Guide to choosing a wedding photographer

Guide to choosing a wedding photographer

YAY! If you’re reading this then the chances are that you’re at my favourite stage of the wedding planning process – choosing your wedding photographer! While I am a wedding photographer, I’m super passionate about couples booking the photographer that’s right for them and their wedding. So I’ve written this guide to help you reduce the overwhelm of choosing a wedding photographer. After all, there are so many of us, and so many of us are absolutely flippin great!

How to choose a good wedding photographer

I get it, it’s hard even on a website to know who will be the right photographer for you, but there are things to look for that help make the choice a lot easier. When you have found one the first thing you want to check is their portfolio.

Portfolio consistency is key

I know it’s fairly obvious that you should check out a wedding photographers portfolio to see the very best of their work, but it’s also worth reviewing it with critical eyes. Look for consistency in both the kind of photo and editing style. When looking at the portfolio if you see images that look like they could have been photographed by 4 different people, the chances are they could have been and a lack of consistency can raise the red flags. An experienced photographer develops a signature style that can instantly be recognised in all their photographs. When you choose a wedding photographer that has a consistent style, you are going to be more certain about what your wedding photos will look like.

Read their “About Me” page

The person you choose is going to be capturing your wedding day – and probably all day too! It’s a big deal and to help you choose you need to get to know them as a person. Your photographer is with you on a very emotionally charged and intimate day, and you want to make sure you have a good bond and trust the person. Take a look at their About Me page, read about them, get to know them and what they stand for. Do you have similar values? Do you believe in what they are trying to do? Do they sound like they would fit in with your friends and family?

bride and groom standing chatting to wedding guests on london street

Read their blog

Lots of photographers use their blog to share super helpful and informative content to help you and your wedding, but also insight into their recent work too. Take a look at their blog and the advice they share, their experiences and the recent weddings they have shot. You can check mine out here. 

Check out their Social Media profiles

Another way to get to know your photographer is by looking at their social media profiles – Instagram and Facebook can give great insight into their days, how they shoot weddings and some fun behind the scenes too. However, just keep in mind that just because a photographer doesn’t use social media channel, doesn’t mean they’re not any good. They might simply not use social media!

Free guide on choosing your wedding photographer

So there you go – there’s my no nonsense easy guide to choosing your wedding photographer. Be sure to leave your email below to get the full guide, including what questions to ask your wedding photographer and a free handy checklist.

 

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How to choose your wedding photographer

How to choose your wedding photographer

 

So Many Awesome Wedding Photographers and Only One Wedding!

Choosing a wedding photographer can be a really tough decision – primarily because there’s so many of us. And bearing in mind that most of my friends are wedding photographers too, I know that they are flipping awesome! This has the advantage that we now live in a world where many weddings are being beautifully photographed, but the disadvantage for the people doing the choosing is that it can feel pretty overwhelming when you first scratch the surface. But fear not – I want to help guide you through how to choose your wedding photographer! While I am a wedding photographer it’s worth saying that I’m not right for every wedding. It might be me, it might not be me! In this series of blog posts I’m going to take you through the things to think about when choosing your wedding photographer.

First up, you really need to think about what you both want.

Bride hugs bridesmaid. Image in wedding blog post how to choose your wedding photographer

The Different Styles of Wedding Photography

Firstly think about the style of photography that you like. Have a solid scroll on instagram and see what’s available out there. Do you want things very relaxed and informal? Or would you prefer the photos to be more editorial and posed? How a photographer captures your day will be reflected in the style of their photographs. Some photographers like to create beautifully posed scenes like you find in a magazine – this is sometimes called an editorial or fine art style of wedding photography. Other photographers will be more in the habit of just capturing what happens before their eyes – documenting your wedding as it unfolds. This is the kind of wedding photographer that I am! You might see it referred to as documentary wedding photography, informal wedding photography or relaxed wedding photography.

Bride groom first dance with dog. How to choose your wedding photographer. Parrot and pineapple.

Secondly think about how you want the images to actually look. Taking a photo is only half the work when it comes to photography, there’s so much magic that can be created with the editing. And the editing style of a photographer is as unique as their shooting style. Do you like photos that are brightly coloured? Or something more neutral and muted? Is light and airy your jam? Or maybe something dark and moody? With so many flippin great wedding photographers now available, there is literally one to suit everyone’s personal taste. So be sure to book a photographer because you love the way they capture photographs and their signature editing style.

Bride groom laugh in park. How to choose your wedding photographer. Parrot and Pineapple.

Bearing this in mind I would suggest to completely avoid booking just any photographer and telling them how you want them to take the photos and edit them. It would be very difficult for a photographer to change their style to accommodate your needs in this way, as much as they’d love to. Photographers want to capture the best photos for you and be as helpful as possible, but it’s really hard for us to change who we are creatively. So always choose the photographer because you love the way they capture the picture and how they edit the photos. That way you are always going to be happy with the end result.

bride sequin wedding dress and groom walk through confetti at The Old Library Birmingham. Parrot and Pineapple.

Wedding Photography Packages

Next, you want to think about which parts of your wedding day you want captured. Photographers offer lots of different types of packages. Some photographers will just have a single day rate on offer, others will work by the hour. From my experience, the average wedding lasts approximately 8 hours from just before the ceremony through to the first dance. So when you are allocating your wedding budget to the photographer – think about how much of the day you want photographed. If you want photos of you and your team getting ready through to the mega fun party, then you will need to allocate a healthy budget to accommodate that.

Groom friends laugh. Ikon gallery wedding by Parrot & Pineapple Wedding Photography

Now You Know How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer

Finally you want to think about what you want from your photographs after the wedding. This is the super exciting bit! You’re paying a lot of money for someone to create your images – make sure that you get to enjoy them afterwards. Most photographers will offer you your images edited and delivered to you via an online gallery where you can download and share the photos. I would recommend that you want to ensure that you chosen wedding photographer will provide you with high resolution images without any watermark as standard – this means that you can print your photos without any funky logo on them. This is what I provide clients with and I know lots of my photographers friends do too. However some photographers may not, so it’s always worth asking.

Sometimes you can order a printed album or slideshow, or have the image files on a USB stick too. Take a look at what a photographer offers after they have photographed the wedding, and what will fit with your budget. It’s very common for clients to opt for a digital package to start and then add in print products at a later date. I have some clients ordering their wedding album two years after they get married.

 

Whatever package you choose – always always print your wedding photos! You cannot enjoy them on a memory stick or hard drive!

Want to know more about me? I'm Rowan, AKA Parrot & Pineapple Wedding Photography

Read what previous clients say about working with me

Check out my wedding photography prices

Find out who I am

Get cracking advice and see real weddings on my blog

Contact me here

What I need to know as your wedding photographer

What I need to know as your wedding photographer

So, the day is near! Once you have booked me to shoot your wedding I tend to leave you alone to crack on with your thing. I’m on hand to answer questions, but on the whole I tend to find that couples want to just get their date secured and then reconvene with me once all the plans are in place. I’m a very informal, documentary style photographer – so I’m all abut photographing your wedding, as it unfolds, rather than setting up shots. You probably won’t need my input in the early stages of your wedding planning, but I will need to know your plans inside and out once the day draws closer.

Bride and groom kiss during wedding ceremony at The Asylum in London. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot and Pineapple Wedding Photography

About 6 weeks before your wedding, I’ll send you a questionnaire asking some of the big questions I need to know for the big day (although none as big as the “I do”, obvs). It’s a really informal questionnaire, but it’s chocful of super important information so don’t skip it over. But also, don’t be scared by it – sit down with a coffee, tea, G&T or a vino and treat it like a fun date night amongst all the planning madness. (And a cheap one too, which is all the more welcome when you’re on wedding countdowns…). The best thing is, that all my booked couples get their own snazzy online client portal – so you can dip in and out of answering the questions on the form.

Bridesmaid wearing giraffe mask at fun wedding party. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot and Pineapple.

I’ll be the supplier that’s there the longest, and I have a very important job to do for you  (no pressure!) so I always want to ensure that we are on the same wavelength. That’s why this day details sheet comes in handy. I will constantly refer back to the plan throughout the day, leaving you and your beau to revel in the height of wedded thrills.

To give you an idea of all the exciting details I’ll be asking you, have a gander at the list below and start racking those brain cells/rummaging around in that wedding binder. Here’s my guide for What To Tell Your Wedding Photographer (AKA me)!

Groom leans in to mic during fun wedding speeches. Image by Parrot and Pineapple.

Contact details

I’ll need both contact numbers and email addresses for you and your partner. It’s helpful to have the basics on hand for any last minute messages. You’ll get both of mine too. Most importantly I’ll need both of your email addresses so that I can send you the email link to your finished set of wedding photos!

Venue

A pretty key one to start with, hey? A verified full address is always necessary – not just “my Dad’s farm” or “Citizen M”. I want postcodes, so I can Google Map that shizz and get exactly where you are with no hassle for you. It also helps me scout out potential locations for our portrait session to give you some relaxing celebratory time together on the day without taking you too far away from the party. If you’re having your day across two venues, make sure you include the info for both, plus the info for where you’re getting ready if I’m covering that too.

Bride and groom walk along city street after Islington Town Hall wedding. Image by Parrot and Pineapple.

Timings

Another thing on the list of absolutely non-negotiably need-to-know things is timings. My super informal, caught-in-the-moment style of photos actually require a lot of pre-planning. I will need to know where to be, when and what the intention is for the day. Then I can ensure I’m absolutely in the right place at the right time. 

Having these timings written down has twofold benefits: firstly, it’s good for me to know when all the ‘major’ events are happening, because although I’m constantly on the lookout for the best moments anyway, it’s good to know when things will be changing up. Secondly, it’s good to have the timings written down as I can then advise on when you’ve not allowed long enough for stuff (group photos!), or point out things you may not have thought of.

Bride and groom stand in front of St Pauls Cathedral. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot and Pineapple Wedding Photography.

The important people

Now I am pretty rubbish with names! I do not take pride in this, so I’m going to try and blunder through getting names right by having a list of all the important people in advance. Knowing in advance who the key people are at your wedding will mean that not only will I be able to call them by their name, but I’ll also ensure that these people feature in your photos A LOT.

Bride hugs bridesmaid. Feminist wedding photographer. Image by Parrot & Pineapple Wedding Photography.

Group shot lists

Even though I’m all about the spontaneous fun and frolics that badass weddings bring, I totally understand that weddings are an opportunity to get together a group of people who don’t come together very often, and you may want to document that. Group shots are totally fine, but I do advise that we keep them as short as possible to maximise the amount you can enjoy your day and minimise the the time you’re stood with a fake smile wanting to be partying! For this reason I ask for a list of the group shots you’re looking for, itemised with the list of people you want in each one. It’s great if you can include both their relation and their name (this makes it easier for me to find missing people!)

I don’t have any rules around who you choose to have in any group photos (if you want them at all). Most couples tend to go for some combination of the following group shots:

  1. Both families and you and your partner
  2. Your extended family, you and your partner
  3. Your immediate family, you and your partner
  4. Your partner’s extended family, you and your partner
  5. Your partner’s immediate family, you and your partner
  6. The wedding squad, you and your partner

This list will take approximately 25 minutes to work through. If you want to add in other combinations, then you will need to allow for extra time. From my experience of shooting lots and lots of weddings, each combination of a group photo will take 3-4 minutes to organise and shoot.

It’s also super helpful if I can have an official helper from each side of the family – ideally someone who knows who the various different people. Doing so will save a lot of time!

Wedding party group shot in a green garden. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot and Pineapple.

The details

The devil truly is in the detail, and the marketing devil inside of me LOVES to have a solid brief before the job starts. I’ll ask you to describe what you have planned for your ceremony, and to describe what you have planned for the reception. I’ll need to know about any special surprises that you have planned too. If you’re going to let off confetti canons immediately after your first dance, then I’m going to want to make sure I’m in the best position all ready for that!

Red confetti r aining down on a bride and her friends at the wedding party. Image by Parrot and Pineapple.

Any beef

And I don’t mean guests’ dietary requirements – they should be directed to the caterer. Instead, it’s always really useful for me to know if there’s any tension in particular groups or with particular people as I navigate your guests. Context is important for photos! I come from a very modern family, with multiple sets of parents (that don’t talk to each other!) so I know that not every family is a straight-up nuclear scenario. 

Face time

Once this is filled in, I generally meet couples to have a chat about a month before the wedding day. Other than just having a lovely natter, it’s great to sit down and cement those plans, and talk them through in person. This leaves me feeling totally confident that I know exactly what you’re planning and wanting for the day, and most importantly should leave you feeling more relaxed, safe in the knowledge that someone else knows the nitty-gritty too. It’s a very informal chat where pets and children are welcome too. 

Guide dog licks the face of a wedding guest. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot and Pineapple.

 

If your plans change – don’t panic! This can and does happen. About a week before I’ll send you what I have as the final plan, to make sure that nothing’s changed since we last spoke. I then bring that with me (or an updated version with any changes) on the day as a crib sheet to refer back to. The final plan is by no means written in stone (it’s usually on my iphone actually), so if there are last minute changes and additions, that’s cool. 

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Poster showing the text 'What your wedding photographer needs to know'. By informal wedding photographer parrot and pineapple.

 

My pledge to you, as a feminist wedding photographer

My pledge to you, as a feminist wedding photographer

I’m a feminist. A raging snowflake feminist. The empowerment of women is incredibly important to me. And I want this to be absolutely central to what I do as a wedding photographer. While feminism and weddings isn’t a natural intersection, I find that the two play with each other all the time. Lots of the couples that I photograph also identify as feminists. And here’s my promise to you as your wedding photographer.

I love working with clients from a diverse background

Bride and groom during their wedding ceremony. By feminist wedding photographer Parrot & PIneapple.

It’s 2019 and thankfully anyone can get married! But if you browse mainstream bridal magazines, you would be forgiven for thinking that marriage is only bestowed upon white, pretty, 20 something, cis-gendered, heterosexual, able bodied women. Any kind of diversity seems to be completely missing from the front pages of the big bridal magazines. And it’s not good enough. Thankfully there are people in the wedding industry leading the charge to make significant change. Nova Reid and her multi-award winning wedding blog Nu Bride is dedicated to adding a splash of diversity to the UK wedding industry. Catalyst Wedding Co. is the only online and print wedding publication with intersectional feminist values, featuring couples of all races, gender identities, cultures, religions, bodies, abilities, and sexualities.

When you get in contact with me to enquire about shooting your wedding, It doesn’t matter to me what you might look like, or how you might identify, or who you are getting married to. I believe that all love is love, and as long as you are in love and planning a mega fun filled party wedding – I’m down with shooting your wedding!

I will photograph you without feeding the princess complex

Bride dancing with her friends at her wedding. Fun informal feminist wedding photography by Parrot and Pineapple.

This is a big one for me. I want my clients to see themselves at their very best in the images I take. I appreciate that not all women planning a wedding want to be a princess on their wedding day. Again, a lot of mainstream wedding media wrongly assumes this, and pumps it out as the only acceptable intention for any woman planning a wedding. But it doesn’t suit all women to be a princess. The most important thing to me is capturing you in a way that reflects who you are a person and reflecting all the joy and love on your wedding day.

Bride giving a speech at her Brunswick House wedding reception. Image by Parrot & Pineapple.

I will defend your right to be a bridezilla

I really hate the term bridezilla. I don’t think that bridezillas even exist. It’s yet another word that’s used to demonise a woman showing her emotions or taking charge. Planning a wedding is STRESSFUL. It’s essentially organising a day long, fully catered, and entertainment filled, event for approximately 50-150 people. When you get engaged, no one sits you down and teaches you the fundamentals of event management. So why are women expected to plan a wedding, most often with zero experience of event management, flawlessly and without a single crack of stress?

If you are planning a wedding and finding it overwhelming, that’s completely normal. Feel free to be as emotional as you damn well please. You’re a human with thoughts, feelings and desires. After a lifetime of having your agency denied from you because you’ve grown up in a patriarchal society, quite frankly it’s to be expected that you’re going to get overwhelmed when all of a sudden you are thrust in to front and centre and expected to have the answer on every minutiae of your wedding.

Guilty Feminist Deborah Frances White has a fantastic book with a whole chapter on why planning a wedding is the ultimate feminist statement. I wish I took this image, but I didn’t, it’s from Stylist Magazine. Click here to hear Deborah reading the relevant chapter in her book.

I work and partner with businesses that share my values

I strongly believe that sustainability begins in business. I try to run my business sustainably as possible. I cut down on all unnecessary plastic, I don’t support unfair labour and this year I’ll be offsetting all my carbon. I strive to partner with businesses that also share these values.

I purchase my albums from QT albums – a book binding company that has a female led workforce, pays everyone a fair wage, transports their books in biodegradable packaging and contributes some of their profits to the charity Books for Africa.

I regularly attend Snap Photography Festival for my ongoing professional development – their main focus is inclusivity and diversity and they have a special program to promote marginalised voices from within the community.

I will always choose a small independent business over giving my money to a tax dodging multination (*ahem* amazon *ahem*).

Bride and bridesmaids huddled together at a wedding. Image by informal wedding photographer Parrot & Pineapple.

 

So that’s my pledge to you on International Women’s Day, and every damn day.

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2018: Year in Review

2018: Year in Review

Woooooooo weeeeeeeee WHAT A YEAR?! So 2018 was the first full year for Parrot and Pineapple, and I can hand on heart say it’s been ALL KILLER NO FILLER. I’ve absolutely loved every wedding that I’ve photographed. And, just as I planned for, they’ve all been different and unique in their little ways. But there’s been one over riding common theme – couples that just wanted to get married without any of the traditional patriarchal bull shit that is all too often associated with weddings.

Here’s a tiny fraction of the images that I took from all of the weddings I photographed. All of these images are my absolute faves. I got a little bit emosh putting this video together. Because these images are exactly what I set out to capture. Little moments. Joy. Strength. Love. Big fun.

Sit back, relax, hit full screen and most importantly turn up the volume.

 

Thank you to every couple that booked me to shoot their wedding. You made 2018 an absolute blast for me and that’s exactly why I do this job. If you’re thinking about booking me for your wedding in 2019, you can read what these couples say about me here and contact me to enquire about availability here.

Pssst – cool light up sign used in the header image is from Locke & Busby.

Working with me as your wedding photographer

Working with me as your wedding photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer is hard! Don’t worry, I completely get what you’re going through right now in the stages of your planning. But I want to help. I want to give you more of an insight as to what it is like working with me as your wedding photographer. I want to share with you what happens when you decide to book me and what you can expect. It’s really important to me that my clients feel secure and happy so I have come up with a process that ensures each client has a similar experience that results in everyone wanting to cheer and carry me shoulder high through their local town (actually, don’t, you might strain something).

Initial Video Call

When you enquire I will look at your date and see if I am available. If I’m available I will send you info about my prices, and tell you exactly what you get for your money and some links to my portfolio. It’s really important that clients choose me because they love the kind of images that I shoot – which are generally really informal and full of laughter. I like to snap what happens.

If you like my photography style and if my prices fit your budget, then the next step would be to have a chat via video call. It’s a good opportunity for you and your partner to ask lots of questions. Plus I can tell you about the booking process, how I work, the contract and how to approach planning your wedding photography.

After the call I’ll send you two full and complete wedding galleries to look at. lt’s really important that you look through at least two full wedding galleries of any wedding photographer’s work because by doing this you get a very good idea as to how consistent the photographer is with their style and what your wedding photos might look like.

The Contract

I issue a contract to every client so that everyone is clear as to what they are buying, how much they are paying, what happens if anything goes wrong, what they can do with their images after the wedding and what I do with the images after the wedding. I am always happy to answer any questions that a client might have about the contract – ultimately clients are booking me to photograph their wedding and I want them to be really happy with what they get. Once the contract has been signed by both parties, your contract (along with all your other wedding photography info) will be stored in your own personal client portal. Only you and your partner will have access to the portal and it will contain all the important info relating to your wedding photography – you can access it any time you need to.

fun wedding photography- camden town hall wedding ceremony documentary photography

Confirming the Booking

To complete the booking I ask for a £500 booking fee. Once I have received the signed contract and the booking fee then the wedding date is reserved in my diary! Woo hoo! Clients are then left to crack on with planning the rest of their wedding. I’m always on hand to answer questions or provide recommendations of other suppliers. If you’re looking for any wedding insight, handy tips or even venue ideas check out the rest of this wedding planning advice blog posts. I’m always taking names and contact details of people who do a great job for their clients, plus I’m in a big network of wedding professionals, so I can generally make a recommendation of someone that is good.

Bride groom and wedding party pose for a group photo at The Asylum in London.

Six Weeks Before Your Wedding

I’ll drop an email over to clients 6 weeks before their wedding date.  This is to start planning the wedding photography in detail. Clients are asked to fill out an online form with how the day is going to run and all the essential info like timings, places, names and contact details on the day.
Battersea Arts Centre Wedding - couple and guests toast the wedding speech

Two weeks before your wedding

Once I have received the completed day in detail form I will meet up (or have a video call) with clients for a chat and some drinks to go through everything. The purpose of this meeting (apart from to have a nice time) is to help me completely clarify what clients have planned for their day. My aim is to photograph the wedding day in a documentary manner as it unfolds – this means that I have to be really clear on what is happening and when. I also find that clients relax when they are really secure that I know their wedding day plans like they do.

One Week Before Your Wedding

I will drop you an email to check in and confirm plans. I know that weddings can be a bit of a moveable feast and plans do have a habit of changing at the last minute. Don’t worry if they do – I’ll check in with you to ensure we’re singing off the same hymn sheet.

After the wedding

Because I know that people are excited about their wedding photos I will share some highlight photos with you 1 week after your wedding. You can share these photos as much or as little as you want. After that it will take me approximately 8 weeks to edit the full story of images. I like to deliver lots of images, and I go through the final pack many times to make sure they are perfect. Clients will receive their wedding photos via a private online gallery; from which images can be downloaded as high resolution jpgs, shared on social media and prints can be ordered. I also offer wedding albums, and once clients have seen their final photos they very often want to make up a wedding album from their favourite images.

If all of this sounds exactly what you are looking for in a wedding photographer then you can get the process started by contacting me here.

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