How to choose a wedding photographer
Planning a wedding isn’t easy; if it were, the recommended time to plan one wouldn’t be anywhere from 10 months to two years. And when you are planning one, a question you may find yourself Googling is: how to choose a wedding photographer? There are many amazing photographers out there, but finding the one for you may be tricky.
If you’re stuck on where to even begin, we’ve got your back.
Step 1: Style it out
Style is everything and deciding on what suits you as a couple will stand you in good stead on this journey to finding your perfect wedding photographer. If you’re a couple who likes natural, captured-in-the-moment, photos you don’t want to hire a photographer who specialises in posed and staged images. If you’re camera-shy, steer clear of this style too. Be sure to check out how they edit images also; if you are a fan of black-and-white photos find a photographer who has nailed this technique.
Don’t know your style? It’s time to spark some inspiration. Get on Insta and Pinterest; they’re your new BFFs through this wedding-planning journey. If or should we say, when, you find a wedding picture you would love to hang in your home, like it and pin it to your photography board – you can then show these to your photographer.
Step 2: Experience level…
Now, this depends on how you and bae feel about hiring a beginner in this field. While you may find an amazing fashion or nature photographer, who has recently turned their hand to the wedding industry, remember this is a whole different ball game. But everyone has to start somewhere right? And there are some great benefits of choosing someone just starting out in wedding photography. Like the fact that their prices will be lower than someone with decades’ worth of experience. If you do opt for a new wedding photographer (more to spend on doughnut walls) make a list of all the pictures you’re wanting – from all of the family group shots to the more special unique images, such as close-ups of your wedding perfume and jewellery. It is a live event, with no reruns, so be sure you’re both on the same page with the level of photographer you’re wanting to hire.
Step 3: Five-star reviews
Check the photographer’s socials; testimonials speak volumes. If they have a glowing record with couples, that’s a fantastic sign that they’re reliable and capable of capturing your special day. If they have a website and showcase their work, this is a bigger bonus, as you can now see what they can do and it shows that they’re proud of their work.
Step 4: Meet and greet
This is the person you want to capture one of the most important days of your life (don’t panic!) – so you can’t make a HUGE decision like this just by scrolling through someone’s grid on Insta. You should make an appointment with the photographer, whose style you’ve fallen in love with, to find out more about them.
You want them to be able to make you feel comfortable; nerves are likely to be high on the day, so you don’t want to miss any amazing photo opportunities due to feeling uncomfortable around them. It might be worth having a little taster session; not only will this allow you to experience working with the photographer, but you can also see if their style is consistent (you want to make sure the photos they’ve taken previously, that you liked, weren’t just lucky shots).
When you meet them, this is also the perfect time to show them things like your wedding photography Pinterest boards and what other images you would love to create on your special day.
Step 5: Ask for full albums
As we’ve mentioned before, what if they were lucky shots? The photos you’ve set your heart on, when browsing their website, are highlights from a wedding they’ve previously shot – remember, they’re the photographer’s faves. Ask to see a few completed albums; this is how you can check for consistency. Do they always capture the groom crying as the bride walks down? Or how about the father of the bride’s reaction when he sees his little girl for the first time in her dress? Do you like their composition and editing style? And then look out for things like: are people’s eyes closed in the shot? Are the pictures too dark? Did they miss key moments? You get where we’re going with this, question everything.
Step 6: It’s a package deal
There’s no one-package-suits-all when it comes to choosing a wedding photography package. Which package you choose, could be determined on your budget; how many albums do you want? Do you want to have a canvas or framed images? Do you want to have a photo booth? Do you want multiple photographers on the day? All of these factors can soon rack up a bill. In 2019, the average price for a wedding photographer was £1,560, but you can get some for as little as £500. When you’re interviewing for your photographer, ask what packages they do, or if you just want them to shoot the day and supply you with a set of digital images, ask them what their fee is for that. Packages will usually state a time (from bridal prep to the first dance and everything in between), so if you go down the no-package route, you want to check if they have a flat rate for the day or hourly (depending on your budget, may depend on how long they stay for). You will want to check if a second photographer is included and if you’re having a large wedding (250 guests or more) you may even want three to ensure no guests or activities are missed.
Step 7: Know your rights
When it comes to wedding photography, some photographers will have contracts which stipulate that they own the rights to all of the photos taken during the wedding – regardless of if you’re in them or not (crazy right?). This does mean they can use them in advertisements, on social media and on their websites to promote their services. You don’t want to land yourself in hot water, so be sure to ask about your rights when it comes to sharing your wedding photos online. You may be able to do it, but it might only be possible if they’re branding a watermark. If you’re wanting to get images developed yourself, you may need to buy the rights to the photos.
Step 8: Post-wedding deets
Don’t expect your photos back a week after the wedding. Your photographer is shooting pretty big files, and as much as you would love to revisit your special day asap (we know we would), remember Rome wasn’t built in a day hun. Photographers will spend on average 40+ hours editing a wedding shoot, so expect six-eight weeks before you get your hands on that beautiful album containing one of your favourite memories.
Step 9: Wedding-day prep
Make sure the wedding party is all on the same page as the photographer and that everyone knows where they’re supposed to be on the day. If the photographer comes to capture the bridal prep, make sure everyone knows not to go hitting the snooze button – as tempting as it may be, we’re pretty sure the excitement (maybe a few little nerves – totes normal btw) will surely get you up nice and early. Work with the photographer to ensure they know the order of the day – they’ve already got an idea of what shots you’re after, so once they’re clued up on the big day’s itinerary, you can just sit back and let them do their thing. Don’t forget: you should let your photographer know if your parents are separated or any other special circumstances when it comes to capturing groups photos. You want this day to go off without a hitch, so share as much information about what the photographer can expect from guests as possible.
Looking for a photographer? For Better, For Worse can help you find the perfect person to capture your special day.
Jade is a former magazine editor who now creates content for a range of publications and across a variety of industries. Jade planned her own wedding in 2018, complete with live reptiles and a horror movie table and her writing has been published on sites such as The Daily Mail, Absolute Magazine and Festival Brides.