I am writing this post at the request of a couple of brides in a few Facebook groups, who are struggling to choose a photographer
Let’s dive right in… Wedding photography is a little intangible, hard to get your finger on. Cars, cakes, dresses – you can taste, touch, feel them before you book. This is why it is so important to be very careful when choosing your wedding photographer. It won’t be until after your wedding when you finally get to see your photographs
Not only do you need to make sure you do your research, you need to make sure that the photographer you are choosing has a long term sensible rounded business. You will consider things like style, professionalism, attitude, the business as a whole and a personalty you can get on with
The first thing you need to do is decide on the style you want
If you look at a few wedding photography web sites you will soon see a few different styles
In one corner, there is the Documentary, Observational, Photojournalistic, Candid or Reportage camp of wedding photographers
In its most pure form, these photographers do not direct your day, tell you how to pose, what to look at etc. They candidly observe what is happening and record what has happened. The photography will be natural, expressions real & emotions unforced
These photographers will want to be with you all day, they are patient, they wait for an expression or moment
In another corner we have the Traditional, Classical, Portraiture group of photographers
The style of these photographs will look really familiar, they are borrowed from art. Everything tends to be carefully controlled and posed, just so. It does require a lot of interaction between the photographer and the subjects, and this often takes a long time
Traditional photographers work from a mental list of shots and work through them.
Just because this is a traditional way of working, it does not preclude creativity. Traditional poses in dramatic locations will take time but look stunning
Most photographers fall somewhere between Observational and Traditional, and often there will be an element of both
Fine art is more of a statement of intent. It is usually about shooting on film, and whilst being observational, it moves the viewpoint from “what is happening” to the photographer’s perspective to what is happening. This allows a Documentary Photographer add creativity. A good example of this the photographers choice of lens to produce a blurred background, or choice of crop to add more visual impact
Fine art photographers strive to make every process perfect
Some photographers use techniques like tilted framing (Dutch-Tilt) and selective focusing, and copyspace framing to add drama and impact to wedding photography. In a way this is like fine art photography, but more distinctively stylised. This is the “Marmite” factor in wedding photography – you either love it or hate it!
Post processed styles
Don’t confuse great quality photography, with poor quality post processing. For example post processing (what the photographer does in Photoshop for example) can add funky Instagram effects to an image, but this has nothing to do with a shooting style
I was taught – Great images in, Great images out! Look at the substance of the work, not the effect. Look for evidence of well composed, well lit, well exposed photography
What do I shoot
I am an observational photographer with a touch of fine art creativity thrown in
Next up – Research the company
You have a short list, now what? Work through the following checklist…
- Is the work consistent? Look at whole weddings
- Is there evidence of experience?
- Who will be the photographer, and did this photographer shoot the work you have seen
- Are they insured – A good photographer will have Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance
- Is the price too good to be true?
- Can you see evidence of many different couples in many different locations?
- Is the communication from the photographer professional?
- Is the price in your price range?
- If you can, visit the photographer
- Do you get on with the photographer? Remember the photographer is with you and your family all day long
Spotting a scammer
Unfortunately nowadays there are a lot of unscrupulous types who feel it is fine to take lots of deposits and then crash and burn, unable to cope with the volume of work, and unable to afford to sustain their business. Typical traits are:
- Lack of real contact details: i.e. Name, address, landline phone number, paid for e-mail address
- Groupon only
- Facebook only, no investment in a real website
- Mobile only, no landline
- Cheap scant website in a free domain e.g. Wix
- Unsustainably low price. Realistically, any price under £500 for all day, is too good to be true for a sustainable busy photography business that pays taxes, has insurance, transport, good gear, backups and the like. Running a photography business properly takes substantial continuous investment. £1000 upwards is realistic
Look at the paperwork, you are getting paperwork, right? – no contract – run. The contract ought to at least contain:
- Payment schedule
- Image release details
- Delivery schedule
- Details about you and your wedding
- Details about the photographer
- What is expected in terms of package
- Cancellation policy
Big tick off the wedding planning list next to “Wedding Photographer”
Ten reasons to book me as your wedding photographer
I work all over the world
I am a Nottinghamshire wedding photographer who works all over the UK
Contact me about a booking
You can e-mail me at: email@example.com
You can call me in my studio: 01522 253203 or, if you are outside of the UK: 0044 1522 253203
Write to me
Richard King, Coppercoin, Swinderby, Lincolnshire, LN6 9LP