Choosing The Right Wedding Photographer

If you’re on the journey of planning your wedding, this task should be at the top of your list. Being a wedding photographer myself I am of course going to tell you that your wedding photographer isn’t just another vendor. Choosing your wedding photographer can seem very daunting and overwhelming. But it really doesn’t have to be, honestly! I have broken it down into 6 easy steps that will guide you through choosing your photography style to booking the perfectly matched photographer for you. So grab a beverage, sit down and lets get this party started!

choosing the right wedding photographer
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1. Choosing a Photography Style

Style! What do you mean? If this is something you have never given any thought about, don’t worry, you’re not the only one. When it comes to photography styles, the majority of couples don’t realise how many different styles of wedding photography actually exist. A great tip to consider is to make sure you have chosen a photography style before you start to pick out flowers and decor. The same goes for photographers, you will need to know what photography styles float your boat before choosing a photographer.

Wedding Photography Styles

Traditional – A traditional photographer respects the staples of a wedding and will have this at the heart of their work. Traditional wedding photographers mainly focus on capturing the details which are most important to you, a must being family photos, decor and other images which you will be required to have on a short list. This style tends to lean towards a very posed approach to photos with a big emphasis on family/group photos.

Photojournalistic – This style is very much the opposite of your traditional style. The benefit of a photojournalist is to be unobtrusive and capture the wedding with a ‘fly on the wall approach’, not just the planned moments. The clue of where this style came from is in its name, yep you guessed it, newspapers, so keep in mind that you won’t get the posed planned shots if you hire a true photojournalist. If you hate the idea of staged/posed shots then hiring a photojournalist could be the perfect option for you.

Fine Art – Fine art wedding photographers strive for that one moment which has the potential to turn into a photograph that wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery. They are always creating art while capturing the story of the wedding day. Like any other other style of photography, there is a wide spectrum of fine art wedding photography available, and it’s up to you to choose which level fits you the best.

Editorial – If you’re a fan of the photography you see in high end magazines such as Vogue, Elle and GQ, then you might want to consider your wedding to be photographed with a similar look and feel. The editorial style is one that a lot of photographers can identify with, because it is truly an art form in itself. This style allows photographers to get creative and shoot over the top. Whilst this may not be the style for you if you are looking for candid moments, what you will get is dramatic, edgy and sexy.

Adventurous – There was a time that this style was considered as a made up style, however over the years this style is on the up with being a common favourite for young and adventurous couples. This style is more of a personality trait rather than a look. If you’re a couple who love to go exploring and travelling adventures, and are looking for someone to capture these adventures, then finding an adventurous photographer who goes far and beyond to call themselves an adventurer is a must!

Dark and Moody – Considered to be on trend currently this style of photography mimics a moody or VISCO vibe – which means your photographer edits in such a way as to mimic old school film imagery. This editing style can give the viewer rich and dramatic images which really stand out from the crowd. A word to the wise, if you’re looking for bright, bold colours and want your photos to look exactly how you remember your wedding day (colour wise that is), then the dark and moody style may not be for you. However, if you’re looking for an artistic, slightly edgy and interesting perspective of your wedding day, then this style might be your new favourite thing.

The one most important message I want you all to know here is that most photographers including myself don’t just shoot one style. Truth be told, most photographers incorporate all of the above styles into their work in some way or another. From a photographer’s view it makes it more fun for us and more interesting for our clients. So whilst you’re now ready to go through wedding photographer portfolios with a fine toothed comb, keep this in mind.

Photo Credit by: Jose Villa

2. Browse Vendor Directories

Although not all wedding photographers are on vendor directories, this is a great place to start looking to give you an idea of what is out there. A lot of wedding directors like RMW, Weddison, Bridebook or Hitched, really do spend a lot of time and effort connecting couples with artists who can take the wedding photos they’ve always dreamed of. You can search all vendor directories in your region, or if you’re planning a wedding abroad, you can search in any regions around the world. They are great to give you quick access to photographers portfolios, websites and social media accounts all through one portal. You’ll soon build up a good list of photographers to contact so grab a pen and paper as you might be there a while.

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3. Do Your Research!

Let’s be honest here, wedding photography is over saturated. With sooooo many professional websites and social media accounts to look at, it can be very tough to know what you’re even looking for. Okay, don’t worry, I’ve got you on this. First thing’s first, do they have a website? If a “professional” doesn’t have a website and is just using Facebook for their business, this should raise a red flag as they may lack experience or professionalism. Please refer to one of my previous posts “Why wedding Photography is so expensive” for more detail on this subject. Once you’ve found yourself on a wedding photographer’s website, there are a couple of important pages you should have a gander at; the first being their portfolio page. This will give you a steering and idea as to what they believe is their best work. This is a great way to get a better picture of what type of weddings they enjoy producing and capturing, as well as giving you a nod to their overall style. A must in my eye; can you see a consistency in their work? If it resonates with you, pop them on your list of photographers to consider. The second part of their site you want to be checking is their blog. One of the things you should be looking for here is if it has been updated recently. This shows that they are actively booking clients and blogging their best work. Another top tip is to look for yourself in their work. Obviously I don’t mean literally look for yourself on their blog, but look for couples and weddings that you feel could be your own. If you can picture yourself in their work, there’s a good chance they would be a great fit for your wedding.

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4. E-mail your favourite photographers

This might seem like a no brainer, but once you have found at least 5 photographers who you would like to consider capturing your big day, it’s time to reach out and e-mail them. Keep in mind that you should be prepared with a few questions. Remember this email is the start of relationship with your potential future wedding photographer and you are making as much of a first impression as they are with their response. Avoid just sending all photographers a generic email asking for prices etc. Try to get to know them and their work and what first drew you to their work. If you tailor each email to the photographer,  you’ll get the photographer more excited about your special day. Remember photographers love detail and if a photographer gets 2 enquires at the same time but one has detail and one doesn’t, which do you think the photographer will want to work with the most? With this first email you’ll want to ask the key questions:

  • Is your date available?
  • What are their current prices, packages and brochure information
  • Can they provide several references

Another great option to consider is setting up a phone or video consultation, during which you can ask everything from “What’s your approach?”, “Why do they love shooting weddings?” to really just finding out what you can expect from them before, on, and after your wedding day. As a wedding photographer, and I am sure I speak for every wedding photographer here, we know that this is a huge decision to make, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you like, as you need to feel comfortable and of course, well informed.

how to choose your wedding photographer

5. In Person

If a phone call or video call with potential wedding photographers doesn’t suffice, then what better way to truly get to know someone by meeting them. An in person interview isn’t as scary as it sounds, well at least it shouldn’t be if they are the photographer for you. What you’re really looking for here is how comfortable you feel with this person behind the business. Like with any interview, the vibe you get off the person is just as important as the questions you will ask. Would you feel comfortable having this person follow you around all day with a camera on your wedding day? Remember, however, this is a two way street, so the same applies here for yourself as it’s not uncommon for photographers to turn down clients willing to book as they didn’t connect or fit with the client’s expectations. Feel free to bring ideas and mood boards to show to the photographers, as you need to know if this is something your chosen photographer can execute. Can they make your dreams come true? This one is all about managing a couple’s expectations, you would not believe how many times I have been given photos of what potential clients are wanting. Glorious Californian sunshine or epic forest shots in Yosemite, and they are getting married in December in a venue with no trees. You may need to be more realistic about what can be accomplished within your budget. Need some help thinking of questions? I’ve got a whole list of FAQ’s just click here and scroll to the bottom.

how to choose your wedding photographer

6. Go with your gut feel

Okay, so you have done your research, you have narrowed down your choices and even met up with your potential wedding photographers. Still sitting on the fence and can’t decide? In my mind you have 2 options if this is the case. Option 1: Start the whole process again with 5 new wedding photographers. Option 2: Trust your gut feel and make a decision. Think about which photographer made you feel the most comfortable during your in person interview. Which photographer can you see seamlessly blending in with you and your guests on the big day? I wouldn’t stress or worry too much as long as your shortlist includes credible professional photographers who go hand in hand with your vision and fit into your budget, you can’t really go wrong. Like all mothers of the world said “Go with you gut!”

How about you?

Getting married in 2020 or beyond? If you liked this post of 6 steps on choosing the right wedding photographer for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I would love to talk about your special day! Getting married abroad? I love to travel to capture more beautiful weddings with amazing backdrops. So if you’re an adventurous couple looking to get hitched abroad, please get in touch. I would love to see where in the world you feel is a precious place to get married. Get in touch here.

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