Updated 31 March 2021
Ok ok so I know this might seem like a weird post to come from a Northern Ireland Wedding Photographer, but recently I’ve been doing some research into what my couples struggle with when it comes to planning their wedding. And whilst obviously my couples found me in the end, for a lot of them they initially found the process quite difficult. And that’s tough. As a wedding photographer in Northern Ireland, but also a recent bride myself, I know how much talent there is out there. I recently had to choose my own wedding photographer and despite being in the industry and knowing so many talented photographers, I still found it tough. So here’s a little post on what I think is important and the questions you really need to ask when choosing your wedding photographer.
Set A Realistic Wedding Budget
Like anything when it comes to wedding planning, it’s important to sit down and really think about your priorities. Where does wedding photography fall on that list? So often I see couples enquire who have booked unbelievably expensive venues, but then don’t have the budget for wedding photography. For someone like me, who values photography and the longevity of it, that is mind blowing. I chose a cheaper venue so that I could have more budget for photography, it is my biggest expense by quite a considerable amount. But for others, photographs may just be lower on their priority list than their flowers or they’ve always dreamed of getting married at a certain venue. There is no right or wrong, but it’s important to be honest with yourself from the get go, and really think about what it is you truly want before you start looking for a photographer.
Wedding photography prices in Northern Ireland vary considerably. You can find photographers offering wedding packages from as little as £400. The first wedding I ever shot I charged that amount. But that couple took a huge risk on me, I literally could have produced photos that were blurry or missed important moments through lack of experience, and of course they didn’t get the level of work I would produce now. But photos weren’t their priority or something they were particularly concerned about so they were delighted with what they got for the cost at the time. I mentor new photographers who I know are more than capable of producing good work, but their lack of experience means that their prices are going to be understandably lower while they start out. If you’re willing to take that risk, then that’s your decision, and for some the risk will most definitely pay off. But there are a few things you should ask before booking a budget photographer:
- Do they have insurance?
- Can you see examples of any other work like family photography or commercial work? Have they ever shot a couple before?
- How would they describe their approach, especially to the timeline of your day?
- What back up methods do they have to protect your photos?
- Do they have a contract?
- Are they honest about their lack of experience?
For more established photographers, wedding photography packages then can vary anything between £1500 and over £5000. Of course what you get in those packages is going to vary, and it really is a case of finding a photographer that will meet your needs.
What do you want from your wedding photographer?
Knowing this before you start looking will really help you narrow it down. But of course, you’ve never got married before so how do you even know what you want? Even if your friends have been married, or you’ve been on a bridal party, the experience when getting married yourself is very different.
I think what you want from your photos will be very much dictated by the type of person you are. Are you creative yourself? Are you family orientated? Are you up for anything? Super relaxed? Maybe you like to be in control and know exactly what’s happening? Maybe your idea of wedding photos is structured and posed. Or maybe the thought of that makes you want to cry. Again, I can’t stress enough, there is NO RIGHT OR WRONG. The key is being honest with yourself as early as possible. Don’t think you want a quirky alternative wedding photographer because you’ve seen them on all the blogs, when actually you prefer the thought of more structured photographs and can’t see anything wrong with the way photos have always been done. Similarly don’t go for the photographer your family has always used when you have a completely different personal style and taste to your siblings. There is no SHOULD when it comes to your wedding, it’s YOUR day, no one elses.
When you break it down to what you really want, it’ll be much easier to look for.
Where To Find Your Wedding Photographer
So where’s the best place to start looking for your wedding photographer? Obviously if you’ve got here, you’ve either searched google or found me on social media. But both google and social media contain HUGE numbers of wedding photographers in Northern Ireland alone. And photographers now travel so you don’t have to restrict your search to where you live. Destination wedding photographers are abundant in numbers. I myself stay pretty close to home, but travel for certain destinations, and hope to shoot weddings in Santorini soon. I’d love an Amalfi Coast wedding or I love a city wedding. So if you’re planning, contact me 😉 Jokes aside though, the potential is endless when it comes to wedding photographers. So here are 6 ideas on how to search for your wedding photographer.
- Look up your wedding venue in the locations on Instagram. Photographers who have shot there will post their images and tag the location.
- Look at recommended suppliers on reputable wedding blogs like Rock My Wedding and Junebug Weddings. Following their instagrams will give you a much broader range of photographers as well, as they cover worldwide weddings.
- Look at the Facebook and Instagram profiles of your venue and other suppliers you have already picked. They have likely shared and tagged the images of photographers they’ve worked with.
- Use pinterest to look for images you like. The photographer may be linked by clicking on the image.
- Use google to search for your venues, go into the images tab and you should get a selection of images from the venue.
- Use local specific hashtags like #NorthernIrelandWeddingPhotographer or #NIweddings to find local suppliers.
Things To Remember When Booking Your Wedding Photographer
- You’re inviting them to your wedding. You’re going to see them more than you’ll see your partner. They will see every aspect of your day and your photographs will represent their perspective of it. I think this is really the most important thing to remember when choosing your photographer. Photos come from the person, not the camera. If they don’t have a similar perspective to what you’re looking for, they won’t get the photos you want. That’s why it’s always good to read the ABOUT section first.
- It’s more than just the wedding day. Your whole wedding photography experience will start from the minute you enquire. How quick are they to respond to emails? How helpful are they? What will they add to your wedding experience, not just with photos?
- Do you get a sense of trust with them? Because you need to be able to trust them. Trust me when I say that you will doubt yourself and your decisions when it comes to your wedding. You will have lots to worry about, and there will be things you will forget. You do not want or need to be second guessing or worrying about whether your photographer has got what you want them to get. If you trust your photographer and feel comfortable communicating with them then it will be a big weight off your shoulders. It will also mean you’ll get much better photographs. The last thing you want is regrets.
Questions Not To Ask Your Wedding Photographer
So I know I promised you what to ask your wedding photographer, but truthfully I think most photographers should cover everything you need to know in their website and social media sites. If you don’t get a good sense of them by the time you’ve went through their website and followed them on instagram for a week or two, then I personally don’t think the sense of trust will be there. Similarly if you have to ask your photographer these questions, I’d seriously doubt that they’re the right fit for you.
- Can we re-edit the photos? Your photographer’s edit style is like their fingerprint. It’s what makes their photos theirs. By asking if you can re-edit them or if you can have the RAWS (unedited files) to edit yourself, you’re basically saying you don’t want their work.
- Can we give you a shot list we found on Pinterest? Again this comes back to trust. You are booking us for our expertise and our eye so you need to trust that we know what is important to you. If you have the right fit then you will trust we know those key shots you’ve seen on pinterest. We’re all open to discussing set family photos and we’ll always chat to you about the important parts of your day, but if we have a checklist to tick off there will be absolutely no room for the creativity you book us for.
- Can you make your work look like a bit more like X (another photographer)? Book X.
- X has offered us this package for this price, can you beat it? Book X.
What Real Brides Wish They’d Known When Looking For Their Northern Ireland Wedding Photographer
“I wish I had not wasted my time looking at hotel photographer packages. To be honest this is just my opinion and I know a lot of people will rightly disagree with me but to me hotels offering photographer ‘deals’ takes away that photography is an art and a skill and I think that you have to love it and have a passion behind it and this loses it appeal to me when offered as a budget deal through hotels.”
“The importance of how well you gel with the photographer themselves. Yes the images are important but they are enhanced by the service delivery! The fact our wedding party portraits were done first so they were free to go and enjoy the day! The importance of the warm up shoot it really relaxed all our fears and anxieties for the wedding day.”
‘I was lucky to be given a recommendation that worked out for me. However, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start. I remember looking through google and scrolling through lots of different pages and thinking it was all really overwhelming. I didn’t have a clue about who was reputable etc. Instagram was definitely a better way for me to find suppliers for other aspects of the wedding as it aloud me to see them as people rather than just the images or work they produced. So I guess I just used that resource more.’
So there you have it, some tips for choosing your Northern Ireland Wedding Photographer. It’s just my opinion and like I said, the biggest key is to remember that your photographer needs to MEET YOUR NEEDS, whatever they may be. Personally I’m an emotive photographer. I’m not traditional in most ways. I like to focus on the moments and emotions rather than fake stiff posing. But I believe that family photos and organised photos are important; they can just be done in a fun and fast way. They don’t have to be boring. My clients are very like me. They believe in family. They care about the moments and they really value photography, and the lifelong gift it brings. If that meets your needs, get in touch. If not, I hope the tips on this page really help you find the perfect fit for you. Because truly that’s the most important thing. Lx