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Wedding Photographs – How to Choose the Best Style For Your Wedding

Your wedding day is going to be one of the most wonderful days of your life and you will want the best photographer you can find to capture the day for posterity. However, before you approach any photographer with a view to hiring them, it will be helpful if you have an clearer idea of the style of wedding photographs you would like done.

When most people think of wedding photographs, they tend to think of the traditional type of photography where the bride and groom pose for a series planned shots with different members of their family and friends. However, this is only one of the styles you can choose for your wedding photographs and many photographers will specialise in either one or many of these styles.   

So, before you even start thinking about actually booking a wedding photographer, you should try and work out what type of photographic style you would like for your wedding. Having decided that, you will be able to make a more informed decision about which photographer will turn your dreams into a reality.

Traditional or Formal

These are the classic wedding photographs and provide a good record of everyone who is at the wedding. The standard format for these posed photographs is take take them at key parts of the wedding day such as signing the register, leaving the church, cutting the cake etc. There will also be a list of photographs required during the reception e.g. one of the bride and groom, one with each set of parents, one of the whole family, and so on.

Although many people do not like them because they look so posed, they can still look nice and will ensure that all your friends and family are included in the wedding photos.

Candid

This is a much less formal style. Although it may still include some formal photos, it will also allow the photographer to take some candid shots of people at the wedding. With this style, the photographer may stay on and cover the speeches, meal, and even the first dance. This approach is more relaxed and allows the photographer to be more creative in his work. It allows him to catch the personalities, atmosphere, and emotions of the day.     

Reportage or Photojournalism

The photographer, working in the style of a good photo journalist, will aims to tell a picture story of your wedding wedding day.  This is a totally informal approach as none of the photos will be posed. The photographer will work discreetly in the background and hopefully capture the essence and emotions of the day. All the the nerves, tears, happiness, and laughter will be recorded for posterity. It is probably the most realistic representation of any wedding or event.

Romantic

If you want a romantic depiction of your wedding, then this is the style for you. The photographer will use the tricks of his trade such as lighting, backgrounds, soft focus, and even sepia tints, to create  a romantic atmosphere. There will probably be a few doves thrown in for good measure!

Eclectic

Of course, another option is to have a mixture of some or all of these styles in your wedding photos. You could have some formal group shots for your family and relatives, a few romantic ones of the bride and groom, and a selection of candid ones for the rest of the wedding. However, whether you can get this will depend on the photographer you choose.

Regardless of what style you choose, hopefully this article will give you a clearer idea of what wedding photographers can actually provide and what sort of wedding photographs you would like for your wedding.

Have a lovely and stylish wedding!

A Wedding Photographer’s Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

For some time now, I’ve had a suspicion that all is not well in the Wedding Photography industry. I’m a wedding photographer and I know all the tricks of “the business”. I’ve also been on the other side of the business helping friends and family choose a photographer for their wedding (I prefer to party at my friend’s weddings!)

So, with some suspicions, I surveyed a lot of married people and was astonished to find that 71 % of people said they were not happy with their wedding photographer. This was much higher than I was expecting. Furthermore, an astonishing 85% of respondents said they should have hired a better photographer and would do so if they had their time again.

Read that again, 85% of people were so disappointed in their photos they believe they should have hired a better photographer.

Clearly, something is not right in our industry.

I think there are a number of issues, I think its partly bad photographers, partly good photographers not handling expectations well, and partly couples who aren’t, and have no reason to be, experts at understanding this industry.

So here’s a little guide, by a wedding photographer, on how to choose the right wedding photographer. Note there are a million other things to consider but these are what I think are the essentials, if you get these right you will be less likely to be disappointed.

1. Style

Style is in many respects the easy thing to get right. You’ve looked online, read magazines, started a Pinterest account so you now know that you either want a photojournalist style, an editorial style, a retro style. Most photographers will have one style that they stick with so choosing a photographer who shoots the style you want is as simple as looking at the style they normally shoot in.

2. Quality

The second, and in many ways most important, decision you need to make is about the quality of photographer you want. I’m not talking about style here (documentary, photojournalism etc), or cost, I’m talking about the quality of the photographer. How many great photos do they take across the whole day.

Here’s an attempt to capture the range of possible photographers for your wedding:

# 1. Uncle Tom. He’s always loved taking ‘snaps’.
# 2. Jane’s cousin Pete. He’s a keen amateur who might have even studied photography once.
# 3. A “professional wedding photographer”, found online.
# 4. A “professional wedding photographer”, found online.

Wait, aren’t #3 and #4 the same? No, no, and no! I’d say 50-80% of “professional wedding photographers” are nothing more than con-men and women who think buying an expensive camera makes them professional. Buying a scalpel does not make you a surgeon. Becoming a #4 professional wedding photographer takes years of dedication to photography. It takes commitment and passion and a constant desire to improve your art.

So how can you tell the difference between #3 and #4 professionals?

#3 will bambooz you with a flashy website full of good images from different weddings, they may have slideshows set to music, they will be slick. They will offer you champagne and expensive brochures.

#4 will bambooz you with a flashy website full of great images from weddings, they may have slideshows set to music, they will be slick. They will offer you champagne and expensive brochures.

Notice the difference? There’s a key difference there. #3 will show you images from different weddings. #4 will show you images (especially if you ask) from ONE wedding. That’s the key difference. A #4 photographer should be able to get good or great quality images across the whole day, not just one of two good images for the entire day.

At Mr & Mrs Wedding Photography our website is designed to showcase three individual weddings, one from a beach, one in a church, and another a destination wedding. We hope this gives our potential clients a feel for the quality across the entire day that they can expect to receive.

So, my #1 tip in choosing the right photographer for your wedding is insist on seeing images from one wedding. That will give you a feel for how many good quality images you are likely to see after your wedding.

Which leads me to expectations.

3. Expectations

The first thing to know is that photographers, even true professionals with years of experience, are not superhuman, they will not get award-winning, magazine quality images of every single aspect of your day from 8am until midnight. It just doesn’t happen. If you are expecting stunning images from sunrise to sunrise, you will be disappointed.

Most #4 photographers will give you consistently good images across the entire day and this is what you should be aiming for. There should definitely be some great images in there, the sort you will be proud to hang up on your wall.

I know of two immensely expensive US based wedding photographers. Both are at the top of their game, are in huge demand, and both charge over US$25,000 for their basic packages. I’ve seen a full set of images from a single wedding and I can guarantee you, if you paid that much money and expected every single image to be a prize-winning image, you would be really disappointed. Some images are truly magnificent, most are really good, a large number are just ‘snaps’.

If you end up with 5-10 magnificent images, 30-90 or so really good photos, and the rest nice snaps, then you should be happy.

4. Cheap

Cheap is always cheap. Repeat after me: cheap is always cheap. If you pick a photographer because they are cheap you can expect the quality of your images to plummet. This might be all you can afford/budget for but don’t expect miracles and don’t expect to be anything but disappointed (particularly if you hope to share the images with your kids and grandkids some day).

Do keep in mind though that your wedding is a once in a lifetime event (usually) and it might seem like a good idea to skimp on photography but really after the day is finished, apart from memories, all you have left is the photos. Imagine your grandchildren sitting down to look at your wedding album and seeing cheap photos. Is that worth it?

5. A recommendation from a friend

If you’ve seen you’re friends wedding photos (all of them) and like them then this might be a good way to go. However keep in mind a few things. 1) Did you see all the photos? 2) How long ago did your friend get married (has the photographer aged in energy or style) 3) Ask your friend what the worst thing about the experience with that photographer was – if they suggest irrelevant things like they didn’t like the package the images came in, then that’s probably fine, if the photographer missed a key photo, that’s not fine.

Don’t take a recommendation as proof that the photographer is everything you want for your wedding, refer back to points 1-4.

Conclusion…

Take these points as a starting point. There is way to find the right photographer for your wedding and I hope this helps in some way.

How to Hire the Best Wedding Photographer

Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Lets be frank, planning your wedding day is a nightmare! Other than building your own house, you will probably never have to employ so many different services. From cake makers to the DJ and from the limo drivers to the dress maker, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the choice. But of all the people you will engage to make sure that you have the perfect day the photographer is probably the most difficult whilst at the same time being the only one that you are relying on to leave you a lasting reminder of the day (husbands don’t count here). Just one day after and your cake will be eaten, your venue is being used for a 21st birthday, your car is being used to ferry kids to a prom and in a few months even the dress will be a bit tight and relegated to the attic or worse eBay. But when you are sitting in your rocking chair with your grandchildren on you knee you will still have your wedding pictures to relive your special day.

So having decided that choosing the very best wedding photographer is important where do you start?
Good personal recommendation is about the best starting place, but note that I said “good”. People like to help others out, it’s human nature, so they may well recommend their photographer who in reality was, well average, therefore it is important that you ask for some details. Start with asking to see their album, this is easy as what bride doesn’t like to drag out and show off that? Ask how they performed on the day, what you need to know here was, where they punctual? where they polite? did the guests like them? where they unobtrusive? where they dressed appropriately (some photographers think its OK to turn up to wedding dressed in T shirts and jeans)? how much did they charge and what did you get for that money? how fast did they take the formal family pictures ( none of the guests like these so a good photographer should be able to whip through them at an average sized wedding in about 20-30 minutes)? How long did the album take to arrive? How much where additional prints? Did they supply a CD of the wedding images that you could print yourself, if so how much was it?

Don’t limit yourself to asking just people who have been recently married, but also make sure to ask friends who may have attended at a wedding for their opinions too.

So you have tried personal recommendations and none are pressing you buttons, so what next. Well by now you will probably have booked your wedding venue so ask the coordinator there for suggestions, you will almost certainly will be given a list of photographers who have worked there before, but remember some venues will be taking a cut of the photographers fee for the recommendation so whilst a good starting point you still have some research to do.

Last but definitely not least, the world’s greatest research tool is at your command, the internet. If you type wedding photographer into one of the search engines you will get literally millions of results so narrow down your returns by adding your area or town for example “wedding photographer wilmslow” or add your venue for example “wedding photographers crewe hall”. Having done this you will still be faced with a huge list as it seems that everyone who has bought themselves a nice camera for Christmas is trying there hand at wedding photography. So how to cut the wheat from the chaff?

Firstly, click onto the website, does it look professional, easy to navigate around, contain the information you need, have lost of images? Is there a proper telephone number (be wary of mobile numbers only) or better still a toll free number. And above all is the photographers address shown, after all you will be handing over a lot of money for this service and you want to know where they are if it does all go wrong.

Now pick the top 5 photographers that you like the sound of and arrange for a meeting, ideally this should take place at their office or studio so it will give you a chance to see just how professional they are. The type of questions you should ask. Here is a list of the questions you should ask, remember it is by no means a complete list, but it is a good start.

– Are you a full time professional wedding photographer?
– What are your prices, including any taxes and expenses and what do we get for our money? (Don’t say what your budget is before they tell you their prices)
– What is the payment schedule? Most will require a deposit to hold the date and full payment in advance of the event itself.
– What payment methods can I use? If possible pay by credit card as this will offer you some form of protection.
– What happens if you are ill on the morning of my wedding and can’t attend? If they say that a “friend” will attend, ask to see some work done by this “friend”.
– How many photographers will be attending? If you are being charged for two photographers (often this will be the spouse), again ask to see work by the other photographer.
– What will happen if it rains on the day? Every pro should have a rain plan and be able to show you photographs from wedding where it rained.
– How much will it cost to purchase additional photographs after the event?
– Can we have a disc of photographs to print ourselves and/or use on social networking sites?
– How will you deal with friends taking photographs? Some photographers simply don’t allow this, so if it’s important to you, walk away.
– Do you take formal group shot pictures? Again be cautious of photographers who don’t do this, formal photographs are tricky to do well and are a sign of a real professional not only from a photography stand point but from how they handle organizing people.
– How do you proof our photographs? There are several ways this can be done, from providing you with individual prints, CD’s or small proofing albums.
– How soon will our photographs be ready? A reasonable time would be about two weeks.

But overall the question you should be asking yourself is do I get on with this person enough to have them with me on what is one of the most special days of my life? If the answer is no, then politely tell them that you have other photographers to see and leave.

So what should it cost? Well prices for wedding photography varies enormously from just a few hundred to several thousand, in that case go for the cheapest right? The answer surprisingly is maybe. Some fantastic photographers are just starting out and are desperate to build a portfolio and therefore are charging well below the rate they should be for their skills. Unfortunately there are also lots of photographers who are quite frankly rubbish and charge low because that is all they are worth.

At the opposite scale there are photographers who will charge many thousands more than they are worth knowing that some people will assume they are good because they charge a lot. Don’t fall for this, meet with them, ask them the questions I have said, look at their work at least 3 albums worth of full weddings they have done. Do you like their style, do the people in the pictures look relaxed? One of the most common mistakes by inexperienced wedding photographers is that they loose color in the sky so it shows as white on the pictures or the loose the detail on the wedding dress and it shows as pure white so look for these things. Professional wedding photographers should be able to accept credit cards so if possible pay that way to ensure you have some come back should you need a refund.

But above all, make sure you get on with your photographer, so you can relax on the day an not be worried that your pictures wont turn out.