Speaking to any of my friends who have been married, they all say the same thing; "It was the best day of my life, but it also passed so quickly, it was over in the blink of an eye."
A well organised wedding takes an incredible amount of planning. With all the build up and anticipation leading up to a wedding, the day will come and go faster than you’d expect. No matter how many hours of stress (and in some cases tears) the planning and preparation takes, you know the day will be one worth savouring. The best way to do this is to use photos to immortalise the occasion.
It's one of the very rare occasions where everyone you know and love will be in the same place at the same time and the photos from the day will be your way to remember this occasion for the rest of your life.
We've spoken to some of the best photographers in the business to bring you some advice on how to choose a wedding photographer you will love.
1. DO THE RESEARCH
Possibly the most important factor to consider when choosing a wedding photographer is just how important the photography is to you and then budget accordingly. If it turns out that it's an absolute essential (as it should be), then it really is up to you to do a bit of research in order to have a clear idea of what you want. Dont limit yourself to wedding photography but expand your search elsewhere such as fashion and portrait photography in magazines, documentary and reportage projects on such platforms as Lens Culture and Life Framer and Slate. All this will not only bring you away from the perhaps visually saturated world of wedding imagery but also allow you to revisit that field with a fresh outlook and perspective.
It may sound like a lot of work but I personally believe that it is time invaluably spent and will put you in a much stronger and more informed position when you do begin your search for a photographer who you feel is right for you.
2. MAKE SURE TO MEET YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
Always meet your wedding photographer before booking them. The biggest mistake I come across, industry wide, is not acknowledging that it's a personal relationship you're forming with your photographer, it's much more than a transactional, business relationship. Whether you're hiring a documentary style photographer who shoots candid moments or a fine art, high fashion style of photographer, if you don't like them or don't feel comfortable in their presence then it will show in the images. Weddings are incredibly intimate occasions, they can be a roller-coaster of emotions. You need to be sure that you completely trust your photographer and that they understand your vision for the day. You may love a photographers portfolio, but the images they create are amazing because of the connection they form with the people in the images. If you can't relax or find them awkward, then everyone loses. Meet them before booking - in fact, meet lots! You'll know when you meet the right one as it will feel much more like having a friend photograph your wedding than an employee and you'll be much, much happier with the results.
3. GET TO KNOW THE PERSON BEHIND THE CAMERA
It’s important to choose a photographer that you think you will get on well with, as well as one whose photographs you love. That person will be with you a lot on one of the most important day of your lives; you’ll probably spend more time with them than with a lot of your relatives!
If you can try to chat to them before you book, either in person or just over the phone or a Skype call. I always say the best compliment I get is when a wedding guest asks me how I know the bride and groom, because they assume we’ve been friends for years!
4. CHECK IN WITH YOUR FEELINGS
When going through website after website of beautiful imagery on your hunt for your perfect photographer, pay attention to what's happening in your body as you click through their photos. Do you feel butterflies? Do you wish YOU were the person in that photo? Do you suddenly feel overwhelmed by the love story of a couple you've never even met? These are signs you're on the right track. Because when the music fades, the flowers die, and the dress is packed away -- all you have is your photos and their way of letting you relive the magic and feeling of the day.
5. ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS
Photography is a very personal thing and every wedding photographer has a different style. Some are very formal, some concentrate heavily on posed couple shots and some are purely 'documentary' storytellers. It’s so important to choose a wedding photographer whose style fits YOUR vision for your wedding day, however grand or intimate. Do your research, find a photographer whose work you absolutely LOVE - if you look at their work and can imagine yourself in the photos that's usually a good sign.
I always try to Skype/Facetime my couples before they book so we get a chance to chat and 'meet'. They can ask any questions they might have and get a feel for my personality which is also key - almost as important as the photographs! Your photographer will be around for the majority of your wedding day so you want to be sure you like them!
Some questions to ask might include how they work on the day and what their approach is, how long will they need for couple portraits & how long will you be away from your guests, do they do group shots etc.
My aim is always to give my couples as MUCH time as possible with their friends and family (who are probably all together in one place for the first time ever!) so I keep time away to a minimum. If this is important to you be sure to ask the question!
6. CONSIDER THE LIGHT
Consider how well a photographer deals with lighting scenarios across the day. You may be looking for natural, unstyled shots so a photographer that shoots with flash most of the day may not be right for you.
Ask photographers you are enquiring with to see examples of weddings where they have had to deal with both bright, sunny days where much of the day is outdoors (often what you see on blogs and Pinterest) and also rainy weddings or weddings in very dark venues where they have had to capture much of the day in dark conditions. Then you can see how consistent their work is in all lighting situations and if you like their style in all scenarios (not just what they share on their instagram or blog!).
7. CHOOSE A PHOTOGRAPHER WHO MATCHES YOUR STYLE
Good wedding photography ensures that the real moments and emotion experienced during the best day of your life are captured forever. This should never be undervalued as it is one of the few things (along with jewellery) that will last beyond the wedding day itself.
It is important to find a photographer that suits your style and personality. For me, documenting the day naturally provides the most effective and emotive pictures. The happy couple and their guests enjoying the day and each others company with minimal interruption. Capturing the small exchanges, the large gestures of love and unseen moments to provide a complete recollection of the day as it happened. Each photo stirring the memory and emotions of the day so that they can be re-lived again and again and shared for generations to come.
8. AGREE ON THE TIME FRAMES FOR AFTER THE DAY
After a wedding, the process of downloading, sorting and editing begins immediately. On a typical wedding with two photographers starting with bridal prep and continuing right through the day until after the first dance, we can typically take anywhere between 4000-6000 images..
Our process of reducing the numbers down to less than 1000 images, sorting, colour grading and editing can take on average around two weeks to turnaround during off-peak months, or three to four weeks during our very busiest months (June-September). During our busy times of the year, we will always aim to preview a small selection of at least 20 images as we understand couples will be really excited to see some images from the day as soon as they return from honeymoon."
See if your photographer offers Printed Photo Books and if they do, how do the design them? If you're investing in your photography, it's important to think about how you are going to enjoy your photos in the years to come. It always makes me sad to think of images just sitting on a usb stick or hard drive and never being looked at. If your photography is important to you, then make sure you consider what you're going to do with your images once the big day is just a memory. Printing your photographs and having them expertly put together in a beautiful wedding album is a great way to ensure that you'll be enjoying your photos for years (and generations) to come."
For more wedding photo inspiration, take a look at: