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Your ultimate guide to wedding photography

Text: Sarah Z Wexler; Photography: Claire Nicola King

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Your flowers won’t last forever. Your cake? Devoured by night’s end. But your photos will live on for generations, so make the splurge (typically 15% of your wedding budget) totally worth it.

Book the right photographer

See word-of-mouth recommendations, meet potentials in person, and grill ’em a little. Ask these four questions to weed out the duds.

1 “Can I see weddings that look like mine?”

If you’re marrying in a hotel in winter and she’s showing you only photos of rustic outdoor parties in summer, move on.

2 “How many weddings do you shoot in a year?”

A wedding photographer’s job is to tell the story of the happiest day of your life eloquently and memorably. It’s not the easiest gig, and those stories can get formulaic if she’s telling more than 30 of them a year.

3 “Why do you love shooting weddings?”

You’ll know right away if she’s genuinely jazzed. If she appears to be more interested in collecting a pay cheque than in capturing the particular magic of your day? Fail.

4 “Do I like you?”

OK, don’t ask that out loud! But think about it: since you’ll deal with her on a stressful day, she’d better be someone you want to hang out with. If she seems high maintenance, stubborn or flaky – see ya.

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5 Ways to cut costs

1 Get married off-peak

Pick a seasonal no-man’s-land, like June instead of March, or September instead of December.

2 Book her for fewer hours

Weight the day towards the beginning (cut the cake early, do your first dance after mains have been served, but before dessert), so that you can afford to pay your photographer for less hours – but still ensure she’ll capture key moments. Besides, photos can go south later on in the night.

3 Wait for deliverables

Delay buying prints until your first anniversary so you have more time to budget for them.

4 Large party? Rent a photo booth

If you have 250-plus guests and need more photo coverage, a photo booth is often cheaper than paying your photographer to hire a second shooter. Intrigued? Click here to find out more about booking a photo booth for your big day.

5 Nab a cancelled date

Most photographers book a year in advance. If you haven’t set your date yet, ask your dream photographer if she’s had any cancellations. Odds are she’d rather give you the spot at a discount than lose the day.

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Tell her who’s who

To do a stellar job, your photographer needs to know a few things before game day. Below, some FYIs.

1 “These are the important players”

Send a well-edited list of must-have shots, and flag VIPs (like Grandpa, who just got out of hospital, or your BFF who flew in from Europe).

2 “My bro’s new girlfriend isn’t here to stay”

Have your photographer snap some family shots without her, or placed at the end of a group of people, so she can easily be edited out post-breakup.

3 “I’m a blinker”

A heads-up can help her make you look your best. Just don’t go overboard with the vanity.

 4 “This is my bossiest friend”

Your photographer will rely on this person to wrangle big group shots. There’s usually one type-A bridesmaid who’s totally helpful.

 5 “At the end of the night, I just want to have fun”

That’s code for “Don’t ask my maid of honour to fix my updo mid dance party.” Alernatively, your photographer can alert you when it’s time for a touch-up. Just ask!

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 And finally, pictures you should insist on your photographer capturing

  • You getting ready with Mom and Dad
  • The first time your man sees you as you walk down the aisle
  • Exchanging of rings and vows
  • Confetti raining down on you and your new husband
  • The big guest group shot

What are your top tips for finding a wedding photographer? Tweet us at @GLAMOUR_sa with #GLAMWedding to share!

Sarah Browning, 24, is the managing editor of GLAMOUR. She moved to SA from London three years ago and lives in Cape Town. In this #GLAMWedding Wedding Blog, Sarah’s sharing her wedding-planning journey with you. Join the conversation! Tweet your thoughts to Sarah via @GLAMOUR_sa using #GLAMWeddingTo view more weddings photographed by Claire Nicola King, visit clairenicola.com.

Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahmbrowning

Find out more about the #GLAMWedding blog here!

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