Finding the Best Wedding Photographer for You
What to look for in a wedding photographer?
My best friend is getting married, and as one of her bridesmaids I'm helping to plan her wedding day. She recently asked me how to choose a good wedding photographer and what they should be looking for. It got me thinking about what makes a good wedding photographer, the qualities that I strive for as a wedding photographer and what I would subsequently want to look for in one myself. So here are my top tips to consider when choosing the right wedding photographer for you...
Connection - It’s really important to meet with your wedding photographer either in person or via video call before you decide to hire them. Rapport, trust and a great connection is imperative. You’re entrusting this person with documenting what will be one of the biggest (and busiest!) days of your life. You need to have full confidence that your wedding photographer is on the same page as you both, understands your expectations and on the day you’ll feel comfortable to leave them to immerse themselves and capture all of your precious wedding moments.
Character - Now this one slightly refers back to the first point: 'connection'. On meeting your wedding photographer for the first time, ask yourselves, does their character and personality reflect ours and what we want on our wedding day? For example, some wedding photographers have big personalities and if your wedding party is fun loving and a bit crazy, they could be perfect! However, if your families are quiet and reserved, this may not be the best wedding photographer for your day. It’s all about getting a good match for you. Ideally find a wedding photographer who strikes a fine balance between being fun and confident in the right circumstances, but also has the ability to adapt and melt into the background when necessary. This would be an ideal candidate for all situations, and the variety of personalities who will be celebrating your wedding day with you.
Style - There are a variety of different wedding photography styles and it's important to check out your potential photographer's galleries to see if their photography style suits your taste and vision for your wedding day. Here I'll focus on two main styles of wedding photography that are most often used.
Documentary Wedding Photography - Also referred to as reportage wedding photography and photojournalistic wedding photography, this technique is currently the most widely used of all wedding photography styles. Yet this can be somewhat of an umbrella term, and approaches to this style can differ greatly. Some photographers prefer to be non-intrusive and take natural candid images 'in the moment', using natural lighting. Other documentary wedding photographers lean towards a more artistic style of wedding photography, which may involve a certain degree of 'setting up' and posing to achieve their vision. Research your wedding photographers style to see if they are right for you - if you absolutely hate posing for photos, then you're going to feel most comfortable with a natural, candid wedding photographer who you'll probably forget is even there. But if you and your partner love taking selfies and creating great photos together, then an artistic wedding photographer would be perfect for your big day.
Traditional Wedding Photography - This style has been used for decades to capture group photos of the most significant people at your wedding, such as close family, bridesmaids, groomsmen and sometimes a photo of the entire congregation, if space and time allows. A traditional wedding photographer will also capture or set up certain key shots, like the toasts, cutting the wedding cake and the first dance. As modern weddings have tended to move away from this more traditional approach to the day, many photographers have adapted their traditional style to also incorporate more candid wedding photos, whilst still spending a little time on traditional key shots.
Timings - I've heard stories of photographers taking up quite a bit of the wedding day setting up complicated group shots and taking the newlyweds away from their celebrations for extended periods of time for photos; leaving guests hanging around awkwardly or wondering where the couple have disappeared to. Your wedding day is all about celebrating with your loved ones and shouldn't be dominated by an over enthusiastic photographer trying to get their perfect shot. So it's good to establish from the outset if a photographer's style incorporates a lot of 'set up' or posed shots and how long they would need to take those photos. This will help you to figure out if the photographers preferred timings will fit into your planned timings for the wedding day, so your day will run smoothly and on schedule. Remember, a good wedding photographer can work quickly and within set timescales.
Budget - If money is tight, you may be tempted to economise on the photography budget or even ask a friend or relative to take photos - this could be a mistake. A cheap wedding photographer will rarely turn out to be the best wedding photographer. When it comes to photography, you really do get what you pay for. Once the flowers have wilted and the dress has been stored, your wedding photos will be the only way you'll have to reconnect and revisit your precious day. Budget cuts can always be made in areas that don't serve as lasting mementos of your wedding. It really is worth hiring an experienced professional photographer - you won't regret it, especially in years to come. A good way of saving money is to find a photographer that offers your wedding photos on a fully licensed usb stick. Wedding albums can get expensive when done through a photographer, making your own album online is a much cheaper option.
I hope these tips will be useful in finding the best wedding photographer for you. I aim to provide the best possible service for couples, always keeping in mind this advice.
If you're interested in me shooting your wedding photography, please get in touch and say hello, using the 'Contact Me' page.