As a child, one could simply ask out their crush with a note which reads: “Do you go out with me?” With the reply options: “Yes; No; Maybe” , and the wedding photographer could be picked in the playground with the rhyme “A tisket, a tasket, a green and yellow basket, …”. However, as adults, things are somewhat more difficult, as picking a partner for life is a huge decision and many other tough choices must be made. One such choice involves finding the right wedding photographer. There are many options across the UK and Ireland, and there is hardly a photographer whose portfolio doesn’t include wedding photography. However, when ordering from an online photo book provider, such as Albelli, CEWE, FotoInsight, and Photobox, then regardless of how high the quality of the wedding album, one can’t fix botched wedding pictures.
Some other key factors, which a couple might want to discuss, are:
- Is there a preference for a male or female photographer?
- Should the wedding photos be arranged in the style of a documentary, should the primary focus be the portraits of the newly-weds and guests? Or is their goal to capture the moods?
- How extensive should the photographic coverage be? Should the photographer cover the selection of the wedding dress, bridal bouquet, etc., or is it enough to just have pictures at the civil registry?
- Which photographic style do the bride and groom prefer?
- Which style should the photo book have? For example: CEWE Photobook and FotoInsight offer digital printing, as well as printing on real photographic paper with glossy or matt-coated finishes.
- And finally, the all-important question of money: How much of the budget should be allocated on photography (the photographer, prints, and the image rights)?
Therefore, choose wisely …
The next step involves selecting a pool of potential wedding photographers. Wedding magazines, wedding shows, advice from bridal shops, recommendations from friends, and of-course the internet can all be useful. A photographer’s website will usually show if they specialize in wedding photography or if it is simply something they do on the side. Nowadays, every photographer presents their services online. Sample pictures give a good indication of a photographers’ skill and professionalism. “If the photographer’s portfolio pictures leave a good first impression, one should contact them right away to check their availability for the big day. Meeting the wedding photographer in-person helps to both get a good first impression; mutual sympathy is required for satisfactory results”, advises Anké Hunscha, a photographer from Dusseldorf, who has covered exclusive, international weddings in a photojournalistic style from an artistic angle.
After the preliminary research, it is a good idea to sit down with the photographer, to clarify the needs and expectations, see the photographer’s studio, and form an impression based on their previous work. At this stage, one has the opportunity to ask to be shown a complete series of wedding pictures taken by them. “Only a complete wedding picture collection can give the couple a good feeling for the photographer’s style. A professional should be able to present an assortment of wedding albums with a consistent quality”, states Hunscha. Consideration should be given to how pictures are presented in a wedding album, because not every wedding photographer knows how to make the most of the plethora of options, offered by photo book editing software – both in terms of quality and cost. It is particularly interesting to look at the images taken in more difficult scenarios: Do pictures taken in a dark church or at the party, in inevitably less-than-optimal lighting conditions, look like they were taken in a cave? Is the bride displayed with a nice complexion rather than a shiny forehead? The photographer should be there to take care of, and suggest the best course of action regarding such issues.
… before you take the leap
If the couple is satisfied with the wedding photographer’s skills and positive vibes, then it is time to discuss the extent of the photographic coverage of the wedding, i.e: Should only the civil ceremony be covered, or the whole day? Should the photographer be present during some of the wedding preparations, such as buying the wedding dress and rings?
To protect both the couple and the photographer, a contractual arrangement should be drafted and signed. It should specify the time scale of the photographic engagement during the wedding and the respective preparations. In addition, the main photographic themes can be outlined and the form in which the pictures will be handed over should be specified. I.e.: Are all of the recordings being saved to e.g. a DVD, wetransfer or Dropbox? Will the photographer design the wedding album? If a wedding photo book is to be created in the end, its cost should be covered separately. Thanks to the free FotoInsight Designer App or the Printing-1 photo book software, creating a photo book has become easy and inexpensive. An elegant, leather-bound wedding album can be yours for as little as £50 or €60.
Last but not least: the question of copyrights and costs. Unless explicitly specified otherwise in writing, the photographer holds the rights to the images, and those depicted have the model rights. This means that the one can not share or publish the wedding pictures without the consent of the other party. Regarding the costs: as with other professions, different tiers of photographers come at different prices, generally with the prices reflecting the level of quality. “Many couples plan to invest about 30% of their total wedding budget for the photographer and wedding album“, Hunscha reports from her previous engagements. Each couple should consider how much they value the wedding photos and allocate a share of the total budget accordingly. “There have reportedly been cases where more money was spent on the water that was served at the tables, than on the photographer,” Hunscha adds through the grapevine.
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