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What to Look for When Booking a Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer is like diving into a sea of options – and trust us, that sea is vast, like "finding Nemo" vast. We get it. Even planning our own wedding with our industry insider status, wasn't easy!

Its commonly assumed that getting great value for your money is key! But here's the real deal: it's not just about the cost; it's about finding that  professional you can trust with your investment.

So, fellow wedding enthusiasts, fear not! We've put on our superhero capes (they might look suspiciously like wedding veils) and compiled a treasure trove of insider knowledge to guide you through the labyrinth of wedding photographer options. Join us on this adventure, and let's navigate this wild ride together.

Solton Manor Kent Wedding Venue

First off; Common advice I'm going to tell you to ignore... Have they shot at your venue before?

Yep, you heard us right. Forget what you might have heard – having a photographer who's shot at your venue before isn't the be-all and end-all. You don't always need a grand tour of the place either. A top-notch photographer, the kind you want on your team, won't just rely on past gigs at the same spot. They're like venue wizards who size up the joint, plan their moves, and bring a truckload of experience to make everything look awesome.

 

It's about having a photographer who's got the skills, the know-how, and the tricks up their sleeve to nail it, venue history or not.

Having the necessary skills and best practices in place means that they can conquer not just what they planned to, but all the stuff that they didn't plan for, which happens allll the time...

Whats that you say? How on earth do I know if they have the skills?

Fear not, here's the insider scoop we promised....

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01 Rainy Day Back up plans

Even the best laid plans in the world can't account for the fact that it may rain on your wedding day. Your wedding photographer should know what to do in this situation to still get awesome photos. In 2023 over half of our summer weddings got rained on. Can your photographer show you examples where this has happened and still nailed not just the couples portraits (much easier with just the two of you!) But the group shots too?

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02 Evening shots

Funky DJ lighting, fast movements, smoke machines and dark surroundings make for some of the trickiest shots for a photographer. How to tell the men from the boys? If their portfolio has examples of awesome images of the evening party, they know their way around some of the hardest shots to nail. We stand by that working nightclubs as a photographers taught us so much about manual photography and getting the best images and because of that we can conquer most situations.

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03 Security (and the most important one for us)

Lets talk numbers... Fact; even top end gear fails. The best camera's, lenses, lighting, at any moment can just stop working. Even if you have gone with a super budget option and know you're going with one photographer with one camera, minimum, you're still investing a few hundred pounds. How would you feel if for that money you got absolutely nothing to show for it?

 

One photographer, one camera, one memory card... its a massive risk and it does happen regularly. Whether you lose a section of the day or the whole lot. Don't underestimate the instability of technology. How many cameras are they bringing, what backups do they have in place in case of data loss? What are they doing to safeguard the photos of one of the biggest days of your life?

 

There isn't necessarily a right answer, but one camera, one card and no backup plan isn't the answer. And being a Nikon shooter helps... I'm joking! Photographers don't come at me lol

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04 Editing Style

No right or wrong answer to this one but something to consider... have you ever looked at old photos and thought what on earth was I thinking? It might have been an outfit choice, hairstyle or anything! But it was a style, and at the time, you loved it! Just like many other things; photography goes through trends and styles too.

 

When deciding what style of photographer you want to book, do you like darker, desaturated tones the black and white contrasting look or something closer to the original colours and tones? Look at their portfolio and consider, in 2, 5 or even 10 years... am I still going to like this? 

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05 What do you actually get for your investment?

We have found it staggering how many people are happy to part with deposits before even knowing in full what they'll be getting (don't worry we always tell them to slow down and find out lol). 

Yes they'll be photographing your day, but when will they be arriving/leaving? How will it be delivered; online gallery/usb/print? Do you have the printing rights? This is an important one! Nothing underhanded about it, it's a very normal way of doing business, but many photographers will withhold printing rights so that you have to use them if you want any print, the question is; are you happy with that? If yes then great, but you need to know and how much it will cost you later if you do want to. 

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06 Contracts

Whether it's a 10 page paper document signed by both parties or an online terms and conditions (methods aren't too important as it can range, so long as it's comprehensive) but the contract isn't just the 'small print' or for the photographer, it is there to protect you. 

But many people have them, the real questions is; what is important to be covered?

 

What they'll do in the event that they can't attend?

What happens if you need to cancel?

What will they be and not be held responsible for? They are perfectly in their right to not be held responsible for certain things but you need to know what is then your responsibility and think about it. 

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07 Can they direct and lead from the front? 

When searching for a wedding photographer, look for someone who can lead from the front, wedding guests generally need guidance, at the end of the day your photographer has done this many times, you and your guests haven't. In your photographer, look for qualities such as strong communication skills, the ability to organize group shots efficiently, and a proactive approach to capturing candid moments.

 

A photographer's portfolio should showcase a variety of weddings, demonstrating organization and adaptability, even down to confetti is largely organized by the photographer. Additionally, (pro tip here) inquire about their experience in managing large wedding parties. A competent photographer than can manage 100/200+ will find your 50+ people day a walk in the park!

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08 Can you see a full day's album?

Obviously as photographers we're going to put our best work on the website and marketing material. Nobody is going to use their least best! Not to mention styled shoots, which aren't even real wedding days (yes they're a thing, nothing wrong with them, it's an opportunity to try out new techniques, develop your style and portfolio) but they they are regardless... not a real reflection of a wedding day.

 

Quite simply, can you see their work from the beginning of a real wedding day, right to the end?

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09 How do they vibe with you?

Finally, when the budget is right for you, you're happy with the style, the contract, security and what you're getting for your money all works, ask yourself one final question... will I not just be comfortable, but totally happy with these people spending so much time with us on our wedding day?

Depending on what kind of coverage you're having, your photographers are one of the suppliers you are going to spend the most time with on your wedding day, so you're going to want someone that you vibe with. As well as the practicalities of having people you like around you, it'll bring the best results for your photos. For a lot of people having their photo taken is actually quite a vulnerable moment, you want someone you trust and like to put you and your guests at ease during the process. 

But I have one more super helpful bit of advice that'll make choosing your wedding photographer that much easier....

  • Book a meeting with a photographer that can not only do, but can show you;

  • The experience and expertise to adapt to any venue 

  • How to handle rainy day plan changers

  • Kick the backside out of evening shots

  • Not only the security of at least 4 cameras, memory cards and lenses in the double digits, and not 1 but TWO photographers and a backup plan for every situation

  • A timeless, true to life, editing style 

  • A clear and comprehensive contract that safeguards us both and lays out clearly what to expect

  • A confident and personable nature that can not only direct and control crowds but do so in a fun and respectful way

Oh and we insist a meeting either in person or virtually so you can get to know us and how we work before we let you even consider paying a deposit :)

Go check out our work and book a meeting with us 

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