Wilmslow Wedding Photographer – How to choose yours
Choosing your Wilmslow Wedding Photographer is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll make during the preparation for your wedding!
There are 2 main reasons for this.
Firstly you are likely to spend more time with your Wedding Photographer than any other supplier this is not only true on your wedding day but also before and after, here’s why:
- Most couples choose the extended coverage which typically means that I’m arriving at the bridal preparations between 09:00 and 10:00. So with a first dance at 21:00 that could be 11-12 hours we spend together on the day, and with the Fun Evening Studio, I keep going until 22:00.
- Before the wedding we usually meet 2 or 3 times before the wedding at an hour each and if you choose to have a pre-wedding photoshoot I could be in your company 5-6 hours before the wedding day.
- It doesn’t stop when I leave on the wedding day, about 2-4 weeks after the big day we’ll meet again when I come and show you the wedding photographs, this is typically another hours or so and then if you choose to have a wedding album there is potentially another 1-2 hours if you need help selecting the images.
Secondly, unlike the food which is gone in 2hours and the cake or flowers which may last a week or two, your wedding photographs will last for generations. You only need to look back through your own family archive and the chances are that the only images you will find of your great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents will be the photograph of their wedding. By selecting your Cheshire Wedding Photographer you are choosing the person who is creating your family history.
Both of these mean that to do your wedding justice you need to find a professional photographer that you both get along with and can produce the results. If you don’t know what to look for this can be tricky but to help you here is a selection of tips to make your selection easier.
How to create your short-list of Wilmslow Wedding Photographer s
1) Decide on the style of photography you want.
In the most general terms, only you can judge what you like and what you don’t like. One word of caution though; think carefully before going for the latest trends as these have a habit dating really quickly and in 5-10 years your wedding photographs could look very dated. A style that is natural will last longest, to get the best photographs possible, you need to be relaxed and to remember them with a smile you need to have fun whilst their being taken.
2) Decide a budget.
Traditionally wedding magazines and online guides suggest that between 10-15% of your total wedding budget is put aside for a photographer. However, if you have a very large or a very small budget this advice is ultimately meaningless. As with most things in life you generally get what you pay for although there are exceptions, there are great photographers charging very little and poor photographers who charge a fortune.
Finding great photographers who are also cheap is very much like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, there are regularly horror stories in the Press about cheap photographers such as this one in the Daily Mail where the couple spent about 5% of their £14000 budget on a cheap photographer and unfortunately suffered the consequences.
As a rough guide for a good Professional Wilmslow Wedding Photographer providing all day coverage with a good quality album and a few extras you can expect to pay in total between £1000 and £1500. This may seem a lot and as most Cheshire Wedding Photographers expect you to pay for everything before the wedding it can be hard to justify the expense.
Fortunately, some of us work differently whilst ultimately you are likely to pay the same I set my pricing to mean that you only need to pay out the basic shoot fee of £575 before the wedding with your chosen album paid for after the wedding. I work this way as it helps your cash-flow in the run up to the wedding and it means you can have affordable professional wedding photography. Contact Me for more details on how I can help maximise your wedding budget AND get the quality photography you deserve.
3) Decide on what coverage you want.
Linked with how much you want to spend is how much time you want your photographer to attend for. The majority of couples now want all day coverage from bridal preparations through to first dance. However, if you only want coverage of just the ceremony & a few group shots, it’s your choice. Generally the more time you want your photographer to spend with you the more it will cost but remember that it’s not just the time on the day that you are paying for it’s all the preparation and editing afterwards so reducing your coverage will not necessarily mean you see the costs reduce proportionally. Because a photographer will usually only ever cover 1 wedding a day the more coverage you book the better value that time becomes and of course the more photographs you have choose from to put in your album.
4) Think about the products you want.
Capturing images to a digital file is just the start of making your wedding memories. To truly guarantee your wedding is captured for generations is to turn those images into products you can touch. There is a huge range available so it’s worth spending some time thinking about what you would like. The most popular product is of course the Wedding Album and here there is massive choice, from traditional matted albums, through photographic printed story book albums to the cheaper press printed photo books (often referred to as albums by the cheaper photographers). There are also framed prints, canvas wall prints, digital albums, phone covers, window blinds the list is practically endless.
To find out about the range of products I can supply including my British Made quality story book albums or if you have something specific in mind just Contact Me for an appointment.
5) Look for a Professional
Whilst your Uncle Bob may have a nice camera or a “mate of a mate” is studying photography at college and offers to photograph your wedding for experience think carefully before asking them or accepting the offer. Whilst the thought of free photography is tempting, can the person actually do your wedding justice?
How you would feel if you let a relative or amateur take your wedding photographs and they make a mess of it?
Wedding Photography is much more than just pushing a button on a camera as a good wedding photographer has to be proficient at many genres of photography including portraits, landscapes, product shots (e.g. flowers, dress, perfume) and documentary photography as well as having the skills and personality to organise large groups of people. It’s not just the camera and interpersonal skills that make a professional wedding photographer worth their weight in gold it’s all the background knowledge and support they can offer. So if you were thinking about using a Friend then read this cautionary tale where rather than choosing a Professional Wedding Photographer the couple thought they would save money by asking a friend with a good camera to cover the wedding but unfortunately they ended up without any photographs.
As a Professional Cheshire Wedding Photographer I attend more weddings in a single year than most people will over their entire lives and can bring my knowledge of weddings to help your day run smoothly.
Not all Professional photographers are equal! Because photography is unregulated in the UK there are a number of organisations out there which invite photographers to join to gain apparent “Professional” status. Some of these organisations only requirement for membership is that they pay the appropriate fee. Professional is more than being a member of a “Professional Body”. Contact Me to arrange a meeting to discover what Professional really means.
6) Look for Qualified Photographers
However, not all Qualified Photographers are equal.
A true Qualification is one that you have earned and can keep without further payment. There are officially recognised qualifications are ones like O’Levels, GCSEs, City & Guilds, A-Levels, Degrees etc. All officially recognised qualifications have a level of third party validation to ensure that levels are consistent and the awarding bodies are continually monitored to ensure that standards are maintained at the appropriate level. I have 2 recognised qualifications in Photography so I can, and do, say I am a Qualified Photographer with recognised qualifications and I am one of the few Cheshire Wedding Photographers who can say this.
Other qualifications are available in photography and many photographers claim to be “qualified” and even shout about their “qualification” by putting a series of confusing letters after their names. However, most photography qualifications (mainly those which result in letters after a persons name e.g. Lxxxx, Axxxx, Fxxxx) are issued by one of the many competing “professional bodies” following a review of a small sample of photographs. At the moment none of the professional bodies in the UK who are awarding qualifications submit to external standardisation. This means that a passed “L” qualification from one professional body may be a failed “L” with another. You can’t even be sure that within the same organisation if the same sample of photographs might pass one month but fail in a different month.
It’s also important to note that for a photographer to continue to use the letters awarded by the “professional body” and continue to claim to be “qualified” and show the letters after their name the photographer has to pay an annual membership fee.
The other element of qualifications to be aware of whether that is an Official Qualification or a “qualification” from a “professional body” is that it is always achieved from a sample of work and this is rarely representative of a normal standard of work, in the sense that it is either their best photographs ever or specifically shot to meet the requirements of the qualification. So ultimately a qualified photographer is not a guarantee that they are any good. Contact Me to arrange a meeting to look at a number of complete weddings and make your own mind up if I am the right photographer for you.
How to select your Cheshire Wedding Photographer from your short-list
1) Look at the Photographers Work
What to look for when looking at a Wilmslow Wedding Photographer’s work?
You will only really find out how good the photographer is when you see you your wedding photographs after the wedding. The good news is you can maximise your chances of finding a good photographer is by learning how to appraise photographers’ work:
a) Watch out for images take on Portfolio Days – Everyone needs to start somewhere and often photographers in their early career choose to pay to go on Portfolio Building days or Wedding Training Courses, where a trainer sets up and poses a model for a series of images that every photographer who has paid to attend will take the same shot. But the fact the photographer pressed the button on their camera does not necessarily mean they could reproduce that shot again and if you are booking on the basis of seeing their portfolio you could end up being very disappointed.
The good news is you can usually spot these because certain images stand out to be different from the rest of the portfolio. However, the best way to find this out is to ask the photographer which photographs in their portfolio are from training courses or practice days,
As a Professional Cheshire Wedding Photographer I make a point that any photograph you see on my website is of a real client in a live situation unless I explicitly state that it is from training or from a practice day.
b) Look at a whole wedding of images – a portfolio on a photographer’s website is their selection of their best images and looking at acompleted wedding album are images chosen by another bride and groom. By looking at a whole wedding of images means you can see the standard of work the photographer produces and see whether that meets what you want for your wedding memories.
c) Do people look like they are having fun? – If people are obviously smiling and laughing in the group photographs then they are likely to be having fun and if you see this throughout the wedding images then the photographer is fun to work with.
d) Are people looking at the camera? – If they aren’t then you could be looking at images taken by a photographer at a wedding they weren’t the main photographer at. If they are showing images they took but didn’t set up how can you be sure they will do a good job at your wedding?
2) Make sure there is a Contract.
A contract is there to protect both the couple and the photographer so if the photographer does not have a contract run away fast! However, even if the photographer does have a contract take the time to read it and if you don’t understand it or don’t like part of it explain your concerns to the photographer, the good ones will listen to you and act accordingly.
3) Find out what backups a photographer has in place
That’s more than just backup equipment
All true professional wedding photographers have backup kit and take it to a wedding in case something breaks or gets damaged during the day and you should avoid any photographer who doesn’t have backup equipment. However, provided the photographer is using professional level rather than consumer equipment it’s more likely to be the Photographer that breaks than their kit. On this basis it is important to find out what support the photographer has in case of illness. For many photographers this is a real problem and whilst some will rely on their “professional bodies” internet forums to ask for last minute help you may not get the standard of photography you expected.
As a Professional Wedding Photographer in Cheshire I have a close network of over 10 local photographers, each of whom I know personally and worked with on a regular basis. All of them know my style and how I work so even if I am hospitalised and can’t make your wedding you can be certain that you will get the professional wedding photography you paid for. We even have a shared calendar so that in case of emergency I can see who is available and make 1 simple call for help.
4) Ask to see their insurance certificates.
Insurance is not a legal requirement for a Wilmslow Wedding Photographer but you should avoid any photographer that does not have the following insurance policies in place
Professional Liability Insurance – Insurance that the photographer takes out to protect themselves in case something goes disastrously wrong on the day. It means that in the unlikely event of you deciding to take the photographer to court you stand a good chance of getting a payout.
Public Liability Insurance – Insurance that protects the photographer in the event that you or one of your guests trips over their equipment
Equipment Insurance – Insurance that covers the photographers equipment against theft and possibly accidental damage, this means that should the photographer has their kit stolen a week before the wedding they can make a claim and actually afford to replace the lost equipment.
5) Does the photographer actually enjoy what they do.
Some photographers originally got into weddings because it appeared to be easy money unfortunately by the time you realise the truth is actually far from it. Long days combined with the pressure of needing to get the results first time can take their toll and unless your photographer loves what they do you will not get the photography you deserve.
Fortunately it’s relatively easy to spot a Wilmslow Wedding Photographer who doesn’t enjoy their job; they focus on the money and what they can sell you. A photographer who really enjoys what they do takes a real interest in your wedding and wants to help in any way they can to make your day really special.
6) Do you get on with the photographer?
As mentioned above, your wedding photographer is likely to be the supplier you spend the most time with during your wedding day. Do you actually like the photographer in front of you, do you like what you see have you liked what what they said and do you think they will fit in with your wedding plans.
Cheshire Wedding Photographer Selection Checklist
I have produced a FREE checklist to help you choose your Wilmslow Wedding Photographer which summarises this guide. To obtain it simply Contact Me and arrange an appointment for us to meet to discuss your wedding.