wedding albums) and how established photographer you are looking for. You can find decent photographers in rural areas from £1000 while this amount is more like £1500 around the big cities like London and Birmingham, or in rich counties like Surrey and Oxfordshire.
What I would say though is you don't have to break the bank – you can find brilliant photographers who'll charge around the £1500-£2000 mark for a digital package. So don't automatically assume the higher the rate the better the quality because a £2000+ photographer might not be right for you, they are just simply more established than others or work more with high-end wedding planners on commission. The budget is important but there are other things you need to consider when you choose your photographer.
and how much should you spend on your wedding photographer
As a general rule 10% of your overall wedding budget is great guide for how much you can expect to spend on hiring a photographer for a wedding in the UK, BUT you need to decide what each element of your day is worth to you and importantly how much are your lasting memories worth to you?
Some brides want to go all out for a stunning venue or a show-stopper of a dress so that the photos are celeb-mag worthy. Ask yourself though what's the point in looking a million dollars if your 'cheap-as-chips' photographer doesn't have the skill to do you justice in the pics?
The style of wedding photography and flexibility is important
You might want documentary type shots that are random and unposed. Or epic couple portraits and couture style group shots. Or maybe you're after a more traditional approach with all the classic shots captured.
Some photographers will have the experience and flexibility to combine approaches. I personally love variety and I'm always up for a challenge so I'll happily mix-it-up and give you a great variety of shots. If I was pushed to chose my absolute favourite approach, I'd say I really enjoy taking natural photos. Have a look at my portfolio, you'll see what I mean 🙂
Think about your style as a couple and find a photographer who understands it. This is super important. Just like a wedding outfit, one size doesn't fit all, one style definitely doesn't suit all. Do you want edgy, fresh or traditional photos? When you're looking for a photographer check out their editing style and think about the sort of images you want to end up with.
How to find the best wedding photographers in the UK?
Instagram – a fantastic place to find a photographer or inspirational wedding photos, but be careful, people only post their best job, and if you don`t like those, it is likely their “real” work is less pretty. I often see comments from brides that their photos looked nothing like what was on the photographer`s website or Instagram. This is often because photographers only like to show their best world (understandably so), but I always recommend asking for access for a whole wedding gallery to get a better picture of what to expect.
Recommendation – this can be a tricky one… word of mouth can of course be a great way of finding a supplier or a service but with something as personal as selecting a wedding photographer it isn't always the best way to choose someone who's right for you. Let's face it, just because your friend liked a certain photographer for their wedding, it may not be the best photographer for you. That's understandable you have a unique personalities, a good way to think about it is would you wear the same outfit they wore for their wedding? What worked for them, might not work for you.
Also, don't forget Pinterest – even if it's not an ideal platform to find local photographers it's a really good tool to find inspiration for your wedding photos as well to narrow down the style of photography. Using it to create mood boards and sharing those with the photographer will help to explain your vision for the day.
You've nailed your style choice and now you want to create a shortlist. Where do you start your search? Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, recommendations from friends and family..? Let’s check these one by one.
Google – still one of the best way finding a local photographer based on search terms like “local surrey wedding photographer” for example. But take your time and hit the scroll button. I always encourage people to do a proper google search and check the first 30-40 pages to get a really good idea of what's out there and aim to shortlist around 5 photographers. Just because someone is in the first slot, it doesn`t mind he/she would be the best wedding photographer for your wedding.
Facebook – a useful way to find photographers, and the chances are you've seen quitter few local photographers add in the timeline. It is also super handy to check reviews of company as well see their recent work.
Ask to see a whole wedding gallery, not just the “best of 2020 wedding photographs”.
From the photographer’s perspective it's easy to choose the 30 best photos and put it on a website, but bride and grooms should always be viewing 500-600 photos in a wedding gallery, so you'll be able to judge the real quality.
Let's face it, you don't want to end up with only a handful of nice photos from a whole day's worth of images and be disappointed in the rest of your wedding photos. Also, as a general rule, anyone less than happy to show you a whole gallery doesn't have confidence in their work so just avoid them – trust your instinct!
Photographers will showcase their best work on a website or social media, and this might not represent them or the whole wedding experience you'll get with them. So here's an insider's tip, ALWAYS (please, please, please and again pretty please) ask your photographer to give you access to their latest wedding photography gallery.
Also, it is not 2010 anymore where you had no choice as photographer. We've all heard about nightmare scenarios from newspaper and other photographers of have lost all their images because their only memory card was lost or damaged. Photographers with one camera, or single card slots are taking a HUGE risk with your wedding photos. Seriously think twice before booking them especially if you are looking for an experienced surrey wedding photographer with over £1500 budget.
So you've set your budget, you've found your style, and you've shortlisted photographers. Time for a sanity check…
Don’t be the couple whose photographer lost her images.
Ask your photographer about their kit, if they have a backup camera, and if they have a camera with a two memory cards slot. I don't want to get all techie on you but it's super simple, if I take a banging photo, I want it to be safe. So by having 2 cameras on me all the time, and saving photos in on two memory cards I'm certain that I am covered if a memory card fails (yes I know it is rare, but it does happen and I am not willing to risk the photographers of your life).
Do your sanity check properly – this is super important!
I don't think it's controversial to say that the customer isn't always right 100% of the time… Bridezillas or Groom Kongs do exist, but for example I'm happy to say that all my reviews are 5 stars because I pride myself on building a great rapport with my couples. Customer service and a positive relationship and good team work will help us get those amazing shots on your wedding day!
Also, a clear wedding contract is a MUST! Hiring photographers who won`t even provide you with a written and clear wedding contract is a big red flag!
In-addition, stay away from deals that are too good to be true. While you can stumble upon some great deals or you can negotiate your package successfully, the best photographers will value their work and won`t really give massive discounts. If you see some unbelievable discounts that simply look too good to be true, it probably is a fake one and don`t get tempted.
Have a look at what other couple's said about your shortlisted photographers. You may see one or two less positive reviews for a photographer but if that's balanced out by the vast majority of the other reviews which are glowing that's a good sign.
Also read those reviews properly, you may find some of them are related the way the photographer handled a covid-19 wedding cancellation, and it is not necessarily about the quality of his/her work or the customer service the company provides generally.
Meeting in person or over skype.
After all, you'll be spending hours in close proximity with your photographer on the most important day of your life, so it's better to get to know each other a little before the wedding day.
I hope you have found my tips useful and if you take my last top-tip and want to catch-up in person with me to find out more about my packages, I'd love to hear from you and we can start your wedding photography journey. Contact me (your contact details here Chuck) I look forward to speaking to you soon!
Make sure you have a chance to get to know your photographer. Meet in person if possible, but Skype or Zoom can work just as well if you prefer it for convenience or because of lockdown restrictions!
I've photographed countless weddings in Surrey, the surrounding areas as well as photographing weddings abroad and I've spoken in person to every single wedding couple before their wedding.