CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER: DAVID CONWAY PHOTOGRAPHY
If you are reading this blog post then I assume you have started the tough task of finding your wedding photographer. Firstly can I start by saying a huge CONGRATULATIONS! You are getting married and have all the excitement and fun of planning your wedding day exactly how you want it. My name is David Conway. I provide award-winning wedding photography in Yorkshire, Manchester, Cheshire and all the surrounding areas. The idea of this blog is for me to go through some of the knowledge I have built up over the many years I have been shooting weddings and will hopefully give you some good thoughts and helpful tips whilst you decide who to pick as your wedding photographer on the day.
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT CHOICE
When planning your wedding day, it’s really important to try and remember what the day is about. Your wedding is a celebration and a commitment to each other forever. It’s such a lovely occasion surrounded by all the most important people in your life. From my own past experience I can honestly say it is one of the best days of your life. Picking the correct wedding photographer is so important is for two reasons which I will discuss below as well as some of the other questions worth considering.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT FOR YOUR PERSONALITY
Firstly, your wedding photographer will be with you for pretty much all of your day. It is so important that you feel relaxed, comfortable and confident in them to be discrete and aware of when it is appropriate to be taking photographs, and when it is time to let you enjoy the moments. In my years of experience I have learned the importance on remembering I am at the wedding to tell the story, but to not be in the story. My relaxed and calm manner mixed with my reportage style of photography means I am able to capture the intimate moments and emotion of the day whilst still staying in the periphery. When choosing your wedding photographer I would always advise it sensible to either meet for a chat over a coffee or at least have a video call before making a decision. Get to know your photographer a little so you feel more comfortable when they arrive on the day.
CONFIDENCE IN YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Secondly, your wedding photographs will be your lasting memory of this special occasion. When looking through a wedding photographers portfolio it’s absolutely right that you should be drawn in by some individual photographs you have seen, and a style the photographer shots in, but it is also very important you see a consistent quality of images throughout the wedding day. I would always recommend asking to see a gallery from a full wedding day, so you can see the whole story and make sure you are confident in the photographer’s ability to capture the moments and tell the emotion of the day through their images. If you have a look through my blogs, you can see examples of the full wedding days, but if you want to see a full gallery, just get in touch and I can send a link to a recent gallery or two for you to go through. Just for now though, here is a gallery from the summer:-
ALBUM, USB OR ONLINE GALLERY
It is also important to consider how you want you images presented after the wedding day. The options for couples are to have the images on a USB, downloaded onto their own computers or to have a wedding album as well as having individual framed prints and many different options of wall art available. It is certainly worth considering which of these option you would like as they will all have an effect on the price of your wedding photographer. As a part of all my wedding packages you receive a bespoke high end Italian wedding book. I really think having something tangible to pick up and look through is the best way to see the story of your day. The quality of the albums I produce as such that I am safe in the knowledge they will last a lifetime and be the perfect way to preserve the memories of your stunning day. My couples also get an online viewing gallery of all their wedding images which they can order prints and wall art from. I do also offer the option of images on a USB or to download as an optional extra on my packages.
PRE WEDDING SHOOT
It may be a good idea to book in for a pre wedding shoot too so you can see how your photographer may work on the day, giving you ease of mind that you are not going to feel to awkward when the camera points your way on the day. As a part of all of my packages I offer a pre-wedding shoot at your chosen venue as standard, as I find these invaluable, firstly to put you at ease but secondly to have a look around your venue and make some plans so the day runs that bit smoother too. By knowing where and when we may go for any couple shots on the day, it just means you won’t be away from your guests for as long and can enjoy the wedding day itself.
Choosing a wedding photographer also comes down to the style they shoot in. There are two main styles of photographer. Firstly you have a reportage photographer who purely shots the wedding as it happens, with no staged moments and no formal shots. The other style is to be fully staged, only taking shots that are set up an micromanaged with advice on posing. These days, you can tend to find most photographers would be someone in the middle of these two contrasting styles. I tend to work in a reportage style for the majority of the day but do enjoy creating individual photographs of the bride and groom or bridal party too as well as being happy to do some formal shots too if desired. It is certainly worth asking any potential photographer about their style and whether they can give you the images you want. Again, meeting with any potential photographer first and having a chat can reassure you if they are the right photographer for you.
Obviously it is vital you work to your own budget, and every couple is different in the amount they would like to spend. Having said this, wedding photography is something I would strongly recommend you do not scrimp on. A wedding photographer only gets one chance to capture all the images of your wedding day. There is no second chance if they don’t turn out how you imagined. So, regardless of the price of a wedding photographer, as mentioned before, it is vital you see a good body of their work and make sure the consistency and quality is there. I would also always check that the photographer you are speaking to is the same one who will be with you at your wedding. Some companies have been known to display images from an experienced wedding photographer to book couples, only then to send an apprentice on the day. Be careful. This again is a great reason why meeting up and having a chat is such a good idea.
One thing to be aware of when looking at your wedding photographer is how much of the day they cover, and if there is any additional costs if they stay longer. I know it is fairly standard in the photography industry to charge for the number of hours you are there, but to me, this has always felt a fairly alien concept. I have always wanted to be able to tell the whole story of your wedding day. All my packages include coverage from the bridal preparations in the morning all the way through to the evening celebrations and some creative night time shots outside too.
Another thing to consider is if you would like a second wedding photographer. The benefits of a second photographer include being able to cover some of the grooms preparations in the morning, more angles covered during the ceremony, like shots at the back of the church and more coverage of the wedding reception with candid shots of the guests. When I am asked to provide I second wedding photographer I am lucky that I have a group of very talented and experienced photographers to pick from. We work together to cover each others weddings as second photographers so you can be safe in the knowledge that the extra money you are putting in will add more fantastic images from your wedding day. For any prospective photographer it is worth asking where they source their second photographers to be sure they are able to produce the quality of images consistent with the photographer himself.
Be aware some photographers will happily travel long distances to cover a wedding, but they will charge you for the travel costs. It is worth asking if there are any hidden costs due to travel on initial discussions. As I am based in West Yorkshire, I am handily based close to the M1 and M62 meaning I can cover the majority of the North of England with no real issues. It means I have had the privilege of shooting in some of the norths most finest venues. I am delighted to be one of the best Manchester, Leeds and York wedding photography providers as established in my Guild Of Photographers Wedding Photographer of the Year award from 2021.
INSURANCE AND EQUIPMENT
Another question to ask any potential wedding photographer would be around their insurance and equipment. I would always be wary of any photographer who is not insured but am aware they do exist out there. Regarding equipment, there are two things to consider. Firstly, I would ask if they have spare cameras with them on the day. I always bring four cameras with me to any wedding. I would be devastated if I only had one and for any reason it stopped working. Having back up equipment is vital, as again, you only get the one chance to get things right on a wedding day. A second thing to consider is any extra bits of equipment. I always bring my drone to every wedding. I don’t charge extra for this, as I see it as just another camera I use to capture your day, but it does give me the ability to capture unique perspectives of the venue and the bride and groom. I also bring plenty of flash lighting to create memorable night time images and even a white umbrella incase the worse should occur and the weather took a turn for the worst, which brings me to my final point.
PLANNING AND BACK UP PLANNING
As mentioned above, I always like to meet my couple before their wedding at the venue to make some plans for the wedding day. We discuss the types of shots they have seen and like, then walk around the grounds and I make suggestions of photographs that I think would look really good. As mentioned before, this allows the day to run much smoother. However, with all best laid plans, things don’t always go the way we want, and especially in the UK with our wonderful weather, you can never be sure the plans will work. With this in mind I always like to discuss a back up plan, or plan B. It is worth discussing with any potential wedding photographer how they would feel about going out in the rain to take some umbrella shots, or how they feel taking images indoors in trickier lighting conditions. Maybe ask for examples of their work to show they are comfortable in adapting if the worst case scenario were to occur.
So, you’ve reached the end. Thanks so much. I hope this has all been useful and will help you in your search for the perfect Leeds, Manchester or York wedding photographer. If you have any questions about my services feel free to contact me.