You’ll see lots of advice posts out there about meeting your wedding suppliers, and even lists of questions to ask them before you book. And whilst they can be helpful, they can also be a bit clinical, which is a far cry from how it really is and how your wedding day should be seen.
See, I really do think that meeting with couples, as a wedding photographer is like going on a first date… hear me out!
Photographing a wedding is a really personal thing, we get to know our couples in the run up to their day, from the email exchanges, engagement shoot and pre-wedding meeting. So when it gets to the day itself, a real relationship has been formed (which is important to be able to authentically capture the day) and we feel like an extension of the wedding party and in some weddings, leave the wedding really feeling like part of the family as the guests have embraced us.
But before you even get to that point, before the booking is made and the paperwork sorted, we meet with our couples, and at the moment that may be via zoom, but it’s still a great opportunity not only to hear about their plans, but to get to know them both, and in turn, get to know us. Because it’s more than just whether we are free on their date, or whether we can use a camera – these are things easily established from websites, emails and social media. And it’s not about asking about formal qualifications (a degree in photography is not required to be a photographer – it’s the eye, skill and experience that does that) or whether we have back up equipment and insurance (FYI – all professional photographers will have these). No, what it’s about is whether we click, are we on the same page in how to turn the moments of your wedding into memories in the form of images that you can look back on in years to come.
Ok, so I know I need to meet them, but what to ask in that first meeting?
You want to find out how your photographer works, how they will approach your day and if that is how you want your day to be captured – these are the things that will help you decide whether they are the photographer for your wedding. That, along with the fact that you need to actually like them and have a good gut feeling about them, after all they will be with you on such a precious moment in your life, and for a long time on that day (even when you’re getting ready in the morning!)
So I thought I’d share you some of the questions (and answers) that we’ve been asked in first meetings with our incredible couples…
Can we see a full wedding?
Of course, you can, we have galleries from real weddings where our couples have agreed for us to show their wedding images to new couples. It’s really important for you to see weddings from start to finish from your photographer so you can get a feel for their full style throughout the day and not just the highlights that make it into an album.
How will you make us feel relaxed in front of the camera?
This is a big one, as many couples don’t like being in front of the camera, and I know how you feel, even after years of being a photographer, I still find it odd being in front of a camera!
So for us, it starts with your engagement shoot, as that’s a great opportunity for you to see just how chilled out we are when it comes to getting the best images of you. We don’t go in for the forced poses, it’s more about placing you in the right light, with a gorgeous backdrop and then stepping back so that we’re not on top of you with the camera! Don’t get me wrong, if I have to tell some awful jokes to get you to laugh I will, but more often than not, we’re just taking a walk somewhere that is familiar to you and capturing it as we go. After that, you’ll be more relaxed on your wedding day because you’ll have had the opportunity to “practice” being in front of the camera.
Why do you have two of you shooting a wedding?
Some photographers work as a solo photographer, and that works for their business, for us we work as a duo because we believe that in order to capture everything that happens during the wedding there needs to be two sets of eyes. Whilst I am with one of you getting ready, Hutch is with the other half of your couple, after all there are two of you in this marriage, so it’s important to capture you both. Whilst I am photographing details and your couple portraits, you can guarantee that Hutch will be capturing all the laughing and emotions of your guests. But more than that, because we are a husband-and-wife team, we remember what it is like on a wedding day and between us we can make sure you and your guests are relaxed and at ease in front of the camera.
Another reason for there being two of us, is if you have more than about 100 guests, it’s hard to get a good range of candid natural photos of your guests with just one person.
We’re thinking of having a first look, what do you think?
Personally, I think these are an awesome idea and something that you should really consider if the running order of your day and celebrations allows. Firstly, if you don’t know what one is, it’s basically where you see each other before the ceremony, away from your guests, just the two of you. The reason I think it’s such an amazing idea is because it’s such a beautiful moment, the first time you see each other but most of the time it’s at the bottom of the aisle and in front of all your guests and so the moment is kind of rushed. Then after the ceremony, it’s a whirlwind and the only time you have just the two of you is in the car (if you’re having one) to the reception and during your couple shots. What if, for example at your civil ceremony, what you really want to do is on seeing each other, is throw your arms round each other and squeal with excitement…. some people wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that in front of all their guests, with a first look, it would be the two of you (and then me lurking in the distance capturing it without being intrusive).
We’re having a videographer too, how will you work with them?
Videographers are great members of your wedding team, it’s another way to look back on your day and relive those moments, so it’s really important that we work together on the day. If you’re having a videographer please let us know so that we can introduce ourselves before the day, as often it’s too rushed to do it on the day itself. We’ll then work together throughout the day to ensure that we are both able to capture the images we need to. It’s important though to let whoever is conducting your ceremony know that you are having a photographer and a videographer, particularly if there are restrictions on where we can stand during the ceremony, so we can make sure we are both able to get in position ready to capture those gorgeous moments.
How long do we have to wait til we get our photos?
We aim to have your edited images to you within 4-6 weeks of your wedding date, which will be via your own online gallery and your USB drive. The reason this is a good question to ask is so that you know how long you’re likely to be eagerly waiting for your images after the day. And because we know from our own wedding how long that wait can feel, we do a sneak peek of a handful of images the week following the wedding so that you have something more than your guests phone shots to look back on!
And finally, what happens next?
Well, after our “first date” meeting, we really hope you want to share your day with us and book, but we know that it’s quite a lot to take in… So firstly we give you a bit of breathing space to discuss anything you need to discuss, if you have any more questions we’re just at the end of the phone or email and then once you are ready to book (and we hope you are!) we will send you the contract to sign and the details for the booking fee to secure the date and confirm the booking. Once all the formalities are done, we’ll then send you your welcome pack and look forward to your engagement shoot and your big day!
There are so many other questions and I truly believe there are no silly questions, because for a lot of couples this is the first time booking a professional photographer and for even more of those couples it’s their first wedding. Whereas it’s very likely your wedding photographer has been to a lot of weddings! We can advise not only on the photography, but perhaps even on timings, what to expect and they’re quite likely to know some really amazing suppliers to create your wedding dream team.
So it’s time to embrace those first date feelings and meet with your photographer, you’ll truly get to know if they are the best fit for your wedding that way.