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How to get the best photography for your wedding day 1

Part 1: How to find the wedding photographer for you

Hurray it’s all happening, you are tying the knot! You’re probably browsing the web right now – and magazines, and everything else you can think of for inspiration – to gather ideas that will make your wedding day fantastic. I’m sure you’ve come across loads of gorgeous images and just can’t wait to have your own photos from your day. But where do you start? Who do you choose and how do you choose your photographer – and how do you get the best wedding photography on your big day?

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This chapter will advise you on how to research and choose your photographer. Chapter 2 will be about how to make plans together with your photographer – exploring ideas for your day, figuring out what shots you want and getting comfortable with the camera. And finally, chapter 3 will be about your actual day – how things might run with your photographer and how to get the best shots.

The research stage – choosing wedding photography

1: Book a professional photographer

If you want fantastic photos from your day, make sure that your photographer is a professional. A key reason for this is that a professional will know in advance where to be for certain shots. But equally as important, a professional will be able to handle all sorts of “photographically difficult” situations. You may not have that gorgeous sunshine as that Californian wedding has that you’ve been looking at, and your venue might not be spacious and filled with amazing natural light.

Your photographer has got to be able to handle any kind of situation – know how to manually adjust camera settings in a split second, know what to do for strongest of sunshine as well as pouring rain, and quickly see how to get the best out of any location. A professional photographer will also dedicate the time and planning that he/she knows is necessary beforehand, in order to get everything as you want it on your actual day.

2: Compare!

When looking at different photographers’ work it’s important to know that every photographer is different to another. Every photographer will have their own style, different experience and training behind them. Here are a few hints of what you can look for when figuring out what you like:

  • How do the images make you feel? Would you like to have this style of wedding photography from your day?
  • Are the shots professional: Are they sharp where the main focus is, are they detailed, is the light exposure good and do you like the framing and composition?
  • Are the moments well captured?
  • What style do you like? Many wedding photographers might be practicing or have a background in other styles of photography as well – such as fine art photography, landscape, fashion, photojournalism, etc – which probably will be prominent in their style of wedding photography. Here are some examples of the current trends in UK wedding photography:
    • Editorial (Inspired by magazines)
    • Photojournalist /Reportage
    • Contemporary and edgy
    • Fine art photography
    • Creative portraiture.
    • Or perhaps you’d prefer something more traditional and posed.

Look at the post production techniques and the image compositions. There are many ways for the photographer to process the RAW file from the camera in to colour or black and white. Colours can for example be gritty, vintage, crisp and natural, or saturated. Black and white shots can for example be slightly toned, grainy, non grainy, very contrasty or not contrasty.

And there are many ways that a shot can be executed – it can be a total snap, or the photographer could have been very careful with what has been included in the image and paid a lot of attention to the composition. Composition can easily be explained as “all the elements in the image” + how a shot has been framed, and this is a part of the photographer’s style.

… As you can see, there are a few things to think about, when figuring out what you like! Here are a few examples from my wedding portfolio to illustrate what to look for in images:

Photojournalist / reportage style wedding photography

A common style in English wedding photography, aimed to capture moments as they happen – here follows some examples:

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-pjotojournalist-photography

english-wedding-blog-photojournalist-style-photographyenglish-wedding-blog-photojournalist-style-photography

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-pjotojournalist-photography

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Note:
“Composition” is the elements within, and framing of the image: This shot above and the shot below are both photojournalist/reportage style shots capture moments as they happen , but consideration has also been taken to the composition – with the repeating mirror reflections in the shot above and the framing of the couple in the image below. Composition is very individual and part of the photographer’s own style.

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-creative-composition

Editorial style wedding photography

Inspired by magazines and with the aim to tell a story in images, editorial shots are slightly directed by the photographer to suit each individual couple and style of wedding, and is quite popular for portrait sessions with the couple or the bridal party.

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-editorial-photography

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-editorial-photography

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-editorial-photography

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Some examples of different styles of black and white images…

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Above: A natural, fairly contrasty but non – grainy black and white

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-black-white-photography

Above: Grainy, old fashion style of black and white

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-black-white-photography

Above: Cold toned black and white

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-article-black-white-photography

Above: Warm/cream toned black and white

Different processing techniques for colour. There are many different ways for processing colours as well. In this example below, the shot on the left has been processed with a method that brings out lightness and natural colours, while the shot on the right has been processed with a vintage tinting. Every photographer has their own way of processing images and different styles suits different weddings, so think about what would work best for you.

london-wedding-photographer-bjorling-english-wedding-blog-editorial-photography

TOP TIP: When comparing photographers on a computer, note that a lower quality screen will make the photographs look lower quality. And your computer screen might also be badly colour – calibrated, meaning that the colours don’t look correct. Make sure you compare photographers on one and the same computer – otherwise, a screen that is of bad quality or badly calibrated, will automatically make a photographer’s photos look of lesser quality. Some sites – such as Facebook do an automatic compression as well, which might make images look of lesser quality.

3: Meet your wedding photographer in person!

This is the perfect opportunity for you to ask all those questions that you need answers to, and discuss certain shots or things in general about your day.

This meeting is also very important for making sure that your chemistry is right, and that you can communicate with each other. It is important that you feel that your photographer has ideas for shots and suggestions and solutions that will suit you. It is equally important that the photographer understands any ideas that you might have, to know what you expect.

Tips on where to look for a wedding photographer:

  • Online, using search engines and directories
  • The wedding/bridal blogs – look through the Sponsored listings on the side of the blogs as well as featured real weddings
  • Wedding magazines
  • Wedding fairs, where you get to meet the professionals in person and see a cross section of their work there and then.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed the first part and that you have found it helpful in your mission to find a wedding photographer! Next article will be about The planning stage with your chosen photographer.
Written by wedding photographer Louise Bjorling

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at www.byMoonandTide.com. Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.

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12 COMMENTS
  • Mel Gould
    7 years ago

    To avoid getting caught out by photographers who have “borrowed” other photographers work for their website, ask to see more pictures of a wedding they have on their website when you meet them!

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Nice tip, thank you! 🙂
      Great article isn’t it!
      C x

    • Louise Bjorling
      7 years ago

      It sounds really crazy, but – and thank you for pointing this out Mel – although unusual, there can be so called photographers out there, who “borrows” (read steals) other photographer’s work for their own web site. It is quite easy to copy and paste or download things online. If your photographer on the other hand has books or album with their work, it is very likely that all photos are shot by them, since they have the photos in full print resolution. So this is another important reason for seeing the photographer in person – so that you can confirm that their work really is theirs. (Also, many professional photographers have a blog in conjunction to their web site – showing chapters from real weddings rather than just random images, which makles them more trustworthy as the actual photographer of the whole wedding)

      xx Louise

  • Sarah
    7 years ago

    Excellent post. As someone who is planning her wedding later this year, I went through a real process in search of our wedding photographer. I hunted high and low over the internet, I studied hundreds of websites, compiled many lists and read through so many blogs until I finally whittled it down to about 5 photographers. I met 4 of them (one wasn’t available for our wedding date) and, after some discussion with the fiancé and going through each photographer’s wedding packages, we decided on our chosen one. Like I said, a real, thorough process. I did this because, for me at least, wedding photography was something I considered to be the most important aspect of the day. Maybe it’s because I’m also a photographer that I felt like this but it amazes me how many people give such minimal consideration to this area of their wedding. This post is definitely one I’ll be sharing with my clients!!

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for sharing your experience 🙂
      Will you let me know when your photographer has blogged your wedding? It sounds like it’s going to be amazing and then some!
      Claire x

  • Cecelina Photography
    7 years ago

    Such a great article Louise! It is such an important thing for a couple not only to choose a wedding photographer they get along with, but also to which style they are passionate about. Take two photographers with the same equipment to photograph the same wedding and you will get completely different stories and images! There are many things that need to click between you and your photographer (pardon the pun) and knowing what you are looking for in terms of style of coverage and look of the images helps tremendously in your search.

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      Thanks for the comment Cecelina 🙂
      I think it’s a good opportunity for me to interject and say “keep reading wedding blogs!” We feature more real weddings than the national print magazines or local press can – so subscribe, read the real wedding features and watch out for the photographers whose styles you love!
      Claire x

  • Very good article & tip for brides to be!

  • David
    7 years ago

    So much great advice. As a photographer myself I can stress how important it is to meet us before the day (I usually meet my couples at least twice before the wedding day) Tell your photographer about how you met, your family and why you’re doing your wedding in the way you are. Your photographer will then feel far more engaged during the wedding day.

  • Louise Bjorling
    7 years ago

    So good to read the process you went through Sarah!
    I agree with you, wedding photography is quite often over looked. I think that people sometimes presume that the camera is doing all the work, so the person that’s holding it doesn’t need to have any skills. (When the truth is that you have to be incredibly technical and know everything about aperture and shutterspeed and ISO and quality/direction/addition of light, post production techniques – and be creative like an artist at the same time!) The fact that we are surrounded by cameras – on mobile phones etc – can probably be quite misleading, making people think that any camera will do and that mega pixels is all that counts… 😉
    It’s really good to do what Sahra did, and look at a lot of photographers. Even if you’re a person who don’t know much about photography – after a while of looking at different photographers, you will start to understand what you like and what you consider to be good photography. Good wedding blogs come in really handy for couples who are doing their research – since a lot of the real weddings that are featured, are shot by professional photographers – and since they constantly post new weddings and usually have so many weddings in their archive!
    x Louise

    • Claire Gould
      7 years ago
      AUTHOR

      I love this quote from you Louise:

      “the truth is that you have to be incred­i­bly tech­ni­cal and know every­thing about aper­ture and shut­ter­speed and ISO and quality/direction/addition of light, post pro­duc­tion tech­niques — and be cre­ative like an artist at the same time!”

      So true 🙂

      Thanks everyone for the comments

      Claire x

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