More to the point, how do you find the right wedding photographer? It used to be that you’d just go with whomever your friends and family knew. Certainly that’s how my wedding photographer was chosen. My future father in law knew the photographer via friends and that was that. This was 20 years ago by the way, so things have moved on a little, he was still shooting on film!
The Referral Method
This is the tried and tested method and it still works. I get a lot of bookings through referrals, often in areas I don’t usually work in. A few years ago I shot a wedding at Dunchurch Park Hotel near Rugby. Since then I’ve shot four more in that area purely from referrals, even though I’m a Berkshire based wedding photographer. Referrals are great especially if you were at a wedding where that photographer was working and could get a feel for how they work. If you do have some friends who are recommending someone, ask to see their wedding album, if they have one, or even better the full online gallery the photographer provided to them. Don’t base it on the highlights reel they put on social media. Anyone can get 5-10 decent photos from a wedding, providing 400+ quality images from all parts of the day is a different matter entirely.
Wedding Supplier Website
Here I’m talking about Hitched, The Wedding Wire, The Knot, all those kind of sites. These do provide a good starting point but remember that every photographer on there has paid to be there. The ones who show up at the top of your feed probably paid a lot more to be there. Dig a bit deeper, don’t just look at the first page, look for a style that catches your eye.
Wedding Photographers get booked up well in advance, but venues do even more so. Often the venue will be the first thing booked. They will almost always have a bunch of wedding photographers they can recommend. They should be able to show you some albums as well. There are lots of advantages to this but also a couple of drawbacks. One of the big advantages is that the recommended photographers will know the venue really well, they will know where to get the best shots. This is also the biggest disadvantage though, as it’s fairly likely your wedding photos will look very similar to the other weddings they’ve shot there. This may not bother you. They also might not be within your budget, or just not be the right style. Don’t be afraid to look around yourself for an independent photographer. All the recommended list means is that the photographer has shot there before a few times and the venue thought he did a decent job. It doesn’t mean they are the right photographer for you.
This is the big one these days. Google will show you results from photographers near you unless you tell it not to ( or have location tracking off ). Google will also show reviews, which can be pretty useful. If you are using Google to find wedding photographers there are some things to look out for to give you the best chance of finding a good fit. Don’t book them until you have at least spoken on the phone, or even better met them in person. This photographer will be with you all day on your wedding, you need to be able to get on with them. Secondly, consider their style and wether it will work for you. For example, I shoot a 90% documentary style, with maybe 10% posed shots.
If you want a lot of posed, or editorial style shots, I’m probably not the right photographer for you. I was booked once by a bride who had to do everything last minute and so didn’t really understand what my style of photography was. We were just on different wavelengths and to this day she is the only person who has ever been unhappy with the shots I provided. This still causes me stress thinking about it now, and I’m sure it still causes her distress. This happened because my style of wedding photography was not what she wanted. So this is very important, don’t settle for a photographer whose style doesn’t engage and excite you.
A few more ideas to help
1.Try booking an engagement shoot with the photographer you think is most likely to suit you. A lot of photographers offer these at a very low rate to encourage wedding bookings. Even if you don’t end up booking that photographer, you will gain valuable experience of being in front of the camera. This will make being the centre of attention on your wedding day much less daunting.
2.Give yourself plenty of time to find the right photographer. Try and look at some wedding albums from people you know who have gotten married recently.
3.Don’t go for the cheapest option. It might seem tempting but wedding photography is not easy, you need good equipment and a decent amount of experience. I go into more depth on this in this article…https://www.croshawphotography.com/2019/02/21/why-does-wedding-photography-cost-so-much/.
Thanks for reading, I hope this helps you find your ideal wedding photographer!