How To Choose Your Wedding Photographer – Part 1

bride in motorbike sidecar

There are a lot of wedding photographers out there so how do you choose your wedding photographer? It might seem logical to start by searching for “North Wales Wedding Photographers” and then narrow down by style, then price. But that’s not how I would recommend you start. I would start by deciding what style you want first. That’s probably the most important aspect of photography and in this day and age, most wedding photographers are happy to travel, so location is possibly the least important.

There are four main styles of wedding photography and then there are the ones who blur the lines between genres. Documentary / Reportage, Creative, Fine Art & Traditional. I’m a documentary wedding photographer, so I’ll start with that.

Documentary Wedding Photography

Bride & Groom laughing during speeches

The idea behind “documentary wedding photography” is that the photographer photographs your day as it happens, with as little interruption or direction as possible. The images are true to the events of the day, they are curated to tell the story of your day, just like a documentary would be.

My approach is to get stuck in and photograph your day from the inside out. I don’t get in the way or invade personal space, but I’m right there with you – creating images that will make the viewer feel like they’re there too. My goal is to tell the story of your day with images that have genuine memories attached to them… I make people feel comfortable in my presence, I don’t know how I just do. Even though I don’t try to hide, a lot of couples say to me “I had no idea you took that photo.” Which is kinda the whole idea.

“Chris, thank you so much for being our photographer. You made everyone feel so at ease, they absolutely loved you and so do we!”

– Kelly & Steven

If you’re the sort of person who is not keen on posing, doesn’t like having their photograph taken, or feels awkward in front of the camera then a Documentary Wedding photographer could be the perfect fit. But I wouldn’t say my style of photography is only for the camera shy. It’s also for the bold and adventurous, it’s for the people who are doing things differently and don’t want to have to stop their day to get their photo taken. It’s for the people who want to have fun, they want to have a wedding, not a photoshoot.

Creative
Creative wedding photographers focus much more on creative portraits. There’s a wide range of styles from uber-cool to wild & wacky. Those that use smoke bombs and those that make you do crazy jumps or poses. If you’d like to take some time out of your day for some creatively posed portraits then this could be the style for you.

Fine Art
Fine Art photography is almost the opposite of documentary photography. It’s much more about the photographer’s vision, style and ideas. I’d say this style of photography is for people who want beautiful, pieces of photographic art from their day.

Traditional
Traditional wedding photography generally works to a preconceived idea of what photographs you should have at a wedding. You’ll most likely have to stop and pose for the majority of key moments throughout the day as well as have a posed portrait session too.

I specialise in photographing moments and connections between people. I capture the atmosphere & emotion so that when you’re looking back at your photos in 5 years time, you remember how you felt at that moment.

Every photograph on my website is 100% unposed and happened naturally, during a real wedding.

Photos, Personality & Trust

Once you’ve decided on a style you can set about finding the perfect wedding photographer for you. There are a few really important things to consider…

The first is their work… You need to love it. And trust that they can produce the same quality that they show on their website all day, every day, no matter what.

So, you must ask to see a couple of full galleries, from real weddings, so that you see the quality of their work in real-life situations.

Watch out for images that don’t match their description of their style. For example, a lot of people describe themselves as “documentary wedding photographers”, but when you look at their website they show lots of posed photographs. Which is absolutely fine, lots of photographers blur styles, you just need to make sure you’re aware of what you’re going to get.

The second thing is that you get on with them and that their personality matches yours. Chances are you’ll be spending a good chunk of your day in their company so it’s really important that you feel comfortable around them.

If it’s convenient, try and meet up for a drink before booking. If not, then Skype, Facetime or a good old fashioned phone call make a decent alternative, until you can meet in person. I meet every couple at least once before their wedding day, it’s all part of helping people feel comfortable. I didn’t want a stranger with a camera turning up on the morning of my wedding day, so I assume you don’t either.

 

THIS IS JUST ONE CHAPTER...

In the rest of this guide, I explain the different ceremonies including, humanist, celebrant & non-legal wedding ceremonies. I also cover how to choose your wedding venue, wedding photographer, entertainment and plan your timeline. Plus there's wedding advice from real couples and top tips from industry experts.

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