your day

Questions about your Wedding Photography

It is your wedding day, and you really want to make sure you are getting the right wedding photographer for you. Well, here are some questions you may have, and hopefully some answers too.

 

Questions frequently never asked…


It recently dawned on me that potential customers very often have questions that they probably don’t ask. Nearly everyone asks, how many photographers are there, how long do you stay for, how many images do I get, and so on. But let’s face it, at the last moment, the decision is based on something much more intuitive and subtle than bare facts.


People don’t always want to or feel comfortable asking awkward questions, ones that might imply your work is not up to scratch. I think you should though, particularly when you are spending over £1000 on photographs.

So, I have taken the liberty to ask those awkward questions, at least the ones I can think of – any that you think of, do email me and I’ll post them on:

1)    How do I know if my photographer is only showing his best work, and that the other images in the album won’t be average or rubbish?

Your photographer should show you at least one full wedding album, fully mounted. However, the customers would have had to select from the images they were given to put in the wedding album (they could have had up to 350, so not all of them will be mounted), so in theory these could still be ‘the best ones’. Chances are, many of them will be, as every photographer will have some shots better than others, and of course the bride and groom will like many of these. But you should ask to see an example (on CD, or website for example) of all the wedding photographs provided to a customer. If you want to see any of mine, I am happy to give you access to one or two galleries where you can see the photos as if you were the customer who had paid, so you really know what you get.

2)    I am really surprised at how much it costs for a photographer  - it’s so expensive. My parents only paid £300 for theirs!

Actually, there are photographers who will photograph your wedding for you for £300, some even include a wedding album. They often are in business no longer than 12-18 months. Occasionally they are longer lasting, and do business based on volume, covering multiple weddings on one day, subcontract to other photographers, and, well, you generally get what you pay for. Buying photography is a bit like buying shoes. Buy cheap, and you’ll soon see the flaws as your heels fall off and the fake leather cracks to the canvas beneath. Invest a little more and you will feel comfortable. Invest more again, and you’ll walk with your head held high and feel a million dollars. And one last analogy, you certainly wouldn’t spend £200 on a dress and £15 on shoes, so why spend £1500 on a dress and £300 on someone to take pictures of it?

I pride myself in only ever photographing one wedding a day, in fact I actually limit the number of weddings I photograph in a year. You have booked my photographic style based on what you have seen, so wouldn’t expect to receive different looking images taken by someone else. And if you are going on a referral, how do you know what your photographer will be like if it’s someone different. I also undertake all of my own post processing so that my artistic style is what you receive – this takes days, as does building an album. Equipment costs a lot, and we want to be around in years to come to photograph your family growing up, so we take a long term view that gives our customers second to none service. Quality takes time, time costs money. But as they say, spend £300 on something that you hate looking at, and it’ll be the most expensive £300 you ever spend.

3)    How experienced are you?
I started up my business around 7 years ago, and have since then photographed over 120 weddings. I started off photographing food and then was commissioned to take a number of weddings. In fact, I started off as one of the exceptions above – we all have to start somewhere! I still concentrate on food and weddings, and do portrait shots of course too. I love my travel photography, and combining that with food too!

4)    How can I trust my photographer to show up – there are so many horror stories?
If the truth be told, there is no way you can 100% be sure of this, other than locking the photographer in a cupboard until your big day. Having said that though, there are ways and means of being as sure as you can that they are all they appear to be:
-    ask for testimonials, from recent weddings if possible. It might be a bit unreasonable to speak to the people directly, but each testimonial should be labelled with dates and names
-    if you are able to speak directly to one of their customers, ask what they liked and disliked about their experience
-    Always, always get a contract and/or receipt up front once you have paid your deposit.
-    Read your contract carefully, there should be a good balance of clauses to protect you and the photographer. If it’s all one sided be suspicious
-    Be clear about the product you wish to pay for  - it should be detailed somewhere. If you return your booking form, take a photocopy so you remember the details.
-    Ideally you should meet them face to face before placing your deposit
-    Check if they use a landline. I advertise my mobile only for convenience and availability, but am happy to give people my landline if they want to have it. If they don’t want to provide a landline you should ask yourself why.
-    If after the big day you don’t hear anything within around 4 weeks, or the time promised, get in touch with them immediately to avoid any problems getting out of hand.
-    Be conscious of the time it takes to respond to emails. If they respond to a sales enquiry immediately but in the run up to the wedding they take a week to respond, it may be worth asking them why.


5)    My photographer told me that they won’t provide the high res images on CD for me to reprint without charging me extra. Why has he done that and is that on?

Not really, unless it was clear in their sales info what you receive for your package or investment. All photographers handle this area differently. Some charge up front as part of the package, and include this, others just include small images and charge extra for reprint licenses. Some only give you the license to reprint after a period of time, say around two years. I personally include the license to reprint in all the packages bar the most basic, since I have found that the majority of my customers wish to reprint. There is a cost of course, which is rolled into the package. The basic package only includes smaller viewing files, but this helps to keep costs down when budget is a bigger factor.

Why do I do this? Well, photographers used to make part of their income from sales of prints – this has been drastically reduced in the digital age, but the photographer’s need to make a living has not. So you can either pay up front as part of the package, which often makes it more economical for you in the long term, or you can pay for individual reprints afterwards, if you think you might only want a few. Some photographers will give these away for free while still charging £300. They won’t be in business very long for you to go back to if you needed to. I do always provide all images for viewing regardless of what you opt for, as I have spent the time taking and processing them, and I don’t see why you shouldn’t enjoy them!

 

Recommendations

Don't know where is good to have your wedding reception? I do have some favourite places for wedding receptions and I'll add them here as I think of them for you, just in case it helps:

The King Arthur Hotel
Why? Superb service, attention to detail, very flexible reception space, accomodation on site, beautiful location

Canada Lodge
Why? Unique and stylish but unpretentious. Very easy to get to from M4, near Cardiff. Great food. Great outdoor space for summer weddings.

The Great House
Just outside Bridgend, its a great place for smaller weddings, especially in the winter and the food is superb

Margam Orangery
Simply spectacular open spaces with a feeling of grandeur.