Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Charlotte Balbier's wedding diary: my perfect photos checklist

Charlotte Balbier blog
Charlotte and Teddy on the engagement shoot. Photography by Jonny Draper
Once you've exchanged your 'I dos', laughed and cried at the speeches and danced till your feet are sore, that’s it – the wedding is over and all that dreaming, planning and (occasionally!) stressing is but a memory. So what comes next? The countdown to delivery of your album, when you'll get to relive your day in gorgeous, glossy detail. Needless to say, it’s an exciting and slightly nervous time.

You've toiled over all the hand-made details and finishing touches for your wedding for months – if not years – so it's no surprise you want to capture every last one forever. That's why I feel picking your photographer is the most important decision brides have to make. Working in bridal for the past 15 years, I've done countless shoots, so I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for in our big-day photographer. But I know not all brides and grooms are lucky enough to have this experience, so to help you start your search, here are my top tips:
charlotte balbier blog
Photography by Jonny Draper
*Start early. The best and most popular photographers can get booked up to two years in advance, so as soon as you're engaged, start looking.

*Do your research. Check out what people are saying about photographers you look, and look at their Facebook pages, blogs and Twitter feeds as well as their websites. I'm a firm believer in recommendations, too.

*Always go pro. As tempting as it can be to ask a friend or a family member to step in, nothing is as good as a professional photographer. Don’t forget, all your friends and family will naturally be taking their own pictures anyway and one of my brides recently provided each tables with a polaroid camera so guests could could help capture the magic, too. It was a cute and quirky addition to the main set of images.

*Make photography a budget priority. Allocate a healthy portion of your wedding fund to your photographer. Most offer various packages, priced according to what your needs on the day are.

*Insurance. Make sure your photographer has their indemnity insurance. It's better to be safe than sorry.

*Define your style. Are you a more traditional kind of couple looking for quite formal pictures? Or do you fancy something more relaxed or documentary in feel? Once your know your style, you can then look for photographers who specialise in this.

*Arrange meetings. Getting to know your photographer is key to getting the best from them as you need to trust them and feel relaxed in their company, so plan to meet with your shortlist of finalists. Come prepared with a list of questions so you can ascertain if they are going to meet your needs. Don’t be shy!

*Ask to see full albums. Before those meetings, also ask your shortlist to prepare as many sample albums as possible for you to view. You need to see a complete wedding, not just the highlights, so you can really get a feel for how your chosen photographer captures every little detail.

*Trust your instincts. Choose the person who feels right for your wedding. Just like when you find your dream dress, you will know when you have met the perfect photographer for you, your groom and your wedding.

Keep all this advice in mind and you should get the pictures you've always dreamed of. My next blog will reveal who I've picked to capture my big day. All I can say is I am very, very excited to have such an amazing photographer shoot our wedding and I can’t wait to introduce you all to her (yes, it’s a woman photographer, and that is your only clue for now!).

Lots of love Charlotte xx

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