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Different styles of wedding photography and finding the right photographer for you

A photographer is key to your wedding and will capture the moments that will make up your forever memories, so it's super important to get it right. There are different styles of wedding photography and budgets, so how do you find the right one for you. I am excited to invite Holly Smith of Holly Smith Weddings on my page to answer some questions and ultimately help you find the best person for you.

1. What are the different styles of Wedding Photography?

There are so many different styles within wedding photography, it’s not just about the final images, but also the approach and style of the photographer on the day.

With Documentary and Candid styles, this is when the images give a sense of honesty and often the shots are capturing a particular moment such as friends laughing or dancing, or a couple kissing between speeches. They give off a ‘fly on the wall’ feeling where the photographer becomes so part of the day, you forget they’re there. This style is often mixed in with Fine Art style photography.

Quite a lot of Fine Art and Documentary wedding photography imitates the idea of a film. More photographers are now offering film as part of their packages, but as an add-on rather than a lead. It’s a big risk to shoot your whole wedding on a film camera, but it’s a beautiful extra if you find a photographer who loves to do it. For Editorial wedding photography, the aim is to capture and create magazine-worthy pictures. These are more lifestyle shots which seem effortless and natural. This is becoming a popular option as opposed to the usual stiff, structured poses.

No matter which style you chose, the photographer’s editing style will also influence the final print. Whether it’s a darker, moodier colour palette or a strong black and white theme or a really light and airy photo style using lots of natural light, it comes down to the photographer's technique which you can ask about. My personal style is Candid and Natural with a softer feel, often using black and white or calmer colours. I’m a big fan of an autumnal wedding for that orange sun glow too.

2. How do I know what wedding photography style is right for me?

There’s a lot to think about here, but mostly, consider what sparks the most joy in you! It all depends on the colours and themes of your day, as well as if you’re a fan of your photo being taken, or you’d prefer a photographer who is more subtle and laid back. Talk to a few different photographers when you first start planning your wedding, but you’ll often find a certain style calls out to you the most.

3. What is the ideal number for family/group photos?

This is a good question and the answer is you don’t need that many! Make a list and share that with your photographer and wedding planner. Think of the key people, immediate family and those you don’t see often that you’d like to get a picture with. But you also don’t want to be posing for hours and in the end, never actually looking at these group photos!

If you don’t make a list it can feel like it’s never-ending with family sometimes jumping in to add to the photos, which can make you feel a bit lost in all the excitement and miss out on all the chatting and drinks! Stick with structure and simplicity when it comes to group photos. You’ll definitely get lots of photos across the day with everyone you love, so don't worry about missing group shots with certain groups or friends.

4. How much time should I allow for bridal portraits and couples photos?

This is always a really lovely moment to have some time with your partner, so relish in this. I always think around 20 - 25 minutes for a walk near the venue or a selected space is the perfect amount of time to get some beautiful photos. Think of a place nearby that means something to you or your favourite area of the venue and this will make the most of your couple photos.

5. What is a ‘second shooter’ and do I need one?

A second shooter is another photographer on hand to help the lead. It’s often a good idea if you’ve got a large venue and lots of guests. We can’t be in two places at once so this really does help to cover those key moments and give you lots of choices and angles. It’s always great for the mornings too when you’re both getting ready in different venues.

6. How much is a wedding photographer?

A good wedding photographer is often around £2,000 upwards depending on packages and the number of shooters/add-ons. It can range from £2,000 to £5,000 depending on the number of photographers and the travel/days involved. When you pay for a wedding photographer, you’re also paying for the communication and time during the lead-up to your big day, the travel costs and the editing time afterwards to make your images amazing for you. So, sometimes these prices may sound alarming, but when split down into the time spent on each wedding, it makes sense.

7. What should I look for in a wedding photographer?

Style and connection are the most important when choosing a photographer. They will be with you all day, so if you can meet for a chat or a coffee and feel comfortable around them, then they’re right for you! It’s not quite like dating but near enough! Also, look at their timings and packages, will they be there to cover all the bits you need? Other questions to ask yourself: Are they clearly communicating with you and taking time to go through your day with you? Do you like their style?

8. Any other photography related questions you get asked a lot?

I get asked a lot about how much time should be spent on photography at a wedding. My answer is always ‘as much as you feel you need’. You’re in charge of the day and although I never want to make you feel like your wedding is a photoshoot, I’d never want to rush or miss moments due to time either.

It’s a balance of what you feel comfortable with, but it really does pay to give that bit of time to the photography in between the big moments. Key moments where photography can be slotted in are after the ceremony and before speeches. If there is a beautiful sunset happening, factor that in too! I’m always happy to be flexible and I’ll spend most of my day running around trying to find the best light for you.

Thanks so much Holly, I hope that has answered some photography related questions, you can find Holly's website here Holly Smith Weddings. If you need any more guidance with planning your wedding, then please get in touch.

Images: Holly Smith Weddings


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