How to choose the right wedding photographer

Decisions, decisions, there are so many decisions to take when planning your big day – the venue, the guest list, the dress, the food and wine, the seating plan…it just goes on and on!  One of the most significant, however, is deciding on a photographer.  While it’s important to be “in the moment” you also need to be aware that you are creating memories - and a big part of that is about capturing those moments in the form of pictures. 

Every picture tells a story.  So what kind of story do you want to tell?  Each photographer will have a different approach so it’s quite tricky to find one that is going to capture those moments, and tell that story, in the way that you want.

In this post we go through some of the important things you need to consider when making your decision.

Decide on what style you want

There are many different types of photography style and you need to work out which one you want.  If a photographer doesn’t do that style then you can cross them off your list.  Having said that, many photographers can shoot in a variety of styles – but when you have those initial discussions with possible photographers you do need to have an idea of which style you want!

How many different styles are there?  Loads!  In an earlier post we went into quite a lot of detail about these different styles: formal portraiture, documentary, fine art, edgy and brave.  Click here to read it

However, the list in that article is not exhaustive.  For instance, do you want the shots to be light and bright, or dark and dramatic?  This will be dictated, to some extent by your wedding theme and the setting.  If it’s a summer wedding and the shots are mainly to be taken outdoors, the mood will probably tend to be light and airy (shot with natural light).  If your leans tends towards the more gothic or theatrical, and the venue is relatively dark, or you prefer to create a more atmospheric mood, then you are probably going to want shots with strong contrast between light and shade.

Also, think about subject matter.  Do you want some very romantic “couple shots” of the two of you, group shots, shots capturing small details, fleeting moments and inner emotions, some very formal shots, everything very informal, or all of these?  You need to bear all this this in mind when looking through portfolios and talking to the photographers.

Photo by  Omar Lopez  on  Unsplash

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

To help you get a better idea of all the styles available, and which ones you like the best, spend time on Pinterest, reading blogs and scouring wedding magazine websites.

Meet the photographer in person

It’s vital you find someone you like and who is easy to get on with.  You don’t want someone whose personality is likely to clash with yours and who doesn’t really “get” what you want.  It’s your wedding so be sure to select someone who shares your vision and who you feel comfortable with. 

Go and meet a few different photographers and make sure you ‘click’ – you want to share your wedding plans with them and find someone who is as excited and passionate as you are.  What you don’t need is a grumpy or bossy person with an ego that’s going to get in the way, or a personality that’ll rub everyone up the wrong way!  Don’t be afraid to go with your gut feeling on this – if you like them, they make you feel relaxed, they fill you with confidence that you can leave it all to them on the day and it will all go swimmingly, they have a sense of humour, they are keen and enthusiastic…then they should (all other things considered) be near the top of your list.

Ask to see a complete wedding

When reviewing the portfolios of different photographers you’ll see a range of different shots that represent their best work.  Make sure you also ask to see two or three completed wedding albums that were given to their clients. You are looking for consistency – you want a whole album that’s amazing and tells a beautiful story, rather than just four or five impressive photos.

Photo by  chuttersnap  on  Unsplash

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

What’s your budget?

Good wedding photographers don’t come cheap.  That’s partly because the equipment is really expensive, partly because there’s actually a lot of skill involved (the good ones make it look easy, but it’s not!) and partly because the best ones are in high demand.  You might be lucky and find someone who doesn’t charge what they are worth, but picking someone who is significantly cheaper is a risk – there’s probably a good reason whey they are charging a lot less (they could be inexperienced or just not very good and desperate for work).

You don’t get second chances with wedding photography so it’s best to play safe and pay proper money.  Make sure, for instance, that they have back up equipment in case something malfunctions.  Also check that they have proper insurance, proper editing software and that they run a professional business that you can rely on. 

Ten years from now, when you look at those shots, you won’t regret scrimping on some other areas (passing up on the chocolate fountain or deciding you don’t need a magician to entertain guests) and paying a bit more for a photographer who did a superb job.

Get everything in writing

Any good photographer, one who is truly professional, should have a contract in place for you to sign. This makes it clear exactly what is being provided, what to expect and how much you are going to pay – it protects you and them, avoiding any awkward misunderstandings. Read it, understand it and make sure you are happy with it before you sign it.


Book early

The best wedding photographers tend to get very booked up.  Many will be taking bookings for one to two years in advance – popular summer weekends in peak season have to be scheduled way ahead to avoid disappointment. If you are planning your wedding and have your date set, then now is the time to find your wedding photographer and get them booked as quickly as possible. Once your venue and wedding date is confirmed get straight onto your wedding photographer and get them booked.

Need more help?

If you want some suggestions for great local photographers who are regularly booked for weddings at Clevedon Hall just give us a call.  Likewise if you have any further questions or are in need of expert advice – our team are more than happy to share their knowledge and experience.


Jim O'ConnorComment