Choosing your wedding photographer
Immortalising your wedding day forever is the only real way to remember it as it happened. Memories are precious, but they also fade. Photographs can last a lifetime. That’s why it’s important to have your special day captured forever on film.
As long as you hire a professional, they should all be able to record your wedding day in the best way possible. All professional wedding photographers should be able to do a credible job recording your wedding day.
If you want something special, or something with a particular personality, you’re going to have to find the person who can deliver that experience.
If you’re trying to sort through a selection of wedding photographers, we can help. We have many years’ experience working with photographers of all kinds and have learned a lot about dealing with them and how they work.
This is what we learned.
Like any profession, not all wedding photographers are created equal. Each will add their own skill and flair to your day in different ways. For example, photographers with journalistic backgrounds are better at capturing events as they happen, while those with fashion backgrounds can bring out the best in you and your guests.
This background and experience can lend itself well to your wedding. Most professional photographers can do a good job, but some will bring out elements of your wedding day that others will miss. If you’re looking for that special something, you’re going to have to find the photographer who can deliver it.
Like any artist, different photographers see the world in slightly different ways. Some of this is nature, some of it is experience. Each will have their own style, so selecting a photographer whose nature, experience and style matches your own is essential.
Remember, you’re going to be with them for anything up to 12 hours on one of the most important days of your life. You’re going to need to get on with them to get the best out of them.
Meeting of Minds
Chances are, if you like a photographer’s work, you will like them as a person. If you’re motivated by the fashion side of weddings, the dresses, the accessories, the children all dressed up, then a photographer with a fashion background might be best.
If you want to capture the day like a documentary and record events as they unfold, then a journalistic photographer or one with photojournalist experience might be best.
All professional photographers should have a website with lots of example of their work, a portfolio, preferably a blog and lots and lots of examples of the kind of work they produce. Use this as your first port of call when you’re looking for your photographer.
If you like what they do and you like what they say, you should like who they are. That will make working with them on what will be a stressful day much, much easier.
Along with personality comes attitude. Most professional photographers are just that, professionals. That means they will do all they can to deliver the service you’re paying for in a courteous manner.
There are however some wedding photographers who can treat your wedding day as their own personal fashion shoot and can get a little carried away with themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but may need managing on the day.
A good photographer should be almost invisible except for the staged shots. They should be there in the background most of the time quietly doing their thing. They will of course need you to pose a regular intervals for specific shots, but other than that, they should fade into the background.
They should not be asking everyone to pose or stand somewhere or do something constantly during your day. They should not assume you’re all there to make their job easier or show frustration when you’re not where they want you to be.
Assigning someone to manage the photographer may be in order if they do get in the way!
Don’t take their word for their skills
You need to check out a wedding photographer in the same way you would check out anyone you’re paying to provide a service. You select a shortlist, check them out, ask friends and relatives for recommendations, research them and choose the one you like best.
That choice will usually be decided by the work they have produced in the past and their personality. Check out their work on their website to begin with and in print once you meet.
Ask to see an entire wedding day, not a carefully constructed series of shots. A good wedding photographer will arrive early and begin capturing the day as soon as everyone is assembled. That means while you’re getting ready at each house, while everyone is assembling, before the ceremony and into the night until the bride and groom departs.
You want to see all of that, not just the posed shots. A lot of a photographers’ skill and personality will be in their work, so you want to see all of it, not just what they want you to see.
Once you have a shortlist, ask for references and follow them up. Talk to the couples, ask them how their experience was, how easy the photographer was to work with. Once you’re happy, make your decision and book them before someone else does!