If you are recently engaged, many congratulations. It will not be too long before you start thinking about your day and the suppliers you wish to be involved. Your wedding photographer is one of your most important suppliers and is not only there to capture your day itself but also forever after. So how do you go about choosing your wedding photographer and what questions should you ask to help you make that decision? Included in my wedding planning services is sourcing suppliers. I like to give my couples a short-list of at least three to choose from, based on my consultation with them.
I have enlisted the expert advice of Buckinghamshire based Wedding Photographer Suzy from Suzy Elizabeth Photography to answer questions and give you tips on how to choose your wedding photographer. Suzy is a genius behind the camera, capturing beautiful images and her attention to detail is second to none. She has an incredible ability to make you feel at ease and has a warm and friendly presence. She moves unobtrusively around but it always there to capture the many and varied emotions and moments of the day. As well as running her own successful business she is a recommended photographer for several luxury wedding venues in Buckinghamshire, neighbouring counties and the Cotswolds.
What should you be looking for and how do you start the search for a wedding photographer?
With so many photographers out there and so many different styles to choose from, it can be a daunting experience choosing the right wedding photographer for you. First and foremost I would recommend that you choose somebody that you have a good connection with. Have a good search on google and see if anybody jumps out to you. Look at their images on their site, always check out their blog area, as this is where they should show you a full days wedding. Read their ‘about me’ page and hopefully you will either get a good vibe or not. I would always suggest you book in a zoom call so that you can get to know each other a bit better. You wedding photographer is going to be a big part of your wedding day so you need to feel comfortable with them. You need to feel confident that they understand what you want from your images and you need to feel confident that they can deliver. I love to build a good relationship with my couples before the big day, it is really important to me that we build that trust beforehand and so on the big day you are completely relaxed in my company.
Are engagement photo shoots a good idea?
I love engagement shoots and think they are a great idea, but they are not essential. They are a great opportunity for us to spend some quality time together before the big day and get to know each other a bit better. You then get used to my way of working and realise that your portraits are absolutely nothing to worry about and that they are actually quite fun. Plus you get a load of gorgeous images of the two of you to celebrate such a happy time in your relationship. I have written a blog all about engagement shoots if you fancy a read Engagement shoot tips and advice
What should we expect to be included in the cost, or is it better to have a bespoke package?
Just as it can be confusing when you start looking through all the many different styles of photography, it can also get quite confusing when you land on a site and they have a gazillion different packages to choose from. I like to keep things simple and offer one package, with the option to add to it if you choose. I find this is quite popular with couples, a bit like an a la carte menu. The least I would expect from a photographer would be all of your images provided to you in one way or another. These images should be yours to share and print as much as you like. I remember when I was getting married and I went to visit a highly regarded photographer, who told me that I would not own the images and if anybody wanted to print them they had to go through him, I ran a mile! Aside from the images it then comes down to personal taste, I offer frames, canvases and fine art wedding albums and most photographers will offer something similar.
What are the different styles of photography and can we have a mixture of style?
There are so many different styles of photography and some of the terms can be quite confusing. There is dark and moody, light and airy, fine art, reportage, documentary…..the list goes on. Rather than concentrating too much on the terms people use to describe their style, have a look at their images and see if they grab you. Someone who likes the more dark and moody style of photography will look at a fine art photographer and probably leave their page immediately, and vice versa. Wedding photography has moved on considerably over the years and it now leans a lot more towards the documentary style, capturing your day as it happens. This is how I treat every wedding day, capturing the little moments as they unfold before me, with gorgeous portraits thrown in too. If you have a certain style of photography you like, search on google, there will be tons of photographers out there for you.
Which are the most important shots to ask for?
Every wedding day is different and unique and everybody has different desires and expectations when it comes to their photography. There are no ‘must have’ shots but group shots are something that has featured in almost every wedding I have photographed . This will be one of the few occasions when you will have everybody together in their finery and these pictures are important ones. To me, your portraits are must have shots and should be factored into your day. These are the shots that the family will love and the ones that will be up on your wall for years to come. I always send my couples a questionnaire before the big day to gather all the information I need in the run up. In that I ask if there are any ‘must have’ shots they would like me to capture. This could be anything from a piece of sentimental jewellery to a group of friends that are important, anything goes really.
How do you deal with camera shy couples or guests?
Quite often when I speak with couples before the big day they tell me that they don’t like having their photographs taken, they don’t look good in photos or they feel awkward in front of the camera. For the majority of the day I am taking images of people when they don’t know I am there. This is where I get some of the best images as people are at their most relaxed. The little looks, the laughter, the tears. I often find that my couples are daunted by the portraits but it is honestly nothing to worry about. I can’t speak for other photographers here but my portrait sessions are really relaxed. We spend about half an hour together and we will start off by going for a walk. I will have in mind where I want you to stand and I may position you there but what I really want to capture is the connection between the two of you. Even the most camera shy couples have told me afterwards how much they enjoyed it so fret not.
How important is it to have bridal prep photos?
Bridal prep photos are growing in popularity and are a lovely way to document the start of your day. I like to think of your wedding day as a story and this is the start of your story, plus they are always good fun. It is lovely to capture the fun and laughter, the bubbly the details, the special moments with friends and family. They are always really relaxed affairs before the main event and I love that I get to be part of it.
Do we need to have a second photographer?
A second photographer isn’t essential and it all depends on what you want from your photographs. I would recommend a second photographer to any couple who wants preparation shots covered for both parties, unless you are getting ready in the same place. Unfortunately I can’t be in two places at the same time and it would be impossible for me to move between locations and devote myself 100% to both events. I would also recommend a second photographer for larger weddings, say over 100 guests, as there is a lot more ground to cover and between the two of us we will ensure all your guests are captured. It is not essential though and more often than not I cover weddings by myself and I always get a beautiful range of images.
How long should we expect to have to wait to view our photos?
After a few days I always send out a few highlights from the day, just so you are not waiting too long, I know you will be excited. I normally say to allow 4-6 weeks for the full gallery but I try and get them out as soon as I can, I know you will be itching to see them.
Which is your favourite moment to capture?
Portraits, portraits, portraits! If you have seen my Instagram or my website you will have noticed that I love portraits, it is hands down my favourite part of any wedding day. It is such a special time as it is the first time a couple gets to spend some quality time together after becoming newlyweds. I love to capture the connection, the love and romance, the laughter. I always tell me couples to just be themselves and relax into it. The session will be good fun, trust me!
I hope that has been of help and that you are now raring to go and choose a wedding photographer. Do pop over to Suzy Elizabeth’s website to see her beautiful images.
Photography – Suzy Elizabeth Photography