As a Sunshine Coast celebrant and having been in the industry for a number of years, I am privy to a wide range of feedback from couples who have just been married.

Fortunately, the majority of couples have the most amazing experience and can’t praise their suppliers highly enough, however there are a few who have their day soured by receiving poor quality wedding photos or in some cases, not getting any photos at all!   Disaster!

Money is tight these days, weddings can be expensive and there are so many photographers to choose from, so it is a bit daunting trying to find an experienced, trust worthy, creative, fun to hang with and affordable professional wedding photographer.  So how to do you make sure that doesn’t happen to you?

First, and most importantly, actually choose a professional photographer!  Yes, Uncle Frank has a nice camera, or Sally from mothers group has taken a couple of nice snaps of her kids but do they REALLY know enough about how to capture the most important day of your life?   I have actually witnessed a ‘friend with a nice camera’ turn up to photograph a wedding and as I was part way through the ceremony I noticed them using a phone to capture the photos!  Their one and only camera battery hadn’t been charged, so the phone was the back up!   Scary!  The bride was NOT happy!

Now the hard part. There are hundreds of wedding photographers servicing the Sunshine Coast.  Some are crazy expensive, most are reasonable and some are very cheap.  So how do you choose the right one for you?

Taste, personality and budget!

Taste!   Do you actually like their work?   This is critical – why buy something you don’t like!  All photographers have a personal style.  So look closely at their work online.   Do you feel any emotion from the photographs, do they appeal to you? Can the photographer vary their style or are all the photos exactly the same.   Are their lots of different weddings or engagement shoots on their website?   If there are, then this shows they have extensive experience and depth to their work.

Personality!  This may seem weird but you will be working closely with this person ALL DAY!  So look for someone who you feel comfortable with and who you feel you could hang out with out with.  The photographer has the awesome job of spending more time with the bride on the wedding day than the groom!   Because they are right there during all those stressful times, they can either help make the day fun and stress free, or create tension and stress.

Budget!  Notice I didn’t put budget first.  This is because you are trying to find someone to take on a massive responsibility of who you can trust to deliver those priceless and beautiful wedding photographs of the two of you, and even more importantly, of your family and friends.   These photographs will be passed down through the generations so they are important.  Yes, there are some good budget wedding photographers, but many low cost wedding photographers are either inexperienced, not qualified (yes, you actually can be qualified), don’t have the back up equipment or any insurance.  At the other end are the mega expensive photographers.  Some of these are absolutely amazing and extremely skilled photographers that are in high demand and can command a higher fee.  But for some, you are just paying for their ego or supporting their lifestyle.  In the middle are the average priced photographers who range from $2500 up to $5000.   Please don’t just look at price.  Find out what is included in the package so you can honestly compare your bang for buck.   Have a think about what you want covered.  Do you want the whole day from dawn till midnight or just a couple of hours coverage.     A typical coverage that will capture all the important aspects of the day is around 6-8 hours, but this will depend on how you have timed the ceremony etc.    So carefully consider the timing of your day and review your whole wedding budget and ensure you allocate a reasonable amount for the photography side of things.

What do I do now?   Research!

This is a shameless plug, but to get the ball rolling you can start with Shae Estella photography.  Here is the link.

As a celebrant I have worked with Shae for a number of years and have watched her career as a professional photographer grow rapidly.  She has been fortunate enough to be chosen to photograph many overseas weddings and she is always zipping around the country providing amazing photographs to her very happy couples.  Despite her success and popularity, Shae is still reasonably priced as she is more passionate about the photography than the money side of things.

I will add some more photographers to this post as I witness their work and can then honestly recommend them.