How to choose a wedding photographer

There are many wedding photographers around these days, all ranging in approach and experience. How to choose a wedding photographer may-be different from couple to couple, your choices may depend on factors such as your budget, or whether you are looking for something specific, such as a particular creative style,

You might have some idea of what you’re after from your photographer – the overall look of the pictures and what you want captured on camera. To clarify, and perhaps help you decide on exactly what it is you’re looking for, I have put together an outline of styles that current wedding photographers work with:

Traditional

Also known as classical wedding photography, this style is usually a series of pre-determined shots and poses. It is very much dictated by the photographer who has control over posing frames and images, setting up shots of the couple and group shots, and interacting with wedding guests to organize the taking of pictures.

Contemporary

This style is generally much more creative and informal with a focus on strong visual appeal. Posed images are inspired by high fashion editorial. They are combined with informal shots to portray the atmosphere of the wedding. While capturing the story of the day, the set-up shots tend to reflect the drama and emotion of the wedding. The images are often highly stylised and as well as a creative use of composition, lighting and timing in the taking of pictures, the photographer will use modern post-processing of digital shots for dramatic effect and creative enhancement.

Reportage/Photojournalism/Documentary

This form of wedding photography is based on editorial reporting styles used in the media to create a photographic story of the wedding day. It concentrates on candid shots with minimal disruption caused by the photographer. The idea is to give an overall view of the day with the photographer discovering and capturing moments during the wedding as they happen, rather than posed portraits or manipulation of the scene by the photographer. Shooting techniques tend to be unobtrusive with an aim to capturing the real and natural moments of the day – for example the use of natural light as opposed to flash or studio lighting equipment.

These are pretty general summaries of the three main styles of wedding photography. You’ll probably find that most photographers combine one or two dominant styles. For example, I cross over between reportage and creative – I cover a wedding with a photo journalistic approach while keeping a creative feel to the images. I stylize the photos in post processing, but just enough so that they retain a timeless feel. I also offer group and posed shots, but aim to do so in a very relaxed and informal manner.

When booking your wedding photographer, whatever style you choose, I always advise meeting with your shortlist face to face and this goes for any of your wedding suppliers. This way you can get a real feel for the person that you’ll be spending a large proportion of your day with alongside the work that they create. This is why I include a pre-wedding photography shoot with a bride and groom to be, so that they can get used to me as well as overcoming any nervousness about being in front of the camera. It’s a lot of fun too.