Ask the experts: wedding photography
It will take months, even years, to prepare for it – but your big day will be over in a flash.
It’s important that the entire event is preserved forever, so how do you find the right wedding photographer? We ask Jon Hindmarch of Newton Photography how to choose.
Your wedding photographs should be a cherished keepsake for years to come, they mark the start of your family album and will be enjoyed by you and yours for generations.
But there are dozens of photographers on the market and many more just starting out, which makes it hard for couples to know who to choose.
Before you begin researching photographers, you need to decide what type of photography style you prefer. I tend to specialise in documentary style photography, capturing the day as it unfolds. My background as a photojournalist means I prefer to capture the moments as they happen and together the set of images will tell the story of your day.
However, you might prefer classic portraits and group shots, in which case a traditional photographer might be more your style. They are more likely to shoot posed shots of the two of you, your friends and family in front of various backdrops.
Of course, most wedding photographers will do a blend of portraiture and documentary-style shots, and a mixture of black-and-white and colour images, but if there's a special style you love, make sure to focus on photographers who specialize in it.
Once you have decided on style, start by asking your friends and family for recommendations. I frequently shoot the weddings of brothers and sisters, bridesmaids and groomsmen, as well as the friends and family of some of my couples.
Ask your wedding venue for their endorsements too. Many venues, like Shottle Hall, have a recommended supplier list and it might make sense to choose someone who knows your venue, and its staff, well.
Always meet up with any photographer you are considering before making a decision. Your photographer will be with you for most of the day, so it’s important that you feel you can get along.
Ask them about their experience. Anyone with a camera can set themselves up as a wedding photographer, but this doesn’t mean they are going to know what to do in a crisis or have all the right kit to cope with any conditions. A professional will have the experience and know how to provide you with a set of images you will treasure forever, regardless of what happens on the day itself.
On a wedding day many of the significant moments only happen once – the exchange of vows, the first kiss and the first dance for example. A professional with experience will make sure he or she capture these moments, because they can’t be repeated or posed.
Make sure you look at lots of wedding pictures taken by whoever you are considering – full weddings if possible not just the few they have selected to highlight on their website’s home page. Look for the key moments that are important to you - did the photographer successfully capture them?
Also, look for crispness and sharpness of images, thoughtful compositions and good lighting. Make sure the people photographed look relaxed and happy, not like rabbits caught in headlights, you want to see smiling shots of your friends too.
Check how you will receive your pictures. Many photographers, like me, will provide all the images on a memory stick or a digital format disk so you can get your own prints done if you wish. Some offer traditional albums, others provide storybooks which look great on your coffee table. Make sure whoever you choose can offer the sort of package you’re looking for.
Remember to ask whether you will retain copyright of the images, and if the images will be supplied without a watermark so you can print them off yourself. If you do want a photo album or storybook, ask to see some examples so you can approve the picture quality.
Finally, ask about post production times. On average if takes around a month to get your images from your photographer because they are shooting enormous files, far bigger than your typical JPG. This gives your photographer more flexibility with your pictures, but it also takes a longer time to upload, process and edit all those files.
Make sure you have a rough idea of when to expect your finished pictures – it gives you something to look forward to when the big day is over. And with the perfect set of pictures you can relive your big day all over again.
Newton Photography are one of our recommended wedding suppliers.