Getting married is daunting. Not the lifelong commitment thing - let’s take that as implicit in the engagement. But the mechanics of organising a wedding. Even the smallest of gatherings requires you to find a venue and catering, and that’s without the dress, jewellery and - yes - a photographer.
Of course, there’s an overwhelming amount of advice available on every aspect, although whether this is comforting or just freaks you out might just depend on how you are finding the planning process.
So, what should you look for in a photographer? Well, there are loads and loads and loads of websites that offer advice on what questions to ask (some are even honest). And many of these will help you towards your decision. But in the end, there’s one question that you need to ask. And it might be the only one you don’t ask your photographer.
Let’s assume that you have a few photographer options in mind (I know, we’ve skipped a lot of the leg work. But go with me here...) Maybe you have a contact from friend’s wedding, a suggestion from the venue and one or two you searched for on the internet. And let’s assume you like their photography (this should be safer ground. If you don’t, why are they on your list? Cross them off. That’s one less thing for you to worry about). It’s time to talk with the photographers. Ask some of the questions from whichever website hasn’t made you tear your hair out. Now let’s make our final assumption - that after the conversation, you trust that this photographer did indeed take the photographs in their portfolio, and that they will take similar beautiful images of you.
Which leaves you with one question, the key question:
Can you put up with this person for a day?
Honestly, apart from your spouse-to-be, this person will be spending more time with you on your wedding day than anyone. It doesn’t matter how fantastic their photography is if they are going to irritate you all day. You won’t be happy - and your memory of the day will be spoiled - if you don’t get on with your photographer. Even if your maid of honour swears she was the most amazing person for her wedding, or if your mother insists he takes the best pictures, it won’t matter. If you bristle every time your photographer opens his mouth, it will show in your photos.
Be honest with yourself. (And your photographer.) It might surprise you, but photographers are human too (well, most of us). If there is friction with a client, we won’t produce our best work - great photography comes from a great connection. Nobody likes rejection, but it’s easier for a photographer to get over that disappointment than it is to spend a day with a client who isn’t happy with you on her wedding day.
So, all things considered, choose someone who you know you’ll get along with.
Just don’t ask them what camera they use. It really, really doesn’t matter.