~ Choosing Your Wedding Photographer ~
If you’ve landed on this blog it means you want to know how to choose your wedding photographer, which obviously means you’re engaged! So firstly, a big congrats. Picking your wedding photographer is one of the fun parts of wedding planning (well, if you ask us anyways) but it can also be a bit overwhelming given just how many different photographers there are to choose from. Several things come into play when picking your photographer(s) so we’ve outlined a few tips to help you pick the one that’s perfect for you.
(Hopefully that’s us but, you know, no hard feelings if not).
1. Decide on your favourite wedding photography style.
Wedding photography is not a “one size fits all” craft. Every photographer – even if it’s minor – will differ in style from the other. Before booking anyone, you need to have a good think about what wedding photography style it is that you like and you think will be absolutely perfect for your big day.
People tend to (roughly) categorise different photography styles as: traditional photography, contemporary wedding photography and reportage photography. Although these terms (as well as creative / documentary) are thrown around quite loosely, this write-up on bridebook is great and explains the three above well.
We’d most likely categorise ourselves as creative, non-traditional reportage photographers. We wholeheartedly believe in capturing the day as it unfolds naturally and we have a more informal and joy-filled approach! We appreciate the beauty in the finer details and we always look forward to the bride and groom couple portraits, especially at sunset. You can read more about our approach here.
Photography Editing Style
It’s important to note that when speaking of wedding photography style as a whole, it’s also about the way a photographer edits, as much as it is about how they capture the day. You’ll notice when doing your research that various photographers have different ‘looks’ to their photos. Some images might look light and airy, some quite contrasty and bold and others slighter darker and atmospheric, to name a few. The beauty of wedding photography is that none of these are necessarily the one and only right choice. At the end of the day, it’s all about personal preference.
Liking a photographer’s editing style is pivotal when it comes to choosing your wedding photographer. We’re sorry to say, but it’s not pick-a-mix with us lot. You can’t pick a specific type of photographer for the day and then expect them to edit in a completely different style that’s not theirs. What would be the point of hiring them? You’ll always be hiring a wedding photographer for what they capture and for how they choose to edit their photos.
Take a look at what your favourite Pinterest or Instagram wedding pictures are and ask yourself why you like them. Once you decide on a photography and editing style you love, you can start to narrow down your choices.
2. Have a substantial and designated budget for photography.
Anyone who’s currently engaged knows the importance of a wedding budget. Something we learnt very quickly when we were wedding planning was that a well-thought-out and agreed-on budget was the first step to organising a great wedding without any stressful surprises. So, our second piece of advice – make sure you’re budgeting well for your wedding photography!
We might be biased, but we promise it’s not worth cutting back on your photographer. A mate – or an uncle! – with a camera who’s doing it just ‘for fun’ or as a ‘favour’ is not someone you can rely on to provide high-end quality work, or to provide the insurances, dedication and fail safes that come along with a professional.
That’s not to say you can’t find photographers at more affordable rates. The wonderful thing about so many wedding photographers offering their services at various price ranges is that you have the freedom to choose your wedding photographer within your budget. Just be wary of prices that are far too low. In our opinion, this would realistically be anyone charging less than £1K for a full wedding day. Remember, what you pay for is what you get.
Why are wedding photographers expensive?
Photographers tend to be one of the highest costing suppliers and that is for a reason. Different photographers charge different rates based on multiple factors such as: experience, no. of hours, photography packaging like USBs and keepsake boxes, no. of photographers on the day, so on so forth. Not to mention the multiple long hours that go into editing and crafting every single picture taken of the day. Ultimately, when you spend money on a great wedding photographer, you’re investing in great photography that becomes beautiful, lasting memories of your day.
Once you and your partner have agreed on how much you’d like to invest into your wedding photography, the long list of potentials becomes much more manageable.
(Psst, if you want to know how much we charge, we’re not shy about it. feel free to read our Pricing page).
3. Get to know your wedding photographer (Via Zoom / Coffee)
So, you found a photographer that you absolutely adore on Instagram / online – yay!
Now what are they like as people? Do plenty of reading & social media stalking and if you can, meet them! Behind the instagram worthy pictures is a photographer (or photographers) who will spend all day with you and the last thing you want is to spend time with someone you don’t click with. If you don’t think you’d want to grab a coffee with them, or a beer, they’re probably not the right photographer for you. You want someone in the room who will contribute to the good vibes rather than add any stress to your big day.
Should I meet up with my photographer in person?
Of course, we’re all busy people and it’s hard for photographers to meet with every single potential client. We know this for a fact as we often can’t meet with every single couple that inquires, especially as we hear from people from all over the UK! Like many other photographers, we structure our brochure, our website and social media in a way which hopefully, gives you a taste for what we’re like as people. If you can’t meet your potential wedding photographer in person (made even more complicated with this COVID business!) it’s definitely a lot easier for photographers to catch up via FaceTime or Zoom. From personal experience, we’re both often much more available to do that instead.
Have a look at each photographers’ ‘About Me’ page. Watch some Instagram stories. Read more about their approach and hopefully, you’ll get a good idea of who they are and what they’re like. Ps: It means the world when couples reach out after getting to know a bit more about us. It means they like how we work and who we are. That’s pretty much a guarantee that we’re going to get along splendidly on the big day!
4. Read testimonials / Google Reviews/ FB reviews
You can’t trust everything you read on the internet but, seeing positive reviews about a potential photographer is definitely a good sign! Be it on their instagram page / FB page, or website testimonials, photographers with glowing recommendations are ones you’ll want to consider. Read the reviews and see if there are any themes running through each one. Were they fun to be around? Were they professional and did they deliver on time? By reading what other couples had to say, you’ll get a great sense of what your photographer is actually like.
5. Book an engagement shoot.
If budget allows, you should definitely book an engagement / couple shoot with your future photographers! You could even do this first before 100% booking them as the official photographers for your wedding day.
We really enjoy engagement shoots as we can get to know our future couples in a relaxed scenario while doing what we do best; having fun together and taking photos! We can guarantee that it’s a great way for both the photographer and couple to get to know one another and for you as a duo, to get used to being in photographs together too. Because let’s face it, it doesn’t come naturally to everyone and that’s totally ok!
Do I have to book an engagement shoot?
Engagement shoots are definitely not compulsory. Not every couple who book us for their wedding day* books an engagement shoot. However, there’s just something calming about taking photos in an environment that is special to you. Be it out in the forest where you grew up, in the park you had your first date or, the spot you got engaged. This will hopefully, help reduce any nerves you might have in front of the camera and you’ll also get an idea of how your photographer approaches a couple portrait session. Plus, having beautiful professional photos before the wedding day means plenty of pictures to use for Save the Dates or your wedding invites.
*NB: We offer a £50 discount on our engagement shoots when couples books us for their wedding day.
~ Choosing Your Wedding Photographer ~
Alway make sure to do your research as there are pros and cons to everything, including choosing your wedding photographer. Ultimately, it’s up to you to consider what photography style and photographer personality fits you and your future spouse best. Hopefully, with these five simple tips – and a sprinkle of gut feeling!- you’ll be able to make the right call when it comes to your wedding photography.
Oh and by the way, if you’re searching for creative, non-traditional wedding photographers based in London / Surrey, we just might be a perfect fit for each other.