Choosing Your Photographer | Wedding Planning

Photo of me feeling dead awkward in front of the camera, by the wonderful Danielle Maibuam.

Photo of me feeling dead awkward in front of the camera, by the wonderful Danielle Maibuam.

how to choose the
wedding photographer for you

Mint dots used a a page breaker between text on Kate Jackson Photography website

Choosing a wedding photographer can be daunting. It often feels like there is a never-ending list of options (there actually is right?!) I totally understand that selecting a photographer can be a bit overwhelming. So how do you choose? Hopefully, my handy tips will help you decide. There doesn’t have to be tears!

Bridesmaid and mum holding hands and crying to emotional wedding speech inside of a festival tipi

PHOTOGRAPHY STYLE

Every wedding photographer has their own unique style of shooting, be it fine art, editorial, traditional, edgy and alternative, reportage/documentary, vintage or dark and moody. Style is not just true in the look of the resulting photographs, but also the approach to capturing them in the first place. Whilst many styles cross over it’s important to go with a photographer who has a style and approach to the day that you feel is totally you. This should also be someone you like as a person! After all, they are with you all day long.

My style of shooting is, for the most part, documentary. I'm super relaxed and informal. I tell the fun story of your day, just as it happens, shooting candidly and unobtrusively. I love setting aside ‘couple time’. This is essentially 10 - 20 minutes where the three of us take time out from the party to get some gorgeous photos of the two of you. I like to watch a couple’s natural interactions before I get involved. I look for light, find my backdrop and move you in. I might direct you a bit o get you in the best position for the light. For the most part though I’ll just be chatting with you as we shoot, this way I get the most natural and real stuff.

Two brides in sequins in london-1.jpg

I approach couple shoots this way because I want to capture you two, just as you are and as you feel comfortable! Basically like my favourite jumper says ‘be more you’. Always. Pretty much all of my couples hate having their photo taken, and that's totally ok! My goal is to put you at complete ease, and believe me I am well versed at it. I don’t like to force you into a pose that feels unnatural. I‘m also happy to co-ordinate relaxed and informal group shots. Find out more about my approach in the FAQ section. There are loads of great wedding blogs about photography styles, so just give it a google for a more in depth version.

Woman with tart beer holding it out to friend below is a beer canoe-1.jpg

RESEARCH

Online blogs can be a great resource. Find a blog that suits your style. Google specifics if you want an alternative super fun wedding photographer, type that into google and see what you find! Ask your friends for recommendations, but bear in mind their style and ‘loves’ may not be yours. Check out what other couples say about the photographer you are interested in. Don’t forget magazines and wedding fairs that suit your style. I'm a huge fan of The Eclectic Wedding Extravaganza wedding fair. It’s perfect for alternative couples and it's held in Birmingham. There’s also the newer Unwedding fair which I have heard good things about so check that out too!

Clapton Country Club wedding-1.jpg

SHORTLIST

Once you’ve narrowed down your shortlist of photographers (or the one you've set your heart on) you can start thinking about the finer details. Like...

Coverage: How much do you need? If you want prep - first dance, set the times. Consider if getting ready at 8am with the first dance at 8pm is doable. Setting a timetable can really help. Think about your timings and what you really want covered.

Budget: Couples spend hugely varying amounts on their wedding photography. Ultimately it’s up to you what your priority is within your budget. If you find your dream photographer, but they are out of your budget range, why not think about compromising on how much coverage you have? Most photographers offer shorter packages or will take something out of an existing package to make it work for you.

What you want: Do you want an all-singing, all-dancing wedding photography package? Something more tailor-made or in between? Don’t forget things like prints and albums can be purchased elsewhere if your budget is tight. I don’t offer prints and albums as a part of a package, but it is an optional extra and you don’t need to order anything at the time of booking me. You can even order the prints online through your gallery, but you’re under no obligation to do so.

Hugging at a tipi festival wedding in Birmingham-1.jpg

REACHING OUT

Narrowed it down? Now is the time to get in touch with your chosen wedding photographer. I like to know as much about the couple as possible. I want to know how you met, how the proposal went down, your likes and dislikes. And of course I want to know all about your wedding! From the flowers you’ve chosen, the entertainment, decor, and the food and booze! If you’re planning some entertainment like sumo wrestling for guests (please someone do this soon) I want to know about it.  During a Skype or phone call you can find out about my informal approach and fun style, and I can get a feel for your day. If you'd prefer to meet in person I'm always happy to do this if you are able to travel to me, preferably a decent pub or coffee spot in good old Birmingham. Try to remember that suppliers get booked up quickly, so whilst it's important to take your time in your decision, don't leave too long as they may get booked in that time.
 

Tattooed couple sitting in a crowded room holding hands at hackney wedding venue. The man  has face tattoos and piercings and is resting his head on the bridesmaid who has arm and check tattoos, short blond hair and is wearing red lipstick, a white top and pink and yellow block skirt.

BEFORE YOU BOOK

HURRAH! You’ve had an initial conversation and you’ve found THE ONE. Not the one partner for life. You’ve already ticked that box, thank you very much. I mean, the wedding photographer that you love! Before handing over your booking fee, here are few things to check out:

Are they insured? No wedding photographer worth their salt wouldn’t be. I’m covered for public liability, professional indemnity and equipment. You just never know what can happen on the day, so being prepared is crucial.

Their portfolio: Have you seen a generous body of their work? You need to check for consistency and ability to do the job in different conditions, such as working with low light. Admittedly newbie photographers may not have a huge portfolio to show. Make sure they know what they are doing, and are capable of covering it to a decent standard. It’s always worth asking if they have a similar wedding to yours to show, as whilst no two weddings are the same it’s always useful if you are having say a pub wedding - another pub wedding!

Equipment: It’s important to know they have the tools for the job and a back up in case their camera gets smashed, lost or eaten by a dog (the least likely scenario at a wedding, but you NEVER know). Do they back their images up? Do they keep copies of your images after they have given them to you? Find out about this in the FAQ section.

What if they are ill? Check they have something in place. I have network of photographers I would happily call upon. If all else fails, I am a full member of the Guild of Photographers, so I have access to a wide range of other professionals.

Contract: You need to have a signed contract with your photographer. This protects both parties and is a must. You should read through it carefully as you are agreeing to all points when you sign. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure of anything.

Bridesmaid in Converse-1.jpg

HAPPY DAYS

With the business side things out the way, the most important thing to ascertain is whether you like the photographer and their work. On your wedding day you want to feel like you have gained a friend (who can take awesome photos). Out of all the suppliers you are using, they will be the one that you spend the most time with. We are all busy bees these days so Skypes tend to be the done thing, and all photographers should be willing to do this if we can’t meet in person.

I hope this little guide has helped you in how to choose your wedding photographer, if you have any further thoughts or queries please ask, I’d be happy to help. Now go get yourself a well deserved glass of vino! And if you want to book me, then you know what to do.

Man with beard drinking from a bottle of red wine at warehouse wedding in sheffield-1.jpg
Choosing your fun wedding photographer

I'm a Birmingham based fun and relaxed documentary style wedding photographer. I'm all about capturing the story of your day just as it was, if I sound like the kinda photographer for you then lets chat! I cover the Midlands, the Cotswolds, Warwickshire, Worcestershire as well working UK Wide. Basically I’ll go wherever your wedding is!