how to CHOOSe A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER...
is INFORMAL documentary wedding PHOTOGRAPHY RIGHT for you?
You're Googling. You're looking for a wedding photographer. You've found a whole bunch and they're all really good and now you're like...
Which style is best for you? Which photographer is best for you? What is documentary style wedding photography and how does it work on the day?
DON'T JUST BOOK THE CHEAPEST PHOTOGRAPHER
- When you're choosing your photographer, don't make a decision based on price. Don't go for someone because they're the cheapest, or the most expensive. Think about the style of wedding you're having and think about what style of photography would match it best. For example I shoot fun, laid back, unposed & informal weddings, because they are best suited to me and my style. As are the couples.
decide whether documentary photography is the style you like best
- Documentary wedding photography comes in many shapes and sizes! Some go for a more reserved & formal approach, others get right up there with you on the dance floor. Look at the way they shoot and the style of their finished images. In simple terms, documentary/reportage/photojournalistic wedding photography is defined as the day being captured as it happens, candidly and mostly without people noticing. It's about creative storytelling and it's about moments. Composition and instincts for what might be about to happen before it happens. It's giving the viewer a sense of what it was like to be there at the time. The photographer isn't constantly telling people where to stand or spending hours arranging people for group shots. The point is to allow you to look back on the photos of your nuptials and see parts of the day that you might have missed, to see the laughs and the tears and to feel like you can re-live it any time you like. It's all about keeping it REAL, y'all. The photographer watches out for laughs, high fives, sweet moments, funny moments, facial expressions, smooches, dance moves and all the things that made your wedding... your wedding.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
- Pick the photographer whose portfolio makes you feel giddy. If you look at a website and your reaction is "I wanna be a part of that!" then let that photographer be the first one you get in touch with. I want couples to look at my website and think "we want her to shoot our wedding!" rather than "hmm, it's ok I guess, but she's the cheapest one we've seen".
One of my 2017 brides told me that she found my website and after 5 minutes of looking through it, sent the link to her fiancé and said "can i book her?!" And guess what, we got on like a house on fire and their wedding perfectly matched my style. It was awesome. So trust your instincts!
I also recently had an enquiry that said... "we've been to weddings where we've had to sit around bored for two hours while posed and preened shots are taken and that's absolutely not what we want!" which tells me they've seen my work and thought "THAT'S what we want."
MAKE SURE YOU MESH WELL TOGETHER
- At the same time, I don't say yes to every couple who enquires! It's just as important to me as it should be to you that we fit together well. My documentary style isn't for everyone! I do take couples away for portraits but they're not the sort where you'd be staring into each other's eyes for 10 minutes straight or posing dramatically in the wind. I absolutely appreciate the artistry of portraits like those and they can be beautiful, but they're just not for me or my couples. I like to get you laughing, chatting and smooching naturally, so that even though I've given you a little bit of direction, most of your portraits together will fit into the documentary style of the rest of your images. And personally, in 50 years time I'd rather look back on photos that are bursting with happiness and laughs, so I shoot what I'd want for myself and if we're matched well, the couples want that too.
Some people are so taken with a style of photography and the personality of a photographer through their website that they book without meeting first, and that's cool, but I'll always meet up with my couples at some point before the big day. I generally meet them in the pub or a coffee shop and I know within 5 minutes that we could easily be good mates. We're on the same page. We get on. We laugh at the same stuff, and we all want the wedding day to be a fun, relaxed, stress free shindig! If you meet your photographer and you don't click, then don't book them. Or don't expect them to take your booking. You want to feel like there's an extra friend at your wedding as that person will be hanging around like a bad smell all day long! I'd hate to think that any of my couples were thinking "bloody hell I wish that chick would nob off" every time they saw me on the day. And usually, if the couple fit well with the photographer and their style, then the guests will too.
So if you're looking for unposed, informal, creative storytelling photography then documentary is for you. And if you love being silly together as much as you love being in love, then I could be the photographer for you.