A simple Google search for ‘wedding photographer’ leads to a ridiculous amount of choice, even if you limit it to results that are local to you.
My advice is to really have a good look around. Check out a few blogs like Rock n Roll Bride, Far From the Wedding Crowd, and Whimsical Wonderland Weddings, and get a feel for the style of photography that you like. You might prefer quite posed shots, or a photographer who takes natural candid shots, or you might want something edgy and unusual. I guess that perhaps you might not know what you want until you see it, right?
I’ve had some friends say to me that they don’t see the point in handing over large amounts of cash for photos, and that they would rather just ask someone they know who has “taken some lovely shots, and they’ve got a really nice camera”. When I hear this I can’t help but to respond quite strongly. Apart from some lovely memories, a new spouse, some gifts and cards, and a dirty wedding dress, the only thing you are going to have forever is your wedding photographs. They will tell the story of your day, capture moments you might have missed, and be precious memories to share with current and future loved ones.
Some people balk at paying £1000+ for wedding photography, and I’ve heard people say ridiculous things like “a grand?! For one days work? Maybe I should be a photographer, how hard can it be?” This is where I find myself unable to bite my tongue. A wedding photographer has thousands of pounds worth of highly specialised equipment. They have spent years learning their craft. They will be there for 8 or more hours; they will never have a minute to catch a breath; they probably won’t take breaks; they will be present for every moment; they will rush down their one meal of the day to capture memories during your speeches; they will then spend weeks editing images so that you have the perfect collection of pictures of your wedding day.
A cheap photographer or a friend will not have the skill or desire to spend hours editing your photos, and this will be reflected in the shots that you end up with. It is false economy in the long run to skimp on your photographer, and in several blog posts that I’ve read, the thing that most people would change if they planned their wedding again would be to have spent more on photography. The best example I can think of is this post on Rock n Roll Bride: http://www.rocknrollbride.com/2012/01/should-i-book-a-professional-wedding-photographer-or-get-a-friend-to-do-it-for-free-a-cautionary-tale/ but this is not an isolated incident.
On a final note, consider this. Apart from your new husband/wife, the one person you are going to spend the most time with on your wedding day is your photographer. They should be someone who you could imagine yourself having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and a giggle with. You need to be relaxed around them, and above all to trust in their talent and skill when capturing the memories of one of the most important days in your life.
Good luck 🙂
DIY Bride x