The Importance of Getting to Know Your Photographer

The Importance of Getting to Know Your Photographer - By Pippa Mackenzie

When you meet up with a wedding photographer one of the most important questions you need to ask yourself is “can I spend a whole day with this person?” The days are long gone when a wedding photographer turned up, said “watch the birdie”, took a few formal photographs and left. Your photographer will be with you for what will be one of the most emotional days of your life and will often end up being a confidante, a shoulder to cry on, a helping hand and on very rare occasions can even become a friend for life.

When we’re approached by a potential client with an enquiry about photographing their wedding, I often spend a good 30 minutes on the phone giving advice about photography on their big day.

The four Ps

I always say to a potential client that there are the four Ps that need to be considered when choosing your wedding photographer. These are Price, Photography, Products and Personality. I’ve listed them in the order of importance that most wedding couples who come to us believe they should be.

Although listed last, we believe (and most of our couples come to realise) that personality is just as important, if not more so, as the other three.

As a photography business in a very saturated industry we know that there are many, many photographers that meet the budget and expectations of each of the different levels within the market. We don’t kid ourselves that the competition isn’t strong and we work hard to offer something unique.

As you can imagine, most couples who come to us list price as the first box that needs to be checked, and rightly so. Fortunately, the wedding industry caters for everyone and whatever your budget you will be able to find a photographer for you. BUT, and there is a big but, you DO get what you pay for!

We always get the issue of budget out of the way at the very beginning as it allows what follows to continue on an open playing field.

Our emphasis is always on the quality of what we offer. When couples see our family of books and albums it's very often love at first sight. Our LIFE book is so unique, there is truly nothing like it in the market. The book is of the highest quality and because Ian comes from a Graphic Design background we are able to do so much more with the design of our books. Our GAIA book is also a perfect sister for LIFE. GAIA (meaning Mother Earth in Greek) is our green book which is perfect for any couple who are environmentally conscious. As well as being made from 100% recycled paper all production is offset against green energy and a percentage from the proceeds of each book goes towards planting new trees around the world.

Once we’ve established that we can work with a couple’s budget the next thing we discuss is what do they want from their photography? The style of photography is of course paramount when choosing your photographer and is a subject for another day. When a couple comes to us they have often made the decision that they like our style of photography from simply looking at our website. The decisions they still need to make are more down to personality and chemistry.

The values that under-pin our brand stand for quality of photography, quality of design, quality of service and the finest quality products on the market. These aspects of our business are all tangible but we also list personality as one of the key things that set us aside from our competitors.

My advice to anyone who calls us with an enquiry is, whether you choose Pippa Mackenzie Photography or not, to make sure you contact a wide range of photographers and if you like their photography, to meet up with them as soon as possible. 

Another tip when looking for a photographer is make sure you see at least 3 complete weddings that they have done rather than just a compilation of their best shots. Make sure you are not just seeing the shots where they “got lucky”.

The first meeting

For us that first meeting is so important. It’s a great way to show what we do and just as important, to chat and get to know each other. So many couples find planning for their wedding overwhelming and it’s great to be able to offer advice, not only about photography, but on so many other aspects of planning a wedding based on our many years of experience.

Our initial meetings often take 2-3 hours. What is important to us is getting to know you so we invite all our potential clients to our studio, near Petworth, West Sussex. Over a coffee and a yummy slice of cake we show you a slideshow of some of our photographs and also go through our family of books and albums that are unique to us. 

One subject that often dominates during the first meeting is timings for the big day. Even at this early stage many couples have a rough idea of their wedding day schedule. The most important piece of advice I can give for planning your day is check what time sunset will be. So many couples who are getting married in winter forget that sunset can be as early as 3.50pm. Obviously if you're getting married at a venue with beautiful gardens and photography is very important to you, a 3pm ceremony just won’t work.

It’s during this meeting that most of our clients make a decision as to whether they want to book us as their wedding photographer (though one bride did tell me that she knew she wanted me as her photographer as soon as she saw that I drove a Mini Cooper). Remember, this meeting is free so make the most of it.

The eShoot

For us, one of the best ways to get to know you and also get a good idea of how comfortable you are infront of the camera is the eShoot.

"Having Pippa and Ian photograph our wedding was a truly enjoyable experience from beginning to end. Not only are they consummate professionals but a wonderful couple which is very important since your photographers are such an important part of your very special day. 

Their skill, creativity and shere wealth of experience was invaluable to us in the planning and execution of our day. It's often the smallest details that can make the biggest difference and Pippa and Ian showed great foresight in anticipating what would really suit us as a couple and help make our day everything we wanted it to be.

We were wowed by their unique photographic style and approach from the moment we met them. Whether it was their enchanting studio with gorgeous views or their very original experience of the 'e-shoot', they always exceeded our expectations with their personal and bespoke offering."    

Nzinga & Terwase

So many of our couples come to us with a fear of being infront of the camera and the idea of being centre of attention on their wedding day just fills them with dread. Despite this, all our couples breath a sigh of relief at the end of their eShoot. If by the end of the shoot you don’t feel more relaxed about being photographed then we will have failed. This has never happened yet! On my first ever eShoot, the bride to be burst into tears because she had such a fear of being photographed. By the end of our shoot she said that she was so pleased that she had had the opportunity before the wedding to get to know me and my camera. She was so grateful that I was able to put her at ease and wasn’t phased at all on her wedding day.

“When you get to know Pippa and Ian you soon realise that they see everything as a creative opportunity and a personal adventure. It takes a true professional to be in the right place at the right time to get the perfect picture and the shots of the e-Shoot beach ride and of our Wedding Day are clear testament to their creative skills.

However, equally vital were the well placed words, a sympathetic ear and the calming influence which made us feel that we had invited friends to photograph our Wedding Day.”

Chris & Amanda

There is a photographer out there for you

Wedding photographers come in many shapes and sizes and to make sure you find the one that fits you and your wedding, make sure you get to know a little about them before signing on the dotted line. On the whole we are a very friendly bunch and any good wedding photographer will be more than happy to spend time with you explaining what they do.

Pippa and Ian are a West Sussex based, wife-and-husband team specialising in documentary and fine art wedding photography. With complementary backgrounds in photography, film, design and the graphic arts, they bring a dynamic, contemporary and creative approach to wedding photography. Their work is often featured in many of the UK’s leading wedding magazines and they are recommended suppliers for some of the South of England’s most prestigious wedding venues including Goodwood, Hedsor House, Hampton Court Palace, the Walled Garden at Cowdray Park, Waddesdon Manor and the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire.

To see more of Pippa and Ian’s amazing work visit their website

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