September 25, 2022 | Guides
Article written by Michelle Prunty from Michelle Prunty Photography.
Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life and you want all of those special memories recorded in the best way possible, so this is a BIG decision and it deserves time and attention to get it right. Choosing a wedding photographer is a daunting process because there is so much out there.
Here are 5 tips to help you choose the best wedding photographer for you.
One of the very first things, and most important factors to consider when starting to look for a wedding photographer, is the style of wedding photography. Some of the styles of wedding photography out there are classic, fine art, editorial, creative and documentary. it’s important to get a feel for these styles and understand what will suit you and your day. The vision you have for your wedding day will dictate to some degree the style of wedding photography you go for. For example, if you would like a relaxed flow to your day and you are not too keen on ‘posed’ or traditional photographs, then a more documentary style of wedding photography might suit you best. If you want more edgy, modern images then go for a more creative style. However, if you love the timeless, perfect poses, then perhaps a classic or fine art photographer will best suit your day.
As you begin your search through websites, blogs and instagram try to notice what you feel most drawn to, what type of images feel authentic to you and your partner and best represent your vision. Remember that many wedding photographers do incorporate a blend of styles on the day while others may focus solely on one particular style and this should be obvious in their portfolio. It’s a good idea to check out the photographer’s blog posts to see how they shoot a wedding day. If you can imagine yourself in those images, then it’s a good indication that this is the style for you.
Photographers also have a style when it comes to editing the images, so it’s important to take note of the editing style you are drawn to. As you browse online you will notice some styles adopt a more ‘light and airy’ feel while others have a ‘dark and moody’ look to them. Some produce mostly black & white, some produce images that are very warm/cool in tone, some have desaturated colours while others have more vivid colours etc. Take into consideration what time of year you are getting married and the colours you want to come through in your wedding photographs. It’s always better to go with a style the photographer uses rather than asking them to adopt a style that suits you. Most professional wedding photographers do not change their style to suit the couple’s taste and an experienced photographer will stay true to their own style.
Many couples who first contact me make reference to something in my portfolio that they love and feel drawn to; whether it’s the style of how I shoot (a mix of documentary and editorial), or the tones and colours that come through in my edit. When this happens, I know the couple has taken the time to research online and discover what they are drawn to. Which means that what I create for them is exactly what they are expecting.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your photographer’s personality and their rapport with people. You will spend a lot of time with your photographer, they will be involved in all aspects of your day, witnessing all the emotions and key moments. It’s important that you feel comfortable having this person around for the day because if you don’t feel comfortable, you won’t look comfortable in your photographs.
It’s a good idea to get a feel for your photographer’s personality at the start; read their bio on their website, how do they come across when you email or chat on the phone? You can normally tell within the first few minutes of meeting someone whether you feel a rapport or connection. If you feel this with your photographer you are on to a good start!
On the wedding day a good wedding photographer will know how to be assertive in a friendly way to get group photographs and keep things moving to make sure you don’t miss any good photo opportunities. If your photographer is approachable,friendly and down to earth they will gel with your guests who will also feel at ease, allowing the photographer to capture the day as it naturally unfolds.
There’s so much going on at a wedding, I’m always conscious of the people around me and make sure to bring a calming presence and a friendly face to a room. It’s a real honour to witness this special day and it’s so important not to take over or get in the way. The most important thing to me is to see my couples at ease and enjoying themselves.
Wedding photography is one of the most challenging types of photography. If your photographer is not experienced shooting weddings, they won’t be able to produce good results efficiently. An experienced wedding photographer has seen it all and should be able to roll with the punches and adapt to any situation; changing weather conditions, various lighting conditions, heightened emotions, moving timelines and camera-shy couples.
Without this experience, it’s very difficult for a photographer to manage the day and deliver the photographs you deserve. It’s so important that you fully trust your photographer to capture your day the best way they know how. Your job is to sit back and relax and soak in the joy, love and fun while your trusted photographer captures it all for you to look back on. If you don’t trust your photographer you won’t be able to relax and this will impact your day.
When I meet couples before the wedding, I discuss how I work on the day and what to expect. We talk about the timeline and structure of the day to make sure we are all on the same page and the couple gets the most from their time. Communication is key and this is where trust is built; talk to your photographer, ask questions, discuss any doubts or worries you have. Some of my couples are very camera shy or feel self conscious about a particular aspect of how they look. It’s important to talk to your photographer about these things so that they can be taken into account and considered on the day with discretion. An experienced photographer knows your good side and the most flattering angles and light to photograph you in.
A good wedding photographer will show a quality and consistency to their work. When you look at their online portfolio or instagram page you should be able to see a consistent body of work; similar editing style and types of photographs. Browse their blog posts to see samples of full weddings, look through sample wedding albums to see how they tell the story of a wedding day.
Look for recommendations from trusted sources, read reviews and testimonials online. A good wedding photographer producing quality, consistent work will have a great reputation and come highly recommended.
Once the day is over, the dress is packed away and the flowers have faded, you are left with your memories and your photographs. As the old saying goes ‘you get what you pay for’, so it’s important to have a healthy budget for your photographer and it’s worth paying a little extra to get those high quality results that you will love forever.
Before you set a budget it’s important to first decide the style of wedding photography you want to go for and then shortlist the photographers you are drawn to and find out what they charge. Your photographs are one of the most important things to invest in as it’s a record of your day. If you find that your budget doesn’t stretch to book that photographer of your dreams, consider cutting back in other areas of the day. You will never regret booking the right photographer for you, someone who can deliver your memories in beautiful photographs that you will cherish forever.