Wedding photographers – how to choose one?
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
We are often asked – can you recommend a wedding photographer? Of course we can, we’d be delighted to. We do have our favourites! But having worked with the lovely Hannah Timm on a recent wedding, we decided to ask her advice on choosing a wedding photographer for your all important day.
A warm welcome to our blog Hannah! Thank you for joining us. Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself! Aw thank you! Delighted to be here. So I’m Hannah, I live in beautiful Cornwall with my husband and three children, and for the last 15 years, I’ve been a wedding and family photographer. And it really is the best job in the world!!
Originally from East London, I’ve lived in Brighton, South Wales, Bristol and even Taiwan for a few years. But sunny Cornwall is now home – the perfect location for my love of being outdoors by the sea or in the countryside, and it’s these sorts of places that fire my creativity and help me produce some of my best work, I think. So how did you get into the wedding industry? I studied Editorial Photography at university and on completion, I went straight into work managing a high street portrait studio, which was great for experience, but it wasn’t long before I felt the pull of a more creative freelance life.
So I started out by mainly shooting weddings for friends and family, and interest in my business grew surprisingly quickly, as my style of work seemed to really appeal to people. What is your favourite part about being a wedding photographer? Well, it really is a privilege to be asked to capture those special moments between two people in love. It’s something I never take lightly or for granted at all – I always feel rather honoured that a couple has decided to trust me with such a big responsibility. And no two couples and no two weddings are ever the same, and that’s a big attraction to me; I love new things and really thrive on fresh challenges!
You play a huge part in many people’s very special day, how do you prepare with the couple to make sure it’s perfect? Good question! So I REALLY like to have a meeting ahead of booking, to establish that connection early on and check we're on the same page. And should a couple decide to proceed, a lovely way to lay the foundations for the big day is to have an engagement shoot, because it’s a relaxed environment in which I can get to know my couple better (and they me!), work out what makes them tick and see how they relate to one another. But if that’s not possible, I work on simply ensuring there is really good communication with my couple, so I can be as prepared as possible and don’t miss a thing on the day. So it’s useful for me to know as much as I can about the order of the day, who the important people are, what will be happening where – and I’ll be thinking about what the light will be like and checking there’s enough time to fit everything in, and coming up with ideas to get the best shots possible.
What are your favourite types of ceremony to be at? And do you have any favourite wedding venues in Cornwall? My favourite shoots are those on which I can take my clients outdoors and simply let them be themselves. Being outdoors has such a relaxing effect on people that they often forget they are being photographed - it definitely leads to far more natural, and successful, photographs. So I love the chance to photograph at the beach, in a forest, at a festival - even marquee weddings can be such great fun. But basically I really enjoy anything relaxed and informal. That doesn’t mean I don’t love a venue – and here in Cornwall we have some really cracking ones. Some of my recent favourites include the Polurrian which is a stunning but chilled coastal hotel on the Lizard, The Cowshed at Freathy which is a great spot for a rustic style elopement, and also Frieda & The Moon - a totally dreamy hideaway glamping retreat!
Where is the most unusual place you have ever shot a wedding? Probably Carnglaze Caverns – because it’s an unusual, magical and completely unique venue! The Caverns are a former slate mine – and there are four venues where you can tie the knot but the most interesting one for photography is the crystal clear subterranean lake which couples can get married besides. It’s very dark and usually lit by candles, but I really like that, as it requires a bit more creativity than usual!
So what questions should couples ask when choosing their wedding photographer?
Firstly I would say meet your photographer in person or over zoom to chat through your plans. Once you’ve confirmed their availability, check what packages they offer – for example, I have quite a few options to give couples maximum flexibility. Ask how many photos you should expect to receive for that price, and what the timeframe is for receiving your photos. You might want to know a bit more about the photographer’s preferred style and what their editing process is. Really importantly, ask what happens if you need to reschedule or if the photographer is sick on the day. And check they have insurance *just in case*… And what sort of budget should couples expect to set themselves when it comes to their photography? That’s an interesting question! There is a guide that you should expect to spend around 10% of your total wedding budget on your photographer – but of course you may not want to spend that much. So if you want a really good photographer you might need to compromise – perhaps by having a really professional and high quality photographer for half a day, instead of an less experienced and average photographer for a whole day. And while this means you’ll get less coverage, you’ll be amazed what can be achieved in a few hours!
We meet a lot of couples who say they don’t like being photographed. Have you any words of wisdom for them? Don’t stress - 99% of my clients say they don’t like being photographed - and I understand this completely! That’s why I am behind the camera lens rather than in front of it ☺ This is where finding a photographer you connect with and who specialises in a natural style of photography is so important. I always go to great lengths to make my couples feel relaxed and at ease – I am usually chatting away, providing only the occasional prompt of what to do, perhaps finding something to make you laugh, but the idea is to distract you from the camera and any feelings of self-consciousness. All you need to do is be yourselves, and a great photographer will do the rest! That’s good to hear! So what’s 2022 looking like for you and what are you looking forward to?
It’s looking really good, thanks! The diary is looking nice and full with weddings, which is really exciting, and I’m looking forward to shooting at some great venues, exploring more of Cornwall, meeting new people and doing more of what I love!
Awesome info and advice from Hannah at Hannah Timm Photography there – one of the nicest people you’ll meet too! ☺