Choosing your wedding photographer..
We often get asked the same questions by couples thinking about choosing their wedding photographer. I thought it would be a good idea to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions here. So, I have whittled them down to 3..here goes a little mini series then. Let’s start with number 1….
“We’ve looked at so many photographers and haven’t got a clue on which one to choose. It’s all so confusing and I’d really like some advice on what we should be looking for?”
This is a great question and one lots of couples either ask or think to themselves.
Right now, there is an abundance of wedding photographers out there, all claiming different things and all at different prices to suit all budgets. Some people may say “set your budget, then look for photographers that fit that price”. While I’m sure this could be useful, it’s generally not the wisest way to choose anything, never mind the person(s) responsible for capturing the most important day of your lives!
We’ve been in discussions with potential clients about booking when they have eventually said, it’s ok, our friend has a camera and has offered to photograph our wedding for free as a gift, so we won’t be needing you after all….more about this though in the next thrilling installment!
So what is it that sets the photographers apart then…these days it seems that everyone fancies themselves as a photographer, it’s easy anyway with all the stuff you can do on a computer?
The first place most people go to now when they want to find out some info or to buy something is…..Google! So before you type “wedding photography” and start browsing through the 122,000, 000 (I know!) results, stop and think. If you wanted to buy a TV, it’s unlikely you would just type “television” into google and go from there..do a bit of research into the different styles and types of wedding photography that appeal to you, then search for those.
My observation is that there are broadly 2 main styles of wedding photographers.
Please bear in mind that I am talking about professional photographers here, not friends or uncles who have cameras and are just having a go for free. I’m using these terms, not because they are the correct ones, but because I think they help me say what I think! I should also say that I don’t think any are right or wrong either, but it’s really important for you to know and be comfortable with the difference so you can make an informed choice……so, anyway, here we go, lets dive in…..
These are photographers that will control, pose and dictate the elements of your day. They will normally provide you with lots of photographs of details like shoes, flowers, rings, tables, favours, cakes, etc. They may pose shots that seem natural. For example,when a bride sees her father for the first time with her wedding dress on, they may brief the father and bride, then make sure that everything happens at their instruction to make sure they “get the shot”.
They will also happily shoot lots of posed group shots and many combinations of groups often taking an hour or more to complete. They will concentrate on images that they are in control of as much as possible and will pose moments where ever possible.
These photographers will pose or control very little on your day. They will concentrate their coverage on people and interactions rather than on details. While they may do some posed group shots, these will be few and will be done fairly quickly, maybe around 20 minutes and also shoot some relaxed and informal portraits of the bride and groom, again not taking up too much time. For these photographers, the focus is on documenting the event and the emotions as they unfold, rather than controlling it.
And there is huge difference. I’ll talk more about documentary wedding photography in part 2, so stay tuned for that…..
When you have made some decisions, use these as search terms in Google and then look through some photographers’ portfolios online. You can then make a list of some photographers that you would like to meet up with. This is a very important part of the process. It’s really important that you feel relaxed and comfortable in their company for a start. It’s also good for you to check put more of their work. remember, an online portfolio contains only a taster of their work.
Ask to see a full wedding, exactly as you would expect to be delivered, and then see if the way they have described their shooting style is actually borne out by what you see. It can be the case that, in spite of describing themselves as documentary photographers, when you a see a complete wedding collection you may well see that there are countless shots of details, posed groups and other controlled images.
So, I think you should try to decide which style of photography appeals to you then look for those photographers that offer the style you like. Maybe use some professional organisations that recommend photographers because they meet some industry standards.
Check out these links for some of the most prestigious wedding photography directories in the world today:
WPJA for photojournalistic wedding photographers, the International society of Professional Wedding photographers (ISPWP), Best Of Wedding Photography (BOW) and Fearless Photographers.
If you have some other questions you want asking, just let me know and I’ll do my best to answer….
Thanks for reading, have a great day!