Planning a wedding can be exciting and fun, but it can also be a bit of a headache at times. You’ve suddenly got to be expert in all these different areas – catering, music, entertainment, photography, decorations etc.

One of the important tasks is choosing a wedding photographer that’s going to capture the photos you’ll be looking back at in the future again and again to remember all the awesomeness of your wedding.

There’s a huge range of wedding photographers out there with different, styles, approaches, personalities, packages and prices. So to help you find the best fit for you I’ve put together this guide. This is the same advice I’ve been offering to my friends planning their own weddings for the past few years.

5 questions to ask while searching for your perfect wedding photographer

1) What style of wedding photography are you looking for?

Style covers everything from photo editing to the photographer’s approach (eg will they be focused on posed photos or capturing the action as it happens or a mixture of both). Below are some of the key wedding photography styles out there:

Traditional Wedding Photography

A traditional style of wedding photography will be focused on posed photos, portraits and family group formals. Most photos will be of your guests looking at the camera and smiling. Expect more of your wedding day to be put aside for group photos and more photographer involvement.

If the most important thing to you is having a photo of everyone that attended and a similar style of photos that your parents had for their wedding, then a traditional style might be for you.

Candid, Reportage, Photojournalist and Documentary Wedding Photography

The above terms are closely linked and refer to a style that captures the wedding day as it unfolds without directing or influencing it. The photographer will be focused on capturing natural moments of you and your favourite people.

If you want to enjoy your day without being aware of the camera and end up with photos that remind you want it felt like to be there for years to come, then a documentary style might be for you.

Editorial Wedding Photography

An editorial style is similar in style to the luxury shoots you might find in a fashion magazine. Expect more of your wedding day to be put aside for portrait photos.

If you’re looking for glamorous photos of you looking like a movie star, then an editorial style might be for you.

Fine Art Wedding Photography

A fine art style is focused on showing off the romance and beauty of the couple. It has become known for its pastel colour, soft focus and more exposed light to create a more magical look. Similar to the editorial style, your portraits will play a bigger role on your wedding day.

If you’re looking for wedding portraits that look like something out of a magical fairytale, then a fine art style might be for you.

In Summary

These are just labels to give you an idea of what’s out there. Some photographers may have a style that’s a pure form of reportage or fine art while others use a mix. Some shoot only in colour while others shoot everything in black and white. There’s no right or wrong, there’s just different.

2) How important are your wedding photos to you?

Weddings can become expensive. There are a lot of different costs to consider and these can add up quickly.

When my friends are in the early stages of planning their wedding I always recommend that they take a step back and ask themselves what is important to them. Is it the decorations (flowers, etc) or the party (entertainment, music, alcohol etc). Is it the food on the day (catering) or the memories to enjoy in the years to come (photography and videography).

A lot of wedding blogs and experts will tell you that you need everything. But you really don’t. Think about what’s really important to you and focus your time and budget on that. If you don’t care about favours then don’t waste any money on them; instead buy another round for your guests at the bar.

The same goes for your wedding photographer. How important is it to you to have photos of your wedding to enjoy all the awesome memories in the future?

A black and white photo of a bride dancing surrounded by all her friends with their arms in the air

3) How much should you budget for a wedding photographer?

Now you’ve established how important your wedding photos are; how much should you be budgeting for a wedding photographer?

The cost of wedding photography can range a lot. But with most things in life, you typically get what you pay for.

How much do wedding photographers usually cost?

Alright, time for the bit that none of us enjoy talking about – the money.

To give you a rough idea of what to expect budget wise, below are cost estimates based on different market segments. Please note that prices also vary depending on which part of the UK you are in. These are based on my experience as a London wedding photographer and that of other photographers I’ve spoken with. The below rates are for a full day’s coverage (eg 10+ hours).

Low Budget Market = £1000 – £1400
Mid Budget Market = £1400 – £1800
Upper Budget Market = £1800 – £2600
Luxury Budget Market = £2600 – £10000

This is supported by recent research that found the average cost of a wedding photographer in the UK (not London specific) in 2017 to be £1480 (source: Your Perfect Wedding Photographer).

So what are you paying for with the more expensive photographers?

With the more expensive photographers you will enjoy a higher quality of photos and customer experience both on the day and either side of it. You also remove risk. Setting up a secure back up system takes time, care and a surprising amount of money. I spend roughly £2,000 on my back up system (hard drives, memory cards and software) each year.

I’d be very careful of paying less than £1000 on a wedding photographer for a full days coverage. A quick search on Google reveals the nightmares some couples have sadly had with budget photographers.

When looking at costs it’s important to look at what the photographer is including in their package. Common things to keep an eye out for: hours of coverage, prints, albums, engagement shoots and a second photographer. Sometimes these are included and other times they charged as extras or not offered at all.

A photo of a couple's first dance with a disco ball, taken by wedding photographer Matt Badenoch

4) Will you get along with your wedding photographer on the day?

Probably one of the most important questions to consider and usually the one most often over looked. Will I and my guests enjoy hanging out with our wedding photographer on the day? Or in other words – are our personalities a good fit?

Always Meet with your wedding photographer before booking them

Your wedding photographer will probably be your only wedding supplier who’ll be around you and your guests all day. So having someone who’s going to mix in and create a positive experience for everyone is an important factor to consider.

The photographers website is a good starting place to get a feel of who they are. But the best way to ensure your personalities are a good fit is to meet with them before book.

You don’t have to meet with them in person, especially if they’re not based locally. A video call on Skype would work great.

Bride crying as she says goodbye to her grandmother at the end of her wedding

5) Is your wedding photographer consistently producing amazing photos?

Similar to all other suppliers, wedding photographers are going to show the very best of their work on their websites – the highlights. This is a great way to quickly get a feel of the photographer’s style and approach and the best of what they can do for you.

The highlights reel however will likely not represent every photo your photographer deliveries to you after the wedding.

Blog posts (which many wedding photographers offer on their website) are a good way to see more photos from a single wedding. But these might still only show about 10% of the full set of photos delivered.

Ask to see a full wedding gallery

The very best way to check the consistent quality your photographer will create for you is view a full gallery from one of their recent weddings. I show a full gallery to all my couples before booking and the photographers I know are more than happy to do this upon request.

Wedding guests dancing and partying

In Conclusion

I may be subjective in saying this but I strongly believe that wedding photography is going to be one of the most rewarding things you spent money on when planning your wedding.

And there is such a large range of different wedding photographers out there to choose from. In terms of style, approach, quality, personalities and price

So the best advice I can offer is to have a good think about what is important to you and then do your research.

Don’t book the first photographer you meet at a wedding show that offers you a discount. Instead use all the tools you have access to, from Google Search and social media to recommendations from friends. This way you can find the wedding photographer that’s perfect for you and cherish your photos for years to come.

I hope you have found this guide helpful and I’d like to wish you all the best in planning your wedding adventure!

If you think a documentary style of wedding photography would be a great fit for you, you’re very welcome to check out some of my recent work.