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How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer is one of those big check box items on your to do list that comes with a major sense of satisfaction when you’ve squared it away. Depending on the type of coverage you pick for wedding photography for your big day, you might end spending more time on your wedding day with your wedding photographer than any single other person apart from your betrothed!

1) Style

Most couples I speak to tell me they are looking for a more natural style of documentation. Basically they don’t want their parent’s wedding photos! A lot of wedding photographer’s these days have moved towards this more candid style of capturing the story of the wedding day rather than posing your bridal party like models on a fashion shoot. Of course there are all kinds of positions on the spectrum between fly on wall shutterbug and bringing studio lighting with you on a wedding shoot, so the key here is to find a photographer with the right mixture of hanging back and capturing the moments as they happen, and directing your hubby to hold his shoulders back so he doesn’t look like he is slouching…

Here are some of the major stylistic approaches to wedding photography so you can talk the talk with your potential photographers:

Traditional: Not as common these day, this approach produces posed photos for display in a portrait album.

Photojournalism: A more informal approach where the photographer tries not to influence the unfolding events and instead captures them candidly.

Illustrative Photography: This is a blend of traditional and photojournalistic approaches that is often used for engagement shoots where the bride and groom are placed in an interesting environment and then encourage to interact naturally while still receiving some direction from the photographer.

High Fashion: If you are looking for a glamourous, fashion shoot style images this is the style for you. This style will include heavy posing direction, artificial lighting and dramatic, stylized composition.

Natural Light: Avoids the use of a flash or any other lighting equipment and creates warm, natural looking images.

It should be pretty obvious from the photos on the wedding photographer’s websites how much posed structure they add to the day, but if you are not sure, just ask. The other consideration here is that some photographers are quite set in their process whereas others will be more open to taking style requests from their clients.

2) Connection

Being comfortable around your wedding photographer is super important. Mainly this is because on your wedding day you want to be relaxed and enjoy every moment surrounded by people who wish you well and help you to make the most of every minute. But you also want to ensure a good connection with your photographer because that will assist you to relax in front of the camera, and work with them to get next level photos for all those oohs and aahs as you take stock of the big day afterwards perusing the pics and remembering all the good times. An engagement shoot is a great way to get to know your wedding photographer a bit better, and to practice relaxing in front of the camera!

3) Storytelling

A wedding photographer is the visual story teller of your wedding day. When looking through pics from a wedding you want to feel like you are being told the story of the day, get to know all the main characters, feel all the emotions, and enjoy the big moments. Different photographers have techniques and also different personalities and experience that all combine to give them a unique approach to telling the story of your wedding day through pictures. The best way to see if a wedding photographer’s storytelling resonates with you is to just take the time to look over their portfolio, and if they are only showing a limited number of pics on the website from each wedding, just ask to see a more complete collection from a single day so you can see how they go write the narrative of the day with their lens.

4) Mood

Light is to photography as ink is to writing. Being able to recognize, analyse and utilize available light is really one of the key determinants of a good photographer. All photographers use light in different ways, and have different techniques and tactics to exploit the light in the environment to create a beautiful image.

Most great photographers have a recognizable quality to their images, there’s something about their photos that make them uniquely theirs. An approach to light is a large part of what creates this. Looking at the portfolios of your potential candidates for wedding photography are their image mostly light and airy or dark and moody? Are there artistic sunspots (aka lens flare in the biz) in their shots, or do they create ethereal images with ‘blown out’ sections of the photos that fade to white? Choose a wedding photographer that captures light in a way that resonates with your temperament.

Keen to know if I’m the wedding photographer you should choose? Get in touch here!

Liz x

Soda Wedding Photography by Liz James for beautiful wedding photos without the stress. Liz will make you and your entire bridal party unwind and feel comfortable, and even have a great time capturing the images of your special day.