IF YOU'RE CHOOSING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER, PLEASE, PLEASE, READ THIS
Oh look, another photographer writing an article on how to book a photographer, which really is an article of them telling you to book them...
This is an article written by a bride, who ten years after her wedding, can still hardly bring herself to look at the photographs. A bride whose only photos of her and her husband are posed, unflattering and completely unrepresentative of her and her husband's personalities. And yes, as you have probably guessed it, that bride was me.
This is not an article slating our photographer – far from it. He was lovely, experienced and in the budget. We saw his work and we booked him based on it. When we saw his work though, we didn't know what we were really seeing or looking for. We didn't understand that not all photographers are the same and that this lovely man was probably not the best fit for us. What we were not seeing is what I tell my clients they need to see when they look at my work if they want to book - inspiring photographs that we desperately wanted.
I didn't see beautiful, natural, creative and carefully-curated storytelling images of one of the most important days of the lives of a couple.
So here is my advice to you, as a bride and as a photographer:
BE OBSESSED WITH THE WORK OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER YOU CHOOSE
I recently booked us a photo shoot in New York. After my disappointment with our wedding photos, I knew this time I wanted to do it right, so I trawled the internet looking at different photographers and finally fell on a blog post that I could not take my eyes off. The images were beautiful and natural. Her clients were relaxed in her company and each others. I loved how clients looked so naturally loved up. When I read she had achieved these photos in a half-hour mini shoot, I knew that she was the one for us. When we got our photos through I was not disappointed. Her guidance to find the right light, to get the perfect composition, and her ability to relax us, had really made the most amazing photographs that I know we will treasure.
When I hear from clients who enquire with phrases like 'I love your work' or 'we have been following you on instagram for so long and need to know if you're free' I am immediately excited. Of course the compliments are lovely, but that's not the main reason. It's because I can be as confident as possible that after your wedding, you will adore the photographs that I produce for you, and that really is the most important thing to me.
There have been a couple of occasions when I have openly said to a couple that I don't think we are the right fit. Perhaps they are looking for something more traditional, or something brighter/darker/moodier than my usual work. I want every couple to be DELIGHTED, and making sure your vision and what I produce is a good match is so, so important.
Other articles may tell you when looking for a photographer to ask them a list of very long questions. I confess I even had a similar thing on my blog until a few years ago. Through reflecting on my own experiences and growth as a photographer, I realise that a photographer can have all the back-ups in the world; they can have the best equipment, years of experience, be insured and accredited and all the rest of it (which is of course important), but if you don't adore what they produce, then is there any point?
My work is all about natural storytelling moments. I love finding unique angles that others wouldn't think of and challenging myself to produce the best work I can. I love the countryside and all things rustic. I love city-centre architecture and finding splashes of colour. The seaside is my favourite place in the whole world and shooting weddings there makes me want to sing like Maria Vontrap on top of the mountains. I have a unique style – my work has vintage tones with splashes of colour (incidentally representing exactly what I love). If you love some or all of these things, then we are probably a great match. If you don't, keep searching until you find the one.