Choosing a wedding photographer

Styles of wedding photography

There are two different styles of photography for weddings - formal and reportage.

The formal style involves traditional poses of the couple and family and friends. Ideally, for this, you want good lighting and backgrounds either at your venue or outside. It is a good idea to provide the photographer with a list of the combinations of poses you want. The bulk of these are normally taken after you have signed the civil partnership schedule.

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There could be several shots of the two of you kissing, showing off rings, posing over the registry schedule. And then you might want to include your guests in certain combinations, for example, you with each side of your family, work colleagues, best friends etc.

Make sure you have someone who knows most of your friends and family to co-ordinate this. This way, your guests can be enjoying a much-needed drink after the ceremony and the co-ordinator can come and get them when they are needed for their pose.

The second option is known as reportage, which is more informal and captures people in different poses as they move about enjoying the day. The photographer blends into the day and takes shots from unusual angles, sometimes when people are least expecting it.

rings

This can also be more like a documentary of the day, taking photos of you getting ready, going to the ceremony, the catering being prepared etc. You can still ask for some formal shots to be included so that you get the best of both worlds.

You should expect to pay anything from £300 to over £1,000 for a photographer. We chose Paul Demuth of Demuth Photography. He advises you to look at wedding magazines, go to wedding fayres and search the Internet for a style of photographer that suits your needs.

Paul came to meet us in our home before the big day. He says: 'You might love the photos but if you don't feel comfortable with the photographer then it will probably show in your wedding photos.'

Make sure you see portfolios and wedding books and that any concerns are satisfied before making a definite booking. Paul showed us a range of his work, from landscapes to civil partnerships. He has an unusual eye for detail, taking shots of women's shoes at a wedding or reflections of people in mirrors in pensive moods before the celebrations start. His style is reportage and he managed to capture great photos on the day when people weren't expecting it.

As well as a photographer, you may want to choose a video company such as Cherish Wedding Films, so that you can have a film of your special day.

Special effects

two men

There are quite a few decisions to take about the type of photographs you can have - these include special effects, for some or all of your photographs:
Black and white
Sepia
Hand tinting - adding a hint of colour to black and white photos
Digital imaging - where the photographer can make changes to the background, or heaven forbid, touch up the odd crow's feet, using a software package.

What is included in your wedding photography package

Photographers will usually load your photographs onto their website with a password so you and your guests can choose which ones they want to order. You also need to decide if you want prints, an album, or the images on CD. Check if these will be at full resolution and if the photographer allows you to make your own prints from them.

The cheapest option is to have a CD of high resolution photos that you can print yourself but make sure you don't skimp too much on the quality of the prints. Some photographers don't allow this as it can reflect badly on their work.

From a typical wedding, you can expect between 300 and 500 photos. Some photographers will print the best photos in beautifully bound album, which can be a wonderful souvenir.

Top tips

1. Put your requirements in writing
2. Send the photographer the invitation so they can get a feel for the day
3. Look at the entire range of pictures taken at a wedding, not just a selected few.

Key questions to ask a wedding photographer

Do you have the necessary insurance?
What is included in the price - an album, certain number of shots and prints, web gallery?
How long will you spend photographing our wedding?
How much do reprints or multiple copies cost?
Are there any hidden extras such as food, VAT or travel costs?

Scenes you might want to capture

cakes

Your preparation on the morning of the big day
The caterers and decorators setting up the venue - before, during and after
Your arrival at the venue or registry office
Guests arriving
Walking into the venue
The ceremony
You with the registrar, your witnesses and guests who give readings
Signing the civil partnership schedule
Poses with key members of family or friends
Leaving the registry office or venue - possibly covered in confetti
Getting into transport, especially if you've spent the money on a pink Cadillac, horse drawn carriage or Black cab
Arriving at the reception
Greeting guests
Guests enjoying the reception or dinner
You, about to lick the chocolate fountain
Speeches
Cutting the cake
The first dance
Fireworks
Leaving the reception
The venue at the end of the day

To find gay-friendly wedding photographers visit our photography page