How to Choose & Hire your Wedding Photographer in 8 Easy Steps
Picking your wedding photographer is an important decision, once the wedding is over these photos will hold all those memories and key moments. There are thousands of photographers in the UK, so how do you go about choosing a professional wedding photographer for your special day.
How to Choose a Wedding Photographer
Here are our 8 tips and things to consider when choosing your perfect wedding photographer.
1. What’s your style?
First off is decide your style, you can browse our site and see hundreds of different wedding photos by different photographers, however it is important you find a photography style that matches what you want, a style that you want your photos to follow. Shortlist photographers that match your style, be it reportage, traditional or contemporary, quirky and creative.
Get a feel the types of photos you like and would want, do you just want to relax and let your photographer capture the as it unfolds, capturing the emotion of guests then a reportage candid style is for you. If you want some fun and quirky photos with you and your partner and something a little different, then look at more quirky photographers that have a distinct style.
They may have been taking photos for years, but have only recently started capturing weddings. Make sure they have a good few solid years of photographing weddings.
Weddings are very different to fashion shoots or staged shots as they are dynamic, it is a live event, an experienced wedding photographer will know the flow of the day and know where to be at the right time to get those stunning shots.
If they have the experience then they should certainly have a lot of testimonials and great references. Ask to speak to previous clients, make sure they were happy with how it all went and are thrilled with the end result when they got their photos.
Check out their facebook page for comments as well as reviews on our site too.
You may have found a photography with the perfect style you are looking for, they have some great shots on their website, now you want to see some albums, whole weddings that are complete.
You are looking for consistency, you want to make sure the style you love flows through the whole album, you want to make sure they have a whole album of stunning shots, not just 1 or 2 that you may have seen on their website slideshow.
Wedding photography isn’t just about a few stunning photos, it is about a beautiful story you will treasure for life. Ensure the albums document and tell a story through stunning photos, ensure the quality is consistent throughout and each photo on its own is exceptional.
Review their Instagram profile, here many photographers will post regularly with photos from recent weddings, here you can quickly see the types of wedding they capture and get an overall feel for their style.
5. Your Venue
Have they shot at your venue? This certainly isn’t necessary, however it is an added bonus if they have, you can see wedding shots they have taken there, and they will know the best places and locations at the venue for some great shots.
You venue may recommend and suggest photographers, do check them out but also don’t feel restricted, take a look at others and see if there are other photographers that suit you better and get in touch with them.
This relates a little to the next point about trust, but also confidence in the photographer. What is their back up plan if they are unwell, there is an emergency or they cannot make it? Ask the question, they should have a network of contacts they trust that maybe able to fill in for them. Make sure they have a Plan B, just incase.
If they don’t, or don’t really give you much confidence that they do, then walk away and get in touch with another photographer.
7. Meet them
When meeting the photographer, ask them questions, going through their work, how do they come across? Do you feel at ease with them? Do they answer all your questions with confidence? Make sure you feel happy working with them, feel at ease, make sure you feel you can trust them to capture the biggest day of your life.
When chatting with them you want it to feel relaxed, like chatting to a friend or someone you have known for years. If you feel relaxed and at ease with them it will help for better and more natural photos, you will feel more relaxed around them when they are taking photos and are more likely to be up for more fun and creative photos, and ideas your photographer may have for great shots.
8. Go with your Gut
Finally, go with your gut, love their work and if everything feels right, then go for it! Your Perfect Wedding Photographer? TICK! And done.
Wedding Photography FAQ
The Ultimate Wedding Photography Guide & FAQ for Brides, we have the answers for all your wedding photography queries, questions and thoughts. Lets go!
How to find a wedding photographer
When it comes to finding your perfect wedding photographer our site is a great start, you can browse photographers by style, location and budget making it a little easier to narrow down, however don’t forget many will also travel so you are not restricted just to your region or location, if you find a photographer that you like that is further away. Other ways to find a wedding photographer can include recommendations, ask your recently married friends and see who they used, ask on Facebook, take a look on Pinterest and view images you like and see if they are available for your day. Another great way is to check out wedding blogs and look at real weddings, find a style you like and check out the photographer that shot that wedding.
How long should my photography stay for?
How many hours you require your wedding photographer depends on your day and also what photos you would like, so first you need to consider the day. What time will you be getting ready, what time will you be leaving to go to the ceremony, what time shall it start, how long will it last, what time will you get to the reception, what time will you be eating, when will you cut the cake and will will you take to the dance floor.
This is a long list but it will give you a timescale for the day and allow you to work out how many hours you require. Most photographers will have packages for the whole day, however if you just want photos of the ceremony then get in touch for a quote for this.
Remember photos of you getting ready may not sound very interesting, however the emotion, fun and happiness of you and your bridesmaids getting ready makes for some beautiful photos, it is also part of the story of your day and how the day began with you and your girls getting ready, the same can also be said for the groom and groomsmen too.
Your wedding photos are a story of the day, so capture the day from the beginning, from getting ready right through to the first dance, this is just a one day moment and you only get one chance to capture it all.
What are the differences between all these different styles? (Reportage, Traditional, Candid & Quirky)
There are a few common styles and terms that come up when looking at photographers, traditional, reportage, candid, going through these traditional is your more set up and formal shots, so lots of couple photos, group shots with you and your family, photos are captured with a more formal approach.
Compared to reportage the focus is on natural photos and story telling, so you capture emotions of you and your guests with photos that they are not even aware of, this is a more candid approach and create a natural story and natural emotion from people.
Of course whatever style you like you can combine them, so you can certainly get a quirky creative reportage wedding photographer that will also take some traditional shots of you and your family.
What makes a good wedding photographer?
Having a good camera does not make you a good photographer, just as having a paint brush doesn’t make you a great artist, it is how you use it and what you create with it. A good wedding photographer will understand the lighting and environment you are in, be able to capture the moment and emotion in one shot, they will be able to compose a beautiful photo, ensuring the focus of the shot is beautifully captured and not ruined by lighting or unsightly things in the background.
As well as the skill and art behind photography ensure you feel comfortable around them, ensure they make you feel at ease, this is important because the more relaxed you feel the better the photos will be and the more natural you will look.
What questions should I ask my wedding photographer?
When you have found a photographer you love and everything feels right then you may be worrying there are things you need to ask that you haven’t thought about. Your photographer should put you at ease and answer any question you have, even better they should have already answered any questions you may have before you have even asked just in general conversation. Take a look at our article on Questions to Ask your Wedding Photographer to help make sure you have everything covered.
Should my wedding photographer be insured?
Yes, they should have liability insurance of which many venues will insist your photographer has. Liability insurance covers the photographer if they trip and fall, or if they knock into a guest with their camera for example. Ask your photographer about this but don’t worry too much about it.
How much should my wedding photographer cost?
Wedding photography can cost whatever you are willing to pay, however it is the value you put on photography and how important it is to you. A full days coverage can range from £1200+. In our recent survey the average spend by couples in the UK was £1,520 on photography, so this will give you an idea of how much to budget and what you will be looking at spending. If you are getting married in the week, or in the winter months then you maybe able to get a better deal compared to a Saturday in the summer which is peak season.
Other things to consider is how many hours you want covered, do you want an album put together too? Do you want the photos to be printed too?
Read our article on how much to budget to help give you an idea of costs, and what is included.
How many photos should a wedding photographer give you?
There is no definite answers and it will vary with photographer and how long they were there for. Obviously it will be less if they were just there for the ceremony then if they were there for the day. Photographers will take hundreds of photos on the day, however this does not mean you will get every single one, some will be test shots, maybe out of focus or just not great. Check out this article for more info on why ‘Why Wedding Photographers Won’t Give you Unedited Photos‘.
What is a second shooter, and should I have one?
A second shooter is a second wedding photographer, a second person there on your day capturing photos from a different angle. The benefits of this is you can have one photographer at the hotel with the bride capturing shots of you getting ready, and then the other getting shots of the groom. The is great if you want shots of both getting ready but are staying in different locations where you shall get ready. On your day your photographer cannot be in two places at once and so a second shooter allows different angles to captured, shots of guests entering the church, and then shots inside the church, different angles as you walk dow the aisle, while also focusing in on your guests faces and capturing their emotions.
A second photographer is great for getting a more comprehensive array of shots that help to tell the story and is great for photos of the bride and groom getting ready. Of course with a second shooter there is an additional cost, speak to your photographer, they will have other professionals they can call upon that will be able to help and that they can rely upon.
What is an ‘Unplugged Wedding’?
A wedding without phones, cameras, iPads, a wedding without technology for you and your guests.
Why? In the age we live in everyone has a smart phone, everyone can instantly take a photo and upload to a social network for friends to see, however you have hired a professional wedding photographer to take professional pictures, to capture the day for you, there is no need for friend to take photos, you have invited them to be there at your wedding, because you want them there, not because you want them to take photos of you walking down the aisle and instantly uploading to Facebook for everyone to see before you have even tied the knot.
For more information on this check out our article Why You Should Consider Having an ‘Unplugged Wedding’. Here we discuss the reasons for going unplugged and why you should consider it too.
When should my wedding photographs arrive?
When will I get my wedding photos? This will depend on your photographer and they should be able to give you a rough timescale when you book them. Usually you should expect to have your photos 2-8 weeks after being shot. Once your photographer has captured your wedding they will go away and edit these photos, on the day your photographer may take hundreds and maybe into the thousands, these photos need editing down, removing any test shots and photos that didn’t work out, your photos will then be edited and cropped if needed.
Once complete they will package these all up for you, print any if this is included and get them to you. If you cannot wait then your photographer may give you a couple of easy shots if you are lucky.
Read our full article on this ‘How long does it take to get your Wedding Photos back?‘.
Should I provide food for my wedding photographer?
Ask your photographer, they could be working all day ensuring every moment is captured, some photographers will bring their own food and like to get away for a few minutes, to have a break, while others may appreciate and enjoy a small meal at the venue. Read our article Do I Need to Feed My Wedding Photographer? where photographers have left their views and opinions in the comments too.
Should I tip my wedding photographer?
Tip them if you wish, there is no requirement to, however if you are really happy and thrilled with your photos then let them know how much you like them, get them a lovely thank you card and leave them a lovely testimonial. There is no need to tip them and they won’t expect it, tell your engaged friends about them and how happy your are with their photos, a recommendation and a wonderful thank you/testimonial means a lot more to a photographer.
Help! My wedding photographer is not responding!
So you have booked your wedding photographer and ticked it off the to-do list, as the big days gets closer they suddenly disappear and nothing is heard from them. If this happens ensure their website is still working, drop them an email and leave them a voice message. Take a look at their social media profiles from their website and see if they are still active on there, on Facebook and twitter you can also drop them a private message and see if you can get a response this way.
If you have tried all this to no avail then you may want to think about a back up, get in touch with some other photographers that you like and see if they are available on your day. If you have still not heard anything then you want to hire someone else. If you are feeling stressed, worried and have lost trust in the photographer hired then it maybe best to draw a line under it and hire someone else.
Read our full guide on how to deal with a none responding photography.
‘I hate my wedding photos’ – What should I do?
So your wedding day is over and you have just seen your wedding photos and it doesn’t draw happy tears, but tears of sadness, anger and frustration, then what can you do? Decide what you dislike about your photos, is it the style or way they have been captured, is it how you look in them, is it the poor composition, or bad lighting, or are they just not to your taste? This is more about understanding why you feel this way, is it more personal opinion tat you don’t like them, or are they very poorly taken.
Once the wedding is over and the photos have been captured there is little you can do in terms of the photos, with the industry unreglulated there is also little you can do if the photos taken are of terrible quality or nothing like the sort of photos and quality the photographer showed on their website and albums. However this being said you should inform your photographer that you are unhappy and see if they are willing to do anything to make up for this, be it a part or full refund of your payment for their services.
As you cannot go back in time to capture your wedding day you could consider a ‘reshoot’, this recreating beautiful shots of you and your partner on your wedding day in your dress and suit, perhaps guests could join in where fun and natural shots are taken.
Advice from the Professionals
There are many things to consider when looking for and choosing a wedding photographer, how ever there is no better advice than from them themselves! Here we have some top tips and guidance from a five of our listed photographers.
“Everyone has a budget, I understand that, but never cut back on your photographer. You may have a friend that can take a great photograph but can your friend really be that consistent all day, know the routine and what to expect. What happens when it rains, or if it’s really dark? Can they handle a whole group of people to get the formals? Maybe, maybe not, are you ready to take the risk with your wedding photographs?
It’s like buying a house, you look around and you find the style you like. Then you’ll maybe go and see 3 or 4 and one of those will just feel right. Go with you heart, if it feels right it usually is. Just check their portfolio and album samples to see how they deliver the whole package. Be clear with what you are asking for and be sure your photographer understands your requirements.”
Braintree based photographer Dave Allen of Just Hitched
“Don’t view wedding photography as a generic one size fits all affair; in much the same way as eating out calls into play decisions over personal taste, there’s great breadth and depth in the range of styles of photography on offer and you’re going to be eating from that same dish for a great many years to come. I also believe that if you like the way a particular photographer sees the world through his or her image making work, there’s a good chance that you’ll like having him or her around for much of one of the most important days of your life. There’s potential for a meeting of minds, one might say. Like the work, like the person, most likely the client-artist relationship will work out well.”
Bournemouth based photographer Phillip Allen
“Choose someone whose work you love. Your wedding photographs will be with you forever. It’s a bit of a cliche, but it’s true – the photographs are the one thing left after your wedding. They will be there to remind you of one of the most important days in your life. I’d also recommend finding someone personable who is going to treat you well and put your interests first. As much as I love wedding photography I’m aware that it is their wedding, not my photo shoot.”
Bristol based photographer Albert Palmer
“Meet more than one. You should make sure you are really going to get on with your photographer on the day. Look at a printed portfolio. It’s very hard to judge the actual quality of images from just viewing websites. Ask to see a whole wedding. Anyone can capture a few good moments during a whole wedding day, but to have a consistent level of quality and skill displayed throughout 10-12 hours of work is the difficult part. There’re lots of checklists out there that you can use but I think the important thing is to find someone who you’re at ease with.”
Bristol based photographer Sam Gibson
Got an unanswered question or query? Then leave a comment below and we shall respond and also include in into our guide.
This guide shall be continually updated to keep it up-to-date and to ensure it answer all your questions.