A few images from Charlotte & Gordon's Engagement Shoot last week at Causey, Co Durham. Lots of fun!

Charlotte & Gordon are getting married at Lumley Castle, Co Durham in January.
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The last in the series "The 7 Biggest Errors Brides Make When Hiring a Photographer for Their Wedding and How to Avoid Them"

MISTAKE Number 5 - You don't give the photographer enough time to get the job done properly on the day!

Mistakes happen when you rush!

Or when there are not enough instructions. You concentrate so much on getting all the details organised, you forget to tell the photographer.

Be organized! Be organized! Be organized! And communicate all the details to your photographer, and also let him know any special needs, shots or relevant details, so you will not be let down.

Before the wedding get them involved. Let them know what your hopes and plans are. Who knows they may have some really cool ideas that might just thrill you or some useful tips on making sure your plans go smoothly.

You can save time, money and headaches from the very beginning by communicating with your photographer. You should think of your photographer as one of your wedding planners or coordinators. Consult with your photographer, they have been to hundreds of weddings! There is very little they don't know about weddings and how to organise them.

The time you start looking for your photographer is also an important consideration. You can’t expect very many good ones to be available if you start shopping only a few months before your big day. Most of the better ones are booked way ahead of that, often a year or more in advance.

MISTAKE Number 6 - they don't ask for references.

This is easy to solve. You can ask the photographer for actual names and ask to see actual samples from recent weddings, they should be able to give you half a dozen at least. But let's face it, this is almost too embarrassing for most of us to do to contact someone who got married a while ago and you don't know.

There should be references on the websites, ask to see all of the images from those weddings, even better still is to see an album.

MISTAKE Number 7 - You have several photographers competing with each other for your work.

You may think this is a good way to do business. And it is to some extent. But here is why it usually isn't a good way to deal with photographers.

A good photographer has enough loyal customers that they don’t, have to deal with price shoppers.

Once you find a good photographer, it is important to stay loyal to them. If you flip-flop, most photographers won’t be motivated to keep YOU as a customer.

Price is important. But price should not be more important than good quality and good service.

This is what some people like to do. They try to get everyone fighting for the same piece of the cake. This might be an OK short term strategy, because you save a few pounds, but, when you need a favour, or super-fast service - not one of these photographers will bend over backwards to help you. (And if you have been a price shopper in the past, they probably will charge you more!)

Every photographer expects to bend over backwards for their clients every now and again. Provided the customer is loyal, the photographer will do all he can to help.

All good photographers are loyal to you if YOU are loyal to them.

That's it, the last advice. I will put all of this series into a single pdf that can be downloaded, once I have done it I will put the link in here.

In the meantime if you have any questions, do ask them.

Regards to all

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More in our series to help brides to select their photographer.

MISTAKE Number 4- Thinking that having the right equipment is all a photographer needs to do the job right!

Many photographers own wonderful equipment. That doesn’t mean they know how to use it properly. You can have all the latest greatest wiz bang lenses and digital wonder cameras;' but if you don’t know how to use it properly you are no better off than anyone picking up a camera and pointing and shooting.

Compare this to your cell phone. Studies show that half the people who own cell phones don’t even know how to program speed dial, let alone the more advanced features.

The same thing happens in the photography industry.

Many photographers have tools that have a lot of bells and whistles, but if the photographer has little or no technical and creative know how, he may as well be from fifty years ago.

Make sure the photographer knows how to use their tools to the very best of their capabilities. You risk not only pictures that could have been outstanding, but worse yet, utter let-down because of lack of technical know-how.

MISTAKE Number 5- Hiring an amateur, friend or relative, or an unqualified photographer and expect top-notch wedding photographs.

You may have seen a top notch wedding photographer in action at the wedding of a friend or relative. A really good wedding photographer makes it look so easy, almost effortless.

There is a very simple reason for this. Experience.

The biggest mistake any bride can make is asking a friend or relative to capture their day, and when the results are not there, the responsibility and ill feelings can be crushing.

Most, if not all, untrained wedding photographers simply cannot handle the stress and responsibility that goes along with capturing a wedding. The pace, the stress and the speed are way too much for them, let alone being creative.

There is nothing wrong with hiring an amateur, as long as you have realistic expectations, and know you are going to be getting amateurish photographs. Even a professional photographer in a different field such as commercial photography will have a rough go of photographing weddings.

Weddings are tough. Bottom line. And the only thing that makes it flow and seem almost effortless is experience. Do you want to give your photographer the opportunity to practice on your wedding?

Or do you want someone who is so qualified they can handle anything that is thrown at them and they come through at the end with dynamic pictures?

Of course a photographer can't guarantee wedding pictures because of the very nature of weddings. A wedding is an event. Once your wedding is over, it's over. You have your photographs as your memories, so ruined photos won’t matter much even if you get all your money back.

All professional photographers will have two forms of insurance. Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance. If they dont have these, run!

Professional Indemnity insurance pays out if there is a serious problem with the images afterwards, eg the cameras and cards/films are stolen or lost before they have been backed up, or a camera was not working but appeared to be. A while back a wedding photographer's car was stolen with the cameras inside as he was about to go home. The insurance can pay out to repeat your day.

Public Liability insurance pays out if your photographer knocks your Auntie Nelly over and she breaks a leg.

Cheap or non professional photographers tend not to buy insurance, or they cannot obtain it as the insurance company won't insure them; so this is one sure test to find out if a photographer really is a professional. Ask to see the certificates, check they are valid. If they can't produce them, you know you are taking a risk employing them.

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MISTAKE Number 3: You pick a photographer based only on price

The old adage is true. “You get what you pay for." This is especially true in the photography industry. If you want good photography, you should decide to work with a photographer because of the overall value you receive, NOT because they are the lowest priced.

Here’s why:

Value = Quality + Service + Price

It is impossible for any company in any industry to offer the cheapest price, have the highest quality, and provide the best service all at the same time.

You can get high quality and super service, but you can’t get both and still get the lowest price.

Just like in any business, you would hire the best people and buy the highest quality product - consequently, you have to charge more for your services.

Total value is all three. Quality, Service and Price!

The common problems YOU WILL have when you pick a photographer who only offers the lowest price:

  1. The first problem with dirt cheap photographers is they don't stand behind their work if they make a mistake, or worse yet, ruin all the pictures and then the problem is way beyond fixable. Or you may have pictures that are ok, but you hoped for more. In that case there isn't a lot they can do. The end result is you get what you pay for. A little money saved up front can cost big time in the end. 
  1. The second problem with a photographer who offers the lowest price IS they tend to also offer the lowest quality. Your wedding photos are your most important and valuable investment. The value you place on choosing the right photographer will show for many years. It is a long term investment. Why risk so much and throwaway such great memories for a few pounds saved up front?  Most cheap phtographers do not edit the pictures, so you get all the out of focus ones, the ones of the back of peoples heads and the colours are all wrong. Digital images have to be processed to get the best out of them. Ask the photographer if they use "raw format" if the don't, run. The cheap photographer uses cheap printing companies - for albums look for the following names; Graphi, Epoca, Queensberry, Jorgenson, Colorworld, Seldex, there are a few more out there, but these are the leaders.
  2. And the third reason why hiring the cheapest photographer is a problem is that you might get charged extra for things other photographers normally include. You might have to pay for such things as your previews, or worse yet they might not even make your previews available for you to keep at any price. Some will even stamp them across the front with their studio logo. Cheap photographers penny pinch you to death. What seemed like a good deal may in fact cost you more in the long run. This is often a tactic some use just to get you hooked.

To avoid buying on price alone, we suggest you choose two or three photographers and rank them in the order that is important to you such as Quality first, Service second, and Price last. AND ONCE YOU FIND A GOOD ONE ... STICK WITH THEM ! You’ll be glad you did and you will have peace of mind.

If you find this useful give our page and this post a "like". Please leave any comments on our facebook page or on the blog.

There is more to come in this series, so keep checking back.

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MISTAKE Number 2 - You think all photographers are the same.

Every photographer is different. No two are really the same. Every photographer has different equipment, and has different skills and abilities and different employees; these all bring a complete mix of abilities to their product but will not guarantee consistency across several photographers.

Photography is art and craftsmanship combined. Most people who hire photographers don’t truly understand that despite all the technological advances being made, photographers still use the same quality work habits and techniques as they did 25 years ago.

Contrary to what a lot of people think, photography is not just picking up a camera and clicking the shutter. It takes craftsmanship to turn out quality work. Photographers have to know how to capture the right moment, how to compose properly, how to expose properly and how to use light, shape and form in order to get the most flattering and artistic results and poses. This takes years of training and practice.

Communication is the key to hiring the best photographer for YOU

 • Ask what style of work they do - ask to see some samples, preferably printed samples. Images can look totally different on screen to when they are printed.

• Ask to see the wedding contract. Some will make big promises and do something else- because their contract backs them up. It should protect both parties.

• Ask to see printed sample albums from recent weddings. Some photographers do not have sample albums, run. The best album manufacturers vet their photographers for quality, if they are not good enough they will not supply the photographer. In addition some photographers pass off photobooks as albums, they are not. Albums are printed on rigid pages and lay flat, photobooks curl and are easily torn or fall apart, they will not last.

• Ask them who will be photographing your wedding. You need to meet the photographer to make sure you can all get on together.

• Ask them how long it will take to see the images after the wedding. It should be around two weeks to ensure that you see properly edited images. If they want to laeve you a disc on the day, the images will not be edited. If it is longer than two weeks they are overwhelmed by the job and cannmot cope.

• Ask them if they retouch or enhance the final images. Properly edited images can be very different to what comes out of the camera.

• Ask them what it will cost and exactly what do you get - approximately how many images are included. Only then can you compare quotes between photographers.

* Ask them how many weddings they’ve photographed.

* Ask to see a physical sample of the album type that is included. Only then can you judge its value to you. It is always recommended to get an album; if you opt for just a disc then you may loose the images on your PC, crashes happen, discs get lost or scratched. If you cant stretch to a good album at the time ask the cost of supplying an album at a later date.

* Ask them (this is a good one) what their philosophy is on wedding photography.

Wedding photography is not a generic product, every wedding is different. Ask these and other relevant questions and it will become obvious who the right choice will be for you. You will notice a marked difference in attitude, quality, creativity and experience. Remember, this is your special day. Do you want to hire an amateur to take experimental photos or a pro who will create a masterpiece?

More to come in this series.

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