Since starting our ‘photographer’s thoughts’ series a few months ago we’ve had a lot of questions from readers asking for specific advice relating to booking a wedding photographer. We’ve tried to answer many of these questions in more detail in some of our other posts, but this week we thought we’d try to answer more directly a few of the most frequently asked to help put your minds at ease! So whilst every photographer is different and their answers to these questions might vary a little, we’ve tried to give the answer that we think the majority of photographers would agree with as best we can. Apologies to anyone whose question we haven’t yet answered, but keep them coming in and we’ll try to answer them in future posts! So, here we go with our wedding photography FAQ…
I have similar quotes from two different photographers, one shoots alone and the other with a second shooter. Is it better to have one or two photographers and how come they’re the same price?
This very much depends both on the individual photographer and on your own preference. If you’re nervous around cameras then perhaps having two photographers might be too much for you, however with two photographers you’re obviously going to get more varied angles and more chance of catching those key spontaneous moments. Some photographers work best as a team, others prefer to work on their own. If you’ve chosen a photographer mainly for their posed imagery then that one photographer is the person that matters, if you’re looking for lots of documentary shots then having two photographers can definitely be a major bonus, but not necessarily essential. The price isn’t determined by the number of people but by the quality of the photography whether that be by one or two people.
The photographer I’m looking at offers “all images on disc” but it says on their website they supply around 300 images. Don’t most photographers take a lot more pictures than that?
“All images on disc” refers to all of the best images from the day. Photographers might take thousands of shots during the day but a lot of them will be repeats – for example they might take 20-30 pictures of the same group shot just in order to make sure there is one where everyone is smiling. Other images will also be very similar and might just vary very slightly in angle – your photographer’s job is to present you with the best possible images from your day, photographs that meet the photographer’s exacting standards. They will still generally allow you plenty of choice in which final images you would like for your album, but it’s generally better to have 300 images you absolutely love than an extra 700 images that don’t inspire you.
I mostly want candid natural shots from the day so am looking at documentary style photographers, but I’d like some group shots as well – is this something I could ask a documentary photographer to do?
Absolutely! Most documentary photographers are quite happy to take a few groups if you ask, it’s just not the style of shot that they specialise in or the way they feel they get their best or most creative shots, but as long as you’re not asking them to shoot more posed imagery than candid’s there’s no harm in asking!
I found a photographer I really like but they’ve said that they don’t do site visits to see my venue and look for photo opportunities before the day. How important is it for the photographer to visit the venue beforehand and should I still book them if they refuse?
Great photographs aren’t made by the background, they’re made by the subject, the quality of light, the textures, colours and moods that are present on the day. A photograph is a snapshot of a moment and it’s impossible to predict what moments will be presented ahead of time. Some photographers may prefer to have a site visit before the day, but for most to be honest it’s largely irrelevant. If you think there are a couple of great locations then by all means mention it to them, but at the end of the day great photographers follow their instinct and are inspired in the moment by that moment and rarely by a background that might look completely different on the day.
What qualifications and professional memberships should I expect my photographer to have?
None. There are many professional photography associations out there that photographers can join and many photographers hold specific photography degrees and qualifications, but degrees don’t necessarily make for a better photographer and there is no one major recognised photographic society that every wedding photographer can be expected to be a member of. Photography is about having the right creative eye and a natural sense of composition – that’s not something you can teach! Don’t base your choice on qualifications, base it on the way you feel about their work!
Bride Vs Groom is also looking for experts in other wedding fields – florists, dressmakers, venues… if you’d like to help answer some questions from our eager readers then we’d love to hear from you!