With over five thousand photographers in the UK, we tell you how to choose your ideal photographer easily.
Finding the right photographer to capture your day is just as important as finding the right wedding venue to celebrate your love. If your dream wedding is a cosy, rustic barn with fairy lights, you won’t be booking the swish upmarket & modern hotel in town, will you?
Booking the right photographer is about more than just finding the someone within your price range who has availability.
When you are spending one of the most important days of your life with someone, you want to make sure that you are going to be happy and comfortable around them. Especially as these are the memories you will look back on with family and friends.
Finding a photographer who is on your level is so incredibly important – not just for making you feel relaxed and at ease, but for bringing out your personality. When you are uncomfortable around someone, you may feel closed off, unable to fully embrace the emotion of the moment or cannot immerse yourself completely in your day. Do you want an album full of forced smiles or Chandler Bing moments?
So while you may love a photographer for their style, price or packages, meet with them over a coffee, call or a zoom and really ask yourself “Can I be myself with this person?”
If the answer is no, then even if that photographer delivers the best images in the world, you may find yourself a little bit alienated from your own wedding photographs.
Understand What Kind of Photographer They Are
A photographer is just like any other artist. They’ve honed their skill over the years, and have processes and practices in place that work best for them. They’ll also have a style that they prefer – this may be reportage, documentary style, photojournalistic, fine art, candid, traditional or relaxed & natural. That’s a lot of word salad right there if you aren’t clued up on the different styles available.
There’s no right or wrong way to capture a wedding – well, unless all the photos are blurred and key shots are missed, but that’s another story. When you are hiring a photographer for your wedding, it’s really important to understand their style and accept that.
A photographer’s style is really part of their identity and makes their work unique and personal.
So if you are looking for a long list of group shots and want to provide a full itinerary for the photographer to strictly follow, then maybe a natural, candid photographer isn’t quite for you. Equally, someone who is a natural light photographer isn’t likely to want to produce the in-vogue direct flash style images you may have seen in some wedding collections recently. It’s not that these photographers will refuse these requests on principle – instead, think about what their specialism is.
Would you hire a guitarist for your wedding and then make them play the piano? It’s all music after all, so what’s the difference? The guitarist might get away with bashing out a few good notes, but wouldn’t you just rather hire the pianist?
Get to Know a Photographer’s Editing Style
As a photographer, an editing style does evolve over time – it’s a creative endeavour after all, and there’s always something new to play with. Tastes do also change over time with those chocolate-coloured contrasty elopements becoming a thing of Instagram-past…
Your photographers’ portfolio should be updated regularly with their latest clients – and this should be a reflection of the style they currently edit in. While some photographers may offer each couple a selection of editing styles to choose from, be sure to check that this is a service they provide before you book.
Many photographers have a signature style that they tweak over the years so if you are looking for those aforementioned glorious dark chocolatey styles you’ve seen in Glencoe but are looking at a photographer whose portfolio is beautiful but is full of light and airy images then maybe you’ll need to continue your search. Some photographers may relish taking on a new editing challenge, so it may also be worth asking them first during a pre-booking chat. Either way, don’t go ahead and book your photographer and assume that they’ll edit in whatever style you suggest.
It’s also worth learning what style suits you and your day. As a photographer, some follow others in the industry both locally and around the world. There are a lot of talented people out there with amazing editing styles – but how does that translate for your wedding day?
Ask yourself what will suit your day and your venue. If you’ve chosen a really colourful wedding venue such as the Royal Botanic Gardens or Newhall Estate, then would you want an editing style that loses a lot of that colour & warmth?
Trust Your Photographer
Placing trust in your photographer isn’t about whether or not they’ll turn up on the correct day or not take blurry photos of all the key moments. It’s about an implicit understanding between both the couple and the photographer about how the day will be captured.
When you are hiring an experienced photographer, understand that this won’t be their first rodeo. As much as they’ll want to understand the timeline of your day and any unique events or activities you’ll be planning, trust that they’ll know how to capture that in the best way possible even if it’s a little different from the traditional wedding day.
An experienced photographer will always be one step ahead of you on the day and will think and plan how and where they are going to be throughout each stage of the day.
So when you have that first chat with your potential photographer, always ask them what their process is for the day. If their answer doesn’t fit within your vision of how you’d like your day to run, then maybe they aren’t the right photographer for you.
If you are unsure of what your own vision might be – speak to a few photographers to learn which style you’d prefer. You may want a photographer that’s completely hands-off and just roams around in the background offering no guidance or direction, or you may indeed prefer someone who throws themselves into your party to grab the moments that matter to you, or perhaps someone in between who knows when to take a step back and let the magic happen.
Whatever approach you prefer, make sure any photographer you hire matches that vision.
Placing trust in your photographer is one of the most important things you can do – from the way they shoot your wedding through to the final edit and delivery stage. By chatting with them during the pre-booking process you’ll have a chance to evaluate whether they understand completely your vision for the day. If you think there’s a disconnect, then you may want to continue your search and save yourself a lot of stress on both sides.
Most photographers want to deliver their very best to every couple – and will decline if they feel they are not the right fit for your day, don’t be offended, it’s in your best interest, trust me!
Can You Spend a Day with Them?
You’re not spending the rest of your life with your photographer (you’ve found that special person already), but you should ask yourself can I spend a day with them?
Unlike any other supplier you hire, photographers are arguably going to be spending the most time with you – with videographers coming in a close second. Most are with their couples from around 11am through to 9pm at night usually – that’s a lot of time to spend with someone you barely know.
Some photographers will have a more extrovert presence in the room, some more introverted – and some are in between. You’ll want to hire a photographer who is going to match your energy.
Each photographer is different, and you may prefer a more hands-off approach, where your photographer is neither seen nor heard. If you are unsure of how a photographer might be on the day – have a chat with them. Even just a 10-minute chat over Zoom or the phone can give you enough insight into their personality and how they deal with a wedding day.
Have They Worked at Your Venue Before?
Is it always advantageous for your photographer to have worked at your venue before? Yes and no. Some photographers will have their venue shot list and location spots all planned out and many will get reused again and again for each wedding. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but don’t underestimate how exciting a new venue is for a photographer. It’s a chance to flex their creative skills, try new things and explore compositions from a fresh perspective.
So while you may be tempted to go for a photographer who knows the venue very well, don’t be put off by one who isn’t familiar with it as this may lead to an explosion of creative magic that truly make your images unique.
To check out the photographer who wrote this blog, check out her listing here: https://www.edinburghweddingdirectory.com/supplier/sg-mark-photography/