What to Look for in a Wedding Photographer
This is the day you’ve been dreaming of all your life. You want your wedding to perfect, and you want the perfect photos to remember it by. Learn more about what to look for in a wedding photographer to ensure your memories will last a lifetime.
Maybe you’ve been planning this day since you were a starry-eyed teenager, or perhaps you hadn’t given any thought to your wedding day — until the night your boyfriend got down on bended knee and asked you to become his wife.
Your wedding day is one of the most special, meaningful, and memorable days of your life. Naturally, you want to ensure that every detail is captured for posterity. That’s where a wedding photographer comes in, but how to choose a good one?
We have done the research for you. Continue reading to learn what to look for in a wedding photographer.
First, Decide Which Style of Photography You Would Like
Once upon a time, back when your parents and grandparents got married, wedding photography meant posed portraits of the bride, the groom, their parents and their attendants, in a variety of combinations.
You can certainly still find a wedding photographer who will take these types of pictures for you, if you want. However, many if not most brides and grooms now opt for a photojournalistic, photorealistic, or documentary style approach to their wedding photography.
In this scenario, the photographer will go behind the scenes, capturing the bride and her bridesmaids as they are getting ready before the ceremony. They will use thier artistic eye to scout out charming, heartwarming moments like the flower girl’s ecstatic expression as she is handed her basket of rose petals.
Candid photographs, taken when the subject is engaged in some other activity besides simply posing for a picture, can often represent the beauty and emotion of a wedding day much better than staged photos can.
The Best of Both Worlds
Choosing a photographer who takes this type of photojournalistic approach doesn’t mean that you won’t get any posed pictures, however. Most are happy to provide their clients with some shots of the wedding party on the church steps, at the altar, or outside the reception venue. Portraits of the happy couple are almost always part of a photography package, as well.
It will be loads of fun to get your wedding photographs and see, often for the first time, all the darling details and candid expressions that were captured by your photographer.
Take a Look at Some Portfolios
Now for the fun part — looking at photographs of other happy couples. As you might imagine, this stage of the process is much easier nowadays, thanks to the internet, than it was in your parent’s day. You don’t even have to meet with the photographer at all, but instead can surf the web to narrow down your choices.
As you review the portfolios of photographers in your area, remember to focus on the style of the photography, the lighting, and the composition. Don’t get swept away by aspects of the wedding itself, like how beautiful the bride’s dress is or the clever way the couple used Edison bulbs to light their reception.
It’s a good idea to take notes while you are perusing portfolios. Jot down which of the wedding photographs are your favorite, and what appeals to you about them. This can help you when it’s time to talk to the photographer you’ve chosen and help you identify the type of photography you want.
The Importance of Personality and Fit
Once you’ve narrowed down the choices, it’s time to contact the photographers for an initial meeting. You will want to do this in person, if at all possible. That’s because finding a photographer whose personality meshes well with yours is key.
In a lot of ways, this process resembles dating. It’s hard to define what you’re looking for, and so much comes down to sheer compatibility. However, you will likely feel that certain photographers “click” (no pun intended) while others just don’t seem to understand you or your vision.
We’re not saying you need to be BFFs with your photog. But if her aesthetic lines up with what you want, if you can joke around a bit, if you simply feel heard and understood — that “X factor” of chemistry and fit can mean the difference between photographs that truly capture the spirit of your day, and those that are just pictures.
What About Deliverables?
It wasn’t all that long ago when a wedding photographer would give each couple actual photographs — you know, the paper things that can be held in one’s hand. Today, this is still an option, but you may have to specify that you want archival quality prints or a wedding album.
It’s likely that you’ll also receive digital files. These will often be high-resolution and fully edited files that you can download, print, or share via social media. Make sure to inquire whether you will receive even the unedited files, as well.
Your photographer may want to include pictures of your wedding in her portfolio, or feature them on her own social media accounts. Using these images for marketing purposes is often built into the contract, so if you do not want your wedding photographs used in this manner, be sure to specify that.
You might pay more for the privilege of this privacy.
On the Issue of Price
Speaking of paying more, while it’s understandable that you want to keep costs low — after all, the average cost of a wedding in the UK has risen to 27,161. However, photography probably isn’t the area where you want to be frugal.
Remember that these images will be handed down to your children, and will forever serve as a reminder of the happy day. If money is truly an issue, find other areas where you can slash spending. Or hire the photographer for a shorter period of time.
Forgoing the bridal prep portion of the day can save you some money, while still delivering the key moments of your big day: the processional, vows, first kiss, first dance.
Final Thoughts on What To Look for in a Wedding Photographer
Ultimately, what to look for in a wedding photographer will depend on your needs, the type of wedding you’re having, and how important it is to capture every detail. A lot comes down to fit and personality, too.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch!