Choosing A Wedding Photographer – A Difficult Choice Explained
Your wedding day is one of the most special moments in your life. Capturing every beautiful memory is essential. With countless options available, choosing the perfect wedding photographer can be overwhelming. To help you navigate this process, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide. How to choose a wedding photographer who will perfectly capture your big day
There is a profound depth to a familiar saying. ‘There are only two things from your wedding that last forever – your ring and your photographs”. Wedding photographs hold undying memories, brimming with love and cherished moments. They can be gracefully handed down through countless generations. These timeless snapshots capture the essence of your special day. Etching it into the fabric of family history.
Choosing the perfect wedding photographer for your big day is a significant decision. Your wedding memories deserve to be captured flawlessly. A talented photographer can ensure just that.
To answer the question “How do I choose a wedding photographer?”, we have created this comprehensive guide. Unlike other articles that merely touch the surface, our content dives deep. We ensure that you won’t be left with more questions than before. It’s a must-read to gain valuable insights into this important topic.
Your Wedding Budget
Image and Service Quality
Reccomendations and Testimonials
Wedding Photography Styles
Personality and Compatibility
One or Two Photographers
one thousand words wedding photography
This article is written from our own perspective, from our experiences working with hundreds of couples over the last two decades. So we’ve kept all of the information that pertains specifically to our services in these purple boxes! That way if you don’t want to read about our services you can skip over them!
Choosing A Photographer With Your Wedding Budget
When considering your wedding photographer, setting a budget is crucial. It’s essential to find a professional who fits within your price range without compromising on quality.
The ‘Expert Recommendation”
Wedding industry experts recommend allocating 10-15% of your budget to your photographer*. We see this as merely a starting point. With photographers’ pricing spanning from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds, you can find one to suit any budget. This means that there should be something for everyone.
After two decades of working with wedding couples, we’ve learned that budget allocation varies and evolves. Searching for a wedding photographer to fit a changing budget is a real challenge!
Your allocated wedding photography budget directly affects both photo quality and service level. Opting for a cheap or budget wedding photographer in the hopes of quality images often proves to be a false economy. Consider prioritizing image quality and your ideal photographer experience.
The amount you budget, and the percentage you allocate, reflects how much you value image style, quality, and service level. For a more in-depth analysis of the true costs of wedding photography please take a look at our wedding wisdom article “How Much Does Wedding Photography Cost”.
Style of Wedding Photography
The photographs captured on this special day will forever represent the essence of your partnership. It’s important that you can picture yourselves in the photos, as they’ll be cherished reminders of your love story in the years ahead
Then Main Definable Wedding Photography Styles
We understand that when it comes to wedding photography, there is an abundance of styles to choose from. While many photographers have their own defined style, we, on the other hand, find joy in blending elements from various styles. This approach may be challenging, but it allows us to capture truly remarkable photographs.
Traditional/ Classic Photography
Capturing the formal poses that have been the cornerstone of wedding photography for generations.
Documentary/ Reportage Photography
Telling the story of your special day through candid and unobtrusive moments. Capturing authentic emotions and genuine interactions.
Fine Art Photography
Creative compositions, unique perspectives and posing, and a focus on artistic expression.
Fashion/ Editorial Photography
Bringing a touch of editorial flair to your photos, with a fashion-forward approach. Using trending styling and heavy on the poses that highlight the beauty and couture of the day.
Dark and Moody Photography
Shot and processed to create a mysterious and atmospheric ambiance to your wedding photos, with deep shadows and a sense of drama.
Light and Airy Photography
Embracing soft natural light and a delicate color palette. This current trend creates a romantic and ethereal feel to your wedding photos.
Vintage/ Film Photography
This less-than-practical approach can transport you back in time with the nostalgic charm and dreamlike quality of film.
With such a diverse range of styles to choose from, your wedding photography will be a true reflection of your vision and personality. Trust in the expertise of a skilled photographer to create timeless keepsakes you’ll cherish forever.
one thousand words Style
Our style of wedding photography embodies the very essence of all the best aspects found in the previously listed styles. We use a mostly documentary style to tell the story of your special day, capturing real emotions and genuine moments in an unobtrusive way.
Interweaving traditional photography into group shots, we capture the classic elegance that families have treasured for generations
Like fine art photography, we emphasize creative compositions, unique perspectives, and artistic expression in our work.
With a touch of fashion/editorial flair, we highlight the beauty and couture of your wedding day.
Our unique style encompasses the best of all the above, providing you with a truly unforgettable wedding story.
Quality of Wedding Photography Images and Service
Your wedding photos are timeless keepsakes, so it’s vital to select a wedding photographer who consistently delivers impeccable quality. Experienced photographers should not only possess a keen eye for capturing stunning images but also provide exceptional service. From the first consultation to the final delivery of your photographs, your wedding photography should be a seamless experience that exceeds your expectations.
Choose A Wedding Photographer With Quality Wedding Photographs
Your wedding day is a reflection of your unique love story, and your choice of photography style should capture the essence of this special occasion. Through a range of techniques, wedding photographers expertly curate images that tell your story in a way that resonates with you.
The photographer’s meticulous curation and processing of your images greatly influences the superior quality of their work. Clear and precise focus, exquisite lighting, heartfelt emotions, profound meaning, impeccable composition, and captivating colors and tones are all unmistakable indicators of exceptional craftsmanship that only an experienced photographer can deliver.
If you are looking at a wedding photographer’s work and their black and whites are merely shades of grey with no real black or white, if their shots are blurred or out of focus or if their images have a heavy filter over them you need to be asking yourself why?
Choose A Wedding Photographer With Quality Service
Often, it can be challenging to gauge the level of customer service offered by wedding photographers solely through their website.
When evaluating photographers, consider your expectations and clearly communicate your needs to them either over the phone or in person. If they demonstrate the ability to not only meet but surpass your expectations, they should definitely be included in your shortlist.
As we will address later reviews from the photographer’s past brides and grooms are often illuminating as to the level of customer service they received.
The Headache That Is Comparing Wedding Photographers Services
As we discussed earlier when addressing budgeting concerns, comparing the services offered by various wedding photographers can be quite challenging. The absence of a standardized approach for designing and pricing their offerings makes it exceedingly difficult to differentiate between them and determine if they truly align with your needs.
A Unique Cure – one thousand words Wedding Photography Service
It is for this very reason that we bucked the trend of ‘packages’ (it sounds like something that turns up on your doorstep from Amazon!) and redifined our wedding photography service. It took years of experience, research and talking to our past and prospective brides and grooms to develop. We now provide an all inclusive service, with everything our clients actually need from a wedding photographer. Trust us if you are just starting to plan your wedding your needs will change over time!
So our ‘all-inclusive’ service contains the basics – consultations, meetings, and advice, high-quality photographs packed with emotion and meaning, and some of the best customer service available.
An ‘All Inclusive’ Wedding Photography Service
We also include an engagement shoot (you can see why you need an engagement shoot here), a private online gallery, a sneak peek at your images within the full processing time, supplier recommendations, logistics planning, two photographers (you can see why you need a duo here), and absolutely no time limits. That’s right, we capture the entire story of your wedding day with no limits on timings!
Additionally, we include a blog post write-up of your big day, online storage of your images, a custom engraved wooden USB with your stunning photos, and a mini linen concertina album (that will fit in your handbag), both of which are nestled safely in our unique wooden engraved book presentation case. We also include a slideshow video of your photos and a print product ordering service (think framed prints, canvases, etc) and even go as far as to create a folder of your images fully optimised and ready to go for social media sharing or storing on your phone.
For our clients who choose to take the plunge with a luxury wedding album we also include our quality wedding album design service, backed by thousands of hours of skilled experience.
You can find more information on our all-inclusive service here
Personality and Compatability When Choosing A Wedding Photographer
Choosing a wedding photographer who truly understands and connects with your unique vision is absolutely crucial. Out of all the suppliers you enlist for your big day, they are the ones you will spend the most amount of time with, both during the event and often in the preparation leading up to it.
It is imperative that you feel a genuine rapport with them because, let’s face it, if half an hour into your wedding day you find yourself not quite clicking with your photographer, you will be stuck with that feeling for the rest of the day.
Choose A Wedding Photographer You Get On With
This is where a knowledge of psychology comes into play. If your bridesmaids witness your strong rapport with the photographer on your wedding morning, they too will feel at ease in their presence. This sense of comfort and acceptance greatly contributes to the creation of authentic documentary wedding photographs.
The same principle applies to your entire bridal party and wedding guests, ensuring a stress-free day captured effortlessly. It is not uncommon for guests to be pleasantly surprised when we seamlessly organize group photos, as they may have initially assumed we were just friends of the bride or helpful guests with cameras. This integration into the wedding’s atmosphere reflects our unobtrusive presence throughout the day.
Murray and I are not only skilled professionals but also warm, approachable individuals who understand the importance of building a connection with you and your partner. We use our friendly nature to put you at ease, allowing us to capture the genuine emotions and joy that radiate throughout your wedding day.
Wedding Photographer Recommendations and Testimonials
All types of recommendations will give you an idea of what a certain photographer is like to work with and what other people think of the photographs and service.
Ask Your Friends To Help You Choose A Wedding Photographer
Word-of-mouth recommendations provide valuable insight into a photographer’s work. Ask your friends, if they recently married talk to them about how they chose their photographer and be sure to check out their wedding photographs.
Talk To Your Venue
Your venue coordinator will be able to steer you toward photographers they have worked with before (this may or may not be a good thing – see ‘Location’ below)
The problem with choosing ‘Venue Recommended Photographers”
All of the big wedding websites will tell you to ask your venue what photographers they recommend. The problem occurs when you dig deeper and ask – why do you recommend them? In our experience, wedding venues fall into two categories here:
1) Real Recommendations
The venue truly loves working with their recommended photographer because of how well they work, their expertise, and their wedding day experiences as well as the quality of their images.
2) Paid For Recommendations
The venue promotes the photographer because they pay to be associated with the venue through some type of ‘collaborative marketing’ agency or yearly fee. Some venues will even go as far as to charge a photographer a certain percentage of their price to be ‘recommended’. Watch out for this one particularly as many photographers will add on the percentage to their service price if you have booked such a venue.
We don’t believe in the validity of paid-for recommendations and will only associate ourselves with venues that supply ‘real recommendations’ to their clients. That way there is complete openness and truth in their recommendations.
Choose A Wedding Photographer With Reviews From Real Brides and Grooms
No one know better what a wedding photographer is like to work with than their previous brides and grooms. What experiences did they have leading up to, on and after their big day. What did they think of their wedding photographs?
We are proud to have garnered countless positive testimonials from satisfied couples who have entrusted us with capturing their special moments. Their experiences serve as a testament to the exceptional services we offer, giving you peace of mind when choosing us as your wedding photographer.
You can find some of our past bride and groom’s reviews on our testimonials page.
Choose A Wedding Photographer With Experience
When it comes to preserving the essence of your treasured memories, the significance of experience cannot be overstated. Familiarity with the intricate art of capturing precious moments adds an invaluable touch to the process.
Let’s put the experience into a really simple perspective. Recommendations and budget aside who would you rather entrust with beautifully capturing the story of your wedding day? An inexperienced photographer who has only recently photographed a handful of weddings or a seasoned professional that has photographed hundreds?
Experience is the key to unlocking the true magic of wedding photography. With every click of the shutter, an experienced wedding photographer not only captures precious moments but immortalizes the emotions, love, and the essence of your special day.
The artistry and skill acquired over countless weddings allow them to anticipate and capture the fleeting glances, the tender gestures, and the candid smiles that make your love story unique. Their mastery of composition, lighting, and post-processing ensures that each image is a timeless work of art that can be cherished for generations to come. Trust in experience and let your wedding memories be eternalized in breathtaking photographs that tell your unique love story.
Using Experience To Master Wedding Photography
The phrase “it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills” would indicate that ‘masters’ of wedding photography would have needed to shoot and process approximately 138 weddings. Wedding photography expertise extends beyond capturing moments; it encompasses every crucial aspect that makes a truly outstanding wedding photographer.
With over two decades of experience in wedding photography, we have worked at over 400 weddings. Murray and I have honed our skills and developed a reputation as highly accomplished professionals in the field. It’s not just about taking photographs; it’s about the art of exceptional customer service, understanding and surpassing the expectations of our brides and grooms, creating a relaxed atmosphere, seamlessly integrating into the wedding day, and offering a service that truly meets our client’s needs.
The Wedding Photographer’s Portfolio
When searching for a wedding photographer’s portfolio, it’s essential to find a captivating blend of creativity, technical expertise, and the ability to capture those breathtaking moments that make your special day truly extraordinary.
Each photograph should seamlessly work together as part of a beautiful story, while also standing alone as a captivating piece of artwork. A wedding photographer’s portfolio should offer a holistic insight into their unique style and image quality.
By showcasing a diverse range of weddings set in different venues, captured across various seasons over the years, it allows for a genuine representation of their work.
Forget The Specifics
It’s easy to get caught up in the details when viewing a photographer’s images. The bride’s dress, the color scheme, the venue – they can be off-putting if they don’t match your own taste. That’s why it’s crucial to focus on the right things when reviewing a portfolio. Consider the creative style of the images, rather than getting caught up in the details that the photographer has little control over. Remember, the portfolio is meant to showcase the story your photographer will create from your special day. So, prioritize style over substance, as that will be reflected in your images.
Focus On Their Approach
Every photographer has their own unique approach. It’s crucial to find someone whose style aligns with your tastes, as they will capture your magical moments according to their signature aesthetic. While you may admire the colors and lighting of a particular photographer, it’s important to consider if their shooting style matches your desire for wedding imagery.
Consider the composition of images in a portfolio to tell a story. Focus on the subjects the photographer emphasizes – the couple, subtle details, or joyful moments with loved ones. There’s no right or wrong way to work with composition, but ask yourself if it conveys the story you want for your day. A skilled photographer can create visually pleasing images, and your eye is just as capable of judging this.
Working With Light
Not all photographers work with lighting in the same way. If you want indoor shots with artificial lighting in your wedding photo set, make sure to ask your potential photographer for examples. Many photographers don’t feature this type of photography in their portfolios, so requesting a complete wedding gallery is crucial to understanding their style and capability. Each photographer uses light differently to create a unique emotion. Consider how the photographs make you feel and if they align with the vibe you want for your day.
A crucial aspect of wedding photography is ensuring that the subjects (aka you!) feel completely at ease. It’s important that you forget the presence of the photographer altogether. Take a moment to review the images and observe the relaxed and comfortable expressions of the couple and their guests. If any sense of forced or stiffness is detected, it should raise concern.
Over the years we have developed many different ways to help even the most camera shy to relax in front of and even forget that our cameras are there on the big day. Engagement shoots are just one of these tools that we employ – you can read more about why you need an engagement shoot here
A consistent style is key when choosing the right wedding photographer. Look for a cohesive aesthetic in their portfolio, including a harmonious color scheme, skillful lighting, and well-composed shots. This visual consistency demonstrates the photographer’s distinct style and their ability to consistently deliver high-quality results throughout your entire wedding day.
While it is crucial to prioritize consistency, it is equally important to seek out diversity within a photographer’s portfolio. A wide range of shots, including close-ups, wide-angle shots, and candid moments, showcases the photographer’s versatility and ability to capture every unique aspect of your wedding day.
Your wedding day overflows with emotions, and an adept photographer possesses the ability to capture those cherished moments. Seek out photographs that elicit a deep emotional response, like the tears that well up in the bride’s eyes during the first look or the radiant smile that graces the groom’s face during the ceremony. These captivating snapshots serve as a testament to the photographer’s unparalleled skill in encapsulating the very heart and soul of your special day.
A Wedding Photographer’s Work Duration
We are not just talking about how long a photographer has been in business (Murray and I have been taking wedding photographs for over two decades!). When we talk about work duration we are referring to how long they will be with you on the wedding day as well as spend time working for you outside the wedding day. Client meetings, venue coordination, logistics, liaising with other suppliers, image curation, processing, and image delivery are all essential ingredients that go into the work duration. Every step is crucial to ensure a seamless experience.
We have a different approach compared to other wedding photographers. Rather than charging by the hour or in blocks of time, we work without time limits. This means that you can relax and enjoy your wedding day without worrying about the clock. Our goal is to capture every precious moment, from the anticipation of getting ready to the lively celebrations in the evening. With our flexible approach, there are no concerns about the schedule going off track or any unexpected delays.
Speed VS Quality
Fast image curation and processing may sound appealing in today’s world of instant media, but it’s important to consider the trade-offs. While getting your wedding photographs back within a week or two may seem convenient, it often comes at the expense of storytelling and image quality. Wedding photography, storytelling, and image processing are all art forms that thrive when given the time they deserve. If you prioritize the best quality, rushing through the artistic process is not the ideal approach.
We take great pride in our exceptional customer service, as well as our expertise in storytelling and image processing. Leveraging our experience and knowledge, we dedicate ample time to thoughtfully curate wedding images that beautifully weave together the narrative of your special day. Furthermore, each selected image undergoes meticulous individual processing to unlock its full potential. This takes time.
Choose A Wedding Photographer With Timeless Photos
As with popular wedding photography styles, there are numerous trends that come and go with wedding photography. We place the current preference for ‘light and airy’ photographs into this category.
However, the issue arises when these photographs, while stunning initially, quickly become outdated. Such trends and styles can be described as being ‘very of their time’ and do not age well. No one desires wedding photographs that they will later regret showing their grandchildren. This is where timeless wedding photography plays a crucial role.
Remember the early 2000s trend of ‘spot colouring’ wedding photographs? The desaturation of a color image to black and white, with only one element remaining in bold color (such as the rings or flowers), may have been appealing to some at the time, but now we view them as tacky and far from timeless.
Timeless wedding photography, as the name suggests, consistently presents itself as high quality over time. It can incorporate elements from these trends in a way that ensures the images never go out of style. By mastering the fundamental principles of photography and executing them with creativity, one can achieve truly timeless wedding photography.
When evaluating potential wedding photographers, it is crucial to consider the element of timelessness. Take a moment to ponder how these images will endure for future generations. Do they exhibit a fashionable filter effect? Will their style remain timeless?
One or Two Wedding Photographers
Some couples prefer the intimacy of having a single photographer, while others opt for the dynamic perspective captured by a team. A duo of photogrpahers can work seamlessly together to ensure every magical moment is captured from different angles, preserving multiple viewpoints and enhancing the overall story of your wedding day.
Photographing Simultaneous Moments
Hiring a single wedding photographer may have its drawbacks. A single photographer will find it extremely difficult to capture both bridal and groom preparations and can not be in two places at once throughout your wedding day.
With limited time on their own, they may struggle to cover every precious moment. Additionally, without a partner to bounce creative ideas off, their solo efforts may lack the depth and variety that two photographers can bring. Furthermore, achieving the perfect lighting setups can be more time-consuming and challenging without the assistance of a second photographer.
Choosing Photographers With Consistently High Quality
A photographer duo offers a unique advantage over a single shooter when it comes to maintaining a consistently high quality of photography throughout a long event like a wedding. Let’s delve into it further. When a single shooter covers the entire wedding, they inevitably need breaks to rest, recharge, and regain focus. However, they are then faced with a difficult dilemma: either continue shooting while getting increasingly fatigued or take a break and potentially miss important moments. As a duo, we address this challenge by taking alternating breaks, ensuring that no precious moment goes unnoticed or undocumented.
Two wedding photographers can capture every moment from multiple angles and perspectives They can effortlessly collaborates, ensuring that no magical moment goes unnoticed. While one photographer focuses on the timeless expressions, the other captures the candid interactions, enhancing the overall story of your wedding day. With two photographers, you can relive every detail, every emotion, and every cherished memory, creating a visual narrative that is truly unforgettable.
You can read more about why you need two wedding photographers on our wedding wisdom blog.
Choose A Wedding Photographer Based On Location
Again we are going to buck the trend and pick apart a commonly held concept – “A photographer that is based locally to your venue is likely to be a good choice.” Not necessarily, this statement is an over simplification.
When it comes to choosing a wedding photographer, their location shouldn’t be a major factor. What truly matters is their talent, expertise, and ability to capture the special moments of your big day. With the right skills and creativity, an experienced photographer can make any location come alive in their images. Whether it’s a beach, a garden, or a cityscape, a talented wedding photographer can turn any backdrop into a stunning masterpiece that reflects the love and joy of your special day.
We do work locally, regularly visiting the many stunning wedding venues have to offer. However, we use a different approach than the majority of photographers and are always looking for new ways and locations to use to shoot the venue in a unique manner.
We learned many years ago that ‘cookie-cutter wedding photographs’ are no good for anyone, what bride wants her images to be an almost carbon copy of those that have come before? No truly creative wedding photographer wants to feel like they are experiencing groundhog day, shooting the same moments in the same places multiple times.
A Fresh Pair Of Eyes
Hiring a wedding photographer who hasn’t previously worked at your chosen venue can be a bonus. A fresh perspective brings the opportunity to create stunning and unique images that capture the essence of your love story. Many brides and grooms hire us to work venues all over the UK (and abroad) for our innovative approach and eagerness to explore new locations.
No two moments are the same, and your special day deserves a photographer who sees it through an artist’s lens, ensuring that your memories are truly one-of-a-kind.
That said, there are some logistical advantages to knowing a wedding venue and its wedding co-ordinator. That is why, when shooting a wedding venue for the first time we will collaborate with and often visit the venue ahead of time.
So don’t limit yourself to only local photographers – let your imagination soar and choose the one who can truly capture the essence of your love story, no matter where they may be based.
Choose A Wedding Photographer With Wedding Albums
We want to challenge convention and redefine what matters in choosing a wedding photographer when it comes to wedding albums.
Wedding Industry Secrets
Wedding photographers often offer different packages that include various sizes and qualities of wedding albums.
Have you ever come across options like “Bronze, Silver, and Gold” when browsing through photographers’ services? These packages are strategically priced and designed to entice you into purchasing additional or more expensive items. This sales design is often encouraged by wedding album manufacturers as a means of ‘upselling’ to brides and grooms.
one thousand words Philosophy
We do not believe that the availability and cost of albums shouldn’t overshadow the photographer’s style and the quality of images you truly love. That’s why we designed our wedding photography service to prioritize your preferences. You don’t have to commit to a wedding album when booking; instead, you can purchase one when it fits your future budget.
Our expertise in design and storytelling allows us to create stunning wedding albums for couples even after their weddings, ensuring they have both the cherished photographs they desired and a beautiful album to showcase them. We often design and supply luxury wedding albums for couple’s who were not able to book our wedding photography service.
You can see our most popular luxury wedding albums here, but we by no means restrict our brides and grooms solely to these. A wedding album should be as unique as the photographs they contain and we work closely with our clients to create the perfect wedding album.
Furthermore, we spent a lot of time and energy researching and building a relationship with a handmade wedding album company. They do not push for upselling in ‘wedding photography packages’ and align with our ideas about providing the best quality possible for our client’s needs. You can read more about how our mission to find the best wedding album suppliers here.
Conclusion – How To Choose A Wedding Photographer
Choosing the perfect wedding photographer is an important decision that will shape how you remember your special day for years to come. With our team of skilled professionals, uncompromising quality, and personalized approach, we are confident in creating a collection of images that will forever preserve the magic and beauty of your wedding day.
When choosing the best wedding photographer, several key points are crucial to consider. Firstly, take into account your budget and ensure that the photographer’s pricing aligns with your financial constraints. Additionally, consider the style of wedding photography you desire, as each photographer may have their unique approach. Evaluating the quality of images and services they offer is essential to ensure you receive the highest standard of work.
Furthermore, ensure that you have a personal connection and compatibility with the photographer, as they will play a significant role in capturing your special day. Recommendations and testimonials from previous clients can provide valuable insights into their professionalism and skill. Lastly, review their portfolio to gauge their creativity and expertise. With our team of talented professionals, uncompromising quality, and personalized approach, we guarantee to preserve the magic and beauty of your wedding day in a collection of timeless images.
* Hitched (Wedding Spend Breakdown), Bides (Wedding Cost Checklist), The Knot (Wedding Budget Breakdown), Wedding Forward (Wedding Photography Prices), Bridebox (How Much Do Wedding Photographers Cost in 2022?), For Better For Worse (The Ultimate Wedding Budget Checklist), Rock My Wedding (Wedding Budget Breakdown)
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