Choosing a Wedding Photographer by
Gloucestershire Wedding Photographer
Today I wanted to share my advice on how to choose the perfect Wedding Photographer for you. Now, I’m guessing if you’re reading this, you’re taking the time to research your wedding photography because it’s important to you. However, if wedding photography isn’t a priority for you, perhaps my blog post on the importance of wedding photography will help.
It’s likely you’ve heard this before, but photographs really are one of the only tangible reminders you’re left with after your wedding day. With the exception of your outfit, rings and marriage certificate, of course (Best friend for life is hopefully a given). So, with that in mind, choosing a wedding photographer can be a really important decision. Without further ado, here’s our guide on how to make the right choice for you and ultimately, get the best experience.
Find a style you love
Like a lot of creative work, a person’s preference for certain styles of photography is subjective. What your best friend loves, you might hate. So it’s best to get a clear idea of the style of wedding photography you like beforehand. A google search of ‘wedding photographer’ brings around 34,200,000 results. Whereas ‘documentary wedding photographer’ brings back 964,000 results. So knowing the style you’re looking for will help you to reduce the hours spent trawling through websites. Yay!
A professional and experienced wedding photographer’s style is usually highly personal to them, having been developed and refined over years of practice. Not only that, but it’s likely to be a culmination of inspirations soaked up from the films they watch, their favourite artists, hobbies or other areas of photography. Thats why it’s pretty much impossible to imitate another photographers work to the same standard consistently.
What defines a wedding photographer’s style?
My style is a combination of:
- The way I compose and frame images.
- Subject matter – Personally, I’m drawn to human connections and relationships, natural emotion, humour and personality (whether thats shown through actions or decorations).
- Lighting – I’m a natural light photographer and want my images to accurately represent the days they are capturing. I only use flash during a party or if I’m getting creative. Whereas some photographers might only ever work with flash because they prefer perfectly evenly lit photos. And even have an assistant to carry their lights around for them.
- Approach – The way I approach and photograph a wedding to make sure that my couples are comfortable about my presence, without me being too intrusive. I like to blend in with the guests so they have a great time with me too and find I get the most natural photos that way. Or even tipped off on things that are happening elsewhere!
- Post production – The way we process our photos makes a huge difference to the way they look. I’m not a fan of digitally manipulating images through photoshop. Because again I want them to accurately represent the events and people they are capturing. Whereas another photographer might alway airbrush their couples skin to magazine worthy perfection. However I do like to enhance particular colours and tones to give them my signature look.
Styles of Wedding Photography
Documentary Wedding Photography is a photo journalistic story telling approach. Focused on capturing natural and unstaged moments as they happen that are true to life.
Fine Art Wedding Photography is often more stylised and editorial in appearance. Focusing on creating beautiful images as opposed to portraying real life.
Vintage Wedding Photography has a retro look to it. Often emulating film processing techniques or shot entirely on film.
Alternative Wedding Photography is usually suited to couples who are looking for something different. And is far from traditional.
Traditional Wedding Photography is more classic, staged and posed concentrating on key moments. Often with a lot of direction from the photographer.
Creative Wedding Photography is an artistic approach to weddings, focusing on capturing unique images. And may borrow parts from all of these styles.
For example I use different approaches for different parts of the day. I mostly work in a documentary style with a mixture of fine art/alternative couples portraits, group shots and details. I like to be helpful and give my guidance where it is needed so my couples can relax and enjoy themselves. For example organising a confetti throw or the family portraits. But I then like to capture the rest of the day as naturally as possible. Getting involved with the guests and the fun and then photographing unobtrusively when it suits.
If you’re still finding those options a little overwhelming try starting with wether you want natural photography or staged photography. Or perhaps you’d like a mix of both? If you’re leaning towards natural wedding photography, with some family photos and couples portraits mixed in, have a look at alternative, vintage, fine art or creative.
So now you’ve narrowed down what styles of wedding photography you love best, excellent!
Check out their blogs
Next you’re going to want to check out their blogs. A blog is a great way to get an overview of the quality of images that are delivered in a full wedding. Whereas a highlights reel is a very select few of their best work. The main thing you’ll be wanting to look for is to check for consistency in quality. As well as making sure you like the look and feel to their work. A skilled photographers work will be consistent throughout different lighting situations and in style. They should have enough images on their blog to give you a taster of what you’d receive. If they don’t share many, get in touch and ask if you can see a full wedding. It’s not that they are hiding their work, it could just be that their couples prefer privacy online.
This is the best way to get an insight into the experience that they give their couples. Both in the photographs they capture and how they are on the wedding day.
Make sure you like them
You might have been following your photographer for a long time and be 100% sure they’re the one for you. But if not it can be worth meeting up in person or via skype to have a chat about your plans. That way you can make sure you actually like them. And that you’ll enjoy being around them on your wedding day. There are some really intimate moments on a wedding day. If you feel comfortable around you’re photographer, you’ll feel and look relaxed in the photos. Personality is a huge part of the service we provide and there is no point in booking someone for their amazing portfolio if you don’t get along.
Should they have shot at my venue before?
Not necessarily. I usually feel my most inspired and creative when I’m shooting at a venue for the first time, or have only shot their a handful of times. An experienced and skilled wedding photographer will be able to handle any lighting situation. So if the photographer you love hasn’t been to your venue before don’t sweat it.
Get them booked!
As soon as you’ve found the right wedding photographer for you, get your date secured. Some couples book in up to two years in advance, as soon as they have their date secured. So there really isn’t any point in missing out.
Looking for relaxed, creative and natural wedding photography?
If you like my style and approach to wedding photography I’d love to hear from you. You can check out our packages & prices here, head to the blog to see our most recent work. Or get in touch to have a chat about your plans.