A Brides Guide to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

As a photographer this is what I would be looking for and the questions I would be asking if I were you and you were me! This isn't about self promotion, it's an objective guide from a photographers perspective to help you sift through the potential pitfalls as a bride to be and come out the other side with photographs of your wedding day which you can cherish for life. Remember, we take photographs which your unborn grandchildren will be viewing in years to come. So, invest some time into reading this guide and apply the advice. Stick to these few simple rules and you won't go far wrong.

Choosing a wedding photographer


When choosing your wedding photographer you will feel like a small fish in a very big sea. There are lots of professional photographers available but finding one which you both feel comfortable with and takes photos in the style and manner you want can be a little tricky. It can be tempting to just accept offers from family and friends, but this is something you should think carefully about. It is very hard to match the work of a professional photographer! 


Ten Questions You Should Ask When Choosing Your Photographer


  • Do you provide full-day coverage (from the bride's house until the newlyweds leave their reception)?
  • Do you work with an assistant?
  • Do you shoot in the photo-journalistic style? If you do, will you also do some traditional wedding photos?
  • How many photos do you generally take?
  • Do I keep my proofs or do I have to purchase them?
  • How soon after my wedding will I get to see my proofs?
  • Will you be taking digital photographs? Will they be available on the day of the wedding? Is there an extra charge for this service?
  • Do you take both black and white and colour photos?
  • What is included in your basic wedding package?
  • What are the charges for additional photographs? Parents Album?


What should I look for in my photographer?

Most importantly, when choosing a photographer you should choose someone you feel comfortable with and who produces the high quality you like and in a style you prefer. so, check their portfolio!  Unfortunately formal qualifications are not a guarantee of quality, some of the best artists and photographers in the world are self taught and have no formal qualifications in photography. So, make sure you ask to view a complete wedding album from a recent wedding, and not just look at the photographers best photos as this way you'll know exactly the standard he or she will deliver on your big day.

Book a photographer who is public liability and profession indemnity insurance in case there are any accidents.
You must feel comfortable and confident with your photographer as they are going to photograph one of the most important days of your life.


What pictures should I ask for my photographer to take?

This really depends on the style of the photographer you book.  A traditional photographer will be happy to do more group shots than a photo journalistic photographer.  A Photojournalistic photographer will capture events as they unfold with out people having to pose and look at the camera.  Most photographers will be happy to photograph the bride getting ready, and if there are two of them then the other photographer will generally photograph the groom getting ready.

Most professional photographers will know the standard shots to take i.e. signing the register, cutting the cake whilst the more stylish photographers will capture all that together with all the other moments from the day. Such as mum wiping her eyes, the groom looking around as the bride approaches and Uncle Burt catching 40 winks!!
If you have any specific shots you require then most photographers are more than happy to accommodate your requests.


What style of photography should I go for?

Have a look around in bridal magazines; there are many styles of photography available from Traditional, Classical, Photojournalistic to cutting edge stylish and dynamic photography. A good photographer should be able to do a mixture of photojournalistic photography with a handful of group shots to keep parents happy and some really great fun shots of the bride and groom together.

Will this still be fashionable when I look back on the photographs?

Traditional staged photographs may look dated in years to come (have a look at your parents wedding album!) However well composed photojournalistic images captured in black and white will not date as quickly and will always look like a timeless classic.

How long will the photography take on the day?

Once again this depends on the style of photography you choose. A traditional photographer will take longer to do the group shots than a photojournalistic photographer simply because he will do more group shots. Group shots can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours depending on your choice of photographer and the co-operation of your guests. A handy hint is get the best man and ushers to help round people up. Most photographers will require the bride and groom on their own for half an hour or so to get some shots of the two of them together.
Photographers love working with Toastmasters, they will help to organise your guests and make sure the timings of the day run smoothly.

Typically allow an hour or so for photography but check with your photographer to see if this is long enough!


How do I keep my guests occupied during the photographs?

Champagne, Champagne and more Champagne!  Most guests are more then happy to stand around for up to an hour whilst they may be required for the group shots provided they have a drink in one hand and preferable a canapé in the other. If the weather is bad then ensure there is sufficient room indoors for your guests to stand and for photographs to be taken. To while away the time it can be a good idea to have a small jazz band or string quartet.  A magician or entertainer can also be a good idea to mingle with the guests whilst they are waiting.

How much should my wedding photography cost?

Wedding photography can cost anything from £100 to £5000. You really do to get what you pay for. Many of our clients say to us that the photography is so important to them and it’s not worth compromising on the photography as it's one of the most important reminders once the day is over. Wedding photography has changed considerably over the last few years. Many photographers can now offer totally bespoke wedding albums that can contain upwards of 100 images. Albums are available in a wide range of styles and sizes from Classic handcrafted leather albums to very contemporary magazine style layout where you can have up to 20 images on a page all bound in a aluminium cover with a photograph of the happy couple on the front.

If I have a small budget, can I still get a good wedding album?

Good quality wedding photography comes at a price. When budgeting for your wedding cheap photography can seem like a good idea. However, from our experience in talking to people who compromised on their wedding photography they said they had been disappointed with the results. Some have even been too embarrassed to show their album to their friends. However many good quality photographers will be able to offer you ways of spreading the cost of your wedding photography with an easy pay scheme.

Will it make a difference if my photographer uses film or digital?

Most traditional photographers may still use film cameras. They will shoot every wedding in a similar way with a set number of photos and poses. Digital Photojournalistic photographers will shoot infinite number of shots from different angles and with a variety of lenses form ultra wide to telephoto giving the bride and groom a huge choice of pictures to choose from.

The advent of digital has given both the photographer and client a greater choice in the way their work can be presented. A digital picture can be reproduced in colour, black and white, sepia or a hue that compliments the image or follows a theme. Digital means images can be digitally enhanced to get remove unwanted background signs, or blemishes on skin.

Digital SLR camera have the capability of capturing images in more tricky situations, allow the photographer to preview the results and in many ways now offer a quality that beats film. Also, a digital photographer will make several copies of the wedding images and archive at different addresses whilst a film photographer will only have one set of negatives!


What is your best tip for getting the best out of our photographs on the day?

When planning your wedding day allow sufficient time for your wedding photographer to get some great shots of the two of you together. This is a great opportunity for you to spend some time together.

Finally, just enjoy yourself, many people feel like film stars by the end of their wedding. If you look happy then your wedding photographs will look great!