There’s a lot of information out there on this topic but it’s not easy selecting the right person to photograph your wedding, so as a full time professional photographer I thought I would help by sharing my thoughts on how to choose a wedding photographer that’s right for you.
1. Where to start?
First, think about the style of photographs you want. Consider whether you’re after posed pictures, a reportage style or a mixture of the two and then look for photographers whose images match what you are looking for. My photography style combines reportage photographs with some posed images. Posed images don’t need to look posed though and most of my clients book me because they want natural-looking images of their wedding day. In my opinion, a combination gives you the best of both.
2. Make a short list of photographers
When you know what style of photos you want, start to make a short list using the internet, wedding fairs and friends’ recommendations. When you’ve narrowed your selection to a few wedding photographers, arrange to go and visit them so you can see more examples of their work and get a feel for their personality.
3. Choose a photographer you can get on with
Your photographer will be spending many hours with you and your guests on your wedding day and so it’s really important that you like them as much as you like their images. You might think that this is less important than the photographs they take but the two things are linked – if you are relaxed when being photographed, this will show in your images. For this reason, make sure you’re meeting with the person that will be photographing your wedding and not simply a representative of the company.
4. Look at examples of their work
Ask to see images from several different weddings. Don’t base your decision solely on what you see in a photographer’s online portfolio or a few highlight images on their phone or tablet. You should expect to see at least two or three full albums from real weddings they’ve personally photographed so you can get a good idea of what your own collection of photos might look like after your wedding.
5. Choose a photographer with experience of poor weather
A competent, full time professional photographer shouldn’t struggle to produce great looking photographs indoors or in bad weather so make sure that you see examples of photographs that have been taken inside or outside in poor weather and check that you are happy with the results.
6. What to look for when you look at a sample wedding album
Choosing a wedding photographer is a personal matter so as you look at the wedding albums, you will know whether you like the images in them. Beyond that, you should look for albums that contain a good selection of images. There should be a variety of photos of the bride and groom, and the photographer should have images that capture the details such as the flowers, dress and cake. I strive to include lots of detail images as these help to tell the story of the day.
7. Pre wedding shoot
A pre wedding photo shoot is a chance for the couple to get together with their wedding photographer in the run up to the big day. Some, but not all, photographers offer this and I find that it’s a great way for us to get to know each other and for me to find out more about the kind of images you like before your wedding day. If you are anxious about having photographs taken, a pre-wedding shoot can help you overcome your nerves before your big day. Paul Holland Photography weddings include a pre wedding shoot in the package, at no additional cost.
8. How do you want your wedding photographs?
Decide how you want your photographs in advance of booking. Each photographer will offer a choice of different wedding photography packages and the prices can vary enormously. Think about whether you want a wedding album and if you do, do you want an album produced for you or would you prefer to create your own? Do you want all of your images as digital files (essential if you want to create your own album)? Do you want smaller albums to give as gifts to parents, grandparents and friends? If you are going for the option of having digital image files, ensure the photographer will edit the images for you before handing over the files. This can be a time consuming task when there are hundreds of image files so some photographers will make an extra charge for the work. All of our packages include the digital image files from your wedding, fully edited and ready for you to use. Knowing what you want in advance means you can choose the package that best suits your requirements.
Finally, don’t forget to find out if the photographer is insured. Professional photographers should have public liability insurance and it’s important to check that this is in place before you sign a contract.
10. Planning your wedding photographs
So, you have booked your wedding photographer, now you can start to plan ahead. Think about the photos you want and discuss these with your photographer. For example, you might want a large group shot or photographs of specific groups of relatives if they don’t get the chance to get together very often. Or, there might be areas at the venue such as a staircase, gardens or lakeside that you want photographed. If these are the reasons you chose a particular venue you want to make sure they are included in your collection of photos! If you want photos away from the venue then it’s likely that extra time will need to be allowed for this. How much time obviously depends on distance but this is definitely something to discuss with your photographer (and your venue) in advance.
I hope the article helps to answer the original statement: how to choose a wedding photographer. Visit the web site to see more examples of my wedding photographs and get in touch if you have any queries about wedding photography or comments on the article.