Ask The Expert: Choosing Your Photographer

International photojournalist Ian MacMichael is giving our brides direct access to expert opinions on all questions about wedding photography! From special tips, finding the perfect angle and capturing the romantic atmosphere of your wedding day. The latest in our series of ‘Ask the Expert’

Danni asks: We've looked at so many photographers and haven't got a clue on which one to choose. It's all so confusing and I'd really like some advice on what we should be looking for?

Hi Danni! Thanks for this great question. Maybe the best place to start is the Premiere Portfolio right here on The Wedding Vine!

When you start looking for a wedding photographer, as you point out, there is plenty of choice! You need to have some way of narrowing this choice down to maybe 3 or 4 with whom I suggest you meet up to see if you get on and feel comfortable and relaxed with them.

But, how do you get to 3 or 4? Well, one way is to use some professional bodies to be a filter. To do this, it's a good start if you know what style of photography you are attracted to for your wedding. My observation is that there are broadly 2 main styles of wedding photographers.

Please bear in mind that I am talking about professional photographers here, not friends or uncles who have cameras and are just having a go for free. I'm using these terms, not because they are the right ones, but because I think they help me say what I think! I should also say that I don't think any are right or wrong either.

1.    Controllers. These are photographers that will control, pose and dictate the elements of your day. They will normally provide you with lots of photographs of details like shoes, flowers, rings, tables, etc. They will also do lots of posed group shots and many combinations of groups. They will concentrate on images that they are in control of as much as possible and will pose moments where ever possible.

2.    Observers. These will pose or control very little on your day. They will concentrate their coverage on people and interactions rather than on details. While they may do some posed group shots, these will be few and will be done fairly quickly. For these photographers, the focus is on documenting the event as it happens, rather than controlling it.

So I think you should try to decide which style of photography appeals to you then look for those photographers that offer the style you like. Like I said, look through the Premiere Portfolio here and also use some professional organisations that recommend photographers because they meet some industry standards like the WPJA for photojournalistic wedding photographers.

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