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The Defintive Guide to Your Wedding Photography

Wedding pictures are one of the most important aspects of your special day as this is the record you will keep forever. Therefore choosing the right photographer for you is imperative.


Wedding Photography Editor, Shane Finn

Although wedding photography has changed rapidly over the past few years, with the arrival of digital photography, the basics still remain the same. Good clear relaxed images of the day captured in an imaginative way is the main aim. You also have a lot more choice over how to keep these memories with DVD, CDs, video, albums, photobooks and online albums etc. now being the norm.Bride_in_the_bath.jpg

Firstly try and book as far ahead as possible. Many photographers become booked up quickly during the popular summer months. So unless you are planning an out of season wedding, this, along with the church and reception venue, will be the first job on your planning list.

Probably the best way of choosing is by personal recommendation. Take a look at friend’s or relative’s photographs and see whether they provide the style of shots you are looking for. A good recommendation should also include the fact that the photographers were pleasant and not bossy, they were hardly seen but got all the pictures that were asked of them on the day.

If you have nothing to go on then use the yellow pages or online directories, or visit a wedding show. Also pick at least two photographers to come and see you to discuss your day.  

First meeting

When you take the plunge and decide who to see try to have a list of everything you want to ask them. This meeting should be used for everyone to get to know each other and start to build a rapport. This is very important as the best photos are normally taken when the couple feel relaxed and happy in front of the camera. Ask to look at previous work and example photobooks or albums to check the quality. Expect to be asked the normal questions: Where is the ceremony, the location of the reception, number of guests? Also will a videographer(s) be in attendance? This can be important as they need to try as much as possible to keep out of each others way.


The photographer must be on time (unless there is a genuine reason for being late) because for obvious reasons you don’t need a late photographer on the day.


Is the photographer dressed appropriately?  This may seem a silly point but a lot can be deduced about a person from how they turn out for a first meeting with a client.


Hopefully you will already have an idea of the packages the photographer offers by having a look at his or her website. Normally these prices are a guide and your photographer should be able to customise a package to suit your exact requirements. Remember, it doesn’t matter what package or amount you pay - expect the same level of professionalism. Also be sure of what’s included in the price and what will be extras e.g. reprints, extra albums.

Picture selection

Give the photographer a clear indication of how you want your wedding to be shot, whether you want traditional, reportage (candid), black and white, black and white with colour or a mixture. It is popular to choose a mixture of the standard wedding groups, reportage and black and white as couples tend to want a more “ natural“ , happy feel to their wedding pictures rather than the “staged“ type of pictures from bygone years. Black and white pictures with colours picked out are another popular choice, although these should be kept to a minimum. It would be good for the photographer to have examples of all these styles if possible.

Other points

Other issues which need to be discussed are whether the venue allows flash photography during the ceremony. Some churches are very strict on this but the photographer should have fast professional lens suitable for low light work without using flash.  

Another matter to be discussed is what happens if the weather turns. No one wants to consider the weather being bad - but this is the UK - so it’s good to have a backup plan if the occasion arises. Any good photographer should be able to supply large white umbrellas, which can be quite effective if used correctly.

Go into detail of what they offer album-wise and how they go about putting the album together and who chooses the pictures, as they might not necessarily match your choice. Just remember it is your choice at the end of the day which counts! Also ask if you actually own the rights to the pictures.  This is very important.

Ask the photographer if they are insured and for terms and conditions.  How many photographers they will use and who will be in attendance? Will they charge if the service overruns?

After choosing your photographer

After telling the photographer that you want to book them a deposit is normally required to secure the booking.

A second meeting a month before the wedding at the venues should be organised to look round and discuss details. Some photographers might have worked at the venue before but if they haven’t I would expect them to have a reconnaissance trip to check it out first before the second meeting with you.

This second meeting is very important as you hopefully will have a full itinerary of the day and therefore where the photographer(s) needs to be, when and what requirements you have. If you have any requests for specific pictures, for example certain groups of relatives to be photographed together, now is the time to tell the photographer.

Some photographers use this meeting as an opportunity for the couple to have a few pre-wedding shots. You will get some lovely informal shots together and this is a chance for the photographer to explore how happy you both are in front of the camera. Again, it helps to builds trust and rapport between everyone. Check whether this is included in your package.

If you follow these basic guidelines you should end up with memories to cherish and just remember, whoever you choose, the photographer is there to capture your day as you want it.

There are many important shots to be taken during your special day, but if I was to list the must-have photos, they would be:


  1. Bride getting ready with bridesmaids
  2. Still life detail shots, shoes, jewellery, rings etc
  3. Groom and Best Man together before ceremony
  4. Bride arriving at the church
  5. Bride walking up the aisle towards groom
  6. Exchanging vows close-up
  7. Exchanging rings
  8. First kiss
  9. Signing of the Register
  10. Bride and Groom walking down the aisle together
  11. Bride and Groom outside the church
  12. Confetti throwing
  13. Bride and Groom in back seat of the wedding car
  14. Speeches and toasting
  15. The cutting of the cake
  16. Throwing of bouquet
  17. First dance
  18. Bride and Groom exit




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