A Complete Guide To Choosing The Right Wedding Photographer

A pro walks us through the dos and don'ts.


Weddings are a nightmare. Well, okay, that's not explicitly true; a wedding has the potential to be one of the most glorious celebrations of love and friendship that you can ever experience, but achieving harmony between all the moving parts that go into wedding planning can be a monumental task.

Undoubtedly, for one of the most important days of your life, you'll need to turn to a professional wedding photographer to capture the moment. That's a given. But which wedding photographer to choose? And how to go about establishing the best relationship with them?

We've drafted in professional wedding photographer and Rangefinder 'Rising Star' Nigel John to help you navigate the photographer-booking minefield and to ensure you put your best foot forward on the day itself.

How can you tell whether someone is a good photographer?

What makes a 'good' wedding photographer is quite subjective, so I’d just say do your research.

Take time to look through a selection of photographers' websites, including their branding, social media, full galleries and if everything is cohesive, then you’re onto a winner.

Also, communicate - email, speak, meet with your photographer wherever possible, it’s just as important to get a good vibe from your photographer as it is to appreciate their portfolio.

How important is it to spend time with a prospective photographer before the event and what should you be looking out for?

I think it’s really important to build a rapport with a couple before the wedding. I like to have an actual conversation, in person if possible, but over the phone or Facetime if it's not.

The couple need to feel comfortable, as they’re inviting the photographer into one of their most intimate events, into their family, and often also in their home. So, it's vital that everyone feels at ease.

Wedding photographers are pretty fluid geographically these days too, so don’t rule out a photographer from a different area to your wedding.

How should you decide which style of photography you want?

There’s a really large variety of different wedding photography styles out there, be it differences in composition, tone or light. Whether a photographer shoots reportage, fine art or with some sense of humour, for example.

Each photographer has their own unique take on a day and working under pressure or shooting in the moment always brings out something stylistically different or distinctive to each wedding.

It’s important to do your research as to what style you, as a couple, are drawn to, as it's never a one-size-fits-all situation. But also, you have to remember to be open minded.

Go with your instinct on what draws you in initially. What is it about that photographer's work that makes you stop and look again? How does it make you feel? Can you imagine yourself in the pictures?

Do different styles suit different types of event?

Personally, I don’t think they do. Trust in your photographer’s vision and aesthetic and they will deliver.

As a wedding photographer, you’re there to document a couple's day, and it’s their day, so upon delivering a wedding you want to be able take the couple back to the moment and the way they felt.

Just be mindful of all the different variables of the day which can affect the photos, anything from changeable weather, different locations and even ceremony times that will all bring about changes in light. 

What are the sorts of extras that it’s ok to ask for from a photographer?

The couple should feel totally confident to ask anything. I’m sure most photographers will do their best to accommodate you, as long as they’re realistic requests.

This story first appeared on ELLE.com/UK.

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