Jo Wheeler - Photographer
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Picking a Wedding Photographer

Struggling with finding your wedding photographer?

I can help with that... please read on!

You’re getting married - how fabulous!

On your long “to do” list will be to choose your wedding photographer.

Finding a photographer can seem a daunting task as there are many of us, all with similar styles but varied price ranges.

Limes Hotel wedding photographyWhen you first start researching, you will see photographers who describe their style as documentary, photo-journalistic or candid. These words all kind of mean the same thing: they take pictures without the subject really knowing they are being photographed, so sometimes from a distance with a 'long' lens, or when the subject is occupied, looking elsewhere and not directly at the camera.

A photographer may also use the word “formal”. This is the type of photograph that everybody recognises from their parents and grandparents wedding albums – pictures where people are posed in groups in front of the camera.

The temptation is to employ somebody to do solely candid pictures, but I’d suggest a mixture of both styles. Candid shots are great but if you are self-conscious about a part of your body (which lots of us are) then it can be harder to deal with this in “photo-journalistic” photography as you and your photographer might not be in the right place to get the best picture of you even if the photographer moves to the left or right a little bit.

Weddings are a great way to gather family members or friends who don't usually find the time to meet up, getting them together for formal pictures also ensure that distant aunts or long lost friends will be included. Some photographers will only offer candid photography and you must go with what you want, but just bear in mind that people rarely stand and chat in a line, so if you rely solely on candid pictures, you may get peoples backs in your pictures. Coupled with the fact that the right people don't always come together at the same time, so that picture you want with your mom and grandmother might not happen without your photographer ushering you all together.

A good starting point is:

  • Think about the style(s) of photography you’d like. It doesn't matter if you are unsure about this as it's something you can discuss in your first meeting with a photographer.
  • Decide on the range of photos you want - do you want somebody there for your bridal prep and your First Dance or are you happy that your photographer covers only the ceremony, followed by formal photos?
  • Ask your friends if they can recommend anyone, or watch how a photographer conducts themselves at any weddings you attend and if you like what you see, ask for their details.
  • Check out wedding websites – many have a section dedicated to wedding photographers that you can select according to where your wedding will be.
  • Can your wedding venue help – most venues have three or four photographers they recommend, who also know the venue?

When you are working to a budget it’s really tempting to think about using a friend or relative to photograph your wedding. I’d warn against this as sometimes people feel that they have to say yes when maybe they don't want to, or if they know you are on a tight budget, they may feel that by doing your photographs, they are helping you out.

There is a lot that a wedding photographer has to consider and while your friend/family member might be great at taking pictures of their children, there is no substitute for experience, so you might need to manage your expectations regarding the pictures you get if you do go for this option.

That said, I absolutely know that a friend or family member can be as good as somebody paid to do the same job, but would your friend or relative rather be invited as a guest and enjoy the day with you?

Wedding Photographer Solihull

Narrow down your choice to three or four photographers and try to meet them all.
  • Talk to them about how they work, what do they need from you in the run-up to your wedding day.
  • Will they visit your venue (assuming they haven't photographed there before) before your wedding day?
  • What are their plans if it rains?
  • Do you like them, can you get on with them, can you spend a number of hours with them on your wedding day when at times, you might be a little stressed.
  • If you are stressed, will they calm you or make you more stressed?
  • Are they male or female - this may sound strange, but will a man make you uncomfortable if you ask for getting ready pictures and they are front and centre while you are trying to get your bra off and your dress on?
  • If there is a male photographer that you'd really like to book, ask him how he deals with potentially embarrassing moments during bridal preparation.

As I say, there can be a lot to consider and while cost is important, it shouldn't be the only consideration before you agree to book someone.