Choosing your Photographer

This article, has been written in response to questions asked from clients and messages we have received from couples, wishing they would have chosen us for their wedding photography... unfortunately not all wedding photographers are the same and not all take pride in their finished images...
However there are many excellent and professional photographers out there and it really comes down to personal taste and whether the photographer is right for you…
This article is intended to help couples choose their Photographer and answer any questions they might have. Research has been conducted by Stockman & Holt Bespoke Wedding Photography.

©Stockman & Holt Photography, none of this article may be copied or reproduced, without prior consent from the Author or Stockman & Holt Photography.

The importance of choosing a professional Wedding Photographer

Choosing your Wedding Photographer is one of the most important decisions a couple can make. Your Wedding day is the most important day of your life…The photographs should and will last for a life time; they are memories of your special day…

Your wedding day is unique and the story of your special day should be captured as it unfolds. The candid shots of guests laughing, children playing, the emotions, those precious words, the joy and that beautiful wedding dress!

You have saved for ages… spent a small fortune on the venue, the bridal gown, the flowers, the rings, the outfits… (And more!)
The scene has been set…the emotions are running high; there is an excitement in the air…
So, there is an even greater importance, on choosing a professional photographer to capture your special day. The last thing you should be worrying about is the quality of images produced by your photographer.

Unfortunately we have spoken to many couples, who have chosen a wedding photographer based on their belief that they are offering value for money. They have been enticed by; highly discounted packages, often from an amateur, that is doing the job as a side line, for extra cash, or to grow their portfolio. This can result in a ‘conveyor belt’ style of working, where images are often rushed, resulting in poorly exposed photographs, bad composition, a lack of attention to detail, missed moments and not utilising their surroundings to the full.

Below are some areas you might like to take into consideration;

Your budget.

Many couples don’t understand the importance of leaving enough of their budget for the photographer. Your photographs shouldn’t be an afterthought; after all it’s your big day and your memories! This day is a one off; your photographer/photographers have one chance to capture those moments, those details and those emotions…
A good professional photographer are worth every penny, they understand the importance of the day, how your day will unfold…
Photographing a Wedding is hard work, it can be physically demanding, require quick thinking and a professionalism at all times. A professional photographer’s job isn’t finished after your big day…
A photographer will often spend days/weeks editing your images, they will take pride in their work and provide you with the best possible photographs they can! It should never be rushed! A good professional photographer will take at least 4-6 weeks, to produce your finished images. This is mainly due to the volume of photographs taken on the day and pride they will have in their work.

Another point to remember is, a professional photographer will always have back-up equipment, and they will always carry extra memory cards/film and use professional equipment.(whether film or DSLR) Often lighting equipment may be used/ flash-guns and reflectors. This is to aid correct exposure and help creativity.
One last thing to consider is qualifications/experience. Qualifications count for so much, it shows that your chosen photographer understands the fundamental workings of photography and professional equipment. They shouldn’t just point and shoot, but understand how altering an aperture or shutter speed can create depth and change the feel to a finished image; this will also show creativity and flair in their finished work. Experience shows in how they conduct themselves throughout the day, having a friendly, un-flustered manor. This again will show in their finished images.
Stockman & Holt photography, work as a team of two photographers. This helps to make sure every moment is captured, resulting in images that reflect the ‘story’ of your wedding day. This also means we have at least two sets of professional equipment, often we have more! We always carry many memory cards and often use flash-guns and a reflector. Both members of Stockman & Holt Photography have gained a 1st BA (Hons) in Photography. Both are professional photographers in their own right, exhibiting abroad and in the UK, not only having their own various commissions but photographing many weddings. Stockman & Holt Photography is also a member of the ‘society of wedding & portrait photographers’.

Get to know your Photographer/Photographers.

Through initial emails/phone calls, a professional photographer will need to discuss your requirements and should also arrange to meet you, whether it’s at your home, a convenient place close to where you live,(such as a café, park etc.) or the church/venue. This will also help you to get to know your photographer and should help to put you at ease.
Do you get on with your photographer/photographers? Do they make you feel at ease?
Many professional photographers also provide a pre-shoot/engagement shoot. This is an excellent chance to understand how they work and to discuss your wedding further and practise your poses!
Do they use professional equipment?

Stockman & Holt photography have many different services and can provide a pre-shoot/engagement shoot (at an extra cost). We find this to be an excellent way of getting to know our clients further; they also have a better understanding of how we work…
Many of our clients, choose one/two of these photographs, have them professionally mounted and have guests sign and leave messages. It’s a modern take on a guest book!

A shot list.

A good professional photographer, will ask you to write a list of shots you would really like to be included on the day, these may be group shots or couple shots. This will help the photographer have an idea of who/what you would most like to be photographed, preventing confusion and aiding in the smooth running of the day. The photographer will always try to full fill your requirements, although at times this may not always be possible, (time constraints, weather, etc.) your photographer should discuss your list with you before your big day and go through your chosen shots.

Style of finished images.
A good professional photographer will have perfected a style and their work will often have a creative twist. Created with equipment, lens use and post production. Wedding photographers often shoot in various styles such as; Traditional, Candid, Creative documentary, Contemporary and reportage. To be honest many photographers do a mixture of styles, creating a story of your special day…really it’s a matter of taste and doing some research into who’s style and finished images you like, will help you to choose your photographer.

Stockman & Holt Photography manage to capture the atmosphere and emotions throughout your day. By having two photographers, enables candid shots and small details can be captured; this is often missed by other photographers. A mixture of contemporary and documentary photography with a hint of traditional group shots and a large helping of creativity means you will always have a truly stunning selection of finished images…

The presentation of the finished images.

Often images are now supplied on a disc, but a good professional photographer, should also give you the option of a traditional album/contemporary photo-book. This should also be discussed with you. How do you want your finished images presented? The disc should include high resolution images for you to print off as you wish. Most professional photographers give you part copyright of the finished images, this enables you to print the images off and create your own album, should you wish. However many professional photographers, have full copyright over their images, this protects their work being used by other photographers/companies.

Stockman & Holt Photography, offer a disc as standard and at an extra cost a, Contemporary Photo-book. The disc has high resolution images on and is beautifully packaged, in a handmade Italian leather box, then exquisitely wrapped in a keep-sake box, finished with a big white ribbon & tied in a big bow! We also include a second disc, with smaller water-marked images for use on the internet.
At an extra cost, we can produce a stunning contemporary photo-book of your big day! We can also provide bespoke mounted and framed photographs.

Post wedding services.

Does your photographer offer post wedding services? Many professional photographers now offer a ‘Cherish the dress’/’Trash the dress’ shoot or a bridal shoot. This is often taken on location and is another chance to wear your beautiful wedding gown one last time! This is chance to experiment and really enjoy yourself, feel like a princess again!
There should be also the option of ordering further prints and extra disc’s…Does you photographer offer this service?

Stockman & Holt offer a ‘Cherish the dress’ shoot, taken on location. Spend one last time feeling and looking like a princess! You can involve your Husband in the shoot, it’s up to you! You will receive a beautifully packaged and wrapped disc with all the best shots, perfect for memories and for gifts! Need to order some prints months after your wedding? Don’t worry; we have all your images saved! At an extra cost, we can produce another disc, beautifully packaged & wrapped perfect for parents or for gifts.

We hope you have found this article, interesting and has helped to answer any questions you might have about choosing your Wedding Photographer...

Written by Emma Holt. (For Stockman & Holt Bespoke Wedding Photography).
Research by; Emma Holt/Carren Stockman.