There are many, many, MANY amazing photographers out there and choosing between them is no mean feat - I'd go as far to say that there probably isn't one for you - there are several who would do an excellent job of catching the wonderful moments from your day and bottling them forever. But finding the right wedding photographer needn't be a daunting task. We've pooled our experience of working with wedding photographers since 2009 to create a list of 10 things to consider when finding the perfect wedding photographer for you...
1. Bright & Light VS Moody & AtmosphericAs technology has advanced, so too have cameras and editing facilities. Where once wedding photography was quite generic, now each and every wedding photographer has a type of camera they prefer and a signature editing style. You lot are seriously spoilt for choice. At one end we have images full of light and at the other end, photographers who use the light to create contrast, often resulting in a darker edit of images. There is no rule as to which is better - it's purely personal preference. Within the team we all favour completely different styles. And of course, there is a middle ground, it's about finding which area of the spectrum you love. Once you decide on an editing style you love, you can start to whittle down your choices.
Light & Bright
Dark & Atmospheric
2. Fine Art PhotographyIf you're searching for a wedding photographer, then this is a term you'll come across time and time again. It's very tricky to put your finger on the precise definition - there really isn't one. There was a time when this term was restricted to shooting on film, but now it's more widely used. Lovely Lorna favours Fine Art photography, so here's what she has to say on the matter...
'Fine Art photography always seems to transport me into a whimsical and magical place where I just can’t help but smile and feel all fuzzy inside. It’s full of light, incredibly romantic and takes focus from the surrounding natural beauty and elements. The finished result is a soft delicate toned collection of images capturing genuine moments of happiness, love and pretty.'If this sounds like your kind of style, then make sure you include 'Fine Art Photographer' in your search terms.
3. Film PhotographyFilm Photography is more expensive than digital photography - purely because there are more materials and more time involved. (The film itself, waiting for images to be developed). Again, this is a personal preference, for lots of people film is the very essence of photography, whereas for others, digital is better because there's more margin for error and the results are instant. And just to confuse you, there's also a movement of photographers who shoot on digital, but with a film-like style, see the hashtag #lookslikefilm. Some people will argue that once the images are on a computer, in a digital copy - you can't tell the difference anyway. But again it's personal preference. Lolly chose a film photographer for her own wedding, I'll let her tell you why...
'Choosing a film photographer was an easy decision for me, or rather I should say that asking Ann-Kathrin Koch to take our wedding photos was actually a foregone conclusion ever since I spotted her work at a wedding fair. The richness of her film photography, the way she captured key moments and the mastery with which she handled light reminded me of the decadent oil paintings by The Old Masters (of which I am a huge admirer). I was in love with her work from the off! Ann works with both digital and with film so in essence Ste and I got the best of both worlds when it came to our engagement shoot photos as well as those taken on our wedding day. But by far and away, our favourite portraits are those taken using her trusty Hassleblad camera. The square formatting of the images using this type of film camera is attractive but it is the depth of the images and the richness of the hues and the way that light is captured on film that blows us away. In short this type of photography captures us at our best in the most romantic way possible in a way that digital images can’t even come close too. It’s like looking at a super enhanced version of ourselves (if this doesn’t sound horrifically vain) which is exactly what you want to be on your wedding day.'
4. The Knockout Couple ShotOk, so you're starting to narrow your list down. It's time to start looking in more detail at their work. A knockout couple shot is essential. In fact, it's the most important image of the day. You need a photographer who will whisk you away somewhere with an incredible backdrop, at the perfect time of day to create some magic with the light. Do you want a photographer who will capture you both with intimacy? Do you want to create some drama in your couples shots? Do you want to bring some fun to proceedings? Or do you just want things to unfold naturally? Ask to see examples of portraits shot by your photographer and decide what would make you both feel comfortable in front of the camera. Remember you'll be drunk on love and looking a million dollars, so never EVER feel like you're not cool enough for a photographer. It's their job to make you look that cool ;)
5. The Group ShotsThe group shots are where many photographers set themselves apart. There is absolutely no need to have awkward, forced group shots any more. Your photographer will understand that it's important to have certain groups of people together in one image, but there's no need to get everyone standing on parade. Equally, if you don't want any group shots, then don't feel like you have to have them. It's completely your decision.
6. Look At How They Capture Details & MomentsYou want a photographer who will capture the tears of joy, the belly achingly laughs and the dancing til dawn. On your wedding day there is so much to take in, that when you look through your images, you'll see things you didn't even know were happening. All good wedding photographers thrive on capturing these moments. It's highly likely that you will have poured your heart and soul into your wedding decor, so naturally, you want these details captured on camera. You're looking for these shots to be well framed (the detail sits neatly within the frame of the image), in-focus, at a clean angle and with no random bits chopped off. This sounds rudimentary, but it's these images that differentiate between a good photographer and an excellent one. You want a selection of close up details - buttonholes, favours, place settings, as well as shots of the whole room. These are the shots that you won't often see on a photographers website, which brings me nicely on to number 7...
7. Ask To See Full Portfolio Of Several WeddingsIf you take anything away from this article, it's that you MUST ask to see whole weddings from a photographer and not just rely on the images they put on their website. Like social media, a website is a carefully curated selection of their very best images and can be misleading as to the actual ability of the photographer. We receive HUNDREDS of wedding submissions every week at RMW and I'm often surprised at the difference between an edit of 30 images on a website and the 100 we ask for. Painting a false picture is surprisingly easy...make sure you do your homework.
8. Shooting In A Barn or Dark VenueIf your venue is dark, which lots of wedding venues are, then you need to pay even more attention to your choice of photographer. I'd highly recommend opting for someone who has shot weddings at your venue previously, or who has shot weddings at venues with similar lighting. Capturing images in a dark, candlelit room is very tricky (as you'll know from your drunken iPhone wedding reception photos). Another reason to make sure you look at a full set of wedding images from your photographer.
9. Don't Compromise On Your Personal StyleIf you are a fun-loving couple who don't like to take life seriously, then find a wedding photographer who feels the same as you. If you love editorial images and want your wedding to look like a photoshoot, then find a wedding photographer who can make it happen. Just like your wedding day, you want your choice of wedding photography to reflect you as a couple and I promise there is an amazing wedding photographer out there for every type of couple.
10. The Cost Of A Wedding PhotographerAnd lastly - the images are your lasting memory of the day. They will be shown to your children, grandchildren and great great grandchildren. Now may not be the time to rely on Uncle Bob's amateur photography skills. Nor is it the time to use a photographer friend who shoots fashion or commercial work - shooting a wedding is a completely different kettle of fish, it's pressurised, time-restricted and you only have one chance to have your wedding day captured. Allocate your budget accordingly and I promise you absolutely won't regret it. Beautiful wedding photography is at the heart of what we do at RMW, if you're searching for your dream wedding photographer then have a look through our Real Wedding archive and make sure you visit our directory of handpicked wedding suppliers, The List.
Photographers: | Light & Bright : Sarah Jane Ethan | Georgina Harrison | Melissa Beattie | Dark & Atmospheric: Haydn Rydings | Amy Shore Photography | James Frost | Claire Penn | Matt Penberthy | Fine Art Photographer: Emma Pilkington | Film Photographer: Ann Kathrin Koch | Couples Shots: James Frost | Through The Woods We Ran | Dale Weeks | Sara Lobla | Chris Barber | India Earl | Group Shots: Through The Woods We Ran | Samuel Docker | Irene Yap | India Earl | WE ARE // THE CLARKES | Moments & Details: Photography 34 | WE ARE // THE CLARKES | M & J Photography | Marshal Gray | Claire Penn | Razia Jukes Photography | Samuel Docker | Anne Schwarz | Dark Venue: Benjamin Wheeler | Claire Penn | Samuel Docker | Chris Barber