How to Choose the Wedding Photographer for You
Your wedding should be one of the most special days of your life – it’s important that you capture every precious memory to last a lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to choose the right wedding photographer for you.
Wedding photography is something you will keep forever. These gorgeous, soul-nourishing photos have the power to take you back to that glorious moment in time, over and over again. Every stomach-aching laugh. The tears of joy. The speeches. The way your partner looks at you as your worlds are bound together.
How do you choose the wedding photographer for you?
There’s a fair few factors you’ll want to consider when picking your perfect wedding photographer, from style, to experience, budget and personality.
I totally appreciate that choosing a photographer for the task can be a scary prospect; what if you get it wrong?! What if your photos aren’t what you expected?! Fear not, friend. Read on for my guide on how to choose the perfect wedding photographer.
Here are 7 questions to ask yourself when choosing your wedding photographer
1 – What style of photography do I love?
No two couples are the same… and it’s the same for wedding photographers!
Wedding photographers often specialise in a particular style of photography and approach to how they document a wedding. You may hear of 3 main styles that photographers describe of their work or even a fusion of styles for the best of all 3! These are:
- Reportage/Documentary – these are the more candid, spontaneous shots, perfect for capturing the emotions of you and your guests in a natural way.
- Traditional – this photography is directed predominantly from the photographer. It’s more posed and planned.
- Contemporary / Alternative – this form is creative and artistic, and often feels like it would sit perfectly in a magazine spread.
Wedding photographers will also have different editing styles; you may find some that produce their photographs predominantly in black and white, or opt for cooler or more warmer tones. Spend some time looking through their work – what jumps out to you? What images make your heart sing? Figuring this out will help you narrow down your wedding photographer shortlist.
2 – What’s my budget?
Ahhh – it’s the “B word”!
Deciding on your budget is a good way to start filtering out certain photographers from your list. After all, there’s no point falling in love with a photographer only to find out that they’re miles outside of your budget!
As a general guide, it’s suggested that you put aside between 5 – 10% of your wedding budget for your photographer. Though at the end of it, it’s what you value and if wedding photography is at the top of your list, invest in a photographer you know you can deliver images to last a lifetime.
And remember… if a price feels too good to be true, it often is! Be sure to check that the photographer is insured and has the right level of training and experience for your important day before signing on the dotted line.
3 – What experience does the photographer have?
Speaking of which, you should check the experience of your photographer within the wedding industry.
An individual can be a fantastic photographer, but struggle when faced with a wedding. Weddings are a beast of their own when it comes to photography; it’s a live event, with a unique flow that can sometimes be underpinned by nerves and stress. A good wedding photographer will understand the structure of the day and will have the confidence and experience to prompt you and your guests towards the perfect shot, while recognising and responding to varied emotions.
Plus, if your wedding photographer specialises in documentary photography, they will also possess the pretty incredible skill of becoming invisible, snapping away in a non-obtrusive, super subtle way.
4 – What’s the photographer’s portfolio?
This one’s important!… Do not rely solely on Instagram to view their work!
We all know that Instagram is our highlights reel; both personally and professionally. If you want to truly check the consistency of a photographer’s work, ask to see their portfolio.
Let’s face it; you don’t want just one good shot. You want hundreds that you can adorn your walls with and peruse for the rest of your life. If your photographer is a bit of a one trick pony, you may find yourself with a gallery that is repetitive and lacklustre.
By viewing a photographer’s portfolio, you can see their full galleries for a range of weddings. These galleries should tell a story, from beginning to end. Every image should have a narrative, and their distinctive style should flow throughout. If this isn’t the case when viewing a portfolio, you can comfortably strike them off of your shortlist.
5 – Do they offer an engagement session?
While this one isn’t a necessity, it’s certainly beneficial to experience a relaxed couples shoot before your wedding day.
It’s not every day you have a professional photographer documenting a day in your life, especially one as important as a wedding! Having an engagement session as part of your wedding experience is not only a great opportunity to get to know how your photographer works behind the camera and their approach, but also feel more comfortable & confident being photographed before the big day.
Building trust with your wedding photographer is a big part of achieving fantastic memorable wedding photographs and an engagement session is perfect to help you do just that.
6 – Have I read their testimonials?
Even if their photos give you all the heart eyes, that doesn’t mean a wedding photographer is right for you.
Speaking to past clients and reading testimonials is a brilliant way to find out more about a photographer, including their value for money, whether they were happy with the end result, any standout moments and, of course, their personality.
7 – Are they someone I can feel comfortable & confident with?
Everything about your wedding day should be a dream. That’s why I think it’s mega important to find a wedding photographer that you connect with from the word ‘go’.
First impressions are so important, and you want to feel a bond with your photographer as they’re going to be a huge part of your big day. You also want someone that your guests are going to feel comfortable around; someone they can relax with.
Above all, don’t forget that you can’t fake a true smile! Choose someone that will draw as much happiness and light from your wedding as any guest.
Tip – read their ‘About‘ page to get a glimpse of their personality and vibe as well as their social media accounts. Are they someone you’d love to get to know and hang out with?
Should you meet your wedding photographer?
Yes, yes and yes again!
Whether you are able to meet in person or need to hold the meeting over video call, it’s vital that you meet with your potential wedding photographer so that you can be certain that they are the person for you.
It’s worth having a list of questions to ask to ‘back up’ the answers to the above. A few that I am regularly asked include:
- Will you be the one taking the photos on the day?
- Have you photographed at our venue before?
- Do I have a back-up in case anything goes wrong (such as if I’m ill on the day)?
- What do I love most about photographing a wedding?
- Can I have a second photographer on the day?
- When do you start & finish your photography coverage on the day?
- How many weddings do you shoot a year?
- What information do I need from them before the big day?
- Do you offer albums?
- Are there any factors that impact wedding photography price?
- Do I have different packages and, if so, what’s included in them?
You want to feel like you’re talking to a friend – someone you’ve known for years. Ultimately this will be a head and heart decision… trust your gut!