A bride and groom share a tender moment, their foreheads touching affectionately, as they smile gently at each other during their wedding reception.


Engaged? Congratulations!

You have chosen the date and booked the venue, the next thing on your to do list is to find a wedding photographer. We photographers can get booked up, often up to two years in advance of the day. So where should you start?

Where to look

Wedding fairs/shows, Facebook forums, weddings themselves as well as recommendations from friends are all good places to get started in the search to find your wedding photographer.


Probably the first thing to consider is the budget. Price and budget are obviously key to your decision making as there’s no point falling in love with a photographer’s work only to discover you cannot afford them. That road just leads to heartache.

Wedding photographer’s prices in the UK normally start from around £500 up to £2,500 for a full package including video. Generally speaking, your wedding photography should cost between 10 and 15 percent of your overall wedding budget.

However, there appears to be a trend that I am witnessing on bridal forums, where wedding photography falls almost to the bottom of some bride’s priorities. Couples look for photographers at the £500 end of the market or, dare I say it, use Uncle Bob. For some people photographs of their day are just not that important. They are not really interested in their photos and are more than happy with some basic shots of the day which friends, or relatives, have taken. If this is you then that’s fine, but let me explain why I think you need a professional photographer.

Couples wedding photos

The cheap photographer

There is nothing wrong with the £500 photographer, everybody needs to start somewhere. What would concern me more is if that photographer was not willing to let you speak to their other clients, if they have no positive reviews and if they do not have any public liability insurance. If this is the case run, Fast !

At this end of the market they should at least have assisted at other weddings, be fully insured (not just for their equipment, but also for public liability which is essential if you are offering a service like wedding photography) and possibly be members of professional organisations such as The Guild of Photographers. If something did go wrong you want the reassurance that you could get most, if not all, of your money back don’t you?

If you are restricted in budget and find a photographer like this, go for it as they will be far better than Uncle Bob or someone who is inexperienced and uninsured. You only get one chance to take these photos on one of the most important days of your life.


Do you like their style?

Finding the photography style that speaks to you is the next step on your journey.

Many photographers favour one style over another and you have to decide what sort of style you are looking for.

Before we get started, I just want you to understand that wedding photographers naturally use a lot of different styles throughout the wedding day e.g. photojournalism, documentary in the wedding ceremony, traditional (in the group family formals), fashion etc.

Let’s have a quick look at some of the different styles photographers use in more detail.

Engagement photography

Photojournalistic documentary, also known as reportage.

This is a style were the photographer purely photographs what is going on around them. You will find this style in many aspects of the day.


It allows for the capturing of candid, moments and emotions.


There is a trend for pure photojournalistic weddings, but I think we are missing a trick, pure documentary means that no-one is posed to look their best, but you want to look your best don’t you? After all, you have spent a lot of money on getting the most beautiful dress for you and your bridesmaids, as well has having your hair and makeup done. I am not saying that every photo needs to be posed, but if you know how to hold yourself to get the best photo wouldn’t you want to? I always discuss posing with my couples during their engagement shoot session see my post on Engagement photography tips.


Traditional Wedding family portraits


This is used in the family group photos and is probably one of the oldest photography styles around. It’s the pictures that your gran will want as it involves all the members of the family.

Traditional photos where everyone is posed are now not so fashionable, but again knowing how to hold yourself in photos can make for better imagery.

Pros: Once you have your shot list the photographer can fairly quickly rattle through your photos as everyone understands what they need to do.

As you will have composed a list of groups and shots for your photographer, you are likely to have ensured that every guest at your wedding has been photographed, even if it is just in a big group shoot.

Cons This style leaves you with consistency, but ignores creativity and artistic style. This traditional style is usually incorporated through the family photos so you can have the best of both worlds.

Couples photos

Artistic style

These are most probably the photos you will have blown up and displayed on your wall, and that your friends and family will adore. These images cannot happen all the way through the day as weddings are extremely fast passed, so photographers will produce some of this work, but it is unlikely to be the main focus of the day.


Your photos will have a unique look, the wow factor, and will use varying angles, props, composition and architecture to make photos that you will love.


These photos take time, longer than is normally available within a wedding day. Romantic artistic shots may also involve travelling to areas where there are strong architectural features which may not be your wedding reception. Therefore, apart from one or two artistic photos at the end of the night, I would suggest to my couples that we do these photos on another day in exactly the same clothes. This allows for those fantastic photos but without the pressure of time.

I consider my work to fall into natural wedding photography focusing on romantic artistic portraits whilst capturing emotions and fun.

Personality: being Personable and Charismatic

Now you have found a photographer whose price fits your budget and whose style you like, the next step is to talk to them and get to know them. I like to meet my clients in a coffee shop. I find that it is an informal but pleasant way to get to know people, and not only find out about their wedding plans, but just as importantly them as a couple.

From your perspective the first things to be thinking about are:

Do I like this person?

Do we get on?

Are they asking the right questions about us and our day?

These are all important questions that you need to get the answer to. They might have the best portfolio you have ever seen, but can you stand spending up to 12 hours of your time with them on your wedding day? If the answer is no – thank them for their time and walk away.

Bride and Groom

Do they understand your vision for your day?

I always ask my brides to provide me with a Pinterest Mood board of images (see my article on How to create a Mood board), some of which I ask them to get from my site, as this give me an insight into how they see their perfect wedding day photos. This is important, your wedding photos are capturing a happy day in your life, and I need to know how you are visualizing that day. I can then adapt my style to fit your vision.

This is just the starting point, from there I dig even further into your vison of the day to ensure I capture the images that truly matter to you. If they do not understand your vision, then you have to ask yourself if they are the right photographer for you or you may find you are not be happy with your final photos. Wedding photos should provoke an emotion of joy and maybe some happy tears when you see them, and that is my aim.

So they have ticked all the boxes so far.

Have a look at their portfolio. If they are charging under £1,000 they may not have as much experience at weddings as others, but this does not mean that you should not do with them, if they have fulfilled all the other criteria and you like their work then go for it. Products You like them, they have ticked all the other boxes, but do they have the products you want?

At around the £500-£900 range all you will tend to get is digital images. From £900-£1,200 you might get an album included, but again I know of photographers at this level who’s package would still be digital only due to their level of experience and the demand for them as a photographer.

Personally, I offer both digital only or digital and an album packages. I use a company called Graphi Studio who are one of the most respected wedding album companies in the world. They are based in Italy and I have had the pleasure of visiting their factory. Customers can choose the colours that go on their final product both for the album itself and for the box it comes in, so they can tie it all into their wedding colours.

On top of that I offer an engagement shoot which lasts up to three hours and takes place over two locations. There are many benefits that come from an engagement shoot, please seem my article Engagment photography tips).

In short I offer a bespoke service with most couples paying about £1,200 but through talking to and getting to know you both I am able to build the service for you and the end product that will meet your needs for your day.

Quality or quantity

Try not to get hung up with the amount of images that you may receive, believe it or not it is not as important as you may think. You could use a photographer that guarantees you 1,000 photos, great you think until you discover that half of them are exactly the same photo, but just converted to black and white. What is far more important than quantity is quality, if you have to cut the budget stick with the wedding photographer you like and drop the album. Albums can be added later on when you have the money but you are not going to be able to change the quality of the images that goes into them, so always look for quality over quantity.

How to find a wedding photographer part 2


About Helen Chapman Photography

My philosophy:

“To provide excellence by placing YOU, Your dreams, Your wants, Your needs in the heart of everything I do”.

“To create beautifully, naturally, authentic, fun, romantic heirloom photography, that YOU are guaranteed to love and that will be cherished by future generations to come”.

“To provide YOU with a truly exceptional service through following my core beliefs of honesty, fairness, integrity, determination and creativity.”

I have been helping couples plan their weddings in the stunning natural landscape of the Devon countryside, rugged moorland of Dartmoor and spectacular seascape of the coastline of Devon, Somerset, and Cornwall for years and I’m using that experience and relationship with a great network of wedding vendors to help you plan your special wedding day. Why not take a look at my:

Client resources pages & Check my availability for your wedding and book a call today.