Doing a quick search for ‘wedding photographers’ on Google comes back with literally hundreds of results; Facebook and other wedding-related online directories are all the same. There is so much choice when it comes to wedding photography in the South West it can be a little overwhelming.
It’s not surprising as the South West has 14% of all weddings across the country according to the Bridebook 2019 trends. That’s the second most popular location after the South East with 21%.
I wanted to put this article together to help you find your wedding photographer and be happy in knowing that your big day is in safe hands with a professional wedding photographer.
What is the importance of a professional photographer?
Your wedding is a day to celebrate the joyous occasion of you both coming together to exchange vows and start a new journey together.
You can spend thousands on the day, dress, catering and the following day it’s all over. Your wedding photos will allow you to relive the experience and emotions felt during the day.
Part-time or full-time photographers shouldn’t matter; it’s the style of work, experience and how well you get on with them that should count.
Cost is usually a deciding factor when it comes to most purchases. However, it shouldn’t sway a decision when it comes to wedding photography. More expensive doesn’t always mean better.
You can find photographers online that can take amazing images for half the price, but you need to shop around and look at what else is offered. Remember you aren’t just paying for the time they are at the wedding. You are paying for their experience in the craft, training and any other services they offer as part of the package like Client for Life or Engagement Photography sessions.
1 – INSURANCE
All wedding photographers regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time should have wedding photography insurance. FACT
There are two parts to wedding photography insurance.
1. Public liability insurance to cover third-party property damage or injury.
2. Professional indemnity insurance to protect against claims relating to negligence.
Wedding Insurance isn’t cheap however things sometimes go wrong even with best-laid plans and experienced professionals. Although financial compensation is not the same as perfect photographs it shows a photographers commitment to ensuring you are both protected should the worst happen.
Any photographer that doesn’t have insurance may be a little cheaper than someone with insurance as they don’t have the overheads but do you want to risk it?
2 – ACCREDITATION
Accreditation / Professional Bodies show that a photographer has been endorsed by someone else. However, there is a lot that you can simply pay to become a member without any checks so they do not guarantee the ability to the photographer.
Joining websites like Bridebook and other online wedding websites will give them accreditation but anyone can pay for these, and it doesn’t mean they are any better than the ones without accreditation. You should look for something more industry standard.
Here is a list of Accreditations that I would consider as noteworthy:
SWPP – Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, this is a membership that anyone can join. However they have qualifications that photographers can apply for, and their work is assessed by industry professionals.
Buy with Confidence – This is backed by Trading Standards, a government initiative. Having gone through this process myself, it focuses on the business and that you follow all trading standards best practices with the consumer acts.
3. PLAN B (safeguarding your special day)
It is unfortunate but sometimes things will go wrong from equipment failures to ill health. A professional photographer will always have a plan b for your wedding. This could be from spare equipment, batteries and memory cards. To alternate locations for photos should the weather not go as planned on your special day. They are always thinking about a plan B should something not go to plan.
Then after the wedding, backing up the photos so there isn’t just one copy of them should there be data loss.
We use Nikon D300s and D800 camera’s that allow images to be saved to two memory cards at the same time so we don’t worry about memory card failure, we also carry spare cameras and alternative lenses just in case. I’d rather be over prepared.
Don’t be afraid to ask what precautions your photographer will take on your special day.
I hope this has helped in giving you the confidence of what to look for. I’m not saying don’t use a friend of a friend that’s willing to photograph your day but check that they can take photos in challenging conditions. You only get one shot (pun intended) to get it right, and you will want to be confident that after the wedding if you have images that will let you relive that special day.