So you’ve gotten engaged?! Congrats! This is such an exciting moment in your life leading up to the start of your new journey with your significant other… But it would be unfair if it didn’t mention that it is also stressful.
After getting engaged, you’ll no doubt be getting lots of advice on when you should be booking your vendors and other tidbits of information from well-meaning friends and relatives. The conflicting advice you get can sometimes make your head spin! When it comes to wedding photography, how far in advance of your wedding date should you be booking a photographer?
Although it can vary for different locations and customs, the average engagement is about 14 months and the average engaged couple books their photographer nine months before the wedding date. Of course, engagements can be much shorter or longer, depending on the circumstances.
If you need advice on your wedding photography, check out our photography packages and services at Wild Romantic Photography.
A good rule of thumb is that if your wedding is less than a year away, you should actively search for your photographer. If your wedding is less than nine months away, it should be your top priority in your wedding planning!
Why do you need to book your photographer so early? Unlike some other wedding vendors such as florists, tux rentals, caterers, etc., photographers can typically only book one wedding per day.
So when the photographer books a popular date, that date is taken and becomes unavailable for other couples. And as you can imagine, the photographers with more experience and a better reputation get booked earlier than others, so if you have a preference for a photographer, don’t wait!
Today, we are going to focus on booking your Photographer/Videographer for your wedding. Sure, you could easily find a bridal magazine or hunt through Pinterest for a timeline of when you should be doing what… but we searched sources across all mediums and found a trend of inconsistent timelines. So, instead of comparing all of these wedding timelines yourself, we did it for you (you’re welcome).
When to Book a Wedding Photographer
A professional wedding photographer should be one of the first vendors you choose, but wedding planning is not the time to be hasty. At Wild Romantic Photography, we have the best Melbourne wedding photographer to take memorable photos on your wedding day. Even if you’ve saved a dozen of your favourite pro photographers, don’t sign on the dotted line until you…
Have a General Timeline and Location for Your Wedding
First things first: Talk over the timeline of your engagement with your fiancé. Do you want to walk down the aisle right away or have a more drawn out engagement that doesn’t feel rushed? Consider the season, month, and where you envision it taking place.
Then, talk to mom and dad, or whoever falls under the VIP category at your wedding. These are the folks you can’t say “I Do” without and the ones you hope can make it. If they have any major conflicts, you’ll want to know about them before setting a wedding date.
Know Your Budget
Ah, yes, the dreaded wedding budget conversation. It may not be fun, but it is extremely important. You can’t decide on a premier venue if you don’t have the finances to do so—even if it is for the sake of your dream day. Figure out who is paying—and how much they are contributing—before you make any big moves.
We have the best wedding photographer in Yarra Valley to capture your beautiful moments on your wedding day.
These are the most common reasons why a photographer prefers to book clients with no more than 12-18 months into the future:
Our styles change. We are artists, and as artists, we have a style. Style can change over time, not only as our gear changes but also as we mature and refine our work vision. While styles remain very similar year to year, if you were to look back in a photographers portfolio at images created 2 or 3 years prior, you’d notice that they are very different from images created today. By booking within a more reasonable period of time, there is a greater chance their final product will be delivered with a similar style to that which they see in the artist’s portfolio.
Packages and prices. As our business grows, we expand to fulfil our needs. Whether that means added equipment, extra resources such as assistants or teaming up with an editing studio – every business has expenses they must cover. The average photographer prices their services for their anticipated expenditures for the following year – but 2+ years into the future is another story. Securing a client 2 or 3 years in advance means that you’ll be working for less than you’re currently worth come that year. While some photographers are okay with that, others are not, and as business owners, everyone is allowed to operate their business as they see fit.
The need for breathing room. Let’s face it – we have lives, too! To have your life pre-scheduled for 2 YEARS in advance, let alone 3 years, is mildly claustrophobic. While you’ve set your wedding date far in advance, that’s only 1 weekend of your year. A full-time photographer can shoot between 20-30 weddings in a year – pre-scheduling 50% of your year, 3 years in advance is a different song and dance than scheduling 1 day.
Best of luck in finding your wedding photographers – and don’t forget to learn about the questions you should ask your photographer at an interview. You’ll need to know that once you sit down with a photographer for the first time, regardless of how far away your date may be.
But Make Sure to Book Your Photographer Before…
You Send Out Save-the-Dates
Now that you have your venue for your big day, chances are you’ve locked in your wedding date. But don’t get mail-happy with your save the date cards just yet. If you book your photographer before sending save-the-dates, you can schedule an engagement shoot with them. You can then use those photos for a beautiful save-the-date card, as well as your wedding website and guest book.
Engagement sessions are also a great way to get to know your photographer and get comfortable in front of the camera. Two things you’ll be extremely thankful for on your actual wedding day.
By this time, you’ll have already picked your venue, a theme/colour scheme, an idea of a guest list, and a basic timeline of your wedding day. This is all useful to your photographer because…
- Once the venue(s) is set, your photographer can look up the locations to see where they can get the best photos of you, your significant other & loved ones
- You will know who you will want photos with, out of town family or friends, etc. (Add to your shot list!)
- The general timeline is useful, so whether you are having a mix of traditions or unique wedding events, you can be sure your photographer won’t miss a thing and capture all of your special moments.
Planning your dream wedding and don’t want to miss out on the special moments on your big day? Worry no more, Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
What to Do Before You Book
Now that you’re well-versed in when to book your photographer for a wedding, there are a few other things to do before making it final.
Do Your Research
Of course, to ensure your planning and the wedding day itself is stress-free, you should thoroughly research all of your suppliers, and that includes your photographer. Read any articles, questionnaires or the about me section on their website to find out how they work, look for feedback on their website or social media channels and take a closer look at their wedding galleries online. Ask to see full wedding galleries, not just a few images from each wedding they consider to be the best. This will help you get a clear picture of how they photograph a wedding day and what you can expect from them. You can also get a picture of what their focus is. Have they captured all of the little details, are the group shots posed or do they photograph in a reportage style? Asking to see a few weddings also shows consistency in their quality and style, allowing you to imagine what your photographs will look like.
Make a list of photographers whose style you love. Then, research their websites to get a better idea of their packages, pricing, and personality. If you think they could be a good fit for you, your budget, and your location, inquire about their availability.
Arrange a meeting
Posing in a wedding dress and feeling relaxed on one of the biggest days of your lives isn’t always that easy. However, choosing a photographer to feel comfortable with can help you feel much more relaxed throughout your special day.
Before booking your photographer, ask to meet them in person. They may shoot amazing photographs, but you might not feel comfortable around them or gel with them. If you can’t meet them in person, then perhaps speak on the phone or Skype, this will help you get to know the photographer a little better and see if you like their personality, which is more important than you might think, you will be around them for most of the day. T
he right photographer will be able to keep you calm and find all the parts of your wedding that are uniquely you. Looking for a Mornington Peninsula wedding photographer? Look no further! Wild Romantic Photography has you covered.
You want to feel comfortable on your wedding day, and your photographer can make or break both how you feel and look in front of the camera. It’s important to make sure you connect with them with that in mind—something you can only learn by meeting face to face or via video chat.
Set up a meeting to get to know him or her before you book. You will be spending a lot of time with your photographer on your wedding day, so if your personalities mesh, the entire experience will be more enjoyable, and the photos will probably be better to boot.
Look at Entire Galleries
We hope we don’t have to say it, but Instagram is a highlight reel. If you fell in love with your photographer’s profile, that’s great. But you should know that Instagram is where they showcase the very best of their work and highlights from each wedding, which are usually only a few photos from each.
If they don’t showcase full portfolios on their wedding website, ask to see them. Look at the portraits, the details, the candid photos they capture—everything—to make sure you love the entire scope of their work, not just the dreamy sunset shots.
Photos are an important part of any wedding, so selecting a photographer shouldn’t come lightly. Finding your perfect wedding photographer can take time, but if you do your research and book them at the right time, you can confidently plan the rest of your wedding, knowing it will be captured beautifully.
Ask how many photographs you will receive
You don’t want to be left disappointed if after the wedding you are expecting to receive 500 photographs and only end up with 100. Check if they will be in colour or black and white; perhaps you can request a mixture? Brides can assume their package includes all the images from the day, but that isn’t always the case. Some photographers only give 100 images from a 10-hour wedding package and charge extra for each image above this. Bear in mind that you might only receive 100 edited images, but your photographer might also send you extra images that are unedited, depending on the package you have agreed.
Book an engagement shoot
Practise makes perfect! Get comfortable in front of the camera and practise posing with an engagement portrait session. You’ll also be able to get a sneak peek at the type of photos you can expect from your big day and how your photographer will direct you (if at all). You might like to hold the session at your wedding venue so that you can identify all the best spots ahead of the wedding and so that your photographer can get familiar with the venue. If you have the time, you could opt for a different location but at the same time of year that you will be marrying to know what the lighting might be like.
Preparation and planning
Ask the photographer how they plan for each wedding and what their approach is. Whether you have a long list of must-have family portraits or you’re feeling inspired by some fun images you’ve seen in a magazine, deciding what you want from your photographs is key. You might prefer natural, documentary-style photography, or perhaps you have some more dramatic shots in mind? Whatever you’re looking for, discuss any needs and requirements with your photographer ahead of the wedding. Be mindful that while it’s great to have a plan, sometimes things may not always go the way you hoped. There might be a torrential downpour during your summer nuptials, or the timings of your day could run off schedule, embrace the changes and be flexible.
Don’t miss a minute
Careful planning, with each couple, before the wedding, will usually mean the photographer has a list of shots to work through. Everything from family portraits to your first dance, plus any unique or extra shots they would like to include. When I am capturing a couple’s wedding, I will double-check this during the middle of the day and at the end of the day to make sure I have photographed everything. I capture all of the really important moments, but I focus on the in-between moments as well. These are so important because sometimes these are the moments the couples don’t see. Lots of couple’s feedback states that I capture so many things they didn’t know had even happened during their day.
Check what type of cameras the photographer uses. Will they have a backup in case something breaks or doesn’t work? If you want the best pictures, hire someone who uses the latest top-quality equipment. A true professional will arrive at the wedding prepared with more than one camera and lens. It is also important to check if they are insured in case (in the worst-case scenario) they accidentally damage memory cards.
Wet weather plan
What happens if it rains? Unfortunately, no matter when you wed, there is always the possibility of rain, so make sure your photographer has a plan for it. If you are marrying in the summer or are planning on having an outdoor wedding, you should discuss a plan if it starts raining. Most photographers carry a couple of large umbrellas, and modern cameras can withstand a lot of rain, so it shouldn’t stop you from having stunning pictures outdoors. But, if you don’t fancy braving the rain, your photographer should be flexible in their timings and come back to some of the photographs later in the day when the rain has eased. I used to be discouraged whenever the weather was grey and gloomy, or at the other end of the spectrum too bright, but I challenged myself into turning a bad situation into a lovely moment for the couple. Some couples insist on shooting in the rain and wind, which I love, and it always results in amazing photographs.
A forced smile can look bad in a photograph. A natural expression is much more engaging and makes the image come alive. Your photographer will do their best to make you feel relaxed and natural, creating real moments by making you laugh and helping you be yourself in front of the camera. Usually, make my couples laugh or ask them to look into each other’s eyes and think of the funniest thing their partner has said. Sometimes get the groom to whisper something in the bride’s ear. This always creates a reaction and a beautiful. If you’d like to work with professional photographers for your wedding, book with us at Wild Romantic Photography.
Knowing when to book your wedding photographer is something a lot of couples wonder about. So if you want to stay one step ahead with your wedding planning, it’s best to begin your search as soon as possible. If you’re in a position to confirm your date and put down a date retainer (deposit) prior to Christmas or early in the New year, you stand the best chance of securing your preferred wedding suppliers.