How to choose a wedding photographer

How do we choose the right wedding photographer?

It really comes down to your personality and style. There are lots of good photographers, but not many that you will really connect with because you are so unique! See beyond the packages and glamorous photos – choose someone you know you want to share your day with (they’re going to see you half naked, probably cry at some point, and will be one of your supports for the day). You need to be able to be yourself.

They also need to be really organised. You do not want to be looking at your clock wondering where they are! Did they get back to you when they said they would, right from the beginning? Are their emails and photo conversations professional yet friendly? You’ll know when you’ve met the right one. It’ll just feels right.



When do they get involved?

From the very beginning. They can help you choose things like where you stand for the ceremony (where is the sun going to?) and also where to take family photos etc. And they will guide you on when to do the group photo, how much time to allow for the family photos etc. A good photographer will also let you know where she/he plans to stand during the ceremony, so there are no surprises on the day.



What kind of photos should I ask them to take?

All the ones you’ve ever dreamed of, plus all the ones you haven’t. Make sure sure you let them know the little special shots you want (ie. your grandmothers necklace, you and your school mates, a personal note or card from your fiancé etc. etc.) Having said that, a really good photographer will forsake a ‘standard’ photo for a gorgeous moment - they are able to be spontaneous on the day. That’s where the magic is. You can send some ones from other photographers but do trust that your photographer is original.



What about the family photos?

Oh, these can be very interesting! It’s best to choose someone amongst your guests to be the family photos coordinator, to help the photographer. This is usually some who knows both sides of the family, and someone who is not shy. Often it’s the MC or a sibling – someone who is not in the wedding party, as they have enough to do!

Allow 20-30 minutes for these, unless you just want 5-10 shots. It’s a good idea to write a list of all the combinations you want, and give a copy to both the wedding photographer, and the family photos coordinator. If none of this happens, it’s also okay. It just may take a bit longer. You shouldn’t be the one orchestrating this – it can get a bit stressful ordering family around! There’s often a lot going on when families get together.

Your photographer needs to be a little bossy (in a lovely way) but also be sensitive to what’s going on with people. It’s a bit of an art. I’m good at reading situations and responding in the best way.



How many locations should we choose?

Amazing photos come when the photographer and you are relaxed, and not rushing. It’s also good to keep it simple so you can just enjoy the day. More time at one awesome place is better than 15 minutes at three. Including travel time (and depending on where it is) you need to allow 30-45 minutes for each location. I recommend that you take photos around the ceremony venue first, and then choose one really special place to go, then your reception venue. Or, if your reception venue is totally gorgeous, do everything there.

There are some wedding locations (like the library at Parliament, Botanical Gardens) that are very popular, so there is a chance you will turn up there and there will be a queue of three wedding parties, especially January, February and March.

Choose somewhere not only gorgeous, but meaningful to you. You don’t want photos that look like every other bride and groom. A good photographer, no matter how many weddings they have done, will have lovely places up their sleeve, perfect for you. And they’ll be able to draw out from you some cool, personal places. I usually go on a location scout well before the day, and show you photos.



What does a typical wedding photography schedule look like?

There are no rules. You can eat first, and then have the ceremony. You can have speeches, do the ceremony, and then eat. Go here to see my standard six-hour schedule for a 2pm ceremony – it’s a good place to start if you want to change it up.



Your guests would have been to many, many weddings – why not surprise them at yours?

Even if you are a very, very relaxed couple, you do need a schedule. We can also be flexible on the day – we will just deal with whatever happens, together. I’ll be your timekeeper so all you have to do is look gorgeous and enjoy being with family and friends.
How many photos can I expect?

I usually provide 300-600 photos, depending on how long I was there for.
Wedding photography is not just about taking lovely photos. It’s also about connection, being organised, trusting each other, having fun and being super creative. I love it, I love it, I love it.
I would love to meet up with you to talk about your day.



janie@janiewalker.co.nz | Phone 0274539099