And before you think this article might be biased, it’s not!
As the title suggests, it’s important to book the right wedding photographer/videographer FOR YOU and that may not be me…
And that’s a good thing. The results I achieve for my clients are based on booking the right clients for me and me being the right person to capture their wedding for them. And if we are not on the same page, it’s better you choose a different book/author!
Step 01: The first step any couple should take is to identify what it is you are looking for. Do you have a vision of how you would like to remember your wedding? If so, that is a good starting point. If not, maybe have a think about that one and either jot down some notes or put together a visual scrapbook. Pinterest is great for the latter.
Step 02: Decide as early on in this process as you can whether you are looking for; just photography, just video, or both. The single biggest regret after weddings is not having video. I wrote an article here. You however may be adamant you are not having video. Quite a few are and the 2 principle reasons are; finances and because based on experience and perception, you think it’s going to be intrusive. The first is simply a matter or priorities and the second can be the case, but does not have to be. My speciality is that I do both.
Step 03: Research, research, research. It does not matter where/how you find potential services, whether it be; ‘the internet’, social media, word of mouth from a friend/family member, wedding planner or venue, but always always always look at as many options as you can and make your own mind up, even if the service you like most is not on someone else’s list.
Step 04: Really look at what they do/offer style-wise. Do not just read the words, ‘natural, stylish and un-posed’ and take it as gospel if every single image on their social media is the exact opposite. You are not booking someone’s words. Every photographer and videographer are different. Of course there are only so many fundamental differences, but broadly the options are:
A: The completely ‘hands off’, pure documentary approach. If you want even a single posed couple picture or family group portrait, a few will grudgingly comply, but it’s not why you choose this kind of coverage. It’s something I could easily do, but it’s not something any one of my 700+ couples have ever asked me for. This type of coverage is 99.99% of the time, coverage by one single person and is arguably the most discrete and ‘pure’ type of capture you could choose.
B: The exact opposite and the more staged approach with extensive; individual and couple portrait shoots, lot’s of formal/organised family group shots, plenty of what we call in the trade, grip n’ grins, ie, guest couples holding hands and smiling for the camera. There’s a market for this but again, it’s not something anyone would book me for, or if they did, they made a mistake. Why? Portfolio evidence.
C: Something in the middle of the two. A mostly documentary/observed/candid approach but a few individual portraits and a a small number (4-8 typically) formal family group shots. With an average 10-12 hour day, I might spend 5-10 minutes with the two people getting married individually doing a few quick and easy portraits prior to the ceremony and then anything from 15-30 minutes with the couple later in the day and 15-20 minutes on a few family formals. So anything from around 40 minutes to an hour max out of that typical 10-12 hour coverage.
Step 05: Look at real and full weddings. It’s easy for anyone with limited experience to knock up a general gallery but if there is no evidence of at least 10-12 full wedding galleries of at least 100 images per wedding, I’d ask (the rhetorical question) why? It actually doesn’t matter very much if any or none of those weddings took place at your venue. The least important aspect of any wedding from the capture perspective is where. It’s more important to ensure that looking at a gallery it looks both complete and exactly like something you’d wish to receive.
Step 06: Collect price lists by all means but do not then make any decision without having spoken to the photographer/videographer in person, ie, yourself. Probably the most overlooked aspect of ‘wedding photography’ especially, is the relationship between couple and photographer. Every service is important and plays a part in your day but there is no other service provider who will be at every part of your day.
If you’d like to know more about who I am and what I offer in principal to see if I might be the right person for you, then you can read more here.
If you’d like to see general galleries of both my photography and video work, then click here and follow one of the two respective links, or as advised above, look at real and full wedding days which you can do by clicking here.
How to book the RIGHT wedding photographer (or videographer) for YOU is an article by Simon Mark Whitten for Firehorse Photography, a specialist ‘hybrid’ (photo & video) service based in France.