I’ve previously shared my suggestions for how to choose a wedding photographer and some questions to ask yourself before you start the search to help you with the process of finding the right photographer. So along with asking me how to choose a photographer, engaged couples always ask me ‘When should I book my Wedding Photographer?’
I’ll be upfront an honest and say that I am a little biased on the subject of wedding photography. I truly believe that hiring your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions that you’ll make during your wedding planning process. You’re creating not only the most emotional and important day in your lives together but also planning a beautiful and entertaining event for you, your families and your guests which is full of meaningful details. Your wedding is about the two of you, it epitomises who you are together and as individuals. Therefore it’s natural that the way that day it is captured and later re-told – and the person you hire to do this – really matters!
As with all things, the honest answer is ‘It depends’ but this is extremely unhelpful and not why you clicked on this article. So here are some questions to ask yourself to help you decide when you should book your wedding photographer.
How popular is your wedding date?
The first thing that will help you decide ‘When should I book my Wedding Photographer?’ is having an understanding of how popular your chosen wedding date is. I would personally define the wedding season as the first weekend in May through to the second weekend in October. Approximately two out of three weddings that happen during the year take place in this five-month window which probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you. The busiest months of this already small window are July and August. The British weather is always so unpredictable. We live in a notoriously grey and damp country (from a weather perspective!). The “British summer”, while also unpredictable is more likely to give you some warmer and dryer weather for your special day. Therefore it’s no wonder that we spend the summer flocking to country homes, grand hotels, and beautifully unique locations to say ‘I do.’
If you’re getting married in this popular time, be sure to think about booking your wedding photographer nice and early before they get snapped up by someone else! Furthermore, there are some dates which are more popular than others in the “wedding season”. These are usually the bank holiday weekends, to some that may sound strange but weddings can be a tiring affair, with all that drinking, sublime food and of course the dancing – it makes sense to give yourself and your guests an extra day to recover! Your key bank holidays in wedding season are ‘Early May/May Day’ (the first Monday in May, ‘Late May / Spring’ (the last Monday in May) and of course the infamous ‘Summer’ bank holiday which is the last Monday in August.
How many weddings does your photographer accept in a year?
This is an important question to ask your potential photographer. It’s a question that to most people will seem odd and it’s one that often doesn’t occur to non-photographers. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE photographing weddings but shooting weddings is an exhausting and time-consuming job. Far from going home and putting our feet up after a long 8 or 10 hour day, we’re home and backing up your precious wedding memories, editing a ‘sneak-peak’ for you and then and only then, sitting down and pouring days of long hours and late nights into editing your beautiful love story. Therefore many of us set boundaries on how many weddings we can commit to in a year or in a season. For me, as I work another job as well as being a photographer, it’s ten weddings. If your chosen photographer only accepts a limited number of weddings, it’s important to move quickly to hire them before all of those slots are filled!
How in-demand is your photographer?
This one can be difficult for any discerning Bride or Groom to interpret from the information they have but nonetheless, it’s important that you try and consider this. If your chosen photographer happens to be in high demand then they will receive a large number of inquiries which makes it all the more likely that someone else is going to get in before you and “steal” your date! If you know your photographer is popular, I suggest contacting them as early as possible, sometimes a year to 18 months in advance to get the ball rolling. Most photographers will accept bookings years in advance, so as soon as you’re sure and you’ve set your date, get in touch with them.
You’re probably still thinking ‘When should I book my Wedding Photographer?’. My advice is to book early if you have your heart set on a certain photographer. There’s nothing worse than finding yourself in a situation of being told you’re already too late. All three of the reasons above indicate moving sooner. The only times I would say you should deliberately delay booking your photographer is if you fall into any of these three categories; No venue, No date, Not sure the photographer is the right fit. There are A LOT of photographers out there and that can seem daunting and make you feel like you ‘want to get it over with’, but trust me, once you find the right photographer, the one whose work actually makes you feel something, a person with whom you just “click” – it’s a recipe for beautiful wedding photographs that you will love forever.