Today it’s all about wedding photography and the photographer which is, unfortunately an aspect of the day that holds disappointment for many. We can’t tell you how many couples we have spoken with over the years that are disappointed with their own wedding photography.
It means that you need to get this right!
To help you on your way, Warwickshire Photographer Si Medlicott has joined us to share his top tips and questions to ask your photographer. Take this list with you when you meet your shortlist.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to one of our very own…
Over the past 10 years, Si has shot weddings and editorial for magazines… you may well have seen his work in The Telegraph, Vice, The Good Food Guide, or The Times. When not shooting editorial, or weddings at some of the UK’s most beautiful wedding venues you’ll find Si out travelling in his 50’s Beetle, exploring with wife Jess, son Eddie and dog Frank.
Si’s photography style is laid-back, and playful. He will take a step back and document your day, your friends and family tell the story. His creative-documentary-style garnered him a place on our coveted recommended suppliers list… and we couldn’t be happier!
Start your search as early on in the planning process as you can with photographers that aren’t based too far from your venue (that is, if you would like to avoid travel expenses).
Study hard. Take the time and do your research. Don’t just look at website portfolios, check out their Instagram feed, too. Do you like their photography style? Will this fit with your wedding day plans and timeline? Does their work resonate with you, do you have an emotional response to it? Do you like the sound of what they say? Do they fit the budget?
Meet your photographer in some way.
Ask questions, and lots of them…
Questions to Ask
Have you shot at our venue before?
Creatively, they are pros and cons to this – too many for this post. It is likely that your chosen wedding venue will have recommended suppliers that will include a bunch of their favourite photographers and the likelihood is, they’ve made it on to this list because they regularly shoot at venue and happen to be comfortable with the best places to take your photographs. If your photographer has never been to your venue before, it may be worth arranging a meeting for this to happen – not only will this help the photographer, but it is another excuse to spend time with them and getting comfortable in their company.
We have some specific photographs we really don’t want to miss, can we give you a list?
If you have family groups or there is a photograph that you have seen that you would like to recreate, it is so worth speaking with your photographer about this – this question should help you to decide on the style of photography that you prefer. A document style photographer is likely to want to keep to this list very short and focus on capturing moments as they unfold, whereas a more traditional photographer will spend some time taking posed shots like these.
What information do you need from us before the wedding?
Location and timings are a given. But most photographers will have T&C’s to sign, too.
Do you offer engagement shoots?
This is THE way to feel more comfortable on your wedding day. Not many of us like to have our photograph taken, and do have our photograph taken as many times in such a short space of time as you will on your wedding day. Be prepared, and squash any nerves. You don’t have to do this at your venue necessarily, pick a place that means something to you as a couple.
What time will you arrive and leave?
Not only will this differ for each photographer depending on coverage offered (fortunately most are open about this), but your arrangement at your wedding venue may also need to be considered. To give some indication, Si has set out his usual timings for a wedding at Rowton Castle.
Arrival. Always two and a half hours before the ceremony to capturing the bride AND groom getting ready in the respective locations.
Ceremony. The ceremony usually takes around half an hour. During this time you will find me running from one end of the room to the other to be able to capture the bride’s entrance and also the groom’s reaction.
Drinks Reception. I give the bride, groom and guests at least 15 minutes to mingle and greet, capturing natural expressions. The group shots are taken first so that guests can relax and not worry about photos. The bride and groom will be taken on a walk of the grounds afterwards.
Announcement. As the couple are announced into dinner, I like to follow behind them to capture the guests’ faces and reactions.
I will stay until the Wedding Breakfast (with standard coverage), but don’t worry – I won’t leave before getting the cake cutting shot!
Do I need evening coverage?
This totally depends on how much you value the speeches and first dance. Ask if there is an additional fee, and what sort of photographs are usually captured (ask to see past work), this will help you to decide if it is important enough to pay the fee.
Do we need to provide you with food?
Be kind to those that are with you all day; a meal will be much appreciated.
What if the weather is bad?
We would love blue skies and sunshine for every wedding day, but with the unpredictability of the glorious British weather, it is certainly reassuring to ask your photographer for their bad weather plan. Si tells us that an overcast day gives the BEST kind of light.
How long before we can see our photos and how many will we get to see?
What is outlined in the terms? Editing time will likely differ by photographer and the time of year that you are getting married. Si aims to get proofs back to the couple two weeks after the wedding day – which rather nicely, ties in to the time most couples return from honeymoon. Something lovely to look forward to! The amount of photos you will be shown will also differ depending on your photographer, Si tells us that he shows his couples around 450-500 for the daytime and an additional 150-200 for the evening.
How many copies will we receive?
This will likely be outlined in what the photographer offers and the price involved in doing so. There may be one cost for everything, or you might get to tailor a package of your own.
Do we have rights to our photos?
This is such a tricky one. We are told that the photographer will always own the copyright to the photographs that they have taken, but as a paying customer, you will have reproduction rights – you can print your photographs to your hearts content (and upload to social), you just can’t sell them.
What are the payment terms?
Most photographers will require a deposit on booking, and then the final balance will usually be paid before the wedding. It is a good idea to find out when the final balance will be needed so you can make sure to budget for it.
The most important advice.. relax and try not worry too much about the camera – this way your photos will look completely natural. Trust your photographer in terms of where to shoot (they will know how to look for a good backdrop with the correct lighting) and finally, just enjoy your special day!
And there we have it… another advice piece done.
We’ll be back soon.