Choosing a photographer is an important decision in the wedding planning process. After all, your photographs are a lasting memento of the day. There are lots to choose from, so how do you know who is right for you? No one photographer is perfect for everyone, so won’t tell you who to choose, even if we’d love it to be us! Instead, below, we have set out the five steps to choosing your photographer and hope it will help with finding a perfect fit.
1. Choose a wedding photography style
This is probably the type of photography a lot of people’s parents and grandparents are thinking of when they talk about a wedding photographer. In the days of film, they were by far the most popular type of photographer. They will focus on lots of formal, with an emphasis on group, photographs and will take more control of the setting, lighting, and posing your guests. They may not necessarily capture the full range of emotions of the day but will tend to get classic shots that can be treasured.
This group of photographers offer something a little more opulent. They will use light in creative ways and may be skilled in flash photography. Most likely they will place more emphasis on the couple’s portraits and can produce some stunning, artistic images.
Documentary photographers (that’s us!)
Photojournalist, reportage, or documentary is a fast-growing genre of wedding photography. It is all about recording what actually happens during your wedding day. Something happens, and BAM! They’ve taken a photo of it.
Documentary wedding photographers are constantly scanning the scene in front of them looking for those genuine reactions, emotions and anticipating moments before they happen. By blending into the background, and being discrete in how they work with limited use of flash, and creating as little interference as possible in the flow of the day, they aim to document what really happens at your wedding. Oftentimes you won’t notice they are there. They may have advice on the best ways to do things, like the confetti shot or cutting the cake, but they won’t manufacture it in the moment.
This allows them to document the story, the real story, as it unfolds. The moment when the couple first see each other. The kid burping loudly during a quiet moment of the service (and more importantly the uncontrollable giggles that follow!). The laughter and tearful moments during the speeches. The hugs. The dancing. Everything.
And if you want some group photographs for posterity (and your granny), then they’ll be more than happy to oblige.
2. Check they fit your budget
There’s no denying that weddings are expensive so budget will always be a consideration. With photographers ranging from a few hundred to several thousand pounds, there really is something for everyone. If you want to look back proudly at your photographs then it really is worth the investment.
Yes, there are talented photographers who are not charging as much as they should be but they are few and far between. Generally, you get what you pay for – experience, reliability, and high-quality service.
3. Meet them, and do a trial run
We’re all incredibly busy these days and understand it can be hard to find time to meet your photographer. However, we’ve also heard people say how they didn’t get on with their photographer, they were grumpy, bossy, or just plain unpleasant to them or their guests. On your wedding day, you’ll spend more time with them than anybody else (well, except for your new spouse!) so it’s pretty important that you don’t hate them!
This is why we suggest that you meet up with us first for a chat, either on Zoom or in a cafe over some tea and cake. We’re big fans of cake. It’s an opportunity to have a chat about your plans, ask us any questions, and ultimately see if we match.
If you’re not sure of the type of things you should be asking when talking to a photographer, have a read through our blog ‘10 essential questions to ask your wedding photographer’
Additionally, we do recommend an engagement shoot before you book. Yes, they sound a little cringy, we couldn’t think of a more accurate name (if you think of a better one, let us know!). But, not only does this help you get to know us and us get to know you, but you also get some awesome images that are perfect for Save the Date cards, invitations, or a wedding website.
4. Check they have contingency plans
So you like them and their style, great! But now you should dig a little deeper; search their website, read their reviews, just make sure they’re legit. And we recommend checking on these:
Do they have backup equipment?
Do they have a backup plan if they are sick or unable to make it?
Do they have insurance?
Each of these questions should be met with a resounding yes. If not, you have to question whether you’re willing to risk any of these things going wrong. If they don’t have backup plans then there’s a possibility you’ll be left without a photographer on your wedding day.
5. Get your agreement in writing
Once you’ve found a photographer that suits your style, you know they’re within your budget and they’re a decent person, it’s time to book. At this stage, it’s really important to get it all written down. Any photographer worth booking will have a contract, which is there to protect both you and the photographer. If anything were to go wrong, whether it be the photographer becoming ill or the wedding having to be postponed then you need to have agreed on what should happen!
So ensure your photographer has a contract then read it, understand it, question anything that you need to, and make sure you’re happy before you sign it.
Time to tick the next thing off the list…