Friday, 23 January 2015

A photographers experience hiring a photographer for the first time.


*Please note the photograph featured in this post is courtesy of Henden Photography*

As a wedding photographer, I often find myself rattling on to people about how important it is to have photographs of the wedding day - their special day. But weddings are not the only special day. Every day is special.

I like to think that weddings are a start of a journey for so many people, not just the couple. Two families are joining and sharing in this story and this story needs documenting. It’s unrealistic to hope to capture every day of this story with professional photography, but where possible it is certainly worth the investment. I think this is why wedding photography is so important, as it is one of the only times many people will decide to have professional photography and it's a nice excuse to get some beautiful photos of loved ones.

Late last November was my grandma’s 80th birthday party and seeing as I don’t expect to be getting married any day soon I took this as another excuse to hire a photographer. I wanted to have a document of all those special people in my grandmas (and therefore my) life… as a photographer myself it would be easy enough to do this myself but for once I didn’t want to be the one behind the camera.

I made the decision to hire a photographer at quite a late point and found it a supprisingly difficult task. I had basically no budget, as paying for photography was not something I had planned. This made things a bit harder.

I posted a shout out in a few of the wedding groups on Facebook, hoping for some low budget options and was quite honestly horrified by some of the links I was sent. They included: hard to navigate websites with very few quality photos, dated, over or under edited photos which were generally not to the high standard I had decided upon before even starting my search. With the few photographers who I contacted further, I was also disappointed in the communication, feeling that it was as minimal as possible and not very personal. I was hoping to find someone I felt friendly with and who seemed trustworthy. Of course, primarily I wanted beautiful photos but this was apparently a very big ask. The whole thing reminded me that quality photographer are few and far between.

Eventually I was delighted to find Henden Photography to capture a few hours of the evening. I was impressed by the quality of their work and website, having also seen their work before, which strengthened my impression. In the end I ended up splurging a bit more than planned (they gave me an amazingly good price, but as I mentioned my budget was basically nothing), but that was well worth it. The two photographers Aiden and Henry were such a pleasure to have around for the party, as they were such happy and outgoing personalities that joined into the atmosphere and made everyone feel at ease. There was a lot of compliments from the other guests on their job well done. They even made good friends with my serverly autistic aunt, who is totally unpredictable in that aspect!

This is one of my favourite photos of the final selection I received and it doesn’t even need to show any faces to show emotion. Here you see my grandma and grandad holding hands after their special dance together. I think this is such a poignant image of their relationship together after all those years, showing the everlasting love and support that they share. I’m so grateful to Henden Photography for capturing it.

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A few things I learnt from my experience of hiring a photographer:
  • Start your search as early as possible
  • Have a realistic budget - Pay peanuts, get monkeys
  • Hire someone who you think is a nice person through the communication you have during enquiries.
  • Know what to expect - ask what you will be receiving
  • The quality of the website really matters
Lastly, you will be surprised at what images turn out to be your favourite!

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If you have hired a photographer I would love to hear your experience of it and what you leant... even if the photographer was me! All feedback is incredibly useful.