Choosing your photographer

To begin with, let me strongly say this: your wedding day does not and should not revolve around the photographs or the photographer. Your wedding is not a film production or a cover shoot for a glossy magazine; it is about you and your partner celebrating your love and dedication to each other in front of and together with your family and friends. I do feel things have gone a little out of control in recent years and so much pressure has been inadvertently placed on brides to have the prefect photographs of the wedding, with it looking like the clean pastel perfection of the wedding inspiration websites you frequent. You may even start to feel pressure on how you will look on the day and the fact you may feel self-conscious in front of the camera due to such a high false standard being set online. I often see the husband-to-be coming to a meeting quite apprehensive about the photographs – he doesn’t like being in front of the camera and hopes that the couple shoot won’t last too long.

As far as I’m concerned, the photographer you have chosen should blend in with the guests, become part of the party and unassumingly capturing the day in such a way that the guests feel at ease and their natural interactions are evident in the photographs. The couple should look happy and relaxed and not show any signs of photo anxiety. The photographer should not merely be another one of the service providers dressed in black with their brand name on their shirt backs, doing all they can to advertise their services. This day is about the bride and groom, it’s about love, not about the photographer – keep this in mind when looking for the right person to capture your day. If you want a glossy magazine cover shoot, then by all means, go out and hire a crew that can deliver that…but, I can assure you, in 20-30 years’ time, when looking back on the photographs, all you will have is a lifeless collection of photographs showing who you weren’t. They will lack warmth, they will lack the genuine feel of the day and you might as well page through one of the glossy magazines from that time.

Look for a photographer that shows a love and passion for what they do, their images must reflect that and when you chat with them, you must really get that sense from the conversation you have with them. If you find a great photographer, your images will be relevant and have depth and will take you back to your day for many years to come.

There seem to be many different styles in which to photograph a wedding, photographer’s latch on to the latest trend and brand themselves as a ‘photojournalistic style’ photographer or a ‘documentary’ photographer or a ‘high fashion’ wedding photographer. The problem with this is that they encase themselves in a box which they find difficult to get out of. Each wedding is different – it has its own life, its own characteristics and a confident photographer will have their unique approach, but will also be versatile and have the ability to accurately and creatively reflect the true essence of the wedding.

Budget seems to be a major issue these days… your father who has generously offered to pay for the wedding drops to the floor when he is faced with the prices, he talks about what it was like when he got married and asks you to justify the price of a photographer who after all, “is just going to be snapping a few photos and giving them to you on a disk”. You try as hard as you can to justify the price to him and he reluctantly lifts his budget a little. Things are tight, but do what you can to secure a quality photographer who will really be able to tell the story of your wedding which will forever be there to be remembered and appreciated. It will be worth it! Your friend may have an interest in photography and may have just acquired a brand new Digital Camera which takes nice photo’s…as far as possible, don’t use them as your main photographer, hire a professional, let your friend enjoy the wedding as a guest and not have the ridiculous pressure of documenting your wedding.

Your wedding photographs are important, the taking of them should not be the focus of the day but the results should bring back the emotions and feelings you felt back then, they should remind you of the deep commitment you made to each other and the great time you had doing it. Choose wisely, think carefully. You don’t need to spend an exorbitant fortune on your photographer, but you will need to put some proper money away for a photographer who is worth it. A professional photographer is running a business, they have expenses and experience, they are constantly looking to improve their skill and provide the best possible service, they are not cheap but are absolutely worth it.

My wife and I pushed our budget to accommodate an amazing and talented photographer, it was so worth it and we often page through the memories in our high quality wedding book, knowing that our children will also one day enjoy paging through it. And maybe, at our 50th wedding anniversary, the photos can be shown and we can all have a laugh and remember the beginning of our story. Unassuming, yet high impact, that’s what you are after.

Wedding planning should be an enjoyable experience, don’t get stressed, keep your personalities as a couple at the forefront, enjoy it, it’s a wonderful journey!