How to choose the perfect wedding photographer

So you’ve set a date and chosen your wedding venue, how exciting! Now to try and find a local wedding photographer. It could be one of the hardest decisions you will make in the whole wedding planning process; there are literally hundreds of professional wedding photographers in Cornwall and Devon. How do you go about finding the right one for you?

Here’s a few pointers to help you along your way…

Have a budget ‘in mind’

You will notice that I didn’t say ‘set a budget’ but having a rough idea on what you can legitimately spend will open you up to looking for a wider range of wedding photographers in your area.

To give you an idea, the average UK spend on wedding photography over the past 3 years has been £1500 but many wedding photographers offer discounts based on the time of year that you’re getting married, or if you’re getting married mid week instead of a weekend.

“Why is wedding photography so expensive?”

It’s a question on the lips of many engaged couples but there’s a lot more involved in running a wedding photography business than you might think: Equipment costs, the hours involved in editing, computer software, business insurance, tax, advertising, presentation (online client galleries, USB, album design), equipment repair, postage costs, travel expenses and for those wedding photographers who have children – child care costs.

While £1500 sounds like a large chunk of your budget, your wedding photos are one of the most important elements of your day to invest in. It’s worth checking if you can shave your budget elsewhere, to give yourself as much money as you can for this, as you do ‘get what you pay for’ when it comes to wedding photography.

Of course, prioritise what is most important to you but it’s important to remember when the wedding is over, what will you have? That’s why careful consideration should be made when choosing a great wedding photographer to tell your story.

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Check out different photographer styles

There are several different styles of wedding photography out there. Here’s 3 of the most popular:

Classic wedding photography – Sometimes referred to as traditional or formal wedding photography. Your classic wedding photographer will capture the key elements of the day, such as the signing of the register and the cutting of the cake, as well as taking staged photos of you and your wedding guests.

Reportage wedding photography – Natural un-posed wedding photography that follows the day as it unfolds. It’s a style of wedding photography that would suit those who don’t like posing for the camera. Group shots are generally speaking not taken, unless you specifically request them.

Documentary wedding photography – Often referred to as photo-journalistic, again, it’s a natural form of wedding photography. It’s similar to reportage wedding photography in the sense that your wedding photographer will capture the natural, candid moments as they happen but also focusing on the emotion and the atmosphere of the day. Other important elements such as the styling of the wedding will also be recorded, along with the group shots.

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“OK, so I have a budget in mind and I’ve got an idea of the sort of style of photography I would like for my wedding. What’s next?”

Do your research

Once you have ascertained the style of wedding photography that you would like for your wedding day, it’s time to select 3/4 wedding photographers that are of that style and within your budget.

Firstly, take a look at their editing style…

When comparing photographer’s portfolio of works, you might notice that some images look soft and almost pastel like, while others are vintage looking – like they have been taken using old film.

Every photographer has a different style; they will use either a digital, or a traditional film camera, they will use different types of equipment and they will have a different editing style to each other.

The majority of photographers using digital cameras will use computer software to edit the images taken; this is called ‘post processing’. The software used will enable the photographer to make lighting and colour adjustments to fit the style of photography that best suits their personality.

Popular editing styles include: Clean (lightly processed/natural), matte (low contrast/muted colour) and high contrast (high contrast/vibrant colour).

It doesn’t matter which one you go for, as long as you love the look of the final edited images!

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One of the best ways to find your perfect wedding photographer is to ask friends and ‘friends of friends’ for recommendations.

Other places to get great photographer reviews are venues, social media platforms and online reviews, such as Google.

If the photographers that you have selected have ever won any wedding awards or been a finalist, this may also be a good place to read previous client reviews.

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Examples of work

Naturally, seeing a portfolio of work is essential but it is also important to see a wider range of work from the wedding photographers you are researching. Looking at different examples of work will show you just how consistent the photographer is; for example, different lighting situations, a range of weather conditions etc…

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Has the photographer been to your venue before? This is by no means a deal breaker but it will mean that the photographer is familiar with the lighting and the best locations for photographs.

If they haven’t shot at your venue before, ask to see some examples of work at a venue that is similar to yours.

Arrange a meeting or a Skype/ phone call

It goes without saying that finding a local photographer that you can connect with on a personal level is equally important. Choosing a wedding photographer whose work you think is great but you don’t gel with, is never going to work. If you get on well with your photographer then you know you’ll be happy, relaxed and having fun on your wedding day; this can only mean one thing… Beautiful, natural wedding photography.

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“Great! I think I’ve found my perfect wedding photographer. Is it too soon to book?”

Absolutely not! The best wedding photographers always get booked up in advance, sometimes as far as 2 years in advance, so if you’ve found the perfect photographer for you, book them as soon as reasonably possible.

If you are recently engaged and looking for a Cornwall wedding photographer for your special day, don’t delay and drop me a line. I would love to hear your wedding day plans.