How to choose the right wedding photographer in just 3 steps.
Everyone has a wedding budget and there is probably a photographer available at every step of the price ladder.
However, the most important question is – How do I choose the right photographer for me?
Our own daughter was married last year in Oxford, so we had a real insight into the challenge of choosing the right photographer. With so many photographers who are “doing their dream job photographing weddings”, you may be wondering – how did we make a selection?
Step one – Decide what you want. Make a list of “must have” images.
For example, our list was like this:
- A set of images that captured the fun and joy of the day.
- Unposed real life photojournalist style images for moments when the photographer should not intrude.
- Candid images which capture the emotional moments during the day.
- Some organised groups of the bridal party.
- Lovely portraits of the bride and her girls.
- Images of the guys with a bit of “attitude”.
- Some “wow” moments with the bride and groom for feature images in the album.
Step two – Check website “about us” sections for an indication of the photographers approach
We also felt these aspects were important to us:
- We wanted a photographer who was very organised on the day, and would work with our timeline.
- The photographer should give a little guidance for everyone to look their best in the images.
- We wanted the wedding dress and veil to be properly set out for photographs.
- The images must appear relaxed and natural.
It is important to “read between the lines” and realise that a photographer offering a “relaxed and unstructured” service is probably not going to arrange the dress or be interested in organising groups. Also we did not read the reviews and testimonials. (These did not seem important, since the reviewer may be pleased with a different style of wedding photography.)
Step three – Decide which style of Wedding Photography you like
When planning the wedding down in Oxford, we must have looked at the website for every wedding photographer in the area.
A few of the things we looked at were:
- Were all the parts of the wedding covered or did we feel something was missing? (for example – sometimes there were no images of the bride to show off the dress.)
- The overall look of the image “processing”. For example – do the pictures look light and airy or vintage and dull? (or even unsharp and underexposed!)
- Does it look like they were having a great time at the wedding (yes a photographer will influence this)
- Are the people in the images well organised or a bit chaotic?
- Is the image background clear or cluttered?
- Do the subjects in the images look relaxed and happy (or uptight and stressed)?
- Are the groups arranged well (ie tidy/relaxed) (Do they even exist?)
And most importantly
- Assuming that the photographer has put his best work on the website – would I be happy if these were my wedding pictures?
Make a short list, and check availability (of the owner not an “associate”)
Then of course we checked availability for our date with the one we liked best.
And actually we did only contact one photographer. We had decided that if he was not available we would broaden our search, but our first choce was available, so after a chat on the phone we exchanged emails to get the paperwork done.
Incidentally, some studios will offer an associate photographer for a date if they are already booked. However, If you chose your short list on the basis of their images, bear in mind an associate photographer will not produce the same style/standard of work.
Remember photographers are artists – each one has a unique creative vision for your big day.
Good luck with your wedding plans!