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Helpful Tips For Your Wedding Photography

There are many things to consider when choosing your wedding photographer. Paul Martin, who has over 16 years experience has some sound advice to guide you in this area.

Ideal Venues for Photography

When & where should I have my wedding?
There are many venues licensed to host weddings, so the options are endless. Prior to finding a photographer, you may have chosen the venue where you are hosting your wedding celebration. Whether you have or have not consolidated your arrangements, there are a number of things you should you think about, so as to ensure that your photographic requirements may suitably meet your expectations:

  • Book early! Good popular venues tend to get booked 10 or more months in advance.
  • Time – Think carefully here, taking into consideration the time of year. If you want to have mainly outdoor photographs in daylight conditions, are you allowing reasonable time for this? (For example: you cannot realistically entertain the thought of having outdoor portraits and group photographs at a late autumnal wedding commencing at 4.00pm). Also, if your marriage and reception venue are separate locations, give reasonable time for travel between the two, whilst facilitating photography and other arrangements.
  • Venue(s) – Is the venue you are selecting suitable for photography, particularly for flattering pictures of Bride & Groom? For example, it would not be reasonably practical to entertain the idea of family groups at a church that fronts on to a busy and untidy high street with no lawn. In these circumstances, you will need to consider carefully what your reception venue has to offer. If you are having your entire wedding hosted at a hotel, ask the banqueting manager what provision they can make here (suitable rooms etc).
  • Parking – Is there adequate space for your guests to park? If there are 2 venues being used, you may need to consider providing transport by hiring a bus, particularly in an urban setting.
  • Bad weather – If you are selecting a venue which involves being outdoors, what contingency plan is in place, given the vagaries of British weather? Will the vicar of the church allow photographs at the alter if it is not possible to go outside? You could also consider hiring a marquee, and we recommend Piggotts Marquee Hire – who specialise in providing stylish marquees for wedding receptions.

Here are some of the many venues that Paul Martin has photographed weddings and banquets at, which he would recommend very highly:

  • London/ West End – Marylebone Town Hall, Chelsea Town Hall, The Grosvenor, The Dorchester and Hilton Hotel (all on Park Lane). Royal Garden Hotel, The Claridges, Berkley Hotel, Churchill Intercontinental, Dukes Hotel, The Law Society Chambers (Chancery Lane), The Montague on the Gardens, The Royal Society of Arts, The Royal College of Gynaecologists, Avenue House (Finchley), Kenwood House & Burgh House in Hampstead.
  • Ealing / Acton / Richmond / Hounslow – Pembroke Lodge (Richmond Royal Park), Richmond Hill Hotel, The Bingham Hotel, Pitshanger House, Cambridge Cottage at Kew Gardens, Chiswick House, Ham House, Hampton Court House, Syon House, Osterley Park
  • Heathrow – Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, Ramada Hotel, Sheraton Hotel
  • Surrey & Berkshire – Great Fosters, Runnymede Hotel, Royal Berkshire Hotel, Savil Gardens Hotel, Royal Holloway College, Foxhills Golf Club, Stoke House

Choosing your photographer

Qualified Photographer
There are many good unqualified freelance photographer. However, for an important event such as a wedding, it is generally advisable for you to consider someone who has a recognised qualification from a Photographic Guild. There are a number of reputable professional bodies, such as the British Institute of Professional Photography (BIPP), Master Photographers Association (MPA) and Guild of Wedding Photographers. In order for a photographer to obtain a qualification with one of the above three, a portfolio of work has to be submitted for assessment, and must meet specific criteria. Following qualification, it is an expectation of these organisations, that work of the highest standard is maintained in all professional assignments undertaken.

Costs
The prices charged by photographers vary considerably, typically anything from 500 to 3,000 and more! The number of photographs selected, duration of coverage and quality of finished album(s) will have a bearing on the price. Experienced and highly qualified photographers tend to charge more. Most photographers usually offer various album package services and optional extras, so you should be able to gauge an approximate amount to budget. However, one word of warning – given the capital outlay you are likely to be making on your wedding, don’t compromise on the quality of your photography; it will be the only lasting memory of the occasion. As a rule, it is generally fair to say that you get what you pay for.

Traditional, Informal/Reportage Styles
Photography is very much an art, and styles of portrayal vary from one photographer to another. At the outset of making your enquiries, you may not have any preconceived notion of the style you want. Therefore, it is advisable that you initially look at the work of several photographers. There are many websites in which samples of work can be viewed. You should then make a shortlist of at least 3 photographers, arrange to meet them and see their portfolio.

Consistency in standard of photography
You will learn very little about a photographer’s ability to cover an important event like a Wedding by looking at a portfolio of 100 or more photographs from many different weddings. This will not tell you anything about his/her ability to cope under the pressure of working speedily and efficiently, whilst producing a high standard of images throughout. You should ask to see at least 2 complete albums of events photographed; this will convey a clearer impression of quality. You should also ask whether the person you are meeting will be the person photographing your event!

Personality of the Photographer
Given that you will have a photographer hanging around you for 4 or more hours on your day, ask yourself: Is the photographer someone with whom I will interact well and feel at ease? Spontaneous, happy and flattering photographs are more likely to emerge from a shoot where you can feel comfortable and relaxed with your photographer. It may also be a good idea to ask the photographer for testimonials from previous clients to give you some further insight.

Insurance (Public Liability & Indemnity)
It is advisable for you to select a photographer who is adequately insured for all eventualities. Ask your photographer what provision he/she might offer if they are unable to cover your event through illness etc. Whilst every care might be taken to ensure attendance on the day and that film/digital files and camera equipment are handled correctly, no one can give 100% assurance that nothing will go wrong.

How to proceed having chosen your photographer

Contractual Agreement
When you decide to proceed with hiring a photographer, you should ask to have everything confirmed in writing. This should detail things like: attendance time, what exactly is being supplied and at what price. Most photographers will ask you to sign a contract, which is intended to protect the interests of both parties. Make sure you read the small print and discuss any thing you are unsure about, before signing on the dotted line!

Colour or Black & White and Special effects
You should give careful consideration here. If there are vibrant colour themes and you are using a modern location(s), then the wedding will look best photographed in colour. Black & White can convey a timeless image and will work best on select compositions, particularly in historic settings etc. Most photographers will happily agree to produce a mixture of Colour and black & White. Special effects such as soft focus, vignette, multiple exposures and montage images are best kept in moderation. However, you should discuss all of these with your photographer to establish what suits you best.

Planning the shoot
It is also very important that you outline what compositions you require, particularly specific family & friends groups etc. In establishing your requirements, your photographer will be better able to produce a pleasing set of images of your day, and not bore you with compositions of lesser interest to you. Paul Martin has been using an approach where he will offer sound advice on timings and devise a personalised plan to suit your needs. This approach has enabled him to produce great photographs, executed speedily and efficiently. In so doing, none of his clients have remembered their day for a protracted shoot and a bossy, obtrusive photographer. (See testimonials section)

I hope that you will have found this information helpful in guiding you to the photographer suitable for your requirements. Most importantly, have a great day and enjoy yourself!

For further information on the services offered by Paul Martin, please contact us.