Charlotte Balbier
Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

in the frame: how to pick your wedding photographer

March 1st, 2018 | Laura McDonagh

Mike Plunkett Photography (2)

Mike Plunkett Photography, image source

The date’s in the diary, the venue’s booked and now it’s time to make one of the biggest weddingland decisions of them all: who gets the photographer gig?

Trust us, there are lots of talented snappers out there (including those featured in our Suppliers We Love directory) – we are blown away by the beautiful imagery that is submitted to the blog every week, and so we understand it can be tricky to narrow down the choices.

Beyond the aesthetics there are further aspects to consider – cost, packages, approach, albums – but there’s no need to get in a head-spin, for we’re elaborating on these points today as we share our top tips to finding the right photographer for you and your big day…

James Tracey Photography (1)

James Tracey Photography, image source

what’s your style?

As you trawl through magazines and blogs, what style of photography speaks to you? Classic portraiture, i.e. posed couple shots and family groups with everyone smiling and looking the right way? Or are you a fan of a more documentary-esque, reportage style – pretty much the opposite, with events caught candidly ‘in the moment’ and barely an eye on the camera? Are edgy shoots your thing – often (but not always) featuring urban settings, bold colours, dramatic backdrops and quirky props, angles and cropping? Or there’s fine art, where reality has an extra-dreamy romantic filter applied; these pictures are super-tasteful, with the pretty pumped up to the max and a fashion magazine feel.

There’s always some overlap, but a wedding photographer generally leans towards one of the above – so decide what feels most ‘you’ and start looking for shooters who specialise in your favourite style.

Sarah Mason Photography

Sarah Mason Photography, image source

the package

There isn’t one set standard in wedding photography, so now that you’re noting down names and details it’s time to pay attention to the fine print. How many hours coverage will you need? Can they be flexible if the day runs over? Are you set on a second shooter and, if so, can they offer one? What do they provide in terms of an album: how many edited images; what about hard copies; is there an online gallery for friends and family to peruse? Start digging deeper: check client testimonials, look at whole albums rather than a handpicked selection of highlights from the last few years and make comparisons between your shortlist and other similarly-priced photographers.

Kate McCarthy Photography

Kate McCarthy Photography, image source

making your mind up

You’re going to spend a LOT of time with your wedding photographer – probably more time than any of your other suppliers – so once you’ve narrowed the potentials down, it’s best to meet in person. Have a list of questions ready – perhaps email them in advance – and put together a Pinterest board of images you love so that you can clearly communicate the kind of end result you want. A wedding photographer needs to be personable, confident, and outgoing, but also sensitive, respectful and professional. Once you’re face to face, it’s easier to make the judgement call as to whether they’re the one for you. Do they feel right? Our ultimate advice is to trust your gut.

Jessica Grace Photography

Jessica Grace Photography, image source

trust your choice

Once you have the photographer on board, it’s time to relax.  You picked them because you loved their work. Now its time to let them do their thang!

Obviously, your chosen photographer will have to work within the constraints of your agreement (and what actually happens on the day and what’s there to shoot!) but if you want our advice, here’s ten popular photographs we think you can’t miss. If you love these ideas, talk to your photographer in advance of your wedding, then stand back and let them set the agenda for the day.  Everyone works best if they are allowed the freedom work in their own way and if everyone is on the same page, then its sure to be a match made in heaven!

Helen Russell Photography (1)

Helen Russell Photography, image source

* Dreamy details – Close-ups of the rings, a bottle of scent, the bouquet, perhaps several thousand lovingly handcrafted origami cranes…

* Threads – Today is your catwalk – make sure those dress details, veil and shoes are immortalised on film.

* Preparation – Arty makeup application shots, you and your #bridesquad hugging/squealing/downing glasses of prosecco and embraces with parents will recreate the excitement of a wedding morning for years to come – guaranteed.

Fairclough Photography

Fairclough Photography, image source

* Here Comes the Bride – The bride’s entrance is undoubtedly a top wedding moment, and a skilled photographer will record everything – a father’s nerves, reactions of guests, the groom’s relieved megawatt smile – oh, and you!

* The Look of Love – A ceremony shot where you and your beloved catch each other’s eye. Three little words: All. The. Feels.

* Confetti Shot – Does anything scream unadulterated joy like a couple being pelted with flower petals? Nope. Extra points for an accompanying fist pump or bouquet held aloft.

Melissa Beattie Photography

Melissa Beattie Photography, image source

* Landscape/Setting – City wedding? Get out on the street, pose in front of landmarks and revel in the attention. Country house with stunning gardens? Make the most of the beautiful surroundings and early evening sunflare.

* The Speeches – We love a good speech, and we love a good photo from the speeches almost as much. The full spectrum of human emotion, from adoration to tears. We’re filling up just thinking about it…

James Tracey Photography (2)

James Tracey Photography, image source

Couple Shots – No rules here – just the two of you, enjoying some downtime.

* The Dance – Body-popping to Beyonce or a shuffling to Sam Cook, we’re not fussy – there’s just got to be some dancefloor action in your album to show the grandchildren you weren’t always a pair of old fuddy duddys.

Happy posing!

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about the author

Laura McDonagh
Laura is a true Northophile: she married Adam in Durham in 2011 accompanied by 200 Northumbrian lamb shanks and a Mackem 1950s tribute band who did a rockabilly cover version of Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On. They honeymooned in Northumberland in a 1972 MG convertible, went surfing in Alnmouth and made it to the Edinburgh Fringe (let's ignore the fact that it rained all week). Her big mantra is 'no regrets'...but if she could travel back in time and wear a wedding dress with a Peter Pan collar and pockets, she'd pretty much die happy.

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