Choosing a photographer can be a tricky business. The photographer will be an integral part of your day and it’s important that you choose one that you get along with. There is a range of styles of photography out there. This post was co-written by snapper extraordinaire Darren Purcell of Visionary Photography. Here are our top tips:
1. Start early
Ideally you should start to look for your photographer at least a year before your wedding. In high season, the best photographers will book out quickest (up to 18 months in advance), and as your photographs are the lasting memento of your big day, you don’t want to rush choosing the professional who’s gonna take them. Don’t leave it to the last minute in the hope of getting a great deal, that’s a disaster waiting to happen. As Darren Purcell from Visionary Photography says, ‘Photographers are not supermarket vegetables’.
2. Define your style
Keep a file of magazine photographs that interest you, or do it digitally when researching photographers online. Simply drag the image from the browser to your desktop, then tidy them away to a folder. Before long you will have a slideshow of shots you like. Don’t be afraid to show these to your photographer as they will give an insight into what you want and what your overall style will be.
3. Ask around
Word of mouth is a powerful thing. Ask a married friend you trust for their recommendations. They can also show you their album and speak candidly about their experience with a particular photographer. Wedding forums are a great resource but they can also be false prophets. If the photographer advertises with a particular site, any negative comments will be deleted before anyone has a chance to read them. Bear in mind also that other people may not have the same standards as you so it’s important to see full albums before you make your decision.
4. Meet potential photographers in person
You will want to get on well with your photographer, as they are such an integral part of your big day and it can cause undue stress when there is a clash of personality. Your photographer will have to be able to put you at your ease in front of the camera.
5. Look for experience and style
Ask to see three full albums, so you know what to expect for the final package. Find out how long they have been in the business and how many weddings on average they cover in a year. Darren warns about being swept away by claims of association memberships:
“Be wary when someone’s selling point is that they are ‘Award Winning Members of…’ To join some of those organisations, you send off a cheque for a hundred pounds sterling. That’s it. You’re a member. If you send in a picture to be judged, the vast majority will be marked as bronze (photographer speak for bland, and a score of 65%), and voila, they now pronounce themselves ‘Award Winning Members of….’ Don’t fall for it.
The ONLY full time professional photographers body in Ireland is the IPPA. They only allow full time photographers apply for membership, and membership is only granted after your work is assessed by a panel of expert judges. They can also act as mediators in the unlikely event that you should you have a dispute with your photographer.
That’s not to say that you should only choose an IPPA photographer, not at all. Just don’t get conned by someone hiding behind a badge that they paid a hundred quid for.”
6. Make sure they have a back-up plan
Ensure your photographer has professional indemnity insurance to cover loss of data, and ask how quickly after the wedding they backup their work. Also ask if they have a back-up photographer in case of unforeseen circumstances that might mean they are unable to attend on the day. But bear in mind that all insurance will do is give you a few quid should you sue them, it won’t bring your photos back.
7. Get it in writing
Finally, be clear on how many hours your photographer will be there on the day, what the price includes, any overtime costs incurred if things run late on the day and if you get a disc of proofs or full images. If the photographer is selling you prints make sure to ask the price of individual prints and additional albums (if any). If they don’t offer a contract, walk away.
- To get in touch with Darren or to see more of his work, visit his website.
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