Here's our guide to finding the perfect wedding photographer for your big day
Once the champagne has been popped, and you've arrived back from your honeymoon, the big wait begins to receive your wedding photos. The walk down the aisle, the teary hug with Dad, your first dance. You’ll be able to look back on all those special moments and remember one of the happiest days of your life for years to come. It’s so important then that you’re happy with your images your wedding photographer produces. But how do you know which wedding photographer to choose? How do you know which one will get it right?
It can be one of the biggest regrets for couples that they didn’t capture all the moments they wanted from their big day, or that they ended up not liking the photographer’s pictures at all.
But how do you start to choose the right photographer for you? Well, we're here to help. We’re going to share a little about the different styles of wedding photography and then give you a few easy steps on how to choose your wedding photographer.
The Easy Way to Choose Your Wedding Photographer
The Three Main Styles of Wedding Photography
When you start to research wedding photography, and look at the many terms, it can be baffling. Especially when looking at the different styles of wedding photography.
Regardless of your budget, you’ll be able to choose a wedding photographer who offers one of the three most common types of wedding photography. Here's what they are.
Reportage wedding photography is also known as photo-journalistic or documentary photography. Your photographer will capture candid and spontaneous shots as part of your wedding party. Reportage style is all about reactions and emotions, so expect your photos to tell the real story of your day. It can feel like the most authentic form of photography, as there’s no posing.
Traditional or formal wedding photography is that classically posed look you see in conventional group shots of the wedding party. This is the type of wedding photography that has been the most popular for centuries, and involves plenty of direction from the photographer. It also takes time, and you might miss some of the natural action of the day. Your photos are likely to be a bit staged, but will be beautifully shot and well-lit.
Contemporary photography feels more like fashion or editorial photography, combined with reportage. It’s ideal if you want magazine style couple photos, with an artistic approach used on the other shots. You’ll need to find a photographer with the same creative vision as you, whether that’s street style, portraits, conceptual or nature-focused.
How to Choose Your Wedding Photographer
1. Set a Budget
There's no point falling hard for a wedding photographer, only to discover they’re well beyond your budget. The average for a wedding photographer in around £1,500-£2,000, so keep this in mind when you are organising your overall budget.
Together, discuss how much you really can spend on a wedding photographer, and keep that figure in mind while you continue your search. Photographers will normally have starting prices on their website, or you could ask a few in your area for a quick quote to see what the going rate is.
While £1,500 sounds a big chunk of your budget, your photos are one of the most important things to invest in. So don't cut costs when it comes to your wedding photography, or videography.
2. Ask for Testimonials
One of the best ways to find a wedding photographer is to ask for recommendations, either from friends or other industry suppliers. If anyone you know has got married recently, and you loved their photography, find out who shot them. If not friends, look on social media and online reviews. Or local forums.
A reputable photographer will have lots of testimonials from clients they’re happy to share with you, or can even put you in touch with previous clients.
3. See a Full Portfolio
Seeing a portfolio is essential. Their website will showcase a highlight reel, but what you need to see is a full wedding album. Three or four photos won't tell you the whole story.
Wedding photographs should tell the story of the day. They should all flow and be equally as beautiful as the last. You want each photo to be consistent in quality and look.
4. Are they Familiar with Your Wedding Venue?
This shouldn't hold you back from choosing a certain wedding photographer, but it always helps if they have shot at your venue before. It means they’ll have experience of the best locations and know the lighting conditions.
5. Arrange a Meeting
Your wedding photographer will be spending the entire day with you. Therefore, you need to actually like them! Meet face-to-face (or screen to screen), ask questions, go through their portfolio and see how you feel with them.
Do they put you at ease? Do you feel they understand what you want? The more relaxed you are around your photographer, the more natural and at ease your wedding photos will be.
6. Book an Engagement Shoot
This is certainly not an essential, but you’ll be so much more comfortable on the day if you’ve had experience of being directed by your chosen wedding photographer. An engagement shoot is a great way to all to get to know each other, and see if your personalities mesh. Plus it's great content to use on your wedding website, stationery or just to have up on the walls of your home.