Here we go, time for part two. If you haven’t read the first two steps yet, off you pop and join us again when you’ve done so!

3. Local Google Searches

At this point you should know have a good idea about style and what you’d like included. The next thing to do is look for photographers that are either local to you or local to where you’re actually tying the knot.

If you’re getting married abroad, unless you happen to have fantastic connections in that country it can often save a lot of headaches to fly a UK based photographer out there. This provides so much more in the way of accountability and also gives you a great opportunity to meet your photographer properly beforehand.

By the way – I do happen to love travelling. You know, in case you were interested…

New Forest Engagement Session EmilyDave Stuart Dudleston Photography 12

Emily & Dave’s Backyard Wedding in Hampshire

If you’re in the UK, look for photographers that are vaguely in the right end of the country to where you’re getting married. The beauty of the UK is that it’s really quite tiny. It doesn’t take a huge amount of effort to drive from one end to the other.

I travel all over the country for weddings and only charge extra for a hotel room or maybe some fuel expenses if it’s absolutely miles away. Even then, I often waive it as a gesture of goodwill and to cut down on paperwork.

If you’re getting married in Wimborne, Dorset – start by searching “wedding photographer in Wimborne.”

Your search result should bring up a nice little map with plenty of listings in there. Jump into the map and make sure to pay particular interest to the Google reviews for each business. Why would you ever want to spend so much money on a service that has no recommendations whatsoever?

As you move around the map, more businesses will begin to appear that weren’t on your original Google search. Prepare to have hundreds of tabs open on your web browser – as you’ll be looking at quite a few websites at this point! As I said before, don’t get too bogged down with the details at this point.

Find the photographers who are in your price range and have the style you’re after. If they do something interesting and extra – awesome! Put them to the top of the pile.

4. Wedding blogs

Morden Hall Wedding Photographer London SimonRuth Stuart Dudleston Photography 10 1

Ruth & Simon’s Wedding at Morden Hall in London

Weddings blogs are an interesting one. While obviously a fantastic resource of information and inspiration, they should never be considered a one-stop-shop. A huge number of very highly regarded wedding photographers choose not to be included on wedding blog directories for a number of reasons and they tend to only feature work that has been directly submitted to them.

They get enough submissions that they don’t need to approach photographers.

The great thing about wedding blogs is that they can give you a fantastic idea of how a full-set looks and how particularly styles tend to work across the entire wedding day. They also provide links back to the photographer to help you on your search.

A few great blogs are Rock My Wedding, Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and Rock N Roll Bride – well, for my personal style anyway!

5. Venue recommendations

Axnoller House Wedding Photographer Dorset Stuart Dudleston Photography HeatherTom 13

Heather & Tom’s Wedding at Axnoller in Dorset

At this point you should hopefully have your wedding venue booked. Congrats! During the booking process for the venue, it’s likely that they referred you to their list of recommended suppliers.

This list tends to be full of wedding vendors that have operated at the venue before and clearly impressed in some way! It might also be full of wedding photographers who have work featured somewhere on the venue’s website.

Again, don’t use this as a one-stop-shop. Venues tend to only include a very limited number of photographers and many very highly regarded photographers aren’t featured on these lists.

Use this as part of your wider search for your best photographer.

6. Do your research

Deans Court Wimborne Wedding Dorset RachelSam Stuart Dudleston Photography 1

Rachel & Sam’s Alternative Wedding at Deans Court in Wimborne, Dorset

Once you’ve done your Googling, asked your besties, read your blogs and checked out the recommended supplier lists – you should have a pretty great bunch of photographers! This is the fun bit – whittling your list down to the best of the best.

This is when you can grab a coffee, put your feet up and have a good scroll through all of their portfolios and pricing brochures.

Be bold but don’t be destructive. Create a separate bookmarks folder for the ones you want to schedule meetings with. Keep the others bubbling in the background in case of diary conflicts or a sudden change of heart. You chose them in the first place – you must still like their work!

Look at the pricing and what it includes but don’t worry too much about the specifics. At the end of the day, these bits don’t really matter. A few freebies are great but this shouldn’t be enough to sway your decision.

That’s why it’s important to do the most important penultimate step before booking…

6.5. Go and meet them

best wedding photographer dorset

Many people think that finding their wedding photographer is just a lot of email tennis and then handing over a chunk of your hard earned cash. It simply isn’t like that. As much as you want to get to know and learn about your wedding photographer – they also want to know about you.

I never take a booking without some sort of meeting. Whether that’s in during a pre-wedding shoot,  in person over a coffee, chatting on Skype or even just a quick phone call. It’s important for us to bestest buds before the big day – and I hope you think the same.

If you’re adventurous, cool and arty – let’s chat about your big day over a coffee or something a little stronger!

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