How do you choose the best wedding photographer for you?
Well, there are some key things to consider. Style for one, and personalty for another. Get these two things right and you are well on your way to getting the right photographer for you.
Let’s consider Style
I was asked recently about my own style, and about the different terms used to describe wedding photography style. I think being absorbed in photography every day I take things like this for granted somewhat, but to newly-engaged couples out there looking at wedding photography websites for the first time in their lives this is actually pretty daunting, and really rather crucial.
We are all of us different, some of us like to be told what to do, some of us don’t! Some of us are pretty laid back, others like to control as much as possible. Some people are comfortable in front of a camera, and some people hate it. Some people enjoy formality, others are more freewheeling. Vive La Difference! It’s what make life so interesting, and given that we are all different, it’s hardly surprising that not all wedding photographers are the same either. But don’t worry, it’s actually pretty simple really, and if in any doubt ring up the photographer you are interested in booking and ask them to tell you how about they like to work.
“Contemporary“, “Traditional”, “Documentary“, “Artistic“, “Photojournalistic“, “Vintage“, “Modern“, “Reportage” are just some of the terms bandied about.
Traditional is a style many will still associate with parents wedding photographs. It’s a style characterized by a very formal approach. The images will usually be highly posed and will require direction and a good deal of intervention from the photographer. Often the photographer will work to a time line of carefully prepared portraits and group shots, which break into a large part of your day. While this may not appeal to many, and is often considered out of date, do note – a skilled, traditional photographer can create beautiful photos, and is also likely to impress your older guests. Use of flash is very likely.
Advances in technology and equipment, along with modern tastes has brought new flexibility and an increased spontaneity. Contemporary wedding photography is a more relaxed style. The photography will be less structured and able to go with the flow, thus it is possible to capture more of the spirit, the fun and the emotions of the day. this style is very popular now as it allows for the fact that weddings are not all alike, and will give you a record of your day. Use of flash is common.
“Documentary”, “Reportage” and “Photojournalistic” all mean pretty much the same thing – it’s an altogether very hands-off style, one in which the photographer works very much in the background, quietly and candidly, without imposing on the day, and strictly speaking without setting anything up, moving anything, or directing the day in any way. As such, there will be very little in the way of posing or organising of individuals and groups. Documentary photographers will like to work wit available light so, expect little or no distracting flash, lots of black & white. It’s popular as it does allow couples a lot of freedom, essentially leaving them to enjoy their day. Reportage allows for a lot of interesting and quirky pictures, which may not be for all though, and it requires putting your trust in not quite knowing what you may get!
Lastly, “Artistic” or “Creative” photography is a style which relies heavily on the artistic vision of the photographer. Likely to produce highly stylised and unique with a real wow! factor, which, depending on the photographer, may involve either a great deal of intervention or none. Expect stunning images, which you’ll be required to create with your photographer. May require additional lighting and kit.
“Vintage” is a bit of a new one. Picking up on the retro vibe that is sweeping the nation, vintage photography looks to reflect and utilise the poses and styles of the past. The photographer will sometimes use vintage cameras, or modern analogue cameras (e.g. Lomo), to help create a bygone look, but will more usually apply the retro feel by the use of post-production techniques. The vintage photographer will often bring along props to help get the right feel. Some posing and intervention may be called for, but it’s still fairly relaxed. Expect some flash. Don’t expect your parents to get it, even if they are vintage!
Which you choose should be up to you. look around, ask questions and go with the style and the personality which best suits your own personalities and which fits with day you are imagining. Getting it right is a big step towards getting the best photographer for you.
As for me, I think I fall somewhere between contemporary and vintage, but with a splash of documentary (I love to use available light).
Coming soon – Personality!