I am looking for a wedding photographer. Are you?
How to find the best one?
” How to find a wedding photographer? ” – ” 10 steps to find a wedding photographer ” – ” We will help you to find your perfect photographer” And I am pretty sure we can find tens or even hundreds of similar titles across the internet. Unfortunately, 9 of 10 articles have been written by big wedding portals or people who aren’t photographers. It is the same if I will give you advice on how to pick your favourite wedding cake. I am in the wedding industry for a while and I see wedding cakes at every single wedding. Should I write articles about how to find the best cake? NO! So why do not get some info about how to find a photographer from the source? From the photographer.
Why I try to advise you on how to find a photographer? Who I am?
I am Marek Kuzlik and I am Coventry based wedding photographer. I am a member of Master Photographers Association and The Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers. I am the winner of the best wedding photo 2020 awarded by Master Photographers Association. And I am going to tell you how and what I would do to choose a photographer for my wedding day. Maybe it will be a nice guide for you. Definitely, it will be some info for you from the source.
In this article, I will be talking about:
…but before that, I will give you an example, king of visualisation of the process of finding a photographer for your wedding day…
I will compare wedding photography to the shelf full of perfume. We will find there beautiful bottles, which in photography I can compare to a photographer’s style. Some of the bottles will attract our attention straight away. Some of them won’t. The same is in the wedding photography world. Some styles will be better for us than others. I think you will agree with me if I say, this is the first step of selection.
In a case when we do not have targeted specific bottle of perfume on the shelf… (a wedding photographer) after we will find a nice bottle, we will try it. We will check the smell of it. In photography, I would say, we will check a photographer offer. What photographer may do for you? And the same in the perfume world. The smell of one will be amazing and we may fell in love and the other will be awful, not acceptable for us. The same story is with photography packages. One photographer will offer only full day coverage and ask for it £1800 when we will need a photographer for an hour or so. And the other one won’t offer a photo album but we will love to have one. One photographer will treat the full day as 8 hrs only. And for the second one full day will be from preparation until the second dance and maybe longer, which finally will give you 12 hrs or so. I hope it is not so complicated 🙂
For some of us, the price won’t be a problem because we will look for something special, for quality work and products we may expect from the photographer… Tell me who’s of you did not hear about Chanel No5?
Possibly everybody did. Not everybody can afford that. Not everybody wants it. The same in photography.
The first step.
Find a photographer. Find many photographers across the internet. Find those photographers who you like and do not think about the financial aspect of it. Make a good research in your area. Then start checking packages and prices. I am aware that everybody will have different budget ad expectations. From one side someone will try to find top photographer for a couple of hours and from other side, someone will be looking for a photographer for a full day for a couple of hundred pounds. In my opinion, before you will ask for prices, set your expectations and budget, find many photographers you like their job and then try to clarify if they can offer you what you will need.
As a bride or groom, don’t be scared to ask a photographer or any other wedding supplier if he or she can make bespoke package fr you. Sometimes you can get a very good local photographer for really good money.
I’ll be straight forward at this point to keep it short. Wedding day requires mixed styles from a wedding photographer. If a photographer claims that he or she has a traditional, reportage, creative or contemporary style. It is good to ask WHEN?
It is difficult to say that I do pure reportage wedding photos when I am taking group photos. During the wedding ceremony, we will need to do pure reportage rather than creative photography. In this case, if possible of course, we can try to find an option to take some more creative shots if we find a nice light etc. but we won’t be able to set off-camera flashes in the ceremony room because the registrars won’t allow us. We have to remember that during the legal part of the wedding day our creativity is very limited, the same with the traditional approach. We have to capture those moments as they are. Am I right?
Instead of asking for a specific style of a photographer, I would ask… What would you do for us during our wedding day? The place of your wedding day, the time of the year, weather and many different factors may affect the final photo story of your wedding day. I am sure a good photographer will mention it.
Organising a wedding day we need a budget. A part of the budget will go for a photographer. And the question is, how much to spend? We can find a lot of adverts when someone is offering a full-day package for £300-£400 with an album. And you will find many adverts where you will be asked for around £1000 -£2000 for a day. Now we may ask the question why is so big difference? What I can expect from a photographer who charges £400 for a day of photography and album? If it won’t be a scam, we may expect a couple of hundreds of photos. And I believe some of them will be nice. The question is if we will get photos from every single moment we might expect to? let’s be honest. If a photographer asks £400 for a day, it can’t be fulltime job, skills won’t be on the same level as a photographer who charges 4 -5 times more. Editing skills possibly will be on the lower level too and an album can’t be from the top range as well. I think it gives a clear indication that for £400 you can’t give the same amount of work and quality like a photographer who charges £1000 unless you are philanthropy and you love to add money to your business rather than earn money. Who’s agree?
Don’t forget. Most of us will get married only one time and the wedding day will be very important for us. And possibly photos from the day will be important too. As an award-winning wedding photographer from West Midlands, I would consider paying more for better results.
I found in many articles kind of pressure to read reviews. OK, do this if you want but at the same time, you have to aware of…? Being in the industry for over 6 years I had contact with many manipulations. You can pay to win an award (not mine), you can pay for nice words, you can pay for likes on social media (that’s why I have only 1.9k on my Facebook ). I am careful with it. Every single business not only in wedding industry may design the public view. Not all of course but some use “fake” testimonials, reviews, audience and other methods of communications with the public.
Another kind of testimonies might be a recommendation from a couple who previously used a photographer. That’s is real and true. I wouldn’t ask a venue for the recommendation of a photographer because usually, the money is involved in it. And I can tell you it based on my experience. If the venue recommend you a supplier it doesn’t mean they are the best. It means the venue will have extra money if you will pick those suppliers.
I think it is my best point. We have to split photographer for 2 groups. The first one – a photographer who presents a lot of photos in the portfolio. From different parts of the day and different weddings. This group is transparent for potential couples. The second group of photographers hide their photos. In the portfolio, you can find 10-20 best ever photos collected from years. And the question will be… how other photos look like? Why a photographer doesn’t want to present them… hm. I have many theories for that but I do not want to be biased and I prefer to give you the opportunity to choose.
As a smart couple, you have to be aware that not on every single wedding we – the photographers can take “signature” photos. All of us top photographers will create for you great photos and it doesn’t matter where we will take those photos and in what kind of lighting conditions.
Looking at a portfolio put attention to :
How a photographer sees the light.
Very often when I look at portfolios of other photographers I can see very flat images in the places where we can easily find nice ambient lighting to shape the image. At this stage, we do not need a good camera but some knowledge and creativity.
You do not need specific knowledge about it. If you will look at the photo you should feel that the overall look of the image is nice for your eye.
day / night photos
We all love sunset/evening photos. When looking at the portfolio, think what time of the year you are getting married. In the summertime, sunset is very late, very often after your first dance. When many photographers finish their work? After the first dance? Clarify that little bit before you will sign the contract. When looking at day photos, have a look on the light, how a photographer can capture the light.
full wedding photo story
Ask a photographer to present you with a full story from a wedding day.
Be careful! Read. Ask. And read again. And ask for more details about packages.
I am dealing with many couples each year. I can hear very often – ” we had a meeting with another photographer who had a similar offer to yours but your sample albums are just amazing his, well better do not comment on it. Will we get something similar?” My answer is NO. You will get a better one, the new one because this one I’ve just presented is used. And we have some laugh.
I would like to make you more sensitive for details in the packages. If in the offer you can see e.g 400 images in an online gallery. Is it mean you or your guests will have a free download of those photos? Not always. If you will find in the offer a wedding photo album. Is it mean high-end wedding album? or it will be a cheap photo book with poor quality photos from a supermarket? Never knows until you will ask or touch the sample.
Another point is the total cost of the service. Or maybe hidden costs? Before you will make any step forward, make sure if there are any extra costs and rear an agreement to avoid any bad surprises.
A photographer who will video your day… or video man who will photograph your wedding
Across social media, we can find a lot of “masters” who will take photos at your wedding day and at the same time will create a video of your amazing day. I was writing about this topic in the blog titled “PHOTOS + VIDEO PACKAGE. DOES IT WORK?” and here I will keep it very short. You can’t run fast and drink coffee at the same time. You can’t take photos and video a wedding day if you want good effects. If you can accept it, well. Your choice. However, if your wedding day is important for you, I would recommend considering one photographer and one video man.
My website: MK Wedding Photography
Instagram : mk.wedding.photography
Facebook: Mk Wedding Photography