By Louise Baltruschat Hollis
Looking for an awesome photographer? Chances are so are thousands of other engaged couples right now. But how do you go about choosing a wedding photographer? And secure your dream photo pro for your wedding date?
Well, I am here with my top tips on just how to find a photographer and how to choose your perfect photographer within your ideal budget. Hooray!
Image by Ed Godden
First up, hiring a brilliant wedding photographer is one of the most important investments in 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. This is why I have created this must-have guide to choosing your photographer.
I know I thing or two about fantastic photography. Trust me, I’ve published in excess of 3500 real weddings, worked with hundreds if not thousands of photographers over 12+ years and shared over 200K wedding images in my time as a wedding editor.
Photo: Amy Faith Photography
Try not to cut corners by asking a favour from someone you know, instead enlist a true professional 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 that capture the true spirit and all the special memories you will never ever want to forget. As time goes by, those memories fade, but beautiful wedding photographs will not.
You can revisit your photos time and time again, not forgetting future generations will be able to enjoy them too.
If you skimp on your photographer or ask someone not specialised in weddings to shoot your day. You may well risk the image quality from an event, you simply can’t redo it at a later date.
Photo: Barbara K Photography
There are so many incredible wedding photographers here in the UK and indeed worldwide to choose from. You really are spoilt for choice.
Wedding photographers all have different styles, services 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.
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. If you are unsure about the cost of a wedding photographer, expect to pay between £800-£3000 for your photography.
Pricing can of course vary, but if you budget between these price points, it’s likely you’ll be able to source great wedding photos.
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.
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 fewer 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. If you find an offer that is too good to be true, do question it.
Image by MIKI Studios
There are many ways to find a great wedding photographer. Here are some places to search:
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.
When you look at a wedding photographer’s portfolio or website, take a look at the content of their images. Are they of wedding day details? Are they guests having fun? Do they focus on couples’ portraits? Is there group lineup shots? You will then get a feel 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 styles and terminology you may read or hear about. Take note though that some wedding photographers may combine these styles too.
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 its 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 that mention that 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
When it comes to image editing, trends come and go. There has been spot colour, superimposed 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, 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 photographer will have a defined style, which is consistent and honest with the setting. As you search for wedding photographers you will begin to notice different tones in their images. 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.
Read more about different wedding photography styles here.
Image by Sharon Cooper
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
Be sure to check out a photographer’s reviews, not just on their home page but on other independent sources such as Facebook and Google. See if their reviews are recent, from weddings (rather than just other events) and if they seem honest.
If a photographer has won wedding awards, check out those awards and how they are judged. Awards are unfortunately not always as they seem.
Photo: Fiona Kelly Photography
Once you have found some great photographers, who have great reviews and whose images you love. Make a shortlist!
Create a spreadsheet or list and write down their details. For example, include the following sections:
Photo: Ginger Beard Weddings
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 your photographer 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?
Then reach out to your photographer shortlist with their preferred contact method. Some photographers dislike being contacted on social media for example. Some photographers may prefer an email or phone call. You may be replied to quicker if you use their preferred approach.
I’d recommend contacting no more than 5 wedding photographers. Unless you are looking for their pricing as it’s not displayed publically and you need to enquire for their prices. This will avoid unnecessary overwhelm with multiple messages and options to manage. Keep things simple for you at all times!
After you enquire, if your photographer seems like a good fit and is in your budget, be sure to meet in person 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. Try not to meet too many wedding photographers, maybe 3 tops. Unless you just don’t feel like any you have met are a good fit of course!
Think about these elements after your meeting:
Photo: Stewart Girvan
Be sure to ask a wedding photographer 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 of your day you just don’t want to miss is a top priority?
You will usually get a vibe and it’s always a good strategy to go with your gut instinct here.
Image by Lee Garland Wedding Photography
Do consider an engagement shoot. This really helps you bond with your 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.
Photo: Tim Stephenson Photography
To summarise, choosing your wedding photographer can be a really fun process. Now you know its key to get it right as well as the steps you need to take to find yours. Happy searching!
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