8 Expert Tips on How to Find & Choose Your Perfect Wedding Photographer
When your special day arrives, you may be so overwhelmed that you have very little memory of the details. The flowers you chose, your wedding dress, the location and table settings, all your friends having a great time, even your hair do are things you may want to remember. However, this day goes by quickly.
Finding A Top Wedding Photographer
That’s why your wedding photographer is such an important part of your event. They’ll follow you throughout the day and capture these special moments and details. Here are 8 tips that will help you in the search to find a wedding photographer who is perfect for you.
1. Decide on your Style
Wedding photography genres can be broken down into three types: traditional, photo-journalistic or classic. Traditional photographers are extremely involved all throughout the day, producing posed shots and spend a lot of time arranging the couple so that the details look the way they’d like.
Photo journalists, rarely ask individuals to pose. They prefer to capture people in their natural behaviours. And classic blends both of these styles together. Browse wedding blogs for ideas and inspiration. So decide which look you’re going for before you start shopping around.
Different wedding photographers work in different styles. Some are amazing at traditional portraits, while others prefer to move around and capture your day reportage style. Find a photographer who shoots and edits the style of photos you think will best reflect the essence of your wedding. You may want a combination of both, but speak to the photographer and view lots of complete full albums to ensure their style and work matches what you want and how you want your special day to be captured and told.
Read our Article Wedding Photography Styles Explained for more information on photography styles.
2. Hire a Professional
Uncle Bob may have a nice new camera and it may save some money however you only get one go at capturing your wedding day and do you want to take the risk. When it comes to wedding photography it is more than a camera and more than just taking the photos, check out our Infographic on what a wedding photographer really does here.
A professional wedding photographer will have done this before, they will know where to be, where to position themselves for those great shots, they will capture the emotions of your guests, the tear in your mums eye, they will tell a story of your wedding day. Don’t risk asking a friend to do it, and don’t regret not hiring a professional.
3. Reviews & Recommendations
There is nothing like benefiting form the experience of others. If you have friends that have already been through this process, then ask them if they recommend their photographer. If not, do a thorough search online and pay attention to the reviews of others, we allow couples to share reviews on photographers pages on our site here.
The photographer’s website may look great, but its best to know what kind of reputation he or she has among their past customers. If you find a photographer you like then ask if you can speak to some of their past couples, drop them an email and make sure they are happy and would recommend them too.
4. Photographers will travel
Don’t feel restricted when looking for a wedding photographer, no matter where you are getting married many photographers will travel, so don’t feel you are restricted to finding a photographer within the local area of your wedding venue. Most photographers will just ask you to pay for their travel expenses, however if you find a photographer that you just love then it is a small cost for ensuring your hire the perfect wedding photographer to capture your special day.
5. View Full Weddings
It’s important that you see a vast array of photos instead of a few photos of brides in their dresses. Though these images may be great, all photos should be of the same quality and have character and depth. Ensure you look through a few completed weddings captured by the photographer, do they match your style, are you happy with the quality throughout, do they capture the important moments, do they tell a story of the day even though you weren’t there. So be sure that the quality is consistent.
Editing is about enhancing a great shot, not fixing terrible photography. Ask to see some pre-edited photos before choosing a photographer so you can see if they are skilled professionals or amateurs with a good editing package.
You really do get what you pay for with wedding photography. If you want the full package, with 10 or so hours of coverage by two photographers, expert editing, and fast delivery, you’re going to have to pay for it. Talk honestly to your photographer about your budget so they can suggest ways you can get the most for your money. If possible look to save money in other areas to maximise your photography budget, you photos will be one of the only things you have left after your special day so make sure you get the best story captured in the best way possible.
Everyone has a budget and different photographers offer different packages. Decide what you want, do you want the photographer to provide a completed album for you, or do you just want all the photos on a USB? Do you want an engagement shoot? Think about your requirements and let the photographer know, they will be able to adjust packages they offer to suit your needs and may help with your budget too.
7. Do you get along with them?
Yes, this photographer may be excellent at his or her job, but do your personalities mesh well? You will be spending most of the day with this individual and it’s crucial that you feel comfortable around them. They will take part in personal moments and you need to feel as if the person is not an intruder but is a welcomed part of your special day.
You don’t need to like all your suppliers (though it helps) but you do need to like your photographer because they will be photographing your naked emotions. Choose a person you will be happy to spend 8 to 10 hours with on one of the most important days of your life so your smile says “I’m so happy!” rather than “how long until this is over?”.
If you feel relaxed with the person taking the photos then it will make for a more natural shot, you will feel at ease and it will make it a lot more fun.
8. Found them? Book them!
The best photographers get booked up way in advance so book early to ensure you’re getting the one you want. Many professional wedding photographers will be taking bookings up to 2 years in advance, and sometimes more! So be warned and don’t be surprised when getting in touch with photographers a couple of months in advance that they are not available for your day. If you want the best make sure you book as soon as you can.
Wedding photographers can be booked 2-3 years in advance, so if you have found a photographer you love, you get along with, feel relaxed with, you love their style of work and are available on your date, then get them booked. So once your venue is found and date is confirmed, get your wedding photographer booked up next.
Be mindful of your budget, their reputation, what you get in the end and how you feel around them. Make sure that you take the time to choose someone who will make your day memorable.
Advice from Professional Wedding Photographers
In our interview series we run we always ask ‘What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding photographer?’ So here is another little round up of some of those responses.
“My top tip would be to ensure that you get along well together. Aside from the love of your life, the photographer is the person who you will spend most of your wedding day with! So speak to a lot of photographers, and when you find yourself smiling and nodding and maybe even giggling – well then you’ve probably found “The One”. – Jon Cripwell Photography
“Look for someone whose work you like. Check their portfolio for consistency. Look at the people in the images; Did the photographer capture a feeling or did they just take a photo. Contact them and see if you get on. Make sure that what they do is what you want.” – Kevin Belson
“It’s such a difficult decision and one you need to be happy with, forever! Make your photographer work to get you, ask them lots of questions, and definitely meet them before the wedding for a coffee or a pre wedding photo session. You have to get on with your photographer, they are a guest at your wedding after all, and meeting up before your wedding day will mean you are totally comfortable with them which means they will get great photos of you!” – Brad Clarke Photography
“Ask everyone you know for recommendations as there’s nothing better than a referral. Also, ask your wedding venue for the preferred supplier list; inevitably that list is made of names they trust, and are confident will uphold their reputation. If that doesn’t heed any success, try our old friend Google but be prepared to search, search and search some more as there are literally thousand’s of wedding photographers online, and the best ones aren’t always on the front page. One way to refine your search is through the style you like, for example ‘documentary wedding photographer’ and start from there. Working through county listings, such as ‘Berkshire wedding photographer’ is also a good way to hone your search. Finally, if you logistics allow, I’d always recommend you meet your photographer so you can look them in the eye and know you trust them with the responsibility of your wedding photography.” – Neale James Wedding Photographer
“My advice is to pick a perfect photograph, for you! Definitely meet them and find out anything you want to know.. No matter how silly the question might seem. I know my style may not suit everyone, and that’s totally fine. I like people to pick me, based on what I do and how I approach a Wedding. So if you like a certain style, find a photographer that matches it! I like to meet a Bride and Groom, drink tea… have a chat. You have to like your photographer, they are capturing the biggest day of your life.” – Kayleigh Pope
“Choose the style of photography you want, you don’t want to pick a photographer who turns out to not shoot the style you originally wanted. Always look over portfolios as sometimes one wedding is amazing and then the other might not be. It is true what they say ìThe service is what you pay for, but don’t be hesitant to look at photographers who might be in the £400-£700 price range as often they are just starting out but their photography skills are great! Make sure the person you choose you are comfortable with and don’t mind following you around most of all of the day.” – Mel Davies
“Firstly – look around as much as you can. There’s a wide range of styles out there and the more you look, the more you’ll get a feel for the sort of thing you’re after. And once you’ve established that make sure you end up with a photographer you get on with as a person. A strong connection between couple and photographer really is massively conducive to getting great photos. I always hope to end up with clients I’d like to go out for a few beers with!” – John Hope
“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.” – Albert Palmer based in Bristol.