Oh, and sorry for the misleading headline. This is by no means an ultimate guide, it’s what I’ve learned photographing hundreds of weddings over more than 10 years.
WHEN CHOOSING YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
Find Your Comm Vibe
Whether it's through emails, calls, or WhatsApp – determine which mode of communication you and your photographer both vibe with. In the same way that you have preferences, remember that your wedding photographer might have their own system, optimised for workflow and not missing any of your important details.
Discover Your Style
Love the raw authenticity of documentary-style wedding photography? Prefer the traditional posed snaps? Both are great. It's about what feels right for you. Every wedding photographer brings their flair to the table. If you cringe at posed photos (I know I do), then a documentary style might be your jam.
Experience Matters, But So Does Budget
Like in any profession, you often get what you pay for. Weigh the photographer's experience against your budget and recognize that seasoned photographers might come at a premium. Think of what’s important to you: photography style, photographer’s personality, delivery time, years of experience, being able to buy albums or prints? What are you willing to let go of? More expensive doesn't always mean better, but often it can mean more experience and reliability.
Understand that photographers have their unique style of working and editing your images. Asking them to emulate another photographer's style might turn out to be a frustrating experience for all involved.
Can you imagine spending the day with your wedding photographer? Can you picture them blending seamlessly into your wedding, capturing moments you didn’t even know happened? This vibe check is essential.
PRE WEDDING VIBES
Be vocal about your priorities. Whether it's a specific shot, fast delivery for social media, or a sheer volume of images, your photographer should know. Treat this as a collaborative effort rather than handing over a checklist. Any photographer worth their salt will be honest with you about what’s doable, what’s impossible and what might cost extra.
The no-go zones
If Aunt Edna can't be photographed or the church is off-limits for photographers, make sure your photographer is in the loop.
Discuss contingency plans for unexpected hitches, like rain, accidents or gear malfunctions. There’s no need to micromanage your photographer (or, ideally, any vendor), but if you’re worried about any of this, confirm that they have redundancies in place.
If you have any, make sure to communicate them. Photographers will do their best to accommodate, but remember there might be additional costs or other considerations.
ON YOUR BIG DAY
Let Life Happen
Some of the best photos aren't planned. While planned shots are great, some of the best memories happen unexpectedly (or, if you prefer everything planned to the minute, make sure the photographer has the wedding day schedule).
Go With Their Flow
Give them the reins. You chose your photographer for their unique touch, right? Let them do their thing while you enjoy your moment. Or, to put it more bluntly, please don’t micromanage your photographer.
Your ease and comfort will reflect in the pictures. Make sure you and your guests feel at ease with the photographer's presence.
AFTER THE PARTY
The waiting game
Photos can’t be rushed, but a timeline never hurts. When can you expect those golden memories? Also, please respect the photographer’s deadlines – if they promised to deliver a month after your wedding, asking them for the photos the next day is unlikely to be productive.
If it matters, print it
Albums, prints, wall art – whatever floats your boat. I always encourage my couples to print their favourite photos. Just make sure to put it on your to-do list and not postpone indefinitely.
Loved a shot? Didn’t care for another? If a particular frame captured your heart or another didn't quite hit the mark, share your insights. A good photographer values your feedback and uses it to constantly hone their craft.
One last thing: Friends don’t let friends shoot their weddings. It’s a big ask, even if they're gifted with a camera. You want them dancing, not clicking.