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by Katrina Otter

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Image by Rebecca Goddard Photography.

Welcome back you lovely lot and welcome to the latest feature in my (me being Katrina Otter, aka Katrina Otter Weddings, the Resident Wedding Planner for Coco Wedding Venues and one half of Coco & Kat, a Creative House for the Wedding Industry!) BRAND NEW (to 2019) WEDDING PLANNING SERIES.

Before I dive straight in to today’s feature, a quick recap:

And today, well today it’s the turn of the photographers and all things photography, so let me introduce my panel of pros:

And the ESSENTIAL photography/wedding planning questions:

The Photography Q&A

At what stage of the planning process should you book your wedding photographer

Rebecca Goddard Photography says: I strongly advise booking your wedding photographer fairly early on in the planning process. Once you’ve secured your venue and a date, then it’s advisable to book your key suppliers, which of course includes your photographer.

Popular photographers can get booked up to 18 months to two years in advance, especially between April – October. So, take your time, do your research early on and once you’ve found a style that you like and have exchanged emails/Skype calls to see if you feel comfortable with your choice, book them! As a guide I can only take about 5% of my enquiries as I limit the number of weddings I take each year.

Top tips on choosing a wedding photographer, including questions to ask

Anneli Marinovich says: First of all, make sure you actually get on with them! Have a Skype chat/meet in person so that you can get a feel for each other – you’ll be spending a whole day with this person so it’s essential that you like their company and will therefore enjoy having them around.

Also ask to see a couple of full wedding galleries before you book them, so you can see how they capture a wedding day, from start to finish. Good wedding photographers need to be able to work in many different lighting situations (as well as seasons, weather scenarios etc.), so seeing how they capture pretty portraits at sunset, is just as important as seeing how they capture your first dance.

Finally, follow/stalk them on social media! Very often their latest work will be shared there, as well as behind the scenes content (IG stories). It’s a great way to get an insight into how they work and what makes them tick.

Photography budgets – how much?

Lucy Davenport Photography says: Question… how important is photography to you? There’s a vast choice of photographers out there, both varying in style and budget. As a starting point, look at photographers whose work you’re attracted to, without looking at their pricing. This will give you an unbiased view of their work.

  • The majority of mid-range digital photographers will have packages starting around £2,000/£2,500.
  • Then you have film photographers too, using this medium is costly so you’d be expecting to pay upwards of £3,500/£4,000*.

*This pricing is just a guide and hours/products delivered will vary.

It sounds cliché, but photography is going to be your lasting memory from your big day, so my advice is to invest. (A Kat side-note, if you need to cut your budget, then this is one area I wouldn’t advise on cutting – photography is worth every single penny).

Things to communicate with your wedding photographer and by when

Hannah Duffy Photography says: In all honesty you really can’t share too much information with your wedding photographer. Weddings are so fast paced nowadays that most photographers I know would rather have too much information than too little. I always love getting an email update from a bride, whether it’s an iPhone selfie of her trying on her wedding dress or a Skype chat updating me with details about her wedding day.

There are however a few bits of information that you need to communicate with your photographer, some of which are nice to knows, others are essential…

What made you decide to reach out to that particular photographer? When you first get in touch, let them know what drew you to their work. This helps to open a dialogue about your preferences, and also about your day as a whole. Photographers will want to tailor their coverage to suit you, your tastes and your requirements, so the sooner this conversation gets started, the sooner your photographer can start to think about how they’re going to approach your day.

Do you have any photography/photographer worries or concerns? I recently had a bride who was a guest at another wedding and had seen a photographer lie down in the aisle during the bridal procession. She was therefore (understandably) concerned that this might be common practice! If you have any concerns, then you should absolutely raise them as soon as possible to ensure that the photographer’s approach to coverage is in line with your expectations.

Is there anything that your photographer should consider or be aware of when meeting (and directing) your family, wedding party and friends for photographs? This is essential and something that should be communicated well before the big day. Perhaps your parents are divorced and don’t get on or maybe it’s really important that you get an informal photograph of you, with all of your cousins, for your Grandmother. Let your photographer know before the wedding so that everything goes swimmingly on the day itself.

Make sure that you send your final schedule to your photographer at least a month before the day so that they’re aware of everything that’s going to happen and when. Some photographers will also appreciate a draft version early on in the planning process so that they can let you know if there are any photographic red flags such as there not being enough time to get wedding party portraits or if you haven’t left enough time for your couple’s portraits at sunset. If photography is important to you, reach out to your photographer early on, as you begin to formulate your schedule, and ask for their input.

Last but not least, if you have anything out of the ordinary planned for your day, be sure to communicate this to your photographer so that they can be prepared with the right equipment at the right time. Past examples from weddings that I’ve photographed include the groom whisking his bride away in a helicopter after the ceremony, a groom serenading his bride during the wedding breakfast and a bride surprising her groom with live music from a famous band. If your photographer doesn’t know in advance, chances are the photographs aren’t going to be as good as they could have been.

5 top wedding photography tips

Rebecca Goddard Photography says:

  • Just relax and enjoy the moment. If you’ve booked an experienced wedding photographer, trust them to capture your day. Don’t try and ‘create’ images you’ve seen elsewhere, they’re not you, and they won’t be genuine. Be your own person and the magic will shine through in your pictures. You can ask to see a couple of full galleries, so you can anticipate how your photographer will capture your day but be yourselves and let them do their job. The happiness and emotions will be beautiful if they come from the heart and aren’t forced or staged.
  • Liaise with your photographer about timings. They’ve been to lots of weddings and can help guide you with these if you’re unsure. When to be in your dress, when in the schedule is a good time for portraits, how many group photos etc. You’ve booked your photographer for a reason and they’re a member of you’re A-Team so ask for their advice if you need it.
  • Don’t give your photographer an exhaustive shot list (unless you’re unsure about your photographer and what they’ll do/capture – in that case, you may want to consider a different photographer!). I ask for the family/bridal/groomsmen pictures – the formals. I also ask for a heads up with any surprises that may be happening and details that are incredibly important to capture. Other than that, let your photographer compose the pictures, naturally. They’ll look for light, shape, atmosphere, warm embraces, a gentle reassuring touch of a hand, a loving glance!  You don’t want them reading and working from a list of endless shots you’d like, that might not even happen. They’ll be looking for the best moments to capture on the day so trust them.
  • Don’t go for cheap! Cutting corners on something that will remain long after the day is over seems crazy, right?! If you value your wedding pictures, invest in them. Established photographers are worth the money. You can’t re-do the day and you’ve probably spent a small fortune on your wedding, so have it documented well and captured in a style that won’t date in a year or two.
  • Don’t worry about things going wrong on the day. Most guests won’t know what you’ve planned and if a few things don’t run exactly as you’d thought, don’t let it spoil your day or your photography! If you’re stressed or anxious it will show!

And there we have it… another guide (in the planning series) done, with even more tips and planning advice to come in 2020 – for now the series will be on a mini-break BUT watch this space for the annual Coco & Kat trend report!

Finally, before I bid you adieu, if you’re in the process of looking for a wedding photographer then do head on over and check out Rebecca Goddard Photography, Hannah Duffy Photography, Anneli Marinovich and Lucy Davenport Photography, including their Instagram feeds = an abundance of inspirational pretty and an homage to love.

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Katrina Otter

Meet the author

 

Katrina Otter

Katrina is a national award-winning wedding planner who specialises in timeless British luxury weddings throughout the UK and beyond.

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