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Choosing a Wedding Photographer

October’s issue of the Chester and North Wales Tribune is out and my column this month is about choosing a wedding photographer. I thought it might be useful to show the article in full here along with the accompanying photos from the Carden Park shoot. Let me know what you think and what you would like me to cover in future articles.
Wedding Photography Chester

A few weeks ago, Rachel and myself sat down with our three year old daughter Milly and she looked in amazement at our own wedding album at how smart everybody looked and we pointed out relatives that have sadly died since the wedding and whom she has never met. On a wedding day the photographer is capturing moments to create a album which will be part of your families history. It could be said that the album is not just for the bride and groom and the family who were there one the day but just as importantly for those who weren稚 there like future generations. As you can probably tell I have a great passion for the wedding album and fervently believe that even in this day of digital photo frames and dvd slideshows, the album is still the true record which tells the story of the day.
Over the past few years there are has been an explosion in the number of ‘professional’ wedding photographers offering their services, fuelled by affordable quality digital cameras and perhaps the false perception that taking wedding photographs is easy? I have seen advertisements with people offering to photograph weddings for just a few hundred pounds but unsurprisingly they don’t last long when they realise the work and skills needed to do the job properly. I just hope that they have not left disappointed couples in their wake desperate to retrieve there photographs. So there are many things to consider when choosing a photographer for such an important event so here are my thoughts which I hope may help.

Of all the vendors which a bride and groom will choose for their wedding, the photographer is the only one who will be with them all day. Is the photographer chosen someone that they can get along with? Are they going to fit in well with the guests? It may be an idea to ask for personal references or testimonials from previous brides. A successful, working photographer should be able to show recent full weddings, not just a greatest hits from many weddings, but beautiful sample books showing their ability to capture a moments, emotions and importantly tell the story of the day.
When it comes to photographic style you will here all sorts of descriptions such as reportage, classic, traditional, photojournalistic the list goes on. The reportage or photojournalistic approach is very much the most requested style at the moment but in choosing a photographer who shoots in this style a couple must understand what they may or may not get. A photographer who is true to this style may not organise any photographs with family and friends and will only observe and capture what痴 happening on the day. Parents and relatives will expect a beautifully captured photograph of themselves with the bride and groom so check that they will definitely setup at least a small number of family groups. The reason more people are choosing this style is that they like the look of natural photographs without the stiffness of traditional formal pictures which can look more like a police line up. The truth is that often the natural style photographs seen in wedding magazines and show albums are in fact set up with people placed in the best light and location and then then a few carefully chosen words from the photographer creating a reaction.

Once the photographer has finished the important family pictures its then their opportunity to create beautiful photographs of the bride and groom and this is really where the photographer skill should shine through. Showing the connection between the couple is the photographer’s job, too often in wedding photographs I see disinterested looking grooms or strange poses where one is looking aloof, lets see some romance and passion!!! The groom has just married the girl of his dreams, grab her, hold her tight, kiss her, don’t just stand there holding hands like you are helping her to cross a road! One of our trademarks is the WOW shot, for all the nice pictures of happy family and friends there also has to be shots where WOW we look amazing is all that you think when you see it. A bride on her wedding day should feel at gorgeous level 10, her hair looks fantastic, her dress is amazing she’s glowing with happiness, her new husband is looking cool and sexy, so make sure the photographer can get that WOW picture that can go above the fireplace or can be used to give you a self esteem boost every time you see it.

Often we receive emails stating ‘we are looking for a cheap wedding photographer for our wedding’ now price is naturally a consideration but the question is how important is cheap? If you love a photographer’s work consider is he or she worth the price difference? Whilst some photographers may be advertising attractive rates make sure you understand what everything costs such as reprints, parent albums, guest signature frames etc. If that photographer you love is a little over budget, is it worth stretching that little bit further? Long after the cake has been eaten and the dress boxed away the photographs will still be there to remind you of that amazing day.