The wedding photographer is a very important person at any wedding. It is up to him to capture those special moments and memories to last a lifetime. What do we need to know about our wedding photographer and are we making the right decisions in selecting the photographer?

We decided to approach an experienced wedding planner, Adri De Vos, to share some insights on the importance of the wedding photographer.

How would you best describe your occupation? Is it Wedding Planner/Coordinator or..?

I am a qualified wedding consultant, planner and director offering a comprehensive service as well as general advice and wedding etiquette to wedding couples.

How long have you been doing this?

Ten years. I started Your Wedding Connection 10 Years ago. Highlights include having planned and coordinated two high profile weddings which were featured on Top Billing.

Would you regard coordination between yourself and the wedding photographer as an important element in the successful planning of a wedding?

Coordination between the wedding coordinator and the wedding photographer is a crucial element in the successful planning of a wedding. The wedding coordinator knows the clients and should have a comprehensive and detailed feel of what the wedding would look like, how the itinerary for the day runs as well which detail should be captured.  The photographer should be aware of all detail in order to present the couple with lasting memories capturing absolutely every aspect and atmosphere of the wedding day. Not leaving out anyone or anything!

At what time in the discussions with the soon to be wed couple would your enquire about the thoughts with regards to a photographer?

All aspects and preferred ideas are discussed during the first initial consultation.  This consultation gives the coordinator an exact idea of the couple`s ideas and requirements.

Would you ask whether they have already decided on a specific photographer and would you ask whether they need recommendations?

Wedding Photography is a very personal thing for any couple. One should always ask whether they already have someone in mind. Should they not have someone it is necessary to recommend and suggest photographers to them which will suit their needs, personalities as well as budget considerations.

Should the wedding planner alert the couple to specific risks – including sharing your knowledge of dissatisfaction or a previous bad experience with a photographer?

The couple pays the wedding coordinator for advice as well as the referral of reliable vendors. The coordinator should always mention positive as well as negative aspects, keeping in mind that he/she should remain sensitive to the fact that certain providers may  have improved over a period of time. Keep in mind that the coordinator would not want to risk booking vendors  which are unable to perform.

What would you describe as the best qualities a wedding photographer should have?

Apart from his experience as well as technical skills, he should be focussed, artistic in his or her own style, affordable, reliable and open to communication as well as delivering the product well in time as agreed.

What would you regard as a reasonable time for the wedding pictures as well as storybooks to be delivered?

Wedding pictures should be delivered within four weeks maximum and storybooks within two months.

Which qualities/ bad habits from a photographer would convince you to rather look elsewhere?

Not being punctual, rude towards clients as well as guests, unreliable, too expensive as well as perhaps too affordable…Being known for annoying behaviour during the church ceremony or invading sacred areas.

Would you share advice with the couple on photos you believe should be taken, or photos to be avoided?

You wouldn`t want your wedding photos to look the same as your best friend`s. Therefore book a photographer who has his own individual style reflecting YOUR personalities and not his own.  Each wedding is different and photo`s should not be taken according to a standard recipe. I would advise on pictures to be taken, but a good photographer should not have to be told, which ones to take and which to avoid.

What advice would you give to a couple in search of a wedding photographer?

Ask your wedding coordinator and search for reliable references.  Do not look at the prices, but rather the package as well as the eye and personality behind the lens.  Your Photographer will be your shadow on your wedding day and you should feel 100% comfortable with this person as your wedding pictures will be all that is left from your wedding.

Do you always have a plan B in the event that the weather does not play along?

ALWAYS!! Plan C as well!

What is a reasonable percentage of the wedding budget to be spent on photography?

This depends on what your photographer offers you on your option. However, this aspect is one of the most important aspects, and you should try and get the best photographer for your budget.  You should try not to exceed 20% of your budget.

Do you have to arrange access to certain venues for a photo shoot?

Yes, we do. However it has to be team work consisting of great communication between the photographer and coordinator. The photographer usually knows where he would like to go and take pictures. Should a problem arise, we talk about it and find a solution.

Is it the wedding coordinator`s responsibility to make sure that the photographer has all his relative equipment and that he has a back -up plan should something go wrong?

An experienced wedding coordinator should know whether the photographer contracted is reliable and has back-up. If it is a new comer, it is always advisable to just make sure…

What is the weirdest request you have received from a “to be married” couple?

A bride paying R 25,000 for her wedding gown but requesting her photographer to take pictures the day after the wedding where she is standing in a muddy Vaalriver!

What is your funniest wedding memory?

A very naive and innocent couple with no alcohol allowed at the wedding. Before they entered the reception, the best man came to me and asked for my emergency kit. The groom`s trousers got torn, right down the middle of his behind. I had to fix it, while the best man gave Mr Groom a strong drink and bride standing around not knowing where to from now. During his speech he thanked me for my services and said : Ai, Adri, jyweetditgaan maar broekskeur met ons, maar ons se virjoubaiedankie !”

Any advice that you believe might assist a couple with regards to the wedding photos that is not covered above?

Approach your wedding arrangements as well as booking your photographer with the attitude that you only have this one time to get it perfect. Enjoy and be yourself. The rest will take care of itself.

Adri De Vos

For more comprehensive advice, planning and information contact : Your Wedding Connection, Adri de Vos, 0824661848.