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Choosing a wedding photographer

Choosing the person who’ll document your wedding day is an important decision. But how do you make sure you choose the right photographer?

Photographs are a lasting reminder of your big day. They record all the effort you’ve put in – the venue, the guests, the little details and of course, the dress in all its glory.

When choosing a photographer, you need to feel confident that they’ll be able to capture the atmosphere and essence of your wedding. Different wedding themes and venues will require a different style of photography, so it’s important to choose the right photographer.

For a bit of help, read our ten top tips on choosing a wedding photographer.

1) Make a short list

The internet will be a vital tool when you’re looking for a photographer. Take a look at their website and examples of previous work. When you’ve selected a couple, go and visit them to get a better feel for their style and personality. This will allow you to talk through your ideas and see if they understand what you have in mind before you make a final decision.

2) Compatible personalities?

When you meet the photographer, first impressions are important. Do you like them? Do you think they’ll get on with the guests at your wedding? It’s important for a photographer to understand you and what you’re planning, so they can really capture the essence of your wedding day. And, you need to feel comfortable with the fact that they’ll be around for the whole day. If you don’t think the photographer is right for you, it’s ok to walk away.

3) Look at previous work

Make sure you look at a good selection of the photographer's previous work – ask yourself would you be happy with the photos if it was your wedding. Look out for things like:
- The variety of photos: ensure there’s a good selection.
- The subjects: do the people look relaxed and comfortable?
- The couple: Is there a range of pictures of the couple – close up, far away…
- The details: have they captured all the details like the flowers, dress and the cake?

4) The cost

Wedding Photographers can vary enormously in price. Make sure you check exactly what’s included in the cost and if there are any extras you’d have to pay for. It may be tempting to go for a cheaper photographer but they could have less experience. A talented photographer can make even the simplest of weddings look amazing, so it’s worth getting the right person. There are brilliant photographers for every budget, so shop around until you find the right one.

5) Plan ahead

Think about the photos that you want beforehand and make a list with the photographer. For example, you might want to make the most of your family all being together and get some big group shots. Or, there might be specific areas of the venue – a grand staircase or beautiful gardens – that you want captured.

Think about the type of shots you want – do you prefer formal, staged photos, or more informal ones taken when the subjects are off-guard? You can also choose from colour, black and white or even sepia-toned images. Your photographer should be able to help with these decisions and together you can make a full shot list for them to follow.

6) The end result

Do you get to choose a certain number of the photos or do you get them all? Have a think about how you want them presented too as there are many different options to choose from.  

7) Time keeping

Find out how long the photographer intends to spend taking photos – particularly of the couple. If it’s going to be a while, then it’s worth thinking about the entertainment you’ll have for your guests to enjoy while this is going on. Remember, photos are important but you don’t want to have so many done that you miss half your reception!

8) Enlist help

The photographer will often have an assistant who should help organise everyone on the day, but getting more help is often a good idea. Give a trusted usher or bridesmaid the shot list and ask them to get everyone ready so the photos can be taken quickly and efficiently – giving you more time to enjoy the celebrations.

9) Treat your photographer

Wedding photographers work long hours, often starting as the couple begins to get ready and not finishing until well into the evening. Keep them fed and watered and you’re sure to be rewarded with some beautiful photos.

10) Insurance

Find out if your photographer is insured. Professional photographers should have public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance and it’s important to check that this is all in place before you sign on the dotted line.

How can John Lewis Wedding Insurance help?

John Lewis Wedding Insurance could provide financial protection in case things don’t go to plan on your big day. This includes cover if your wedding photographer fails to turn up or is double-booked. If your photos can’t be printed because the film, negatives or any digital media that was used has been damaged, John Lewis Wedding Insurance could pay for a photographer to re-shoot with the wedding party. Cover could also include payment towards costs needed to do this, including things like wedding suit hire.

For further tips and advice, please see our quick guide (PDF).

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John Lewis Insurance is a trading name of John Lewis plc. Registered office: 171 Victoria Street, London SW1E 5NN. Registered in England (No. 233462). John Lewis plc is an appointed representative of Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. John Lewis Wedding Insurance is underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc (No. 93792). Registered in England and Wales at St. Mark's Court, Chart Way, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1XL. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority (Financial Services Register No. 202323). Calls may be recorded and monitored.

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