The goal of this article is to help you find the perfect wedding photographer. Thinking of having your friend or uncle capture your big day, read “Hiring Uncle Bob” before you do.
When a photographer has numerous reviews, this is usually an indication of a well-established photographer delivering a great product compared to a photographer with just a small hand full of reviews. Facebook reviews is a good place to start.
Technical and Creative Ability
A great photographer will have all the technical know-how and a creative brain at the same time. Capturing correctly exposed Images with a great camera regardless of lighting scenarios and time limitations.
A great photographer will also have an unlimited creative/artistic side to draw upon in order to turn an average photo opportunity into something stunning and worthy of being branded as fine-art.
One of the biggest traits to look out for, after all as a bride, you will likely see more of your photographer than your husband to be. You need to like their personality.
As in point one, check their reviews. Guests and previous couples will likely speak to the photographer’s personality, people skills, social ability, charisma and professionalism.
Style of Photography
There are many different photographic styles. When I say styles this usually refers to the editing, the same photograph can look very different when edited by 5 different photographers. Every photographer has their own style, quirks and likes which all goes into creating their brand of Imagery for their business. Make sure to fully look through your chosen photographers’ portfolio and take the extra time to set your heart on the style of imagery they provide.
Quality vs Quantity
Don’t get caught up in photographers promising a set number of photos such as 1000+. This sounds great, but you need to value quality over quantity. I ask you the question… “would you like to have 500 amazing photographs that are colour correct, balanced, sharp and focused or 3000 photographs that are not edited well, out of focus, colour tinted etc.” Hopefully you answered with ‘500 Photographs’ – If you answered with 3000, I’m not the photographer for you.
Value what the photographer can do
When you see fantastic photography, this of course comes with a price tag. I always say to my couples… “In 20 years’ time the only thing you will have left from your wedding is each other, your rings and your photographs.” If there is one thing, I recommend couples not save the budget on is the photography. There are always items to save money on, but photography should not be one of them, especially when you really want beautiful, creative and professional images of your big day. Look at items that may only last 1 day or a few days such as flowers, cake or even things like LOVE letters, sweet carts, magicians, musicians, etc. Yes these items may make the day look and feel fantastic but having a brilliant day and mediocre images to remember them by doesn’t sound good does it. Read my article on How much should I spend on photography.
Part-time vs Full-Time Pro wedding photographer
Once you have looked at all of the above, it is time to look at the experience of the wedding photographer. Are they a ‘weekend’ shooter or a full time professional? How many weddings a year does the photographer capture?
A photographer who is very busy all year-round shooting Family photo shoots, pets, landscapes, proms and corporate events sounds promising but out of all those shoots that year how many were weddings? The photographer may have only shot 5 weddings that year.
A full-time professional wedding photographer is always going to have more experience. In order to put this into perspective I shoot 40-50 weddings per year all over the country. I ask the question… “Who do you trust more to capture your big day, the 5 per year photographer or the 50 per year photographer?” Granted the 5 weddings per year photographer may just be starting out in the wedding industry, after all even I started somewhere. In these instances, ask to look through the entire day of the wedding photos they have captured. If you like their work and style, your good to go.
Here’s a little experience indicator…
1-5 Weddings – Inexperienced
6-10 Weddings – Amateur
10-20 Weddings – Knowledgeable
21-30 Weddings – Experienced
31+ Weddings – Professional
It’s not just about the photos
Taking into account the experience of the photographer, don’t just think of the photos. Choosing a photographer is about so much more.
An experienced professional wedding photographer vs an inexperienced/amateur will have…
- A greater knowledge of the wedding day process.
- High end professional cameras/lenses/lighting and the mastery to use them. No basic cameras or Kit Lenses.
- Back up equipment and lighting setups for any scenario.
- Overall smoother experience from start to finish.
- Ability to lead small and large groups professionally.
- Knowledge of when a key moment will occur.
- The ability to co-ordinate the day, i.e. keeping you on time as best as possible.
- The knowledge and experience to adapt to any situation.
The list obviously could go on, however, it serves as a ‘food for thought’ list. An amateur photographer starting out charging £500 sounds great as £500 compared to £995 sounds fantastic. From the list and info above you should hopefully see the value in hiring a professional vs an amateur. Read my article on How much should I spend on photography.
You only have once chance to get it right!
Placing your big day and trust in an amateur is only something you can decide upon. The purpose of all the info in this article is to help you with an informed decision.