Choosing the right Church Wedding Photographer

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Since the introduction of the digital camera there have been more and more people claiming to be a wedding photographer in Birmingham. For you, identifying a suitable photographer is very important, but also a real minefield. For the untrained eye and certainly for anyone who has not been married before, this is a very difficult process, after all, you cannot afford to get it wrong.

Unlike any other kind of photography, with weddings you really only get one opportunity to capture the images. It is simply not possible to ask the vicar or priest to repeat a process because the photographer missed the shot. The groom is only going to be told “you may now kiss the bride” once, therefore it is absolutely vital you hire someone with not just the technical knowhow, but someone who understands the uniqueness of weddings, someone who knows what pictures work, when to get them and the obstacles that church weddings present – especially with mixed lighting.

A novice may well know very well how their camera works, but lacks the understanding and ability to shoot weddings. This is particularly true for ‘documentary style’ whereby the end product is an album that tells the entire story of the day, a novice will not be able to deliver this because of the missed shots.

Here are some important things to help you choose the right church wedding photographer:

  • Most important of all – can they show you a complete wedding album that depicts the entire story of a wedding day? An album such as this tells you several things a) you get their ability to shoot an entire wedding day; b) you are able to examine not just their best shots. Albums that are put together comprising their best shots are okay for seeing their range/style, but a complete album tells you their strengths and weaknesses
  • Make sure the album you are viewing is in print format, rather than on a tablet or laptop. Copyright theft can be a problem in the industry, so by viewing the high quality prints in album format, only the photographer who took these are likely to have the hi-resolution files. Images and pictures on photography websites can easily be downloaded and passed off as their own, when in fact they are someone else’s work.
  • Does the church wedding photographer put you at ease and inspire you with confidence? Remember, you are choosing someone to share one of the happiest days of your life, you want a photographer around that does not cause you additional anxiety or stress.
  • Is the business registered at Companies House? For example, bigdayphotographer.co.uk is owned by David Vidgen Ltd registered number 05763312 in England and Wales. This means that it is a reputable business, rather than perhaps just a hobby or sideline. It is a legal requirement for a business to indicate their company number on their website.
  • Price… remember if you pay peanuts you get monkeys – and in the wedding photography industry this is particularly true. An appropriate fee for a good wedding photographer is around the £2k mark. This would include full coverage (rather than just designated times), a good premium quality album, and perhaps some nice extra’s like a canvas or print. Pricing can also be a minefield, so make sure there are no hidden charges.
  • Do they offer a money back guarantee? In other words, if you do not like their work, you simply return the album/prints etc and you get your money back. This is rarely seen in the wedding photography industry, but again, someone who is confident in their work, and is confident they can capture the images you want, can offer this security. We do!
  • Style – does the photographer shoot in the style you desire? This may seem a little obvious and simple, but it is very important that you get what you want! The key to this is to identify the style of photography first i.e. documentary, traditional, or just group shots.
  • Can you pay by debit or credit card? Again, this is a service any true professional offers. Hobbyists and those who perhaps ‘do’ photography as a sideline are less likely to provide such services. It costs approx 45p to process a debit card transaction and approx 1% for credit cards. If a photographer say’s card processing fees are expensive, this is not the case. Also, paying by credit card gives you extra protection, should you not receive the goods or services.
  • What are the photographers terms and conditions? You should ask to inspect these, ideally they should be a signed and dated document that is easy to hand. If the photographer asks for a few days to get this to you, it suggests that they don’t have one.
  • Does the photographer have Public Liability Insurance and Public Indemnity Insurance? Both forms of insurance protect both you and the photographer in many ways. Professional photographers will have such insurances in place in case of injury, damage to property, or equipment failure.

These are all little tips and tricks that should help you choose the right church wedding photographer. This article has been written by David Vidgen, owner of bigdayphotographer.co.uk.