The priorities of each and every person getting married must vary so wildly. Unless you’re in a pretty sweet position, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to invest the time and, even more so, the cash into everything that you want to do. Every element of a wedding day seems to be surprisingly expensive and so, inevitably, there is going to be a line drawn that you just can’t cross. Where that line lies financially is obviously going to be different for every couple and what sits on the other side of the line will, I imagine, vary just as much.
Before I go on, a quick disclosure. I work as a photographer. As such, it’s going to seem like I have a bit of a bias in favour of wedding photography. While this is probably true, all I want to do here is explain why it’s important to me. Each wedding decision is obviously a personal choice and, just like the rest of my posts in this series, this is just my personal take on another aspect of our wedding planning.
When it comes to booking a wedding photographer, I really, really don’t envy you. There are so, so many and a lot of them are really, really good. There are photographers that are going to cater to every budget and every style, so if it’s not a big priority for you, you’ll almost certainly be able to snap up a bargain and get somebody along on the cheap (absolutely fair play if this is you, I understand that not everybody is that fussed). However, if you’re putting some importance into your decision, it’s going to be a tough one.
In my opinion, there is one single thing that should dictate who will photograph your wedding. Aside from each other, there is literally nobody else that you will spend more time with on your wedding day. Once their duties are done, groomsmen and bridesmaids will be off to the party, families will be chatting and you’ll be doing your best to work your way round all of the guests. From the morning getting ready until you’re dancing, your photographer won’t be far away and so it is so hugely important that you can get on well with them. They might have stunning work but if you don’t click, chances are it’ll be a less enjoyable experience. Once you have an idea of the style you like (and that is so subjective I don’t think there’s much sense in going into too much detail), you should try your best to have a chat with some people to get an idea of who you’re personality will best match up with. If you’re relaxed with your photographer, it’ll make their job easier, your photos will be better and you’ll enjoy the whole process a lot more.
After that, comes a golden rule of booking a wedding photographer, which is: “Don’t, ever(!) let a friend photograph your wedding if you want good photographs”.
The logic here is that there is a lot more that goes into successfully shooting a wedding than having a decent camera and knowing how to use it. There are a whole heap of things that come with experience, and that’s where this advice stems from. It also means that your friend gets to enjoy your wedding without stressing out about only bringing one memory card and a half charged battery.
Before I had even proposed, I gave the game away slightly to a few pals. They conspired in some dark corner of Facebook and approached me (again, before I’d proposed) to tell me that when I did get my finger out and pop the question, they’d be photographing the wedding, in ultimate dream team fashion. I’m not entirely sure yet how it’s going to work. I’m envisaging some crazy tag team situation. Or else they’ll all end up at the bar, hoping that someone else has it covered.
So yes, we are breaking the rule! Although it is being done in fairly bizarre circumstances. Friend(s) are photographing our wedding, but by a stroke of wonderful serendipity, those friends are some of the best wedding photographers in the country. We are an incredibly lucky position that we will have some great photographers pointing their lenses at us and while we are breaking the no friends rule, we are at least going to be hanging out with some great people for the day. I know we’re going to be left with some amazing images that we will be able to enjoy for a long time. I can’t wait to see them!