Types of Wedding Photographer

If you are looking to hire a wedding photographer the good news is that there are lots and lots of them. They all have different backgrounds and different approaches to photography and to running their photography business. The bad news is that so much choice makes finding the right one difficult. To help, we wanted to try and compare the different kinds of wedding photographer out there, and the advantages and disadvantages of each ‘type’.

Just be aware though that these descriptions are for guidance and are generalisations.

Full Time Professional Wedding Photographer

These photographers are full time professionals. They may take on other photographic work, but they specialise in wedding photography. They spend their time photographing weddings, editing the images, developing their business and photography skills etc. These photographers are likely to have considerable experience and qualifications. They are probably members of professional bodies such as the Guild of Photographers etc.

This is what we do. We are full time professional wedding photographers.

Advantages

  • Specialist wedding photography skills.
  • Able to respond quickly.
  • Experienced at providing a high quality service.
  • Personal relationship with client.
  • Should produce professional quality work.
  • Should be reliable.

Disadvantages

  • There are cheaper (but not necessarily better) options.
  • Dependent on individuals (illness, accident etc may have a significant impact on services provided).
NR_145048_GG7A0547_edited-1-600x400

Wedding Photography Company

Though most wedding photographers operate as individuals (or couples), there are some companies that supply wedding photography services. They employ a number of photographers and will allocate a photographer to your wedding. (Note that some individual photographers set themselves up as limited companies for tax reasons. That is not the situation we are describing here.) The wedding photography company can be very flexible in providing a service but probably has significantly increased overheads due to their size (they may have a studio or high-street shop) and may be rather impersonal in their approach.

Advantages

  • Specialist skills.
  • Experienced at providing a high quality service.
  • Employ multiple photographers so may be more flexible, or more able to cope with resourcing problems.
  • Should produce professional quality work.

Disadvantages

  • They may have significant overheads that add to the costs (especially if they have to maintain a high street studio or shop).
  • Depending on the size of the company, the relationship with the client may not be that personal. Sometimes companies will use photographers that the client has not met before.
  • Work that you see on the website may not be that of the photographer allocated to your wedding.

Weekend Wedding Photographer

This is a photographer with an unrelated full time job who photographs weddings at the weekend. This photographer might have lots of experience and be very good. They might also just be starting out with their photography business and not yet willing to turn full time. Their ‘day’ job is effectively subsidising their photography business and their prices may be cheaper than the full-time professional. These photographers might photograph a lot of weddings each year but they do not have the ‘spare’ time or the resources of the full-time professional. They may find it difficult to deliver work in a timely manner at busy times of the year.

Advantages

  • Their ‘day’ job is probably subsidising their photography job so they may be able to price competitively.

Disadvantages

  • They are only able to work on their photography a few days a week (plus evenings) so they may find it difficult to respond quickly or to edit the large volumes of images generated by wedding photographers.

Shoot and Burn Photographer

This photographer spends no time editing your images before delivering them to you. They shoot on the day and burn the images straight to disk for delivery. Perhaps this photographer has no time to edit the images, or simply prefers not to. They ought to be relatively cheap, because they are not spending much time on editing the photographs. The quality of the images is unlikely to be great. Almost all images benefit from editing by the photographer. On the wedding day the photographers often have very little time to set up a picture (especially during the ceremony itself) and are often faced with very rapidly changing lighting conditions that they may have little control over. It is very difficult to produce pictures straight from the camera that are perfect in these circumstances.

Advantages

  • Ought to be cheap as they do not spend time editing their images.

Disadvantages

  • The quality of images produced cannot match those of a photographer who takes the time to edit their images.

Friend with a Camera

You might know someone who has a nice camera and a good eye for a photograph. However, photographing a wedding is a very specialised skill. A good wedding photographer has to be skilled in architectural photography, macro photography, portraiture and documentary photography. They will also need to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment, and be able to take great pictures even in sometimes very poor lighting conditions.

Also, if your friend was going to be a guest at your wedding, you are asking them to stop being a guest. There is no way they can do a good job of capturing the required images AND be a guest.

Advantages

  • Free.

Disadvantages

  • May be unwilling to enter into a contract with you.
  • May have little or no experience. May lack equipment.
  • Quality of images cannot match that of more experienced or professional wedding photographers.
GFB_141143_IMG_8576_edited-1

DIY Wedding Photography

Many people have a camera and most people have a phone that includes a camera. You could just ask everyone to take pictures and then send them to you afterwards. So, another free option.

Advantages

  • Free.

Disadvantages

  • No contract.
  • Guests have little or no experience as wedding photographers. Professional equipment not being used.
  • Possible you won’t get all of the images you wanted.
  • No editing of the images.
  • Multiple styles of images produced.
GFB_321_125806_IMG_6517_edited-1