Italian Wedding Photographer

How to choose and book a wedding photographer

When you choose a wedding photographer it is not just about asking questions to establish exactly what you are going to receive from them, it is also about finding a photographer that you trust. Communication should be clear and transparent and ideally, there should be some chemistry between you. And by chemistry, I mean that their personality should be compatible with yours.

Frequently asked questions are a great way to get quick answers but your selection process should be more in depth. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself “How important are the photos to me? At the bottom of this page, you will find my answers to some commonly asked questions that people ask me about my wedding photography, but first, let’s consider how you will find your ideal photographer.

With so many photographers to choose from it can be a long process!

Where do I start looking for a photographer?

The first place to start your research is no doubt Google. Choosing a photographer is difficult but ultimately you want the best photographer possible as the photos are the only thing you will have left. You may discover your photographer through a direct search, or you may have seen an Instagram profile or perhaps even seen them published on a blog or in a magazine.

Of course, you may also have a recommendation from a friend. Friends recommendations are great, but be careful of other recommendations. Your friend cares about you and will recommend someone in an unbiased manner. Someone else may not always have your best interests at heart.

Things to consider when you choose a wedding photographer.

As you browse the internet make sure that each photographer shows a large body of work. If they only have a few images in their portfolio you may question their experience level. See if they feature galleries of full weddings where you can see their work from the start to the end of a wedding.

Consider if they have reviews and what they are like. Nowadays, people sadly don’t have the time to express themselves and so they limit their comments to a thumbs up. A well-written comment is a sign that a client really was impressed enough to take the time to craft a proper testimonial and leave their feedback.

Are there any rules to help me choose a  wedding photographer?

My golden rule for choosing a photographer is to find the photographer whose photos you love and then see if you love them!

You may find a photographer that you absolutely love, but imagine that you didn’t talk to them before the wedding and then you find out that their personality completely disagrees with yours. They could end up annoying you, this will upset you, and that will affect the photos; you will end up regretting it.

Communication is so important. Choose a photographer that you can communicate with and one that wants to communicate with you. Poor communication generates confusion that in turn leads to disappointment.

How do I start my quest for the best wedding photographer?

I suggest you do your research on a desktop computer or laptop. The larger the screen the better. This way if you are doing it with your partner you will be more comfortable as you go over the thousands of images out there whilst enjoying a glass of wine.

More importantly, it is much easier to review the quality of the photos on a large screen. It’s a fact, everything looks great on a mobile phone. The images all look amazing and it is very hard to tell if the image is actually in focus or not; if there are pixelation or over-sharpening and other issues. You will find it easier to assess the quality of the image on a larger screen. It is also quicker than trying to do it on a mobile phone.

When do I need to start looking for a wedding photographer?

If you want to guarantee the possibility to work with a particular photographer then the sooner you contact them the better. Remember if a service provider offers a unique product or service then you will not be able to find someone else offering the same thing. You will have to choose an alternative or second option when surely you prefer your first choice.

Should I choose a wedding photographer by price?

Obviously, the price is an important factor when purchasing a service or product and that must always be considered. Weddings are expensive and you will inevitably spend way more on the food than the photographer so think about what is important to you and allocate as much budget as possible to it. Yes, it’s a cliche but the photos are the only memory of your wedding that you will have left. Everything else gets eaten or thrown away. The photos are there to record your wedding, make it permanent, make it part of history – your history.

I’ve found a photographer I like what next?

Once you find the photos that really excite you what’s next? Well, you need to contact that photographer. If the photos are really important to you then you need to do this yourself. You wouldn’t hire a babysitter without talking to them, and you certainly wouldn’t ask someone else to choose the babysitter for you. If you really care about the photos you need to contact the photographer yourself as this way you will:

  1. Find out their actual availability. Not be told they aren’t free when actually they are.
  2. Receive their current price. If you receive a price list from someone else it may be out of date and hence incorrect.
  3. Receive their exact prices. Not recharged or inflated prices.
  4. By communicating directly with the photographer you are getting to know them. You don’t want to be photographed by a stranger.
  5. You will most likely receive an answer faster. Thus avoiding the risk of another bride booking your favorite photographer because the communication is slow as it has to go through someone else.
  6. 3-way communication leads to a convolution of the replies and increases the chance of miscommunication.

If the photographer is a critical part of your day take care of business yourself. If they are just a formality then you have nothing to worry about.

What questions should you ask the photographer?

When contacting the photographer for the first time ask them for their availability and price list. If you don’t yet have a date set just give them an idea of the month and ask about their availability for that period. Try and give them as much information as possible about your event as this will help them give you an accurate quote and all the options.

Once you have received and reviewed their information, and assuming their price is acceptable to you may have some further questions. Hopefully, most of them would have already been answered by their website and brochure but there are probably still a few that you would like to ask them.

Ask your questions via email or directly by talking or meeting the photographer. A video chat is an excellent way to get to know someone without having to waste the time to physically go and meet them. Video chat is even more useful for destination weddings as often you may not be in the same time zone as the photographer.

Here are a few typical questions to ask a wedding photographer. I have included my own answers for you as example replies.

Examples of typical questions for your photographer

  • What’s your background and how many weddings have you photographed?

    At the beginning of my professional life, I worked as a graphic designer, I naturally went into photography, as great images were a must in order to create beautiful websites, brochures, and marketing material. I gained experience in commercial photography as well as beauty, fashion, and even architecture.

    In 2002 my wife (who is Italian), created one of the first wedding planning agencies for foreigners looking to get married in Italy. As we needed original photographic material for our own marketing and website, I used to take pictures during our events and give them to the couple as a gift. Bizarrely, the couples wrote to me saying that they much preferred my pictures to those of their professional wedding photographer. This is how my career as a wedding photographer began 14 years ago.

    Since then I have photographed hundreds of weddings all over the world and I still love it!

  • Have you worked at my location before? If yes can I see the photos?

    If I have worked at your location before I will send you the link to that gallery if I can. If I haven’t worked at your venue before it’s not a problem. I often work in places where I have never worked before and it is never an issue. I always arrive early and take the time to familiarise myself with a location and its features.

    I am also often involved in the planning process with my clients and so we will have discussed everything in detail and made out plans together to try and get the best result possible based on your preferences and ideas and my experience and expertise.

  • How do you work on the day?

    I like to be fairly low key on the day and let you enjoy yourselves. However, I will make suggestions if I think they will get a better result for you. If you need help I will step in and assist.

    I like to plan things with you before the event so that on the day you are more relaxed as you know exactly what’s going on.

    Here you can see examples of my photography during the different parts of the day:

  • What makes you different from other wedding photographers?

    Perhaps my style, possibly my commitment. I hope my images resonate with you. I want people to look at my images and feel drawn to them. I am a perfectionist and I dedicate myself 100% to everything I do.

    My motto is:

    “Extraordinary exists all around us. Photography should not make it mundane.”

  • Do you shoot film or digital and why?

    I shoot digital as my signature look requires post-production. Shooting film means that if you have a spot or mosquito bite on your face then it is complicated to get rid of it. Film needs to be sent away to a laboratory, scanned and sent back to the photographer so that they can retouch the scan. So basically you are taking the film and making it digital. I just shoot digital in the first place as I do want to be able to fix those unfortunate incidents.

  • Do you provide retouching, color adjustment or other corrective services?
    Absolutely yes. I color correct and adjust all the images. I then also make a selection of those corrected images and these are retouched in my signature style. So you receive the corrected images as well as the signature images.
  • Who will photograph my wedding? Will it be you?
    Yes, it will be me. I am not a large studio so I only do one wedding a day. I do not have an assistant or associate photographer that I send to one job so I can do another. I find that by photographing the wedding myself I can deliver a constant style and consistent quality.
  • Will you have a second shooter or assistant?

    I discuss this with you. In general, I work alone as most events don’t require 2 photographers. This way you only have to communicate with one person and it is more intimate and there are fewer distractions. Your event will remain more private.

    Of course, there are situations where a second photographer is essential. If this is the case I can bring an excellent second shooter with me. Examples, when a second photographer is required, are when you are getting ready very far apart from each other or if you have a very large wedding and want someone to take lots of photos of your guests whilst I am working with you and your families.

    The best way is if I listen to your needs and we work out the ideal solution for you.

  • What if you can’t make it? Who will photograph my wedding?
    In the event that I can’t attend your wedding then I will do my best to help you find a suitable replacement and you will receive a full refund of any monies already paid. My business is photographing weddings and all I want to do is give you great images so you go home and show them to people hence giving me great publicity. It will take something VERY VERY serious to stop me attending your wedding!
  • Do you have insurance?
    Yes, I do. I can forward you the details. Certain venues around the world won't accept a photographer that doesn't have insurance. It's a must.
  • Do you have a contract. What is you refund/cancellation policy?

    Yes, and I won’t photograph without it being signed by everyone. It's the professional way to do things. You need to sign it as I don't accept others signing it unless you have given them power of attorney.

  • Do you bring your own lighting?

    I love natural light and will use it all day long when possible. However, once the quality of light starts to decline it affects the photos so if by using my own light means I can give you better photos then that's what I will do. Either continuous light or flash are my friends.

  • Do you offer video? How do you coordinate with my videographer?

    I work exceptionally well with some videographers because we have years of experience together. If you have already booked a videographer when you contact me please let me know who they are. I will contact them, introduce myself and we will discuss your wedding to make sure we are going to help each other.

    If you don't have one yet then I am more than happy to make suggestions to you. These are videographers that compliment my work and we work together as a team. You can contact them, review there work and talk to them yourselves.

  • Can I give you a shot list?

    I prefer not to receive a shot list. I am there to photograph your day as an original event. A shot list turns the creative process and spontaneity of your event into a methodical "Have you done this?" list. I would spend my day concentrating on ticking off the required shots one by one rather than paying attention to the natural and spontaneous events that occur around me.

    In general, my photography already covers all the important moments of the day that you would find on any traditional shot list.

    Of course, if you have a one or two specific photos that you would like then this is no problem.

  • Can I customize a package based on my needs?
    Absolutely, my packages are there as a starting point. I want to hear your ideas and requests and will try to accommodate them if I can.
  • Do you bring backup equipment?
    Yes, I bring 3 camera bodies to a wedding as you never know what might happen. I also use various lenses and bring at least 5 or 6 to a job. I also have spares of everything else that I use as I prefer to be prepared and concentrate on the photos rather than be concerned about my equipment. I use cameras that record to dual media slots, this means that every photo that is taken is recorded to 2 separate cards simultaneously. This way I automatically have a backup of a photo as soon as it is taken thus reducing the possibility of image loss if a card should fail.
  • Did you take all the photos on your website?
    Yes. Every single photo on my website was taken by me.
  • Do you offer albums or books?

    Yes, I offer a Fine Art Book. The images are printed directly on the paper and the paper is bound to create your own personal book.

    The layout of each book is designed specifically for your images.

    I also offer the possibility for you to choose the photos that will go in your album.

    You may also see a proof of the album before it goes to print and you can request changes.

    You should receive your album about 2-3 months after your event. Obviously, you receive the images well before then.

How to book a wedding photographer

Before you contact your photographer you should also check that you haven’t already signed an agreement with a venue or wedding planner that limits your freedom and ability to choose your own photographer.

So it’s time to book a wedding photographer. This should be straightforward. Make sure they have a professional detailed contract that outlines exactly what you are getting and exactly how much it is going to cost. If there are no issues with the contract go ahead and sign it and pay the deposit. At this point, the boring bureaucracy is done and it’s time to start working with your photographer to get the best possible results!

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Jules Bower

Italian and destination wedding photographer Jules Bower photographs weddings in Italy, Europe and worldwide. His unique approach and expertise arrive from not only an obsession with photography but also because he owned one of the first and most successful wedding planning agencies in Italy.

“Beauty exists everywhere. It’s my job to find it.”