Choosing your photographer
Choosing your photographer is, after choosing your venue, one of the most important choices to make. These few words are there to help you get an idea on what to look for.
Rapport and personality
Ultimately whoever you chose will be with you all of your wedding day, normally from the start of hair and makeup until cake cut and first dance. Personally I like to hang on at least another hour to get some pictures once the party has got started but that’s up to you given it’s your big day. The main point here is that is it really important you gel with them and that their personality matches your own. The last thing you want is to be feeling uptight or awkward around them given how much time you’ll spend with each other. For me, it’s always a bonus if you can have a laugh and a joke together as well: this really makes the photos a lot more natural and this way the smiles and laughter captured in them are both genuine and real.
Your little ones?
Another thing to think about, if you have them, is your little ones. In much the same way as yours truly if the photographer doesn’t make them laugh and smile then the potential for the photos to excel is limited. I visit the families of my brides and grooms to make sure they get used to me and can smile and have fun on the big day. In this regard there are two memories that stand out massively over my years shooting when it comes to this point. In one, it took 3 visits but the once shy and reserved 4 year old who only wanted to cuddle Mummy demanded I did colouring in and played hide and seek. In another the 7 year old who wouldn’t speak to anyone outside the family on my second visit came to take photos with me and ultimately ended up wanting to be my little helper for the big day.
Your Trusted Advisor?
Your photographer should also be a seasoned professional and will have seen maybe hundreds of weddings. To that end you should be able to ask them anything and get their opinions as you go through the planning process. Every photographer is different as is their style. Talk to them about your vision for your day, how you want them to engage with you and your guests and most importantly tell them what you like the most in photos.
For me it also goes the other way: I like my couples to consider creative ideas and I will often do little things that'll make their day complete. It might be a sparkler exit, getting a few fireworks for their exit, getting glow sticks for little hands or bringing little props to tie everything together. One of my favourite things is the "ringdrops": little cards made up with your names, the date and your first dance lyrics or your reading for your rings to sit on to tie all that the day brings into one snapshot and memory.
Ultimately your photographer is also your trusted advisor: someone you can ask anything and someone who is willing and able to share ideas and visions. For me this is key to a solid and creative relationship with the couples I'm privileged enough to work with.
To use an old adage, you wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first. I would suggest you do the same in person with your photographer. You’ll know straight away in your heart if it’s meant to be.
To that end I won’t take any money nor deposit until we’ve done exactly that. For me that connection and gel is the most important thing. I guess that’s also why a lot of my brides and grooms go on to be my friends to the extent that I have been blessed to be godfather to the newest generation of those I’ve seen wed on several occasions.
So in summary - if you feel a click, a connection and a shared personality - it's looking good :-)