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How to choose the perfect wedding photographer

Picking a photographer is one of the most important wedding-day decisions (aside from who to marry!). Muddy has enlisted an expert to help you decide who will make the final cut.

@richardjarmy

You’ve said ‘I do’, saved the date, booked the venue and have built a teetering tower of wedding mags. Now’s the time to pick that all-important person who will capture your special day and provide you with photos to moon over for years to come. With so many amazing wedding photographers in Norfolk, each with their own style, it’s hard to know where to start. Step forward Richard Jarmy, multiple Muddy award-winning photographer – and former member of a Steps tribute band (sorry your secret is out!) – who shares his insider knowledge to make sure you book the right snapper for you.

Don’t rush it!

@richardjarmy

Take your time to choose your wedding photographer. The day will slip by in a flash, but the right photographer will record all the details to provide you with long-lasting memories.

Do your research

@richardjarmy

Suss out your preferred photography style: candid, classic, creative, contemporary… If you want fun, edgy, unposed photos, for example, you probably don’t want a traditional-style photographer to capture your day. There are so many places to find photographers, from wedding fairs to websites, as well as asking for recommendations from your venue and suppliers. Wedding fairs are amazing, but you will only get limited time with the photographer, so always meet up on a separate occasion.

Arrange to meet

@richardjarmy

Remember that the photos are only part of what makes a photographer good. Don’t book someone without meeting them first to make sure your personalities mesh. A great photographer will deliver a lovely set of photos – an amazing photographer will put everyone at ease and instigate those moments captured. Ask all the questions you want to make sure you’re in safe hands. Share any concerns you have or visions of how you would like your wedding to look. Making sure they understand what you want and you understand what your photographer can deliver is so important to the final outcome.

Find a connection

@richardjarmy

The secret to beautiful wedding photography is to build a good rapport, which in turn generates trust. If you feel relaxed around your photographer it leads to much more natural smiles, rather than looking over-posed. Comedy and banter are a key part of my toolkit. Laughter is contagious and ripples through the wedding party, putting people at ease.

A good icebreaker is to ask about any challenges or unexpected moments they might have had whilst capturing a wedding. How they overcame a sticky situation can reveal a lot about their personality and adaptability. It is possible to turn what could be an emotionally fraught moment into something rather special. Like the time I was photographing wedding in a hot church and the vicar had a dizzy spell and fainted before he had married the couple. An off-duty vicar was quickly called to take over and I contacted the venue to make sure they were aware that we would be later than planned, whilst the singer the couple had booked smiled on and sang another couple of songs. The poorly vicar slowly began to feel himself again and the two vicars led the ceremony together. The only time I have ever witnessed a wedding with two vicars, so of course I had to capture the moment with both of them posed with the couple!

Peruse a portfolio

@richardjarmy

Don’t just look at the website; ask to see their portfolio. Sometimes, photographers post ‘hero’ shots (their favourites from a wedding) on their website, so it is worth asking to ask to see other photos taken throughout the day. This will give you a realistic idea of how your photos could look when delivered. Every wedding is different and, although photographers want to get the best photos, the weather can sometimes create a different look than you had planned.

@richardjarmy

Your photographer should be well prepared to make last minute (sometimes last second) changes to accommodate this. Most venues or wedding coordinators will have a back-up plan depending on the weather, so I always liaise with them to make sure I know the plan B so we can work as a team to get the best for the couple. After all, we don’t want Auntie Paula sinking up to her ankles in mud if the lawn is a bit soggy!

Set a budget

@richardjarmy

Wedding photography is an investment, but for amazing memories of your day you’ll want to choose the best you can afford. Before setting a budget and checking out pricing, make sure you know what you want from your photographer (level of experience, style of photography, how much of the day you want captured). Lots of photographers offer different packages based on time. I have three packages ranging from four-ish hours, eight-ish hours and then all day, which is 12-ish hours. I always say ‘ish’ because I want to be flexible to make sure I capture everything.

Book an engagement shoot

@richardjarmy

Pre-wedding shoots are the perfect icebreaker and allow the couple to experience how it will feel being in the spotlight on the big day. I always include it in my packages so that I can get to know my couples and they can get to know me, and feel relaxed and happy in my company. Plus, the photos that are taken can be used as invites and save the dates, etc. Not everyone likes having their photo taken, so if they see me in front of them, creating laughter and being a little bit silly, they loosen up and tend to relax into the moment a lot more.

And smile…

@richardjarmy

So, go do your research and have fun with it. The journey to find your suppliers is such an exciting one and you will remember this as part of your story together along the way to your big day.

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