How to choose a wedding photographer

If you are new to photography, commissioning a photographer for one of the most important days of your life could be daunting. You may have seen your sisters, friends photographers work at their wedding, but want someone personal to you.

I am going to shamelessly blow my own trumpet, and spill the beans on Bad Practice that I hear about after an event (so why they should have chosen me).

Remember; all service providers look good on their websites. The question is, are they good in practice? wedding photography is a one-off job, so you wont ever use them again whether they are good or bad. You will recommend them if they are good - but that's a bobby bonus for them, not for you. If they are bad, no insurance in the world is going to repeat the day.

1. Experience.

I have photographed weddings for over a decade - two decades if you count friends and family weddings. Nothing will trip me up - I've had cameras break on me, film get stuck (a long time ago....) difficult assistants, rain, sleet in summer, late brides, broken down cars and so on. If it is part of the day, it gets recorded - AA included. If it's my equipment, I have more. My day is calmly organised to avoid panic, so if there is a hic-up, I can catch up with no difficulty. Which brings me to point 2....

2. It all comes down to planning.

You give me a list of photos you want. I suggest what you may have forgotten. We discard some so you can mix with your guests. The photo list is written up, with my mobile no, the best man's mobile no and the brides fathers mobile no. Everyone has a copy. We agree that I stick to 99.9% of this, but change to plan B if it rains, moving times if the organic day requires - but either way your agreed pictures will be taken. I will not 'run out of time so miss the family groups' I will not 'forget to take a picture of the bride with her Mum' (one of my favorite pictures and Absolutely Essential). I will not take you from your guests for 40 mins to get the right photograph for my portfolio. Unless you want to wander through a field of poppies with a glass of bubbly with your newly betrothed.... and I will not get distracted by famous, beautiful, important guests.

3. Discrete.

I am very discrete, you will hardly notice me, your guests will hardly notice me. When I need attention to gather stragglers or make a punchy photo, you will notice me, but otherwise - it is your day. My assistants have been guided on how to work and they quietly support me.

4. How long till you see your pictures?

This is another thing photographers websites will not tell you. 6 months it took an Italian collegue to get his photographs out. He was a stunning photographer - he knew that, his clients knew that, but Six Months? Nearer home, a local woman photographer - 4 months. Unbelievable. We make a date to view and when you come back from your honeymoon you can see them. I will be working on them the very next day. I want the essence of the day to be fresh in my mind as I do the difficult, time consuming part.

5. How many pictures?

On average I take over 1500 pictures myself, my assistant takes the same again. This takes a lot of working through. I will reduce it down to a manageable level. I am used to looking through thousands of pictures, you are not, and when we work through the edited selection, I will guide you to quick decisions. We rarely make a mistake, so don't worry that we will overlook gems. Whenever we have gone back to check, the original decision is always held.

6. Cost.

My prices are £300 less than collegues working at my standard. This is because I work mostly in Gloucestershire, but want to reach out to Oxfordshire and Warwickshire. Gloucestershire couples get a bonus in 2015. This standard price reflects my experience, the standard of our products (albums/prints), the quality of my photographs and that I am a professional photographer. ie; I make my living from my work - so I have a (deservedly) good reputation, that I must protect (happy clients) to keep working again. A wedding is 7 days of work for me; from the pre-wedding shoot, including the wedding day to the post processing and album design.

7. Insurance

I have all the usual insurance for wedding photographers. However as I said before - this in practice is worth nothing because you can't replay the day. My insurance is the experience I have collected over the years. I also am part of a group of photographers who have pledged to cover each others' work in adversity. And I have 2 very trusted assistants.

I hope this helps, and that I have answered some of your questions. Call me on 07908 816421 to speak directly to me - and if I am working, which is most often the case, leave me a message or text me and I will return your call with my complete attention.