What to consider when hiring a Wedding Photographer in France.
So you have decided to have a destination wedding in France and frankly, who can blame you? The pace of life, the countryside, rolling hills and vineyards, fairy tale chateau, incredible beaches, the food, the wine and of course Paris, one of the most romantic cities on earth. Once your French wedding venue and/or wedding planner in France is booked, the next big thing on your to-do list could be to find THE dress or if music is important to you then maybe you are in search of the perfect band… but we would suggest that if your wedding photography is a high priority then you need to be booking a France wedding photographer as soon as you have a date and a wedding venue in France.
Some would say your wedding photographer is one of the most important decisions you will make regarding your destination wedding… it’s the one tangible thing you are left with afterwards that will help you to relive the day again and again (apart from your new husband/wife). Ultimately it depends on your priorities as a couple, and of course, your budget.
Check out our Top 10 Destination Wedding Photographers in France
Local French Photographer vs Destination Wedding Photographer
Your first decision is really whether to look for a local photographer in France or whether to bring someone out with you. There are pros and cons for each… the local French wedding photographer will probably speak French, they probably won’t charge any additional expenses for travel if they live nearby, they may have a good knowledge of the local area and they may have photographed a wedding at your French wedding venue before.
On the flip side they may speak only limited English making communication tricky, you could lose out if the exchange rate changes dramatically and they may be so used to working at your venue that they simply go into auto-pilot.
A destination wedding photographer won’t need to see the venue beforehand as they are used to travelling wherever they need to be and working in new locations (that said, they will also usually arrive at least one full day before the wedding so may visit the venue then), they probably speak your language and chances are if you are considering this option it’s because you already love their work and style of wedding photography.
Do destination wedding photographers have travel fees?
Of course, they may not know the local area, and potentially don’t speak French and there will almost certainly be expenses to pay on top of the wedding photography in France package. The extras are usually: return flights, transfers/car hire and accommodation plus sometimes a per day charge to cover meals. However, it’s worth noting that some destination wedding photographers will quote an all-inclusive package and others may negotiate if your wedding in France is somewhere they really want to shoot. Which leads nicely on to…
How much should I spend on a Destination Wedding Photographer?
Wedding photography prices can vary greatly. Expensive doesn’t always guarantee quality and cheaper doesn’t always mean inexperienced – that said, you will generally pay more for an established, well-regarded and experienced destination wedding photographer France. The more weddings a photographer has done the better equipped they will be to deal with anything a wedding day throws at them! They will be well prepared with backup gear, fully insured, calm under pressure, able to adapt and have the ability to anticipate moments ahead of time. Destination wedding photography comes naturally to them after years of shooting weddings and this is often what you are paying for. A safe pair of hands.
Always be sure to spend the most you can afford on your destination wedding photographer.
Our advice would always be to spend the most you can afford on your wedding photography in France. And whilst you might start out with a figure in mind, be prepared to spend more if you find the perfect wedding photographer. Many brides have a maximum budget in mind for their dress but then find THE ONE and the entire destination wedding budget gets blown out of the water! On the other end of the scale we have had couples spend over 25% of their entire French wedding budget on photography and then cut back elsewhere. It’s all about priorities.
Ask your wedding photographer about their photographic style?
Choose a photographer whose work you LOVE. It’s really that simple.
Does their wedding photography really stand out? Have you lost many a lunch hour pouring over a particular wedding photographer’s blog? Are you looking at the wedding photography and not just the actual wedding in the shots? Are the images free from ‘fads’ (overly strong editing or cheesy gimmicks that will mean your photos look dated even before your first anniversary rolls around!)? Can you imagine yourselves and your friends/family in the type of shots you see on their website?
There are so many words banded around to describe the various styles of wedding photography in France… reportage/documentary/ photojournalistic (nothing set up, the photographer shoots what is going on around them); traditional/classic/timeless (a bit like your parents’ wedding photos! – directed, more formal); fine art photography (romantic, creative, each photograph is intended to be a work of art); vintage photography (often to do with the editing style, made to look like old photographs with warm tones); alternative/quirky (creative and fun, non-traditional weddings on the whole); editorial (modern, fashion-inspired, similar to magazine style shots).
How to find the right destination wedding photography style?
A good starting point for your search is right here on French Wedding Style of course! Look around at photographers Real Weddings in France and other destination wedding blogs that fit the style of wedding you are having, do a Google image search, Google web search ‘your venue name wedding photography’ and even ask the venue for a list of recommended wedding photographers (although this is not always reliable as some wedding venues in France charge suppliers to be on there).
Use Social Media
Last but not least get on Instagram (search those hashtags!) and Pinterest. Top tip: Once you have chosen a wedding photographer for your destination wedding in France, don’t send them a board filled with ‘must have’ shots that you love, taken by other photographers – we are delicate flowers and don’t like to be asked to ‘emulate’ someone else’s work. Trust your wedding photographer to get the best shots on the day!
Let’s face it – it’s a pretty big decision and a big investment. But you are going to be looking at your destination wedding photos in France for years to come, maybe passing them on to your children and even grandchildren… like all those treasured old faded photographs you probably have somewhere of your parents or your grandparents’ wedding day. It is so important that you LOVE them and as we said earlier, we believe it is worth spending as much as you can to get amazing wedding photographs. You have one day, one chance to get it right.
What Should You Look for in Your Destination Wedding Photographer’s Personality?
Last but certainly not least as this is a biggie we think. And it goes without saying really, but your destination wedding photographer is going to be with you for your entire destination wedding day. You are going to want that person to be friendly and calm, not a control freak who bosses your guests around. It really will make it that much more relaxed and fun (and result in better photos) if you get on like, well… friends! You need to have some sort of connection, get on easily with them and most importantly you need to be on the same wavelength as far as your vision for the wedding and the photography goes.
You should be able to get a sense of who they are and what they are like initially from their website, Facebook page and maybe even Instagram so do a little stalking! Once you have made contact (and if they are available) most photographers will offer a Skype session, maybe a meet-up if you live nearby or a good old-fashioned chat on the phone.
Additional Questions you should ask your wedding Photographer
What is your availability?
Ensure the photographer is available on your chosen wedding date in France. Verify their commitment to your specific date to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Are you the primary photographer, will you have an assistant?
Determine if the photographer will be the primary shooter or if they will have an assistant. This helps you understand who will be responsible for capturing your wedding moments.
What is your experience shooting Destination Weddings in France?
Inquire about their experience shooting destination weddings in France. Familiarity with the region can be advantageous for knowing ideal shooting locations and navigating logistical challenges.
Have you shot a wedding at our venue before?
If your wedding is at a specific venue in France, ask if they have previously shot a wedding there. Venue familiarity can lead to more creative and well-planned photography.
Have you worked with any of our other French wedding suppliers before?
Check if they have worked with any of your other French wedding suppliers, such as planners or videographers. Collaboration experience can facilitate smoother coordination on your big day.
What is included in your package?
Review what is included in their standard photography package. Inquire about any add-ons available in more comprehensive packages to assess if they meet your needs.
How many hours are included in each package? How much do extra hours cost?
Determine the number of hours included in each package. Clarify the cost of additional hours, especially if your destination wedding in France involves extended celebrations.
Do you offer touch-up revisions? Is there an additional charge for them?
Ask about post-processing services, such as retouching and color adjustments. Inquire if these services are included in the package or if there are extra charges.
When will we receive the contract?
Get a timeframe for receiving the contract. Knowing when to expect the formal agreement helps with your planning timeline.
Do you accept payments in instalments?
Discuss payment options and whether they accept instalments. Understanding the payment schedule and methods can help you budget effectively.
What is the backup plan if you are unable to shoot my wedding for an unexpected reason?
Inquire about their contingency plan in case the photographer is unable to cover your wedding due to unexpected circumstances. Knowing there’s a backup plan offers peace of mind.
Can we request a list of specific shots we would like?
Express your desire to request specific shots or moments you want to be captured. Effective communication ensures your unique preferences are considered.
They should put you at ease, answer any questions you have and above all be friendly and ENTHUSIASTIC. If the wedding photographer loves what they do it will be obvious when you talk to them and you’ll see it in their work!