How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

A few things to think about when choosing your wedding photographer.

Choosing a wedding photographer could well be the biggest decision you make for your wedding, well, after deciding who to marry! And if you’re spending a lot of time, effort and money on a stunning looking wedding and a perfect day, you’re going to want photographs which do justice to all your hard work.
But weddings aren’t just about fancy flowers and grand venues. Weddings are really about people and celebration. They can be fun and emotional at the same time so you’re going to want a photographer that gets you and can empathise with the day and the emotions it creates. Many photographers will tell you that good wedding photos can help you remember how the wedding day felt. This is very true and wedding photography these days goes much deeper than people smiling in front of a vintage car. In fact, the real skill in wedding photography is in the ability of the photographer to very quickly work out what’s going on and anticipate real emotions and reactions. These are the images that I know people will cherish above all else.

choosing a wedding photographer, bride and groom, advice, guidance

So what do you need to consider when choosing a wedding photographer? Here are a few things to think about.

1) Style

Style is a combination of what the images look like and how the photographer works. There are so many styles! So the easiest way to find a style you like isn’t to try to work out the difference between a documentary photographer and a natural light fine art photographer, because these things really mean different things to different people. What you’re looking at first is what the photos actually look like. You’ll find all photographers online so take a look at their poirtfolios, blogs and instagram feeds. You’ll start to notice different looks and you can decide what you like. But the look of the photos isn’t the only thing to consider. It’s the content that really makes an image and editing styles will come and go, so look closely at what the images are telling you and whether or not you can relate to it. Just to complicate things photographers have different ways of achieving their results and this brings us on to point 2.

documantary wedding photography style

2) How the photographer works on the day.

You’ll already have an idea in your head of what your wedding will look like as well as the atmosphere you would like to create. It’s important that your photographer fits with this. Some photographers will pose things and ask you to re-create moments from the wedding. Others will be quite strict in not doing any of this and will insist on no input at all from the photographer. But most photographers will offer a combination of posed and un-posed images. In fact there are some photographers who will refuse to do certain things if it’s not within their ‘style’. So It’s important to decide what you want and ask your photographer how they work and how flexible they are.

wedding photographer styles, reportage, portrait

3) The person

Alongside the look of the photographs, you might also want to consider the personality of your photographer. They will play an important part in your wedding and will be there all day, so you’ll want someone you can get along with! Talking on the phone or meeting your photographer in person is a good way to decide if you’ll be comfortable working with them.

photographer styles, pricing, ways of working,

4) Price

Everyone has a budget. As it is generally in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to wedding photography. This is a general rule but of course, there are exceptions. I’m not saying that wedding photography has to be expensive, just near the top of your priority list. To put it into context think about the money you might be spending on flowers. Flowers will look great at the time, but that’s about it. Many guests won’t even notice them in terms of the time it’s taken you to choose them and the money you’ve spent. They will dry up and spoil within a few days. But the photography will last for generations. As a matter of interest, a couple of studies last year put the average price of wedding photography in the UK between £1450 and £2000 for digital coverage with prices rising as high as £6000 for digital coverage only.

wedding photography pricing

Some pitfalls to beware of and general advice

Here’s the thing. And the reason I wrote this article. Sadly I hear of people every single week who are disappointed with their wedding photographs or with the way their photographer conducted themselves on the wedding day. I hear so many horror stories and I’m sure you do too. It’s not necessarily because the photographer was bad, but more that their photography style didn’t really fit well with the wedding. As with any industry, there are ‘cowboys’ to watch out for so do your homework before making any decisions. I shot 3 weddings last year where the bride or groom has contacted me within a couple of weeks of the wedding to ask about my availability. Their photographer either canceled the booking or just didn’t respond to any contact. Here are a few things to watch out for.

  1. Time – Many photographers offer packages based on time of coverage. Quite often this is never enough and you’ll end up having to upgrade or pay for more time once you’ve finalised your wedding timeline. Or even worse, have to pay extra on the day for the photographer to stay to cover your first dance.
  2. Something for nothing – don’t get sucked in by offers of free shoots, albums or prints, etc. It really is all about the quality of the photographs of your wedding, not the amount of extras you can get.
  3. Look carefully at portfolios. Some photographers are displaying plenty of images from styled shoots (set up with models) and training courses. These aren’t real couples in a real wedding situation. There’s no guarantee your photos will look anything like these
  4. Not necessarily a pitfall, but certainly a reason to do your homework. Some venues and planners will push certain photographers and other suppliers. These are often advertised as ‘recommended suppliers’ In some cases this is a form of advertising where vendors, including photographers, will pay the venue to be on the ‘recommended supplier list’ or pay a commission. This isn’t true in all cases, just a point to note. Also, you are the only person who can decide if a photographer might be a good fit for your wedding, not your venue.
  5. Read testimonials and Google reviews, they are the closest thing to a guarantee of quality you can get.
  6. Check the small print. Some photographers cap their coverage with a set number of hours. This might be less than you need and you’ll end up paying more in the long run.
  7. If you’re getting married in the winter make sure your photographer knows how to use lighting or can cope well with low light. Winter weddings are far more difficult to photograph than summer weddings.
  8. The best wedding photographers can shoot great images anywhere. So it’s not important that your photographer has shot at the venue before. Their style and whether or not they and their photography will click with you as a couple and the day you’ve planned are far more important things to consider.
  9. Make sure that the photographer you book is going to take the photos and not send someone else out to do it on their behalf. Again, you may not get the quality you’ve been shown.

In summary, this is a really important decision to make, don’t leave it to chance. I hope this article will help you in your search for a wedding photographer.

Thanks for reading!


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