How to Find the Right Wedding Photographer for YOU
Updated: Jun 17, 2020
There are lots of great wedding photographers out there with lost of happy customers. But each one has a unique style and their own approach to capturing your special day. So how do you know who is RIGHT FOR YOU? If it feels a bit like searching for the needle in the haystack, here are some helpful hints to get to you on your way to finding the perfect photographer JUST FOR YOU.
1. RECOMMENDATIONS– For photographers, good reviews are worth their weight in gold and there’s a reason. Ask friends, family, co-workers for their favourite photographers they’ve ever experienced at a wedding. What better starting point then looking at a few people about whom you already have genuine, great feedback. There is nothing nicer than being booked because of a recommendation – a big part of my job is building relationships with my couples, who often end up feeling more like friends, so to be recommended by them (or someone at their wedding!), is the icing on the cake. Make a list and give them a look.
2. VENUE PREFERRED SUPPLIERS – This can also be a great place to start, I am a preferred supplier myself. However, don’t fall into the trap of thinking the photographer needs to have photographed your venue before, as this really isn’t the case. Venue lists are often set for YEARS – yes this means those on it will be familiar with your venue, but it could also mean you could look past a photographer that would be even more perfect for you. They may have shot there before too but just not made the list (as they are rarely updated) or maybe they haven’t at all, and that’s fine too. I always visit the venue before a big day, usually with my couples, to pre-plan the best spots for photos and being unfamiliar with a space, often means you can come up with new and excited ways to capture the day.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA - If you want to search on Google, be specific. Searching “wedding photographers near me” is going to come up with thousands of results. Instead, why not take five minutes to write out a few key words that relate to your dream photography, and incorporate these into your search, for example “relaxed, creative and romantic wedding photography in Brighton”. Google will look for those key words on the photographer’s site and show you the very best matches first. You can also use your list to search hashtags on Instagram and find photographers work you like there too. And even if the image you like is by a photographer on the other side of the world, why not pin it to Pinterest? After a while you’ll have a board that shows you the kind of photography you are being drawn to, which will help you narrow down your search. Also searching your venues hashtag can be really useful – for styling ideas as well finding photographers. Seen a Facebook advert you like the look of but your wary of the integrity of paid ADs? Don’t dismiss them, many fantastic and genuine photographers will use ads, myself included, so instead, click through to their Facebook page, read their reviews, follow the link to the website and see what you think: if you like what you see add them to your list.
4. STYLE – Once you have some recommendations, you found someone on Facebook or the venues put someone’s name forward, the next step is figuring who is right for YOU. I firmly believe this is a two-part question and for which both the answers need to be YES. The first is DO YOU LIKE THEIR STYLE? If you’ve started a Pinterest board, you’ll already have an idea of the “style” of wedding photography you like. Photography is a form of ART: one person can love a painting and the next person just doesn’t get. You might even appreciate that its “good”, but it doesn’t speak to you. In the same way, you may have an amazing recommendation but when you look at their work it just isn’t for you and that’s okay. Your photos are the memories of your wedding day that you want to cherish for years to come, so you have to like how they are captured. My style for example, is light, bright and relaxed photography which creates romantic, fun and natural images. Look at the photographer’s website, view their portfolio pages and their blogs of real weddings and scroll through their Instagram feeds and only move forward with the ones you love.
5. PERSONALITY – the second part of the puzzle is, DO YOU LIKE THEM AS A PERSON? And you can get a sense of this before you even speak. Check out the written parts of their website and their social media posts and ask yourself, outside of liking their photography style, do you like the tone of their writing and captions? Do they speak to you as a person as well as a photographer? Do they strike you as passionate about what they do, laidback, fun, stuffy, formal, someone you’d want to be friends with – think about the qualities you want in your photographer and see who you gravitate towards. If all this is a THUMBS UP, then the next step is a consultation. I offer commitment free consultations to all couples, usually over a drink in a coffee shop or pub, although at the moment it is all about a videocall (to anyone reading in the future, we are in lockdown).
This is the time to see if you really GEL – and yes this is starting to sound a little like dating, something you have recently agreed never to do again but bear with me! I spend this time getting to know my couples, finding out how they met, when they got engaged, what they do for a living and really getting a sense of who they are and what’s most important to them, and you should be doing the same. Ask them to describe how they would capture your day and make sure you are happy with their approach. I spend ninety percent of my time capturing natural, candid moments and details, and then just a sprinkle of gentle posing whilst capture group pictures and couples’ portraits. Does this sound right for you and your day? Is the conversation flowing easily and do you have things in common? It may sound silly, but you do not want someone who feels like a stranger at the most intimate and special parts of your wedding day. A consultation is definitely an opportunity for me to sell my services, but it is also the beginning of our relationship. You have to like the PERSON behind the camera, not just their style and work.
Congratulations if you made it to the end of my tips and thank you for sticking with me! Here’s a little summary:
· RECOMMENDATIONS – these are invaluable, so collect them and put them at the top of your short list.
· VENUE PREFERRED SUPPLIERS - Look at these for sure but also beyond, don’t let someone fantastic pass you by!
· USE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFECTIVELY – make a list of key words that describe the kind of photography you're dreaming of and use this to make specific searches, look at hashtags and create a Pinterest board of your preferred style!
· LIKE THEIR WORK – beyond the good recommendation and reviews, make sure you like their style as these are YOUR memories to cherish!
· LIKE THEM – liking their style and liking them need to go hand-in-hand. Why have a stranger at your wedding when you could have a FRIEND?
I really do love what I do, and I hope that comes across to every single couple I meet. I might not be your perfect photographer and that’s okay. But I definitely could be. So, take a look around and come say “Hi” if you like what you read and see. Telling stories is my job and if you think we might be a match, I’d love to tell yours, Annie x
Annie Smith Photography UK - Creating Beautiful, Relaxed, Storytelling Wedding Photography for Modern, Fun, Romantic Couples, based in Sussex, covering Brighton, Kent, England, UK and Beyond.