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Let's be honest – there are a ridiculous number of people out there in the Noosa and Sunshine Coast area who ‘claim’ to be wedding photographers. These range from the long term professionals with decades of experience to those who have only had a camera for a few months. So how can YOU ensure that you choose the right one for you?

Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that you are going to make prior to your wedding day. Your wedding photos (and the emotions they generate) will be one of the few tangible & lasting memories that remain after your special day so you need to ensure your choice of wedding photographer is spot-on!

Here are a few of my tips to make the process easier.

What sort of wedding photography approach do you like?

As you’ll be spending a fair chunk of time with your photographer leading up to and on your wedding day it’s vital that their style, personality and approach suits you.

Are you looking for a more traditional photography approach with mostly staged or posed images and where your photographer is ‘in charge’ of your day or do you prefer a more candid approach where your photographer stays mainly out of sight and relies on capturing mostly unstaged and natural images and just lets you enjoy your day without too many intrusions? Or is a combination of both styles just about right?

Ask your friends, other suppliers and with your celebrant or the reception sites you have chosen. Also browse local bridal websites and facebook groups for information and recommendations on photographers with the style you want. A great local resource is the 'Noosa Weddings Organisation' website which lists a huge variety of local, trusted suppliers.

What style of photos do you like?

All good photographers have their own look & style so it is vital that you match yourself with a photographer who can shoot and edit your images in a way that you like. It’s pointless hiring a photographer to shoot in a different style than their strengths, and yet many marrying couples do exactly that, and are then disappointed with the results.

Do you want bright, colourful and vibrant natural images? Are you a fan of moody black and whites? Do you love the de-saturated, earthy hipster look or are you after a combination of various styles?

Are you planning a beachy wedding? Getting married in a park or backyard? Or in a church?Is your reception a casual backyard party, a local reception venue or in a dark restaurant?

Do you have 15 bridesmaids and 250 guests or is it just you and your partner, in bare feet on the beach?

All good photographers should be able to adapt and shoot in a range of varying lights, weather conditions, times of day and locations however it’s best if you match yourself with someone whose main body of work mirrors the style you like best.

My #1 tip is to choose a photographer who shoots most of their images in the sort of locations you'll be experiencing on YOUR day and to view as many recent ‘real life’ wedding galleries as you can from your shortlisted photographers (not just the hero images from each shoot) as this will give you an idea of their versatility and their typical approach.

Are they reliable and professional?

Many photographers take amazing photos, however their approach before and after your wedding day leaves a lot to be desired and dealing with them can soon become a nightmare. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories about couples who have waited months for their photos, or even worse never received them at all!

One thing you don't need leading up to your wedding day is any more stress, so to ensure peace of mind you need to ensure that you hire a real professional – this means that their communications and service should be spot-on right throughout the process.

True professional photographers will usually provide you with a contract and information upon booking which outlines exactly what each party will do. They will be fully insured, use the latest high quality camera, lighting and software equipment, will be well groomed, presentable and friendly, will turn your images around promptly and will keep you in the loop right throughout the process, to ensure that your experience with them from start to finish is first class.

How much time, how many photos and what level of service do you want?

Perhaps you only need photographs of your ceremony so having just 1-2 hours of photography and a limited number of images provided may be enough for you.

Or you may want a complete package that includes an engagement session, rehearsal photographs, a full day of coverage with hundreds of photos, an extra large wedding album and walls full of prints.

Typically, the smaller the wedding, the smaller the budget and the smaller number of images required. However there are also many couples who are now preferring smaller and intimate weddings but don't want to compromise on the quality of their images, so are still booking full service packages.

So, decide upon how much time you want / need and seek out a photographer who offers a package you like. Many photographers have a half day minimum and don’t offer shorter packages and many photographers who specialise in smaller weddings & elopements don’t offer full day packages.

What’s your budget?

Often, this is the deciding factor for many couples / photographers so it’s best to be very clear upfront about what you can afford so that nobody’s time gets wasted.

Wedding photography fees range from anywhere between $1000 - $10,000, depending on the level of service. These costs are based on the time and work that the photographer puts into creating and editing the images and all the additional time spent pre and post wedding with meetings, admin and professional services along with the number of images and printed products they are providing as part of your chosen package.

Most photographers (like me) offer a range of packages from budget to extravagant, and are happy to tailor packages to suit as every couple wants something different.

Be very wary of photographers who do not have a solid portfolio of past work in a similar style or anyone offering to shoot your wedding ‘for the experience’! You only get one shot at this – don’t let a dodgy photographer bugger it up!.

Would you like prints with that??

How do you want your wedding photos to be showcased?

After your wedding you will receive a range of digital files and most couples will post a few images to social media, but once that 5 minutes of facebook time has passed, how do you want to appreciate your photos for the next 10-20 years?

If you plan to purchase an album for yourself, or would like a few framed pictures or canvasses for your walls, or prints to give to friends and family then consider locking all this in before the wedding or as part of your package (your guests may even contribute towards this) so that it's all taken care of upfront.

Many couples decide to save money by arranging their own prints after the wedding however they then often find that they lack the time, software or knowledge and it all gets ‘too hard’. And if they do end up getting anything printed at all, it’s usually at the cheapest instant print place they can find, which really doesn’t do justice to any professional photos. So, instead of having a beautiful professionally printed album or wall art that they're proud to show off to friends and family, they're left with nothing but regrets.

Most couples spend between $899 to $2499 on albums or $500-$1500 on canvas/timber prints in addition to their basic photography package so keep this in mind when deciding your overall budget for wedding photography.

Make a short list of photographers & are they available?

Once you have worked out all the above, make a shortlist of potential photographers you’d be happy to have and enquire whether they are actually available on the date and time you have selected for your wedding. Many of the better local photographers (including me) only shoot a limited number of weddings each year and are heavily booked up generally for many months in advance, so if you want to lock someone in please give them as much notice as possible to avoid disappointment!.

Lock it in!

Once you are comfortable with your choice of photographer and the package you want, ensure that you advise your preferred photographer as soon as possible..

Generally you will then need to pay a holding deposit and there will be a contract to sign.

You and your photographer can then start the process of planning to capture images of the most important day of your life!

Thanks for reading and I hope some of the above tips help you narrow down the best photographer for you. I’m always happy to chat or offer advice, so feel free to get in touch if you’d like any more info

Sunny Coast Photos specialises in small-medium sized beachy/casual weddings and offers a range of wedding photography packages , and also Sunshine Coast wedding celebrant and photography combined packages (saving you even more time and money!).

So if you appreciate my work or would like to enquire about any of my packages, please get in contact and ask if I am available for your preferred date, and I'll supply you with our most up-to-date pricing and our most suitable packages for your needs.


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