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How to Find Your Wedding Photographer

I thought it would be helpful to provide some advice for those who are looking to book a wedding photographer - hope you find it helpful.

What you really need is a professional photographer who has a wide experience of weddings, someone completely reliable who you can really trust to take the best possible photographs of your day. It's impossible to re take your wedding photographs if you're not happy with them so don't be tempted to cut costs and entrust your photography to an amateur. They are your lasting reminder of your once-in-a-life-time day and if you intend on showing them to the future generations of your family in years to come then you’re better finding a qualified photographer who will capture your day just how it is.
You want some one who is very experienced in weddings; they will be familiar with the emotion and stress of the day and will have experience in dealing with tricky family situations. They should be able to ease tension rather than add to it, if you have difficult family situations make sure you advise the photographer before hand. They should also have excellent technical skills, ensuring that your photographs are neither too dark nor too overexposed. If you are opting for imaginative photos then you'll want someone with creative flair who's excited about photographing your wedding. They should have a great attitude and want to do the best job possible. Some photographers will visit your venues before hand to scout for the perfect backdrop and to generally get ideas. They may look for places to stop off between venues if they think there's a good spot to take photographs. If you give them a must-have photos' list then they should give you feed back on this before the day so you will know exactly what to expect. You want the best wedding album possible but you don't want your photographer to monopolise the whole day, a good photographer will get the best results as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Ok so now you know what you want you just have to find them. The first thing you need to do is look at each individual's style. This is how they actually take the photographs and what results they get. Some photographers will work with an assistant who helps them round up the guests and keep everything on schedule. Others will take a more discreet approach mingling with the guests and organising people with out them even realising it. The outcome is also very important, look at the various styles and decide which is right for you as it is vital that you like their approach and their portfolio.
When you visit a photographer think about how comfortable you feel talking to them, remember that they will be a big part of your wedding day and you will probably spend more time with them than any of your guests so it is essential that you feel comfortable in their company. You should also ask to see sample albums which include pictures from other people's weddings they have photographed as this will give you an idea of the results you will get – BUT, do remember to check they are the photographers own shots as it isn’t unknown particularly at the ‘budget end’ for shots to be presented that aren’t by the photographer at all!
Remember to check that the person you meet is going to be taking your photographs on the day. Some photography companies have several photographers on their staff, it is advisable to meet the person who will be taking your photographs before the day.
Finally, 3 key questions you probably wouldn’t think to ask, but should –
1. Are they qualified members of a professional society? (SWPP, NPS, MPA, BIPP). Some photographers will say they are ‘members’ of a society, but this is completely different from being a ‘qualified’ member where they have had their work rigorously assessed by a panel of wedding photography experts.
2. Do they have public liability and professional indemnity insurance? A professional wedding photographer will have both of these, and indeed some reception venues won’t let them in without it!
3. Do they use professional grade equipment including back-up equipment? This is essential for the very best images and also to ensure you still get full coverage even should there be a problem with an item of the photographer’s equipment.