So there’s a wedding photographer at the end of your street, and one in the next street, and one in the town centre… you’re soooo lucky! Or are you? What if they’re ok, but there’s one a million times better in the next town, or county? What if you’re in Sussex and you’ve fallen for the work of a wedding photographer in Kent – would you get in touch?
All images in this article by Kent wedding photographer (with passport) Benjamin Toms
In most cases, brides and grooms choose a photographer close to home. There are so many, if you visit your local wedding show and have a choice of six photographers why wouldn’t you choose the best on the day?
Wedding blogs have changed things. There’s a reason we feature photographers from all around the country: because it widens your choice.
While brides and grooms shop for photographers close to home, photographers often look to travel further afield. If you see a real wedding on a blog and love the images, do – always – check out the photographer! If you see the words ‘UK wedding photographer’ they’re looking to photograph weddings all over the country. If they say they’ll travel, they will!
I asked my friend Ben (Benjamin Toms Photography), who is a Kent wedding photographer. He told me “My packages all include travel in the UK. I think couples should go with a photographers work who they love (if they are with in their budget) – I don’t think it matters where they are from.”
For me as a wedding blogger I think it’s far more important to find a photographer whose style you both love. This might be because they focus on the important moments of the day, or because they have a fabulous eye for details, or because you love the timeless style of their images. A photographer might specialise in quirky and alternative weddings, or you might feel more comfortable with a female or younger photographer, or be looking for someone with a lot of experience.
The important thing is not to limit yourselves. Know what your priorities are, and don’t stop looking until you find the photographer who can give you exactly what you’re looking for! Sometimes it can just be that ‘click’ of personalities: a shared taste in obscure music or a love of travel or triathlons… bonding with your photographer is important.
I asked for readers’ thoughts on my Facebook page and had this amazing comment from Sofia: “I live in Luxembourg and we only looked in the UK! I have a few friends who got married here and told me that the photographers just weren’t worth it. I had a brief look on my own as well and agreed – their style isn’t great. So we looked exclusively in the UK, mainly places that weren’t too far from major airports.”
In rural areas it can be very hard finding a photographer if you don’t expand your search. I’ve seen wedding fairs where older photographers have a bit of a monopoly: they’ve been working the same venues for 20+ years and come highly recommended by staff… but frankly, they’re boring. Don’t listen if they tell you they’re the best in the area – because it doesn’t matter. Here in the Lake District we’re so lucky – there are some fantastic photographers around, and all the Manchester photographers love coming here to shoot weddings. I know lots will make a weekend of it: bring their family, book a weekend break somewhere gorgeous, spend one day photographing the wedding and a few more exploring and having a holiday!
Weddings always involve travel: your guests will be driving from all over the country, so why not your photographer? And what if you’re heading ‘back home’ to your parents’ for your wedding? Hannah told me on Facebook, “Being married to a photographer (Matthew Bishop Photography) in London we found a lot of couples who live in London want to get married wherever their families are from, so he travels all over. I think they prefer to source and meet their suppliers near home beforehand and he likes to take a trip out of London sometimes too!”
You have a big advantage if you’re getting married at an interesting, quirky, luxury or famous wedding venue. If your wedding is a little out of the ordinary – in any way – then look further to find a photographer who will ‘get’ you and your style, and whose images will reflect your personalities. Photographers love to add to their portfolios, and especially if that means bookings at exciting new venues!
Will it cost a fortune for a photographer to travel?
No. Many, like Ben, won’t charge extra for weddings further afield. Those who do ask for extra to cover expenses are unlikely to charge more than 10% of your total photography budget – and it’s always worth asking!
A final word from me: If you’ve found a great wedding photographer, book them – the most important thing is that you LOVE your wedding photos for years to come, and a few extra miles is nothing.
And a final word from Benjamin Toms (I love this!): “If I was getting married again my favourite photographer is Mexican.”
So there you go.