We asked Georgie James, seasoned wedding photographer and director of the epic Love + Light Wedding Festival, to share her best expert tips for choosing the photographer who’ll deliver photos you’ll still love when you’re old and grey.
1) Make Sure You Click
Are you the minimalist type, while her style is more boho? It’s super important to choose a photographer whose style gels with you, so the end result delivers an aesthetic that reflects you as a couple. Looking through wedding photographers’ online galleries will give you a good feel for the style of shots they usually produce. Once you’ve narrowed down your shortlist to a few photographers, set up a time for a chat either on the phone or in person. This will allow you to gauge their personality and general vibe – because this person is going to be a central part of your big day, so make sure it’s someone whose company you genuinely enjoy! Scrolling through photographers’ reviews from past clients is also a sure-fire way to get an idea of the energy they’ll bring and how they’re likely to show up on your big day.
2) Consider Your ‘Why’
A professional photography session is part and parcel of most weddings – but remember this really is your day – and there are no rules. Ideally, you want to craft a day that says, ‘This is us’ – from your wedding dress to the cake and of course, your wedding photos. So don’t be afraid to get personal with your photographer. Before you do anything else, think about why you are having wedding photography done and what you’re going to do with it. Do you want spontaneous, natural shots that reflect the true, playful nature of the dynamic between you and your fiancé when it’s just the two of you? And would you rather cut out all 347 of those little triangles of bunting yourself than have to pose for those cheesy jumping-in-the-air wedding pics? Then, address these factors when interviewing potential wedding photographers so you can ensure you’re all on the same page from the start.
3) Make It Fun
Your mission (and ideally your photographer’s mission) is to make the process as enjoyable as possible. Because weddings are all about fun, right? Once you’ve chosen a wedding photographer you gel with, work with them to hatch a plan for eliminating stress wherever possible. There are so many elements to bring together when it comes to planning a wedding day, so timing is everything. When it comes to pulling off a photo session with as little angst as possible (because frown lines do not a gorgeous photo make), consider investing in a wedding planner.
Many are affordable and can help you enjoy your day and not run yourself ragged – because if you’re tired or stressed, it will show in photos. And if you can’t stretch it to a wedding planner, draw on your photographer’s knowledge for advice when considering your timeline. If possible, it’s a good idea to talk to her before setting the ceremony time – as having shot literally dozens or even hundreds of weddings, she can guide you on things such as exactly how long you should leave for the photo session to avoid time pressures, and what time of day will deliver the most flattering light. Which leads us to…
4) Light Me Up…
An abundance of natural light is key to achieving beautiful photographs. So, help your photographer do her best job by allowing her to leverage natural light. Keep this in mind when scheduling your big day by aiming to optimise the best sunlight hours on the day. As a guide, late afternoon light is particularly soft and pretty. So when is the best time to plan a ceremony? Your photographer will be able to shoot your ceremony photos with the most favourable light about 2-3 hours before sunset. Just don’t forget to consider the season you’ll be tying the knot – the shorter daylight hours in winter, for example, may mean everything needs to be an hour or so earlier in the day to capture the best lighting.
Remember also that outdoor ceremonies are a photographer’s dream to shoot, but if your ceremony will be between the hours of 10am and 3pm, the direct sunlight can cause harsh shadows on your faces (not to mention unsightly squinting and/or sweating!), so make sure there is some form of shade available.
5) Keep It Real
Last but not least, it’s important to be realistic when budgeting for your wedding photography. It’s worth knowing that the average price for a photographer in Australia for 8 hours is $3500 – but before you back away from the screen and consider asking your Aunty Meryl to shoot your wedding with her iPhone, remember that your wedding photography is an investment that will keep paying off for decades to come.
And, as well as the actual business of taking photos, a photography package typically includes pre-wedding meeting times, phone calls, travel, scouting, research, contacting vendors, then 8 – 10 hours on the big day plus 15 – 20 hours of post-shoot editing. Booking a wedding photographer with experience and skill (sorry, Aunty Meryl) will ensure your big day is documented by someone with an excellent eye for detail, who operates professionally with the right equipment and, perhaps most importantly, who has a wonderful way with people to bring out their best in photos – so you’ll still enjoy gazing at them with your beloved when you’re both old and grey.
Ms Zebra Says: It truly is one of the most important decisions – and you have to have a good report with your photographer. Thanks Georgie for all this fab advice to help make an informed decision!
About Georgie James: Georgie James specialises in and loves photographing country weddings. Based in Rutherglen (just near Albury/Wodonga) Georgie loves photographing in new places. It is something she does regularly, and you can be completely confident wherever your wedding, the photography and the experience will be outstanding!
The Love + Light Wedding Festival is an epic weekend featuring a bridal runway, wedding trail and wine (lots of wine) on February 16-17, 2019, in Rutherglen, Victoria. For more info and tickets, click here