Weddings although predominantly viewed as a day of joy and celebration can in fact be a huge stress both on the day its self and definitely during the planning.

Make sure you book the right photographer with this helpful article from Sheffield Wedding Photographer, James Shaw Photography…

Possibly the biggest challenge, is deciding on your Photographer as the images your photographer will capture will be one of the things you look back on in years to come and remember all those little details.

There has never been so much choice out there for couples to choose from for their wedding photographer. Opinions will vary from couple to couple and some will blindly assume that because everyone, including Auntie Margaret, can operate an iPhone these days, there’s no need to draft in a pro.

I would always recommend booking a professional photographer. Not Auntie Margaret (as much as you may love her), and not your friend who studied photography at college.

Undoubtedly, for one of the most important days of your life, you’ll need to turn to a professional wedding photographer to capture every moment, even the ones you didn’t see happening.

Your wedding photographer is an integral part of your big day and speaking from my own personal and professional experience, most of the time ends up becoming your second wedding planner! I’ve driven people to the church, brought cuff links as the groom was so nervous he had forgotten his, I’ve even helped the bride into her dress. For me it’s all part of the service.

As I say there is a great deal of choice these days of which wedding photographer to choose? And how to go about establishing the best relationship with them?


How can you tell a good wedding photographer?
Firstly, it’s about doing your research, you need to be looking for a photographer that listens to what you want. Your photographer should be interested in all the little details of your day. They need to know what makes you tick. Anyone can take a photo but that doesn’t make them a photographer. I always say to people taking a great photo is all about a connection between people or being in the right place at the right time. Being a good photographer is more than just taking good photos. You need to be good with people, you need to love people, more over you need to love what you do.

That’s how my wife and I booked our photographer for our wedding day and how I always advise others.
Take time to communicate – email, speak, meet with your photographer wherever possible, it’s just as important to get a good vibe from your photographer as it is to appreciate their portfolio.

It’s really important to build a rapport with a couple before the wedding. I like to have an actual conversation, in person if possible, but over the phone or Facetime if it’s not.

The couple need to feel comfortable, as they’re inviting the photographer into one of their most intimate events, into their family, and often also in their home. So, it’s vital that everyone feels at ease.

Wedding photographers are pretty fluid geographically these days too, so don’t rule out a photographer from a different area to your wedding.


Your wedding photographer is an integral part of your wedding and in most cases becomes your second wedding planner

Do your photography styles match??
There’s a huge variety of different wedding photography styles to pick from, be it differences in composition, tone or light. Whether a photographer shoots reportage, fine art or with some sense of humour, for example.

Each photographer has their own unique take on a day and working under pressure or shooting in the moment always brings out something stylistically different or distinctive to each wedding.

It’s important to do your research as to what style you, as a couple want, as it’s never a one-size-fits-all situation. But also, you have to remember to be open minded.

On the whole, I find most people want an unobtrusive natural approach. I find most people do not want a full day being told where to stand and what to do. To be perfectly honest it’s almost impossible for this to happen anyway as your photographer will not have the chance to organize the things that are unfold in front of them. The ceremony for instance, once this is rolling there is little or nothing that your photographer can do but shoot what’s happening in front of them.

I always say to my customers that my style and the way I work is 80% natural and 20% posed, which I find works really well and affords my customers the right amount of time to get the family group shots they want and still lets them enjoy their day.

How do you know if you are booking the right photographer?
I always tell my clients, you must pick the photographer whose work you like and the person you click with and can get along with. Liking their work is just not enough. Alternatively, liking just the photographer is not enough on its own. If you can match up the two, you are onto a winner.

Just be mindful of all the different variables of the day which can affect the photos, anything from changeable weather, different locations and even ceremony times that will all bring about changes in light. If you book a wedding in winter, when the skies are likely to be overcast, don’t expect lots of sunbursts or light leaks. Your photos may end up with a moodier or more dramatic feel to them, as reflects the day’s atmosphere.

What should you expect to receive in a wedding photography package?
Every photographer has their own way of delivering their photos and some offer different packages, so it’s incredibly important to ask about this up front. I’d say, at a minimum for full day’s coverage, expect 400+ images and a pre-wedding shoot. Then usually, a USB in the post. A photographer should also give you some guidance about time frames. They will know best their own work loads and so can give you certain assurances about when you might expect to receive your wedding photos.

As a photographer, our work doesn’t stop the moment the wedding is over. Editing is a lengthy process, especially when you know how high a couple’s expectations are likely to be of their wedding day! Delivery can be anything from six weeks to six months later, so it’s always best to ask. I normally operate on a 4 week delivery time.


A pre-wedding shoot really helps to get you ready for your big day and gets rid of those awkward nerves.

What are the sorts of extras that it’s ok to ask for from a photographer?
The couple should feel totally confident to ask anything. I’m sure most photographers will do their best to accommodate you, as long as they’re realistic requests.

Should we do a pre-wedding shoot
My answer to this is always yes! Some photographers charge for this I however always include on in my packages.

A pre-wedding shoot is a great tool to put the prospective bride and groom at ease and gets them used to having their photos taken. It also lets your photographer understand you better and your relationship. I find it great for breaking down barriers and to make sure things are not awkward on the day.

From your pre-wedding shoot you should also end up with a selection of nice photos, one of which can be printed for your wedding day and used as a signing board for your quests.

What should I know about my photographer
For me these little bits and questions are just as important as if you like the photographer’s work.

It’s never been easier for someone with limited photography experience to hop on line and buy a £350 camera and claim they are a wedding photographer. It’s not until you potentially book someone like this that the crack will start to appear, by which time it could be too late

Key things I would always ask and find out.

How long has my photographer been shooting weddings?
I would say you need to be booking a photographer with at least 4 year’s experience. This seems to be the magic number. If you can get someone with over 4 year’s experience it’s pretty safe to say they are in it for the long haul and the right reasons.
The more experience the better in my opinion. Your photographer should know how a wedding runs like the back of their hand.

Is my Photographer insured?
As simple but easy one to overlook. Again, insurance shows your photographers commitment to his craft. They are protecting you and themselves by being insured. What if they can’t show up, what if someone falls over their bag and hurts their selves, what if the memory cards are damaged and your photos are damaged?
These are worst case scenarios but things you need to be wary of.

What equipment does my photographer use?
something you may not think concerns you? And to a certain degree doesn’t… Im not saying does your photographer use Canon or Nikon. What I am saying is your photographer should invest in his equipment and have double or triple of every bit of kit.

I always have 2-4 camera bodies with me on the day, 2 of every lens, 2 of ever flash, multiple memory card and dozens of batteries, just in case anything goes wrong with any of my equipment.

How many wedding has my photographer shot?
The more wedding your photographer has shot the more experience they have. Experience is king!

Should I sign a contract?
The more wedding your photographer has shot the more experience they have. Experience is king!

I hope you have found this article helpful.
Please make sure you book the right photographer for you… even if that isn’t me.
If you would like to book me however, please click below to get in touch.

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