Next, we needed to book a photographer. Many photographers are fully booked a year in advance, so we had to do something quickly. We searched online for local studios (there’s a good list here on confetti), and we also looked through the local papers. The most important thing for us was value for money. We couldn’t afford to pay thousands of pounds, but at the same time we wanted good quality photographs.
After much debate, Paul and I decided to go for Sammy Southall. He’s a local photographer and he has lots of experience with all kinds of formal occasions. My family had a portrait shoot with him for my grandparents’ Golden Wedding, so I knew he was good fun to work with. He also has a range of packages to choose from, so he can take photos to suit every wedding.
Last weekend we went for a complimentary photo‐shoot with him – an opportunity for him to get to know us and to see what looked good on camera. When we arrived, he was extremely friendly and he showed us into his studio to take us through what his services on the day would be. He showed us a few wedding albums he’d done, giving us a look at a good range of styles and themes. In the past, he has taken everything from formal photos to contemporary shots, or a reportage storybook of an entire wedding.
When we had finished looking through the albums, he mapped out a timeline of our day, talking us through where he would be and what he would do at each stage. He’s worked at our church and reception venue before so was able to tell us how long it would take and what photographs would be practical on the day.
One of my recommendations to any bride‐to‐be is make sure your photographer is flexible. Sammy had a few different packages, all at different prices, but we were also able to ‘pick and mix’. For example, we liked the timing of one package, but we didn’t think it included enough actual shots, so Sammy said he would take a hundred more for a very small charge. I think this kind of negotiable package is very important ‐ it means you are satisfied with every aspect of the photos, but you aren’t breaking the bank!
Sammy also placed an emphasis on his ‘blending into the background’ on the day. He said it was very important that he didn’t interrupt the flow of our wedding, and he always makes sure he gets his photos with the minimum disruption to guests. This is really important to us – we don’t want to be standing around saying ‘Cheeeese!’ for hours on our wedding day! We want our photos to be full of life, not starchy and forced.
Once we’d organised our photo package, Sammy took some engagement portraits. This was a great experience, as we have never had any professional shots taken of the two of us. We had so much fun, and we were thrilled with the results. We’ve ended up buying three or four shots.
When choosing your photographer, check whether it will be them or one of their employees or colleagues taking your photos on the day. Sammy will be at our wedding himself, with one assistant.
Your photographer should be able to offer plenty of shots in the package too. While we were searching online, one website asked for nearly a thousand pounds, and boasted ‘For this you’ll get around 25 shots’! Enough said – that’s barely enough to get your dress, your champers and your granny’s hat on film!
We’re really happy with our choice of photographer, and we know that he can help to make everything perfect. That’s another big tick on our ‘to do list’. On to the next project!