Thank you so much to Vicki Boulter from Devon Portfolio for some great advice and tips for Brides and Grooms on wedding photography.

‘Selecting a Wedding Photographer’
by Vicki Boulter at Devon Portfolio Photography

Thank You Helen Taylor for asking me to write this blog for you. Choosing a photographer can be a minefield and so by reading this, I hope you will find it easier to book a photographer that suits your requirements. After all said and done, your Wedding Photographs are the one thing you will have to remind you of your wedding day forever so you don’t want to get it wrong!

Tip 1. Research
Websites: A good place to start is the internet which allows you to peruse photographs at your leisure and get a general feel for what the photographer has to offer. This will also allow you to work out what style of photography suits you best and get an idea of budget. If you would like mostly posed shots chances are you should book a traditional photographer, and if you like a more documentary style of photographer you should lean more towards a photojournalistic approach.
Wedding fairs: Great way to speak/meet the photographers in person, before commiting to an appointment. If you dont feel comfortable with them in person, chances are you aren’t going to want to spend a whole day with them with you at your wedding!
Regional Wedding Magazines: If you are going to spend a fortune on magazines, the regional ones are best. Magazines like WED or South West Bride not only feature adverts and various samples of wedding photographers work but they also run editorials by local photographers throughout the publication, again giving you a feel for what each Photographer in your area has to offer.
Word of Mouth: This is by far the best way to find your photographer, getting a personal insight in to what a photographer is really like, and not just how they advertise themselves to be! Ask your friends who took their wedding photo’s and ask to see the results. Ask local suppliers who they would recommend… for instance the venue you have booked for your wedding will see photographers in action pretty much every weekend and have a pretty good idea of what the local wedding photographers can and can’t offer, if then run to time and what they are like in general when interacting with different types of wedding parties.

Tip 2. Meet Your Photographer in Person – Client/Photographer Reletinship
I appreciate this may not be possible always, if you are booking abroad or half way across the country, but if possible go and meet your photographer before confirming a booking. We have a town centre office/studio clients can call in to which allows them to see all our work and chat over a cup of tea! We will also do house calls when this isn’t convenient, which you will find most photographers are happy to do. There is a number of questions you should ask your photographer when meeting them for the first time, which will help you decide if they are the right one for you:
1) Before anything else, check availability… Wedding Photographers tend to only take one booking per day, so by checking this first you will save alot of time going through requirements and quotes! If the photographer you wanted is booked up for your date never be afraid to ask them who they would recommend as alternative. Devon Portfolio are always happy to recommend other established wedding photographers if we are already booked up, and others do this too.
2) What is your primary style? This could be posed, traditional, candid, photojournalistic, reportage etc… if you have done your research you will know what you are looking for to suit your tastes.
3) Make sure the person you are speaking to is the person who will be at your wedding. Also find out if they are unable to attend who would replace them.
3) Ask if the Photographer has the required professional insurances. You can always ask to see a Professional Indemnity & Public Liability Insurance Certificate.
4) Ask about the Photographers Qualifications and Professional Memberships if this is important to you. And if their qulifications are specifically to Wedding Photography. Having a degree in Photography does not necessarily mean you are gifted at shooting a fast moving wedding. I have a Wedding Qualification through The Guild of Photographers and am also a member of the SWPP & BPPA. I also have my Photographic & Graphic Design Qualifications from college, but their is no substitute for actual practical experience so do not be afraid to ask a Photographer how many weddings they have shot and how long they have been a Wedding Photographer. Many clients also ask me if I have ever won any Awards through Professional Photographic bodies for my Photography. I have won many awards, but if I’m honest with you, I don’t think being a creative award winning photographer is the same as being a good Wedding Photographer with a large amount of experience. You have to ask yourself are you looking for someone to create a one off piece of art for you, or someone who has the skills to capture an entire wedding competantly and beautifully? There are many wedding photographers who never bother registering with professional bodies and never enter competitions to win awards because they are too busy shooting weddings and have brilliant reputations within the wedding photography industry.
5) Does your Photographer have a good knowledge of your venue and local area? Don’t be afraid to ask them about locations for photo opportunities. And if they do not know the venue you are using, will they go and make themselves familiar with it prior to your wedding?
6) Does your Photographer shoot in Colour, B&W or both. Do they use film or digital.
7) Will the photographer bring a second Photographer/Assistant is this at an additional cost.
Is a female photographer available for preparation and Boudoir Photographs (the sex of your photographer may not matter to you, but if it does do not be afraid to ask).
9) Does the photographer offer pre-wedding consultations, help with wish lists and engagement shoots prior to the wedding?
10) How long can you expect to wait for your photographs after the wedding? Remember if you have chosen a photographer who you wish to carry out extensive editing on your photographs, you could be looking at up to 8 wks for your photographs although the majority of photographers I know take between 3 and 6 weeks to get proofs back to their clients.
11) What coverage will I receive for the fee I am paying, is there an over time charge?
12) What is included in my fee? Does it include an Album/Book/Disc?
13) How many finished photographs can you expect to receive?

Tip 3. Booking
1) Before you confirm your booking, make sure you have it in writing what the price you are paying includes. Otherwise you may find yourself paying for items like albums after the wedding that you had assumed were included. If you are keen to have a usage rights disk of your images so that you may print your own photo’s or upload them on to social net working sites after the wedding, make sure you check if this is also included in the price too before booking. On average it is said that you should allocate 20% of your wedding budget on your wedding photography, so this should give you a good idea of what you are looking at paying. There are many photographers out there of all different budgets so don’t feel afraid to shop around, but do bare in mind that if you only pay £200 for your wedding photography it is unlikely your photography will be of the same standard as someone charging £1000, and when you look at your wedding photographs in years to come, are you going to be happy with the images, and will they capture your wedding day in the way you had hoped, even if you did save some money when booking?
2) Don’t be afraid to ask about offers. Very often photographers have special offers running, that you may not necessarily know about when looking at their website.
Tip 4. Enjoy your Wedding Photography!
This is so important. At your wedding you should feel like a film star, and should have enjoyed every minute of your time having your pictures taken! A good wedding photographer will make you feel totally at ease and have pleanty of tips for you before hand to help you beat those wedding jitters and make you look and feel great in your photo’s!
If you would like to discuss your wedding photography requirements with Devon Portfolio please feel free to drop me a line or give me a call:
Tel; 01803 200257 Email: [email protected]
Good luck with your wedding planning!
(Photographer – Devon Portfolio)