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Choosing your wedding photographer

Your photo album will become one of your most treasured possessions.

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Booking a professional photographer, rather than entrusting your photographs to a talented friend, may seem like an expensive option but it will be worth it. You get what you pay for and this is one area you shouldn't compromise if at all possible.

The most popular wedding photographers get booked up quickly - anything up to a year in advance - so it's important to start looking as soon as you can. Before you make any decision, decide on the style of pictures you like. Do you want traditional shots or a more relaxed, reportage style? Do you want everything in colour or a mixture of black and white and colour? It's a good idea to choose someone who specialises in your preferred look. Reportage photography may look easy but it takes a certain skill to capture 'unposed' moments well.

Check out the photographer's website to see examples of their work and to get a feel for what they offer. As with any supplier, the design of the website will tell you a lot about their approach and a dated website probably means you should look elsewhere.

For many couples having an engagement portrait is good way of testing a potential photographer, their skill and also whether you like them. Alternatively, make an appointment to meet the photographer and ask to see samples of shots from previous weddings. Ideally, you want to see a whole wedding to make sure the standard is consistent, rather than just a couple of carefully selected pictures.

Ask for details of the wedding packages. The standard package usually includes a set number of shots and a wedding album. You will pay more for additional prints and extras like a handbag size album but all this should be outlined when you make your booking.

One thing that takes a lot of couples by surprise is that they don't own the copyright to the pictures after the wedding. You won't be given the negatives or the images on a disc and will have to pay for all extra prints needed for family and friends.

Styles of wedding photography

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