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How to Choose the right wedding photographer for you.

There are so many wedding photographers out there, offering a wide range of services. How do you narrow it down?

Of course, one key element is cost. You have a budget that you need to keep within so that will determine a large portion of the decision. The other main factor is portfolio and the style of the photographer (which actually can sometimes be reflected in the cost). So three photographic styles you will most likely find are documentary, cinematic and natural light. Let's break them down to see which is best suited for your wedding plans.

Documentary Approach

This is arguably the most popular form of wedding photography at the moment. Otherwise known as photo-journalistic or reportage. This photographer would likely stand back and observe the activities around them and photograph from afar. They wouldn't interfer too much and you might even forget they are there. The result is often natural, authentic images that tell the story of your day. Ideal for rustic barn and festival venues.

Perfect for you if...

  • You don't like being in front of the camera but want professional photos of your day.

  • You want to remember the day as it was, quirks and all.

  • Your wedding has an informal, relaxed vibe.

It might not be for you if...

  • You want stunning, arty portraits straight out of the pages of a magazine.

  • You would like more direction from your photographer to feel confident the photos will be flattering.

  • You prefer dark, dramatic, striking imagery.

Cinematic Style

Otherwise referred to as Illustrative wedding photography, this approach focuses on high-quality, detailed photographs that are often set up in advance. The photographer is more likely to use flash to create dramatic and interesting light that gives the images a cinematic feel. They will be more involved in placing and posing you in a specific spot to capture the moment within a beautiful scene. More time is given to setting up each shot so perhaps less overall images will be delivered to you. Ideal for sophisticated, high-class, stylish venues.

Perfect for you if...

  • Photographs are really important to you and you wish to give more time to them on your wedding day.

  • You would like to use this one opportunity to have super amazing, Hollywood style photographs together as the newly-married couple.

  • Dynamic, eye-catching portraits are what you're after.

It might not be for you if...

  • You don't like being the center of attention or in front of the camera.

  • You would rather spend more time with your guests than having formal photos taken.

  • You prefer light, bright, airy imagery. 

Natural Light Photography

As straightforward as it sounds, this photographer would focus on using natural/available light; usually the sun or indoor lighting at your venue. A good natural light photographer can sculpt the light for interesting portraits. This is often used in documentary photography but the photographer might also ask to position you in a specific place to optimise the light better. Ideal for outdoor ceremonies.

Perfect for you if...

  • Any guests are sensitive to flashing lights.

  • You prefer natural looking images rather than overly stylised ones. 

It might not be for you if...

  • Your venue is very dark and needs additional light to create bright, fun photos.

Eleth is the director of Mae Photography in Essex and Suffolk. She has photographed hundreds of weddings of all styles and sizes. Working closely with her wedding couples prior to their wedding is a key part of the service she offers to ensure natural, beautiful photographs of their day. "I am in the industry of love, what's not to love!?'

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