So just how do you go about choosing a wedding photographer? First up let me start by saying that hiring a brilliant wedding photographer is one of the most important investments into your wedding you can make. After all the love you put into your day, it whizzes by in a flash. What are you left with? Your rings and your wedding photographs.
Image by Ed Godden
Try not to cut corners by asking a favour from someone you know, instead enlist a true professional wedding photographer. Find a photographer who has a passion for their craft and has the knowledge to ensure both the pre wedding planning and the wedding day itself goes smoothly. Not only that but a wedding photographer who will also deliver to you images filled with emotion. Images which capture the true spirit and all the special memories you will never ever want to forget. Trust me, as time goes by, those memories fade, but beautiful photographs will not. You can revisit them time and time again, not forgetting future generations will be able to enjoy them too.
Choosing A Wedding Photographer
There are so many incredible wedding photographers here in the UK and indeed worldwide to choose from (you can find awesome wedding photographers in our wedding directory by the way). You really are spoilt for choice. Wedding photographers all have differing styles, service and pricing. But I am here to help you work out just how to go about finding your dream wedding photographer and be over the moon by the end results to boot. Having worked with hundreds of wedding photographers over the past 10 years and featured thousands of real weddings here at WWW (over 3000! and counting) I feel I know a thing or two about what makes great wedding photography. So let me fill you in.
Wedding Photography Budget
First things first, consider your overall wedding budget and then ensure you have a good budget for your photographer. We have spoken about the value of wedding photography before, which is a great read for getting your head around wedding photography investment. It goes without saying, don’t feel pressured into anything you can’t afford. However, consider this, spending quite possibly tens of thousands of pounds on your wedding, only to be left with photographs you just don’t like? Doesn’t sound great does it? Of course you can also never guarantee that spending more will give you a better product/service, but typically more experienced and sought after photographers will charge more for their services. Pricing can vary greatly so be sure to do your research.
For a more expensive wedding photographer you will be investing in their years of knowledge and hands on experience, but also a great service. Many photographers that charge more often shoot less weddings per year. This means more time to dedicate to you and potentially faster image editing times post wedding (always check directly though).
There are also so many amazing photographers that don’t charge a premium but still offer a fantastic service and end photo album for you. What I would say is though if you find an offer that is too good to be true, do question it and really do your homework.
Image by MIKI Studios
Do Your Homework
Scour wedding photographers’ blogs and website portfolios. Be sure to look at images from several of their full wedding galleries for an idea of what you can expect if you book with them. This will give you a great idea of what your final wedding portfolio will look like and a rough idea of the number of images you may receive. Be sure to check out their reviews too, not just on their home page but on other independent sources such as Facebook and Google. If they have won awards, check out those awards and how they are judged. What are their response times like when you enquire? Do you feel pressured in any way? You will usually get a vibe and it’s always a good strategy to go with your gut instinct here.
Wedding Photography Shooting Style
When you look at a wedding photographers portfolio or website, take a look at the content of their images. Are they of wedding day details? Are they of guests having fun? Do they focus on couples’ portraits? Are there group line up shots? You will get a feel then for the type of shooting style they offer.
If you want relaxed wedding photography, look for those fun in-the-moment shots. If you are looking for ace portraits of the two of you, scope out those intimate captures. There are some different style terminology you may read or hear about. Take note though that some wedding photographers may combine these styles too.
Reportage or Documentary Photography
A reportage or documentary photography style is where a wedding photographer captures the wedding as it unfolds rather than formally directing posed shots. A focus on the story itself in it’s true, authentic form.
The traditional wedding photography style is more focused on posed and formal shots. Think set group shots with your guests and time away from the day for your portraits together. It encases a little more structure to your day.
An unobtrusive photography style is all about letting a couple enjoy their day without feeling like they are being photographed. Many great photographers get reviews from couples which mention ‘they didn’t even know they were there‘. Keep an eye out for those reviews if you feel that will suit you. Especially if you feel nervous about having your photo taken.
Image by Benjamin Toms Photography
Photography Edit Style
When it comes to image editing, trends come and go. There have been dabbles with spot colour, super imposed effects, special filters and tilts to name just a few over the years. But if you want wedding photographs to really last the test of time, I recommend you steer clear of any gimmicky wedding photography editing styles. Instead let you and your loved ones be the main content in your wedding photography, you do not need any extras to make your photographic memories any better. That being said, great quality image editing is really crucial to the end result of your wedding photography.
A great wedding photographer will have a defined style, which is consistent and honest to the setting. As you search for wedding photographers you will begin to notice different tones to their images from one another. Take note of the wedding photographers’ work which draws you in. You may then begin to get a feel for the style of wedding photography which excites you the most.
- Fine Art
- Film (rather than digital)
- Black & White (most wedding photographers offer both colour and black and white edit options)
- Drone Shots
- Vertical vs Horizontal Shots (this may be down to social media posting, rather than purely a photographers’ preference)
Image by Sharon Cooper
The Relationship With Your Photographer
It’s really important to build a relationship and rapport with your wedding photographer. You will want to feel relaxed and at ease with them as you will be spending the majority of your wedding day with them by your side. So the best thing to do is get to know them, check out their social media accounts and see what they have to say. Do you have anything in common with them? Do you relate to them as a person?
After you enquire be sure to meet for a drink or have a phone/video call to see if you click. If you are getting on and feel a connection you will feel happier being shot by them. This in turn means better wedding photos and a better wedding day experience. Be sure to ask questions when you meet them. It’s good to have a little list of things that are important to you both, this way you can compare more than one wedding photographer meeting too. Enquire about wedding group photos if you feel this is vital to your wedding album. Or perhaps capturing a certain element element of your day you just don’t want to miss.
Image by Lee Garland Wedding Photography
Do consider an engagement shoot. This really helps you bond with your wedding photographer before your wedding. You also get to have some lovely shots of you both to keep (you can also use them in your wedding stationery). It will not only help you to build confidence in front of the camera. It will also build trust with your wedding photographer for the wedding day itself.
Lighting & Conditions
Wedding photography in uncertain light or weather conditions can prove tricky. Check out images in the wedding photographers’ portfolio in low light, in the evening with lighting and in different weather conditions. This way you will know the kind of photography you will receive no matter the conditions on your wedding day. Some wedding photographers use natural light and others will bring lighting equipment with them. Great wedding photographers will not allow poor weather, rainy wedding days or dark venue rooms to affect their image quality, but will adapt and have the experience to overcome any challenges.
Image by Thyme Lane Photography
To summarise, choosing your wedding photographer can be a really fun process. Don’t forget we feature hundreds of wedding photographers every year in our real wedding features and we also have recommended wedding photographers in our Supplier Love wedding directory too. We just can’t recommend them enough! xo Lou