Just got engaged? Here is everything you need to know to book your wedding photographer.
Ticking off your wedding photographer from your list of suppliers will without a doubt be a relief. It’s true that most people feel like booking a photographer is one of the biggest tasks in wedding planning. But where do you start?
How do you go about choosing the right photographer?
It’s paramount that you’re happy with your wedding photos. Most couples who rush through this step will regret that they didn’t either look through the photographer’s style of work or that the photographer didn’t capture all the moments during their wedding. With this in mind, how do you go about finding the right photographer?
Firstly, you need to know a little about different styles of photography to know what to look for and what to discuss with your potential photographer. Then, I’ll breakdown the process into 6 steps that you need to take to book the right photographer for your big day.
Wedding photography styles
There are three different styles in wedding photography and you should be aware of all three. It’s essential that you know what each style is and what you’ll receive if you choose a photographer with a speciality in a particular style.
- Reportage photography
Reportage photography, also known as documentary photography, means that your photographer will capture the moments as they happen naturally without any posing. This style of photography is all about capturing the emotions and reactions so expect your wedding photos to tell an authentic story of your day. Reportage photography can feel like the most realistic form of photography as there’s no posing involved. However, be aware that with this style of photography, there is no posing involved e.g. group shots of friends and family unless you ask for them. This is a style that I specialise in at AD Media. However, an ideal wedding photographer should have the skills from all three different styles and document your special day with all three styles. You’ll find out why this is important by the end of this article.
- Traditional photography
Traditional photography, also known as formal wedding photography, is the classic posed look you see in conventional group shots. Traditionally, this style used to be the most popular. Traditional photography involves directions from the photographer. You’d need to be aware that this style takes time during the day i.e. for posing groups which could mean you end up spending most of your day going around and taking photos rather than enjoying your wedding day. Also, your photographer might miss the natural reactions and emotions during the day as they don’t specialise in reportage. So your photos are likely to be very formal and well-lit.
- Contemporary photography
Contemporary photography is similar to fashion or editorial photography combined with reportage. It’s ideal if you’re looking for fashion-led couple photos with an artistic approach to your photos. This style is quite unique but your photos will look quite dramatic.
Why do you need a photographer with skills from all three different styles?
Now you know the difference between different types of wedding photography, here is why you need a photographer with skills from all three different styles.
Before choosing to specialise in a style, I, as a wedding photographer, have worked with a number of couples and found out that most couples look for a photographer who can capture their wedding photos in a natural way. This means lots of candids throughout the day as they’re getting ready for the ceremony so here it’s important that your potential photographer has the right skills and knows about documentary wedding photography. Also, it’s super-important that you have some group shots with bridesmaids, groomsmen as well as your family and friends.
Weddings are a once in a lifetime event and you spend so long planning for this big-day. You hire a makeup artist for professional bridal makeup, hire your beautiful wedding dress, the wedding flowers and many more - yet not have any group shots with your beautifully dressed bridesmaids and groomsmen looking their best in their stylish and elegant outfit. After all, a wedding is a celebration where friends and family reunite to celebrate your special day with you - and group shots are a must on this unique day.
The right photographer should also be able to capture photos with a contemporary style. These are the indispensable single portraits of the bride and groom looking their best - the photos that will hang on their wall for many years to come, the photos that can be printed on the ‘thank you cards’ after the wedding or posted on your Facebook and Instagram pages to let your wider friends-circle know about the milestone. For these reasons, your ideal photographer should be skilled in all three styles of wedding photography and be able to provide you with a luxurious wedding album combining all styles.
Now you know what kind of wedding photographer to look for. Here are a few steps you need to take to book your photographer.
- Have a budget in mind
Firstly, you need to have a budget in mind. There is no point starting to look for photographers if you don’t have a budget in mind as wedding photography can range from £750 to £3000. You don’t want to spend valuable time looking for a photographer and then realising that they’re well beyond your budget.
- Find your style
The fun part of your wedding photography research! Your preferred style is the most important thing to consider when it comes to booking your photographer but take my advice an ideal wedding photographer should have the skills from all three different styles.
- Search for the photographer with your chosen style
Start your research for the right photographer and whilst doing this, create a list of the photographers that you find so you can shortlist them after you’ve arranged a meeting with them.
- Check the photographer’s client reviews
A photographer with a good reputation will have lots of reviews from clients they’re happy to share with you. A photographer shouldn’t just be able to take photos, but also must be able to communicate clearly, be polite, be professional, reliable and respect your guest. All of these skills will normally be mentioned in client reviews so be sure to check them.
- Look through their portfolio
Seeing your potential photographer’s portfolio is essential! It’ll help you understand their style better and trust in their abilities to recreate the photos you see on their website.
- Arrange a meeting
It’s paramount that you know your photographer in person and get on with them. Arrange a face-to-face meeting with them, ask questions about their approach and see how you feel around them. Do you feel they understand what you want? Do they put you at ease? Do you feel comfortable around them? The more natural you feel around them, the more natural your wedding photos will look.
I hope this blog has been helpful. If you feel like you’ve taken away something from this article, please let me know in the comment section below. Conversely, if you feel like something is missing and can be added, please let me know.