How to choose a wedding photographer
Updated: Oct 28, 2022
When I got engaged in 2017 (seems like AGES ago now!), I had no idea where to start with finding the right wedding photographer. I originally wanted to go with someone who I knew from school, but our wedding was the one date she was busy in 2019 so it was back to the drawing board! Everything else was starting to come together, but I was clueless about where to find a photographer who's work I loved.
There are so many factors that come into play when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. For a lot of couples, the first thing they think about is budget. Now what I will say on this topic is that you can get photographers at every price point, so don't worry about finding a photographer if you're on a tight budget!
Assigning a budget to your wedding photography really depends on how important it is to you and your day. If finding a photographer whose style you adore, who will be there all day to capture all the moments you don't want to forget and whose pictures you would happily print and hang on your wall to see every day, is a priority to you, I suggest assigning a larger portion of your budget. If wedding photography isn't as important to you as other aspects of your day, like a killer band or a particular designer wedding dress, and you're on a limited budget, assign a smaller budget.
It's also worth bearing in mind that if you want to book a photographer whose work you love but you're on a smaller budget or aren't fussed about having full day coverage, most photographers can offer a smaller package. Since COVID-19 and the increase in popularity of micro-weddings and smaller affairs, there has been a boom in photographers offering micro-wedding packages, such as 4 or 6 hours of coverage.
So, budget aside, how else do you find and narrow down the plethora of wedding photographers out there to find 'the one'? Search-wise, Google is a logical place to start, and these days especially, Instagram and Pinterest are fantastic places to search for wedding suppliers. But if you type in #weddingphotographer you're gonna have too many options to comprehend! You can try to narrow down your search using your area, such as #cheshireweddingphotographer, or by style, using words like 'documentary' 'relaxed' or 'traditional' depending on your preferred style.
That brings me nicely on to discuss style. For me, this is the number 1 thing I would recommend basing your decision on! It can take some researching and time to think about but trust me, it is worth it! But what do I mean by style and how can you tell what someone's style it? Here are some factors I would look for when thinking about style:
Lighting - I'm a natural light photographer and prefer to use natural light as much as I possibly can. This gives a very different effect to someone who specialises and uses flash photography. There is not a right or wrong style, just a very different look! Flash photography is often used to create dramatic portraits, popping dance floor shots and to help light really dark venues. In contrast, natural light is often softer, perfect for those golden hour portraits and is great for well lit venues, or ones with big windows. Think about what look you're more drawn to, as well as your chosen venue and what type of lighting would be best.
Editing style - This is often what makes a photographer's work unique and distinctive. The editing that happens after the wedding is a very big part of a photographers job! Different editing styles include dark and moody, light and airy, colourful and bright, muted and romantic, true to life colours, vintage or sepia-toned, cool and desaturated, vibrant etc. For example, I would describe my editing style as muted and romantic. What sort of pictures are you drawn to? And would you happy with a whole wedding album of pictures in that style?
Working style - This is how the photographer works on the day as well as in the run up to the day. If traditional family portraits are important to you, it's important to choose a photographer who specialises in that, and can easily direct a large group of people into the perfect place for those posed shots. In contrast, if you want more candid relaxed shots (what we call documentary), capturing moments as they happen more than staging shots, you should look for a photographer who shoots in this way. If getting killer couples portraits that you could imagine seeing in Vogue is what you're looking for, try looking for a photographer that says they have an editorial style and they will focus on getting those type of shots for you. I'm very much a documentary style photographer, who likes to blend into the background, and I specialise in natural, candid photography.
Personality - This can be a hard one to figure out depending on their online presence, but of all the wedding suppliers, the photographer is the one you will spend the most time with on your day. So naturally, you're going to want someone you get on well with, who you can be yourself and relaxed around. I recommend reading the 'About' sections on photographers websites, and even better, checking out their Stories on social media sites like Instagram. Photographers often use this to give couples a peak behind the curtain, get to know their photographers, and see if you like what you see!
Phew, that's a lot to think about, isn't it! Obviously there are other factors as well such as location, number of photographers, albums/prints, but finding a photographer whose work you adore, and you are looking forward to spending time with on your wedding day isn't something to be rushed into.
I hope you found this blog post useful, and if you're interested in booking me to be your wedding photographer, get in touch!