Tips For Choosing A Wedding Photographer Part 2

In this, the second instalment of our Expert Tips for choosing a wedding photographer, our experts talk about experience, style and your finished images.


Shot of Bride and Groom Walking
Image courtesy of Neale James Photography


Stumped on how to go about choosing a wedding photographer? In this, the second instalment of tips for choosing a wedding photographer, our experts Neale James at Breathe Pictures, Vicky & Phil from Senior Mac Photography, Paul Willetts, Laura & Richard from LJ Photographics, Steve Mason from Im-Art, Damian Bailey and Vicki White from Photography By Vicki talk about experience, style and your finished images.


Do they have the right experience?

A professional wedding photographer will have the skills and experience to capture all those wonderful moments and emotions that combine to create the story of your wedding day, says Neale James: “This is their profession, the way they pay their mortgage and what their reputation is built upon. You can be pretty certain your day is as important to them as it is to you.”


Bride and Groom Walking from Beautiful Church
Image courtesy of Neale James Photography


Why use a professional
It may seem tempting to ask a friend who takes wonderful photos to photograph your wedding, but you could be taking a big risk, according to Steve Mason: “Your wedding photos are your only lasting, permanent record and should capture the memories of the most important day of your life. All the time and effort you have spent on your flowers, wedding venue, dress etc. needs to be captured by an expert in composition and lighting.”


Im-Art Photo of Bride and Groom Kiss
Image courtesy of Im-Art Photography


Damian Bailey adds that even if they are a professional photographer they may not have the first clue about how a wedding works. Vicky & Phil: “Wedding photography is one of the most difficult forms of photography there is. It requires skills in many areas, along with the ability to work (and still be creative) when under pressure. While there are always exceptions to the rule but as with any profession, the ability to produce work of a high standard takes not only skill and the right equipment but also years of experience, that only comes from shooting hundreds of weddings. If you do decide to go down the route of using a family member or friend, be fair to them and ensure that your expectations are set to a realistic level.”


Bride and Groom Kiss with Beautiful Scenery
Image courtesy of Senior Mac


How much experience
Ask prospective photographers how many weddings they have covered and how long they have been in the business, advises Paul Willetts: “If they have only been trading for a short period of time it doesn’t mean they are any less capable but will give you a good idea of experience gained. Similarly, if a photographer has been in the business for years they will have plenty of experience but you may want to check that their style has moved with the times and will meet the expectations of a modern day bride or groom.”


Bride and Groom with Confetti
Image courtesy of Photography By Vicki


Other things to look for
Steve Mason: “Check that your photographer is a member of a recognised professional photographic body and has insurance. Professional wedding photographers will be a member of the Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers, the BPPA or the Master Photographers Association etc. You should also check that your photographer has professional indemnity insurance. It is worth bearing in mind that amateurs are very unlikely to be insured.”

Experience of your wedding venue
Choosing a wedding photographer who has already worked at your wedding venue can be useful because they will know the best photo locations and opportunities. Paul Willetts: “It is also a good idea for the photographer to meet the venue owner or wedding coordinator to make sure everyone is clear on the days agenda from start to finish.”


 Paul Willetts Photography Image of Bride and Groom Walking
Image courtesy of Paul Willetts Photography


Think about style

Just like finding your wedding dress, you’ll know when you’ve found the style of photography that you want, say Laura & Richard: “Don’t try and shape photographers to do what you want. Instead, find one that does it naturally, every time.”


Bride and Groom Smiling at Each Other
Image courtesy of LJ Photographics


Traditional, reportage-style or mixed photography
Vicky & Phil: “There are three main wedding photography styles, reportage, traditional and mixed. If you aren't sure which one is right for you, don't be afraid to meet a few photographers and look through their portfolio and sample albums before you decide on your preferred style.

The style you choose depends on the type of images you want, says Steve Mason: “Reportage photography is very popular. It is a relaxed, un-posed style and captures the day as it happens. Your photographer will have to be artistic, creative and experienced with this style of photography because there is more skill involved than just taking random, candid shots (which will not have the same effect). If you have a large wedding with many friends and family travelling some distance that you don’t see often, you may want a more traditional style with some portraits and organized groups to capture everyone. Or you may decide on a mixture of both!”


Bride and Groom Arriving at Reception
Image courtesy of Im-Art Photography


Post-production and image style
How the images are processed after the wedding makes a huge difference to the final result as Vicki White explains: “The way a photographer processes the images is where you will find wedding photographers differ the most. You should be able to see a real difference between someone whose images are vintage looking and someone whose photos are crisp and clean. Think about how you want your images to look. Do you like the dreamy film look or classic black and white? Vintage or modern? Muted or bright?”


Jimmy Choo Bridal Shoes
Image courtesy of Photography By Vicki


The finished product

The final product should be something else that should be carefully considered, not only the form that you wish to receive it in (either digital, an album or both), but to what level your images are processed and retouched, say Vicky & Phil: “It's a question that should always be asked of any prospective photographer. Some will simply write your images to disk unedited, some will process a selection and others will process every file individually, like we do, to ensure that they realise the maximum potential of each and every file.”


Thank you, experts! We hope you’ve picked up some useful pointers to help you find the right wedding photographer. If you’d like to show off your fantastic photos after your wedding, please get in touch!

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