How to choose the right wedding photographer for your perfect wedding day?
Choosing a photographer is not only about choosing someone who will take your wedding day photographs.
Your Picture-Perfect Wedding Day
It’s a long read, but it will save you a lot of stress and disappointment.
This comprehensive list of tips and advice will guarantee that you will choose the right wedding photographer for you and that your wedding day photographs will bring you great joy and excitement for years to come.
How much would you pay for amazing memories?
Welcome to my website! Thank you for clicking through. I might be the first website that you have visited. I could be the 100th! From talking to all my brides and grooms over the years, I know that it can feel very confusing and overwhelming to find the perfect wedding photographer for your wedding day.
There are so many wedding photographers to choose from. They each have a different vision of how to capture your wedding day. They have different styles, editing approaches, quality of delivery and of course different people with different personalities!
How on earth do you pick the most perfect, talented, creative and amazing wedding photographer that understands your needs and can deliver what you want?!
Wow! The pressure!!!
Well, I am here to help you how to choose the right wedding photographer for your perfect wedding day
I have sat down with my family, my friends and most importantly my past brides and grooms to compile the GO TO BRIDE GUIDE to help you to make the right decision.
First Things First!
You’ve just gotten engaged! Congratulations!!! Now that the diamond is glittering happily on your wedding finger and you’ve enjoyed all the celebrations with your friends and family… It’s time to start the wedding planning!
Here, I want to share with you my tips and tricks for brides and grooms who feel that their wedding photographs are one of the most important parts of their wedding day.
For me, as a passionate wedding photographer in Ireland, choosing your wedding photographer is almost as important as choosing the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. I said almost! :)
First off, I’ve Been in Your Shoes!
I got married on June 1st 2019, meaning that I’ve been on both sides of the camera – I’ve been the Groom and the wedding photographer, with hundreds of successful wedding shoots in my portfolio!
A Moment in Time
Your wedding day photographs will last a lifetime. They are the wedding photographs that you will show your children and your grandchildren. They will stand the test of time. I believe that they have to capture the magic and special moments of your wedding day. I want all my brides and grooms to have their wedding day moments to treasure forever.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
I have had so many couples coming to me after their wedding day, very disappointed with the wedding photographer that they choose. They then come to me and want me to try to re-shoot the wedding ceremony or to set up a shoot for the bride to wear her wedding dress again, to capture the romance of the day.
I feel so sorry for them as it’s so difficult to recreate the excitement and WOW moments of your wedding day.
I am very passionate about giving my wedding day couples the best advice, to help them to choose the right wedding photographer for them.
Please note that my tips are based on my experience as a wedding photographer and are my own opinion. These tips are how I picked our wedding day photographer and how I recommend helping you to choose the right wedding photographer for your wedding day. It’s my private opinion.
The Proof is in the Portfolio
It’s easy to fill a website with a few good photos that a wedding photographer was lucky to take in the last few years. Look at your own phone or camera. For every 100 photographs you take, you might be happy with ONE for Instagram.
You need to look for someone whose work is constant. Someone who is talented enough to create a number of WOW moments throughout the entire wedding day. Not someone who has put together 30 beautiful wedding photographs from thousands of weddings.
Look for examples of the wedding photographers work across the entire day of a bride and grooms wedding day. By doing this, you will see the quality of the reportage wedding photography that the wedding photographer is capable of capturing.
Are there any types of wedding photographs that you really want to have? For example, have you always dreamed of having your wedding dress swooping down a beautiful staircase? Then, make sure that you look for samples in the portfolio, of wedding photographs taken of the bride standing on a staircase. How well did the wedding photographer capture this moment? Would you be happy with that image if it was you?
Remember, wedding photographers show images in their portfolio what they like shooting. It’s great if the wedding images you really want line up with what you are seeing in the wedding photographer’s portfolio. You can be confident that you and the wedding photographer are on the same page. That’s very important!
Please click here to see my WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER PORTFOLIO
Are you thinking – Wow! That could be us!
Don’t Be Afraid to ASK
Please don’t be shy about asking a wedding photographer to send you on the FULL WEDDING SET from a wedding day shoot. If a wedding photographer refuses this request it’s a very worrying sign.
You can see the full wedding slideshow here:
Photographers that are proud of their work are very happy to showcase that work on their blog or in their gallery on their website. If their work is not on display, for me, that’s a RED ALERT!
The costs involved in booking your wedding photographer for your wedding day can feel very expensive. I know! I have just paid the deposit for our wedding day photographer and yes… It’s a big spend out of your wedding day budget. But, when you look at the cost in relation to the overall costs of the wedding it makes sense.
If you are spending thousands of euros on your wedding day, I don’t think it’s a good idea to try to save €200 euros by booking a cheaper wedding photographer. Making a saving now, but being disappointed with the wedding photographs later is a very costly saving to make.
Is Two Wedding Photographers Better Than One?
I get asked this question a lot. Yes, it’s a big spend so if you are getting two wedding photographers for the price of one, it’s easy to think that you are getting great value for money! I don’t believe this to be the case.
When I was looking for the wedding photographer for our wedding day I wanted someone that works on their own. There are a few wedding photographers that work in a team of two, whose work I really like, but I didn’t book them. I don’t like the idea of having two wedding photographers at my own wedding day.
I have outlined all my reasons why in detail here:
This is one of the most important parts of choosing the right wedding photographer for you. What style of wedding photographs do you want to see after your wedding day?
- Traditional wedding photography – Do you like posed and staged shots. If so, you need to book someone who specialises in that style.
- Reportage wedding photography – This style is more about capturing moments when the people in the wedding photograph weren’t even aware that they were being photographed. This style documents the day as it happens. Nothing is really staged or posed. It’s a relaxed style and doesn’t require hours of “Say cheese!” This style is often teamed with the traditional style, just for the family photographs.
Here are some top tips when it comes to lining up your families for the photographs:
- Quirky wedding photography – There are a few different variations of those styles outlined above, if the bride and groom want to have a bit more fun on their wedding day. I have often created quirky shoots with brides and grooms that want some of their images to be more playful.
- DKPHOTO – Reportage Photography
I describe myself as a reportage wedding photographer. I have a very relaxed style. Have a look at my website for samples of my work where you will see candid wedding photographs were taken at lovely moments throughout my couples wedding day: www.dkphoto.ie
You will notice lots of full-day shoots in the gallery and my WEDDING BLOG
At the end of the day , ou must choose the style that’s right for you. Remember, you can just talk to your wedding photographer to tailor the day to what you want. I always take some traditional family photographs that are set up, as well my reportage style. I have no problem doing that.
It’s very important to see if you like the wedding photographers editing style.
I have seen wedding photography that has become very dark and almost muddy in style. Perhaps they are going for a moody look?
Pinterest is great to see all the latest trends and I see a lot of wedding photos in other wedding photographers’ portfolios. Some wedding photographers have a brown, blue or green look to their wedding photographs. Some other samples I have seen have real colours with very little editing.
I have even seen wedding photographs where the wedding photographer has used black and white photos but has gone for a blue and green tint. An interesting approach!
There are cases where the wedding photographs are shot very bright photos some others take a dark approach.
Choose the style that you like the most and the style that you would like to have printed on your wall in your sitting room.
I always recommend that brides and grooms go for classical and timeless editing styles so that the wedding photographs stand the test of time. That’s my personal recommendation.
Reviews and Testimonials
It’s incredibly important to make sure that the wedding photographer that you are thinking of booking has a section on his or her website dedicated to testimonials. This is where you can hear from other real brides and grooms who have worked with that wedding photographer. But be warned, it’s very easy to post glowing reviews on your own website!
Look for reviews on websites where you can see real verified reviews like Google reviews or Weddings Online reviews from real brides. Reviews are the best way to get a sense from another bride about what the wedding photographer was like to work with on their day.
You can see my testimonials here:
Do Your Own Research
Please don’t take shortcuts and place your trust fully in recommendations on Facebook Pages and Groups like HIGM Ireland or friends.
I know it’s a little controversial to say that, but everyone’s taste and personality is very different. What one couple thinks is amazing may not be right for you.
You need to do your own research to find the right wedding photographer for you.
Asking for recommendations may seem like a great idea as you want to narrow down the search. However, getting 100 recommendations will make your research even more difficult and you will start to feel overwhelmed. I really don’t want that for you.
I highly recommend that you use Google Searches and highly reputable websites like OneFabDay and Weddings Online to find reputable wedding photographers. Then you can start to review their work as I have outlined above.
Please be warned. If a wedding photographer doesn’t exist in the first 5-10 pages on a Google Search when you have used popular search phrases like – “Wedding photographer Ireland” or something similar, this should trigger alarm bells.
I would not recommend a wedding photographer that is not well ranked on Google.
Looking at how your wedding photographs will be delivered after your wedding day is another area that deserves consideration. How impressed are you with the quality of the wedding photographer’s gallery? How usable is the gallery?
I take great pride in the gallery’s that I supply my wedding day couples. I offer the option of downloading, sharing and printing the wedding photographs. My couples can also access the gallery on their mobile phone. It’s very important to me that my wedding day couples are able to share their album with family and friends and that the gallery of images looks clean, professional and very impressive.
You can review my sample gallery here:
Do you also need to check if you will receive a USB drive? Cloud link?
Printed Wedding Albums
You must ask your potential wedding photographer about the wedding album quality he or she is offering. How impressive is the wedding album? Will you be happy with it for years to come?
I have been in the wedding photography business for years. In that time, I have tested so many different wedding album companies with different prices. It took me a number of years to get the balance right between getting the quality that I want and having the prices affordable for my couples.
After so much research and testing, we are now incredibly happy with the wedding albums that we offer. We are so confident with our supplier that we can offer 2 years warranty on every wedding album that we create.
Our prices are very competitive and offer our wedding day couples great value for money. We have supplier prices for our albums. This is why our wedding albums are never part of our standard package. Our couples are welcome to add the wedding album to their standard package.
Click here for more information on the wedding albums we offer:
I never, ever, force or pressure people to buy wedding albums from us. I know that there are so many costs involved in a couple’s wedding that they often need to time to save for the wedding album. We completely understand that.
You can order your wedding album in different places or you can put the wedding album on hold until you are ready to come back to us.
Many couples print wedding photos themselves. I am very proud of the fact that all of my couples receive all of their wedding day photos in their full size from me. Not all wedding photographers offer their couples all of their wedding day photographs in full size. But. I know how important it is to give wedding couples all of their images in full size, as every image is so important.
Again, I remind people of costly savings. If you choose a cheap photo album it will not stand the test of time. Would you like to show your daughter your wedding photos and wedding album?
That is why wedding albums have become the most popular in recent years. Choose the wedding album that is right for you. I am here for all my couples to discuss their options and to give them advice.
Be very careful with the digital copies of your wedding album. I have very often had couples coming back to me, very upset that they have lost their UBS drive or that a laptop was wiped which held all their wedding photographs.
Please protect and back up your digital copies – pages like DROPBOX can help Click here for more information:
Price Points – How much is too much?
These days you can have a huge range of wedding photographers who are charging anything from €200 – €4000. How can you tell if you are booking a cowboy or getting robbed with astronomical prices?
There are a few words of advice from one of my past Brides:
“Weigh up the costs and the quality of the work. If one wedding photographer is more expensive, but his or her work has the WOW factor, then I would advise that you revisit the budget. Do you really need the sweets trolley?! For me, having amazing wedding photographs after our wedding day was far more important than having favours on the tables or confetti and all those little extras add up.”
You can review that full article here:
I don’t think it’s a good idea to book a cheaper wedding photographer when you consider how much money you spend organizing your perfect wedding day as a whole. It’s a once in a lifetime decision and day.
Of course, you will have set a budget that you will want to stick to. But, if a wedding photographer’s work has the WOW factor that you have been searching for, I highly recommend that you revisit your budget. I know from experience, that it is money well spent to have the perfect wedding photographer. Costs can be cut in other areas of your day!
Don’t spend money on the additional flowers in the church. Does anyone ever really notice that you’ve put flowers on every window? Or perhaps you can save on the decorations you choose for the table settings.
Too often I have met with couples who are disappointed with their wedding photographs as they chose the wrong wedding photographer. They expected the wedding photographs to be fantastic but the reality was far from perfect. They have regretted not paying a little more for a wedding photographer that is more reputable, had stronger reviews and testimonials and whose work they were excited about.
I’ve gotten so many emails in the last few years from people saying that they have received their wedding day photographs and are very upset. They come to me when it is too late! Of course, I want to help and I offer them a price to re-shoot some of their wedding day pictures. But I always think, it would have cost a lot less to have chosen the right wedding photographer in the beginning.
Dressing for the Occasion
I know you might think I am a little crazy here … but, have you ever asked a wedding photographer about how they will look on your wedding day?
All of your guests have pulled out all the stops to look fantastic for your Black-Tie wedding day and your wedding photographer is sticking out, like a sore thumb, in jeans and a t-shirt.
I once saw a videographer wearing a bright pink t-shirt at a Black-Tie wedding! He was very distracting and it looked very unprofessional!
I think it is so important to look smart and professional on your wedding day. I blend into the backdrop when I need to. When I am directing you, your family and friends, for the group shots and we need to move through the setups quickly. I feel that by dressing smartly I can command a little authority and get the job done quickly, so that you can enjoy your day.
You can see how I look at weddings on my wedding selfies with my clients. Check out my bow tie collection! I love them :)
“I have a friend who could take the pictures!”
I don’t have to look very far to find an example for you, where this approach to a professional service, went terribly wrong.
She was absolutely devastated!
My wife’s sister never received her wedding day video. A friend of the family offered to video her wedding day as a wedding gift. As the costs were mounting up on her wedding day she thought –
“Great! That’s one less expense!” After the big day, he had no experience in dealing with that volume of footage. He didn’t know how to save and store the files properly. Ultimately, he lost all the files and her wedding day footage was lost forever.
As a professional wedding photographer, I go through a lot of processes on and after your wedding day to protect and process your images.
On your wedding day, my cameras make two copies IN CAMERA of each photograph. Therefore, if there is ever an error with a memory card, which can happen, I ALWAYS have a copy.
After the wedding, I go back to my office. First, I do a copy of your wedding day photographs on two of our online clouds. That means that I have 2 copies of your wedding day on the camera and 2 copies stored in the cloud. That makes 110% sure that your wedding day images are protected and kept safe.
I pay for each copy through our online cloud service provider as it is a service that I have to have in place to do my job professionally. An amateur wedding photographer would not have a set up of this scale in place.
Can you imagine getting a call from your friend while you’re away on your honeymoon to say that there has been a problem? Your wedding photographs have been lost forever. It gives me chills to even think about it! Nobody wants that!
Trusting in a Wedding Photographers Experience
I feel very passionately about this area in my tips and advice so please allow me to make one more point here!
Would you like to have your open-heart surgery done by a medical student who is still learning the ropes?
It’s same with wedding photographers. Ok! Maybe no one will DIE if you choose an inexperienced wedding photographer… but your images may need CPR very quickly!
Remember, you can judge a wedding photographer’s reputation by the number of reviews and testimonials they have, the wedding photographs in their portfolio or posts on Facebook. Are there tell-tale signs that this wedding photographer just started a business and is still honing their craft?
Do you want to be a Guinea Pig?
Ok! We all learn new things every day, but do you think your wedding day is the best time and place for a wedding photographer to learn how to shoot the wedding? Any mistakes that he or she makes will cost you a precious wedding day moment. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that. My wedding day is too important to me!
But, perhaps you are much more relaxed about the wedding photography on your wedding day. You might want to pay less and don’t expect the most professional service that you can possibly have. That’s completely fine. Everyone has a different opinion.
Does a wedding photographer really need to have insurance?
The short answer here is YES!
Many hotels insist that your wedding photographer is insured. It is also impossible to gain access to some of Ireland’s best wedding day locations if you do not have the correct insurance in place.
Taking wedding photographs in Fota Ireland, Altamont Gardens, Phoenix Park, and St Steven Green Park are just a handful of examples. You need permission to photograph and the necessary insurance to gain access.
Ask your other suppliers for an opinion
You can ask suppliers what they think about the wedding photographers that you have shortlisted. Sometimes, that can be a help. Here is a blog post from make-up artist Danielle Mahon about wedding photographers:
I always recommend to ask your wedding photographer for his or her recommendation for the videographer. This is a very important point for me as I know how vital it is to have a wedding photographer and videographer that work well together. I have a blog post put together here:
If, after all, your research and reading you still have doubts, we can meet personally or Skype. It’s a great idea to see, hear and/or meet me before you make your decision. It can be really helpful to get to know each other so that you can put your trust in me. I have found that a Skype call is very helpful. I can answer all your questions and we can discuss what your vision is for your wedding day.
Avoiding Disappointment with your Wedding Photographs:
I always remind my wedding couples that I am not a mind reader. I want to bring your wedding day photography to life and stay true to you and your day. If you have any questions just ask your wedding photographer. Don’t be afraid to be honest about what you want. Photographers are not mind readers
To make sure that we are both singing from the same hymn sheet, I always send a wedding questionnaire a few weeks before the wedding to each of my couples. That has all the questions I need to get familiar with your needs. I also include tips to make life easy for you.
If You have any questions here are a few answers on my wedding planning blog:
I hope you have enjoyed my tops and that my experience and passion for wedding photography will help you to plan your wedding day. Best of luck at this exciting time! I look forward to hearing from you to discuss your wedding if you are excited by my work, impressed by my many recommendations and feel that you can trust in my experience and creativity.