Choosing the right wedding photographer to capture your day is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.  Your day will go will so quickly, and your wedding photographs are the only tangible memories of your perfect day.  I’ve put together a few top tips to help you decide!

1 - How many years have they been photographing weddings?

A photographer who has a few years experience will have more knowledge when dealing with different venues, speaking to other vendors, knowing where to stand during the service, keeping to the timings, and generally fitting well into your wedding day.

Its also worth asking how many weddings they photograph through the year. An established photographer would be working most weekends during the summer months.

2 - Testimonials and recommendations

While searching for your wedding photographer its worth reading referrals and testimonials from previous happy couples and guests. The review should give you an insight into the service provided by the photographer.

Follow their Instagram and Facebook pages, you are likely to see feedback from real couples and friends commenting on or sharing recent weddings.

3 - Insurance

All professional wedding photographers should have public liability insurance and indemnity insurance. Some venues may require a minimum amount, such as stately homes, art galleries and listed buildings. Your photographer should be able to supply a copy of their insurance without hesitation.

4 - Photography style

Most wedding photographers will capture plenty of reportage style "moments" throughout the day.

If you would like a few "couple" photos after the ceremony, then make sure your photographer is comfortable with posing and portraiture, as this is a skill which is learnt over time. Have a quick look in my gallery for examples of some couple portraits. A "knockout" couple shot to share online is a must!

If you like dramatic lighting and high-end portraiture then its worth researching a photographer who offers this. Bear in mind that this style of photography will have an effect on your timings, so allow slightly longer to create these portraits.

5 - Photo processing style

This is important and often overlooked, so its worth having a look at different styles of processing. The images on my website are colourful, vibrant and authentic, I don't alter the natural look and feel of the captured photo. Some other popular styles you may come across are vintage and film settings - they have a desaturated feel, especially in the green tones of the grass and trees. Some are dark and moody, with a dramatic and stormy feel.

If you are unsure, first look at the skintone as this is a good starting point. Does the skin have some colour, and does it look authentic and flattering? For darker skin, can you still see the range of tones from lighter to darker, and does the processing look natural?

Choose a style of processing which you feel is timeless, and will still be relevent in 10, 20 or 30 years time when sharing your memories with others.

6 - Ask to see a full wedding

A website and Instagram feed will show the best moments and will draw you towards a photographer's style. Its important to have a look at how a wedding is captured throughout the day - the details, the venue, the different lighting and how the photographer copes with a dark room or disco lights.

A lot of photographers can now build an impressive portfolio at "styled shoots" and shooting days, where the photographs are created in a controlled setting with lots of guidance. These types of sessions are not a true reflection of the skills of the wedding photographer.

7 - Group photos

I feel group photos on your wedding day are important, to capture the people who were there to celebrate with you. Choose a photographer who is happy to capture your groups, and who has the skill to interact with your guests in a friendly manner to arrange your groups in a timely way. Nobody wants to stand around for hours!

8 - Do they live locally?

If your photographer is local to the venue then they have most likely worked there before and will be familiar with how the venue operates and the best spots for photos.

A local photographer will also have connections with the other local vendors to help out with your planning, and can give advice on which vendors would suit your wedding style.

If your photographer is travelling a distance, then consider paying for their accommodation the night before the wedding so that there are no delays with transport on the day.

9 - Budget

Blow the budget! Beautiful wedding photographs are so important, they are a timeless memory of your day. Don't rely on phone photos or friends with cameras, hire a professional wedding photographer with experience who you can trust - you won't regret it!

10 - Meet before deciding - personality!

You will spend more time with your photographer than any other vendor, so its important to choose someone with a personality which who will fit in well with the vibe of your day.

If you are too busy for an in-person meeting then don't worry, how about going along to a wedding fair where your photographer is exhibiting, or else having a Skype or Facetime call? Have a short list of questions you would like answered, then just have a chat about your day. You'll soon know if they are the right photographer for you!

Carol Elizabeth Photography provides timeless and natural wedding photography across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and the South East.  If you would like to have a chat about your wedding photography then please get in touch!