How to choose a wedding photographer…
The cake maker, hair stylist, caterer, DJ, fire juggler, butterfly to carry the rings… There are sooooo many suppliers to line up for your big day, where do you begin?!? Perhaps no one is quite as important as the photographer who’ll capture those special memories. It’s vital you find the right person for the job, so GoHen talked to award-winning photographer Emma-Jane about how to choose a wedding photographer for your big day.
PS; Please don’t try to get a butterfly to carry the rings. That’s a job for a unicorn (what did you think the horn is for?).
What’s hot in the world of wedding photography this year?
What has become really popular are the more muted colour tones. Gone are the distracting colours, it’s all about soft and pastels. Often bright greens are replaced by the silver feather tones. This is also coming through really nicely in the bridesmaid’s colour palette and the groomsmen. Which makes my work as a photographer a dream, colours just work, compositions work and it allows for much more scope in the styling.
This has also changed how people approach photography, I am doing less and less super staged shots and more relaxed style imagery that is really allowing you to showcase the fun and natural elements of a wedding. I am able to mix my fashion work into the wedding work to be able to create stylish images that have the natural laughs and love shining through.
Of course, there are still some traditional family photos. But you are not spending the whole of drinks reception doing these. It is a healthy balance between drinks, chatting, family photos and couple photos during that time for my clients.
What’s not? Is there anything brides should avoid?
I would say this is all really variable, and as a photographer I cannot be too judgmental as I am not a planner or a hot shot stylist. But I do know what works well in a photo and what can compliment my couples. So I would avoid clashing colours, the old school ribbons on the backs of chairs and go more rustic and cutesy if it’s an outdoor wedding or more slick and stylish for a hotel or central London wedding such as clear tableware and furniture.
I would also avoid poorly lit first dances, going for a cheaper band or DJ set up can be popular to save some money, but it can look bad in photos, looking unfinished with trailing cables all around the floor or even a fold out table. If money is a little tight it’s best to chat to the venue to see if they can help dress the table or booth to make this better.
What are your top tips to finding the right photographer?
Find a photographer’s style that really resonates to you. If there are lots of staged group shots mainly on the website but you want more natural creative shots, this might not be the photographer for you. It’s important that you see enough variety in their work, so that they can handle the ceremony, couple shots, group shots and candid dancing etc all equally as well.
Take the time to organize a phone call or meet them. This will be one of the most important suppliers you will book, as you will spend lead up time with them such as meetings and engagement shoots, on the day itself your wedding photographer becomes a friend, planner/organizer and then you have the after relationship of picking images and designing albums.
So you really need to get on. I tend to hold a few consult dates per month so that I can meet new and existing couples. To answer questions as well as help them to design their wedding schedule to get the best shots.
What are the basic styles of wedding photography couples can choose from?
There’s a number of general categories;
– Fine art
Choose which style you want, then you can draw up a shortlist of the right photographers for you.
Are there certain standard wedding photo packages?
This does vary depending on what the photographer is willing to do. But often this is a half day or a full day coverage. I personally do 6 (out of season only) 8, 10 or 12-hour packages to allow you where and what you want covered on the day.
When’s the last time you took a ‘selfie’?
Often on set of fashion shoots. I often don’t get chance to take many behind the scenes or selfie photos on set as I’m always either taking the real photos or running around organizing everyone. So I often get these from the rest of the team who take them. And then at the end of the shoot we tend to do a group selfie.
What should couples ask their photographer?
Do they have back up kit? What happens if things go wrong or they’re ill on the day? As well as making sure they have the correct liability insurances as your venues will often ask for this. Also make sure there are no hidden extras in their packages, so ask to see a contract.
You must have been at hundreds of weddings, what’s the best wedding day advice for brides?
Make sure you have enough time for each element. Don’t be pushed around by a venue or staff pulling your times forward or cramming everything together in your planning. The day will pass by so fast, make sure you have enough time to take in each element. It’s inevitable that things take longer than planned or overrun, so you need that run off time. This means less stress and also, for myself, enough time to get the shots we planned.
What’s the best/most original idea you’ve ever seen at a wedding?
I love it when I see couples do things like want the smoke added to photos, do a first dance that includes the bridal party, release butterflies or even do a cream tea instead of a drinks reception!
Spending all day looking and talking about weddings sounds like a dream, so what’s the best part about your job?
I love getting the enquiries that make my heart sing. When you look at the venues and the couple’s ideas and think “That’s going to make some great shots!” you then have that date booked in the diary and you are looking forward to the day. As well as getting the comments back when they are happy.
Any final parting words of bridal wisdom?
Find a photographer you trust, who is creative and passionate. And you cannot go wrong!
If you’re still wondering how to choose a wedding photographer? You can find out more about Emma-Jane’s stunning work here…