TIPS ON CHOOSING THE BEST PHOTOGRAPHER FOR YOUR WEDDING
- DECIDE ON YOUR STYLE
Choose a photographer whose portfolio captures the way you would like your wedding to be remembered.
While the common advice is that you should pick a photographer based on their style (photojournalism, naturalism, modern traditionalism), you can really skip those buzzwords and just ask yourself if you like the photographer’s portfolio. Beyond that, when talking to them, be sure that you like them and feel comfortable you can work together.
Most importantly, choose a photographer whose photos speak to you and make sure their style will work within the real-life context of your wedding. I will explain more about this in my blog
(Please note: Your wedding in an English hotel is not going to look like that destination wedding on the Amalfi Coast you like the look of so much, so don’t expect magic tricks from your photographer. It might be wiser to look for photos of a similar location to you have chosen.)
- HIRE A PROFESSIONAL WITH WEDDING EXPERIENCE
Your wedding photographs will be your lasting memory of the day, long after your flowers have faded and your dress dry cleaned and stored in your parents’ loft. They will be shown to your children, grandchildren and perhaps even your great great grandchildren, so now is not the time to be thinking about saving money and relying on Uncle Bob’s amateur photography skills or your mate who has an expensive camera and fancies themselves as a snapper. Nor is it the time to use that photographer friend who shoots fashion or commercial work. Shooting a wedding is a completely different kettle of fish, it’s pressurised, time restricted and you only have one chance to have your wedding day captured and an experienced wedding photographer will know all the pitfalls, so will be able to steer you both through it to get the best results.
With 13 years’ experience shooting weddings, I can confidently offer advice on all aspects of your special day and highlight potential issues that you may not have thought about. So, always think about choosing a photographer with plenty of experience.
- LOOK AT HOW THEY CAPTURE DETAILS & MOMENTS
On your wedding day there is so much to take in. If you choose your photographer well, when you look back at your images, you’ll see moments you didn’t even know were happening – tears of joy, belly aching laughs and dancing till dawn. All good wedding photographers will thrive on capturing these moments for you.
You will have poured your heart and soul into choosing your wedding décor, spent weeks deliberating on the dress, flowers and the cake, so naturally you will want to see a record of all these details. You should be looking for these shots to be well framed, in focus and artistically composed. You will want to see a selection of close up details – buttonholes, favours, place settings, as well as shots of the whole room. This sounds rudimentary, but it’s these images that can differentiate between a good photographer and an excellent one.
These are the shots that you won’t often see on a photographer’s website, which brings me nicely on to number 4…
- VIEW FULL WEDDINGS
When looking through all those 100’s of wedding photographers websites, make sure you are able to view a substantial number of images from one or multiple weddings, so you can get a fairly good idea of what you will receive as a finished package. Sometimes a few great photos of brides in their dresses is not representative of the work as a whole. Though these images may be fantastic, you still need to be confident the photographer will be able to capture all the most important moments of your day, that they are able to tell the complete story of your day, in the style you want and with the consistent quality you deserve?
My clients usually receive 400+ images of their day, which makes it prohibitive to post complete weddings directly on my website, so I opt for edited highlights of around 50 to 100 images on my blog, with the option for new clients to view complete weddings on request.
- LIGHTING SITUATION FOR YOUR WEDDING
If your venue is dark, which lots of wedding venues are, then you need to pay even more attention to your choice of photographer. I’d highly recommend opting for someone who has shot weddings at your venue previously, or who has shot weddings at venues with similar lighting conditions. Capturing good images in a dim room is very tricky as you’ll know from your own blurry iPhone photos – another reason to make sure you look at a full set of wedding images from potential photographers.
Don’t assume that experience equals skill in low lighting. Look for weddings shot in similar lighting environments in your photographer’s portfolio and ask them specifically how they would handle your particular situation. (Some photographers use external lights for dark receptions, while others may rely on their camera’s ability to cope well in the dark.) If you notice that after it gets dark, all wedding photos in the portfolio are processed in black and white, that’s a hint that the photographer may not be super comfortable using extra lighting in darker situations as digital noise will be much more present in colour images.
(Please note: Your wedding in a Gothic church is not going to look like a wedding in a sunlit field, no matter who you hire, so don’t expect magic tricks.)