How to find the right wedding photographer for you will take a little work on your part. If you are looking for guidance on finding the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding I hope you find this guide super useful and hopefully save you some precious time as well as making it a fun experience. If you read this guide you will find the best photographer for you in no time, although it might take you to the end of this page to realise it’s me. (Warning, there are subliminal messages contained in this text)
I guess at this point you have been to a few wedding fairs, had a Google and a nose on Instagram and you don’t seem any closer to finding the wedding photographer for you? There are so many out there it’s making your head spin!! You might even be asking the question When To Book Your Wedding Photographer.
The last thing you want is to be disappointed with the photographs you receive from your wedding photographer. You have spent a lot of money and time on planning your wedding so you want the photographer that fits you best. Receiving your photographs after the wedding is a little late to realise your wedding photographers style really wasn’t what you had in mind when you started to look for the best wedding photographer for your wedding.
How to find the right wedding photographer for you is not as easy as choosing your car, wedding dress or your cake. There a lot of factors to take into consideration. You might have the most amazing wedding photographer in the world who takes the most jaw-dropping images only to find on the wedding day he/she was arrogant and rude to you and the guests 🙁 So to save you from this terrible fate I have concocted a sure-fire way for you to find the perfect wedding photographer for you! Before you start, have you found and booked your wedding venue? You will need a solid date if you want to book a wedding photographer. If you are still looking, check out my guide on How To Choose A Wedding Venue.
Find Your Style
Ok, so it’s time to find what floats your boat photography-wise. I suggest if you have not done so already, you need to research until your fingers bleed. Instagram and Pinterest are two excellent visual platforms. Creating a Pinterest board is a great idea, you can create a board for all of your other wedding stuff too, like your wedding dress, cake, shoes, wedding car…….
So when your fingers have recovered you should have a good idea of what style of wedding photography you want for your wedding. Although most wedding photographers use a mixture, the main styles are:
A documentary wedding photographer treats your wedding like a live event. They have fast reactions, can anticipate moments before they occur and are skilled at creating a beautiful story of your day. Documentary wedding photographers create images from natural moments without directing or controlling the situation. The better ones are also able to factor in amazing light and detail too. They have an ability to blend into the surroundings and stay low key throughout the day. The purists don’t do Formal group shots or couple portraits so you need to take this into consideration if you like this style. Although not to worry as there are a lot of photographers out there (Including me) who are predominantly this style but will include family group shots and very relaxed portraits.
Creatives are good at creating scenes, and they use the best light and surroundings to make perfect wedding images. They will tweak the day ever so slightly, gently directing images while generally sticking to a relaxed/documentary style. They excel at creating amazing well-lit portraits using the best locations/backgrounds available at the time. They are also great at using details to make stunning images of all your pretty stuff.
Fine Art photography is a hard one to pin down as it’s a hybrid of other styles, although the processing of the photographs is softer and lighter than other styles. The emphasis is on creating a finer aesthetic in the images with the photographer focussing on the details of the day. Which sounds a little like traditional but with more creative input. Think light and airy, with more romantic gentler images.
This is the style that most people think of when they think of wedding photography. There will be a lot of top-down direction during the day, the photographer will do a much longer group shot list and probably take more time creating portraits of the two of you too. What was once the main style of wedding photography has given way to the more modern Documentary/creative approach.
Whichever style of wedding photography you prefer, it’s important you have a fun day, here are 15 Top Tips For A Relaxed Wedding Day.
Most wedding photographers offer a mixture of these styles to a more or lesser degree. I consider myself a documentary/relaxed wedding photographer with a bit of creativity. Couples who book me want images that take them back to that feeling in the photograph and want a true reflection of their wedding with real moments from the day. They want to forget about the photographer and just get on with having a fantastic time with no interruption. I have developed a skill in capturing natural moments that are well lit and capture bags of emotion.
A lot of my clients have said they can really relive the moment and remember how they felt when they look at an image (which is the ultimate compliment for me). I also love creating relaxed portraits of my couples by discovering the best locations and available light, with a very relaxed non-posing style. I also like to use flash when the weather isn’t so hot, having mastered flash photography it’s easy to create great images in poor light. This is probably the first time you have booked a professional wedding photographer, and you might be a little anxious about being photographed, here’s a guide on How To Look Great in Your Wedding Photos.
Like any service, you get what you pay for with wedding photography. Now don’t get me wrong, there a lot of ace photographers out there who don’t charge enough, so you might get lucky if you do lots of research. Your budget for photography is also going to depend on how much you value your photography, and I am guessing a lot if you are reading this. So your budget is going to determine who will end up on your shortlist. Most couples spend 10% of their budget on a wedding photographer and the average spend on a wedding in 2020 was £16,000.
A good seasoned professional wedding photographer will cost around £1500. Like I said there are a few exceptions to this rule, but a wedding photographer who is cheap is either starting off, not very good or weddings are a second income. To run a wedding photography business you need to invest a lot of time and money. I have the best camera equipment and lenses and also backups if things go wrong. I spend a lot of money on training and mentoring so I am constantly improving my craft, and I invest in costly legitimate software and computer equipment which all adds up to lots of ££££’s. Because I run my business properly all of these costs are factored into my pricing.
What to do if you find the right wedding photographer for you and they are outside of your carefully planned budget? (I would say this but here goes) Find a way to afford them. (I would say this next thing as well) You only have one wedding and all that will be left after the wedding will be your rings, your wedding dress and your photographs. What you are investing in when you hire a wedding photographer is a collection of real memories! In 15 years time will you be stressing about an extra £500-£1000 when you are reliving your wedding day with your kids through amazing imagery? For the sacrifice of a magician, candy cart or less pricey shoes you get a family heirloom of your special day. Phew! rant over!
Ok, so you think you have a few contenders out there that could be the perfect fit for your wedding plans. Now it’s time to start to get more critical and dig a little deeper.
Ask family and friends for referrals. Along with good reviews, they will give you an indication as to how the photographer is as a person as well as their photography skills.
Look at the reviews for the photographers you have shortlisted. I have mine on my Google business listing so people can see they are genuine. You will be able to see how they are as a person from reviews, as you really want a photographer you get on with as well as he/she taking fab photos of your day.
A good portfolio is an obvious must and is why you are interested in the photographer. But a great portfolio doesn’t tell you everything. Look at their blog for featured weddings. You might also find out if they have photographed at your wedding venue by doing a search on their website. After looking at a few full weddings you will discover how consistent the photographer is and if they nail key moments on a regular basis. If you get to the stage of meeting or Skyping/Zooming with them ask to see the albums so you can see how they layout their albums, which is of massive importance if you plan on getting an album. If you are planning on getting a wedding album here’s How To Choose Your Images For Your Wedding Album.
Meet your photographer
We are all very busy these days, and you have lots of other stuff to organise as you plan your wedding around work commitments etc….but remember you are going to spend the whole day with your wedding photographer, so you need to at least not dislike them and even better really get on!! You will only find this out by meeting them either in person or online. I hear a lot of stories where the photographer was grumpy and just plain rude to guests. This will seriously dampen your day, so a meeting is absolutely essential. In fact, I think it’s almost as important that you get on with your photographer as loving their photography skills.
You also need to ask your prospective photographer these Questions
Are They Insured?
A professional wedding photographer will have insurance. They need public liability and professional indemnity.
Do They Have Back up Equipment?
Not that I have ever had an equipment failure, but if I do, I have a backup camera and lenses should the worst happen. Having back up equipment means I can carry on capturing all the good stuff as if nothing happened.
What if they can’t make it on the day?
Has your photographer got a contingency plan if they can’t make it on your wedding day? I am a member of a few photography groups with some fab wedding photographers who I can rely on to cover my back if the worst happens. Although (touch wood) I have never let a client down in 12 years of photographing weddings!
Ok so you love their work, their albums are to die for, they will seriously charm your parents and you have done all the extra work, like finding the reviews, etc… it’s time to book. The one last thing to check is that they have a written contract for you to sign? This is to protect you and your photographer. Is everything in your package offered stated in the contract? Is the price stated clearly? You need to make sure you are happy with everything so read it and if everything is to your satisfaction, sign that baby and breath a sigh of relief! You can now obsess about something else on your wedding planning list woohoo!!
Ok so by now (if my subliminal messaging worked) you will have realised that it is I, David Walters that was destined to be your wedding photographer all along!! Seriously though have fun on your journey finding the right wedding photographer for you, and I hope this guide helps you to find the perfect wedding photograph for you.