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You know your date and you know the venue. You now need to choose a photographer. Do remember, when the champagne is sipped, the wedding cake eaten and the day over, the one abiding thing will be your photographs. 25 years later they should still be able to evoke those treasured memories! It is therefore really important to get the right person – it is too late to realise on the day that you have made a mistake!

Some things to consider:-

1. Do you like them? - You will spend a significant amount of time with your photographer on the day. Not good if you find that they irritate or you feel un-comfortable with them – it will show on your photographs! Make sure you get along them! Most ‘truly’ professional photographers will be able to deliver good images for you. The important thing, therefore, is to concentrate on who you feel you can work with on the day. The chemistry has to be right – see if they will offer a free pre-wedding shoot before you book them. That will give you an opportunity to experience what they are like when they get behind a lens – Jekyll and Hyde’s do exist in the world of professional photography! A photographer who is bossy or curt can spoil an otherwise wonderful day and really annoy your guests. Your photography should be fun and enjoyable!

2. Style - Photojournalistic (reportage) images are popular and almost all professional photographers can offer elements of this as part of their service. However, relying solely on reportage risks missing those things that you really wanted captured. With the advent of modern digital cameras, ‘Uncle Joe’ can produce any number of snaps of good ‘technical’ quality, the real art or skill is to make sure the right images are not missed and these are captured in a way that makes them look natural, although nothing has been left to chance! If you are paying a professional why ask them to do no more than Uncle Joe could do for free? You are looking for guarantees and you are paying for someone’s technical and artistic expertise. Make sure your photographer knows how to pose you and knows how to make it look as thought that all those ‘moments’ have been naturally captured!

3. Exclusivity – Make sure the photographer you meet and feel comfortable with is the one you are getting to cover your wedding! Ask for this to be written into the booking contract. Make sure that the photographer is covering your wedding for the prescribed amount of time and is not being hurried off to shoot another wedding! Rushed photographers produce bad images!

4. Experienced Photographers – A confident, experienced photographer will be happy to offer a pre-wedding shoot before you book. They know their images will sell them. This way you get a chance to see the work they produce of you and for you – not just the chance to see what they consider to be one of their best shoots of someone else! You also get the chance to see how they work and whether you can get on with them. They get the chance to see whether there is empathy between them and you, and they can also find out in advance what it is they need to do to get the best from YOU on the big day – everyone is different! At the end of the day, if it does not feel right, both sides are better going their separate ways!

5. The Package – The contract needs to clearly spell out what you are going to receive in the package you have purchased. Packages can be standardised or bespoke and will specify items such as duration of time ;purchased or attendance from one point in the day to another, shooting times, locations, essential shots, products included in the package etc. Make sure your expectations and those of the photographer are the same, and then get it in writing in the contract!

6. After the Wedding: What are your expectations? How will you view your images? How long before your images are ready? How long before your disc of high resolution images are ready – or your album. Make sure this is clear at the contract stage and get it written in!

7. Price – Your photographs remain with you, many years after the event, long after the small details of the day have faded from your memory. Professional photography is worth affording! Evocative, well composed images and captured moments bring these memories flooding back, along with the small details that would otherwise be lost forever!

Some photographers compete on price only, and for some couples there main consideration is price. Others photographers compete on value for money, quality and offer added value. Your budget will have limits and there is no reason to feel awkward or apologetic about this but go for the very best you can afford. Should you find a wedding photographer that ‘ticks all your boxes’, but their price is a little bit outside of your budget, talk with them and see whether they will work with you to put together a package that can accommodate you. Don’t be un-realistic, however, your budget will determine the sort of ballpark you can stretch to and if the photographer’s rates are just too far outside your budget, negotiation may be pointless and embarrassing!

8. The Contract - Make sure it is in plain English, clear and concise. If you are unsure of something – ask! An honest photographer will be happy to clarify things and make them as clear as possible! Make sure you know all there is to know before you sign the contract!

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