083 281 9124 info@warrenjames.co.za

7 Authentic tips to finding your perfect wedding photogarpher

What we want to help with:

After photographing and dealing with hundreds of brides, I wanted to put together the best 7 tips for you on finding your perfect wedding photographer… from a photographer’s perspective! Ill cover things like, understanding what makes you like certain images more than others. How to short-list your candidate photographers, gain insight into pricing and managing your budget and more. Hope you find these tips useful. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about your unique needs.

Warmest regards,
Warren and the team.

1) Find your photo mojo.

Understand what makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside? Here is 7 things that you might be loving about a photographers images without being able to put your finger on it. Identify what is on top of your list, that will allow you to identify and single out the photographers that resonate best with you.

  • Moment shots.
    • If moment shots (documentary style images that capture the moment) are on the top of your list, then the ability to make you, and your guests, feel at ease is a skill that your photographer should be good at. When you are comfortable with someone being around you, you will act naturally. This allows moments to happen naturally, without feeling conscious of the people around you.
  • Beautiful lighting & atmosphere.
    • Any good photographer will tell you lighting is at least 80 percent of a beautiful image. Your wedding photographer should be able to use and enhance natural light beautifully. More than this, he\she should also be able to use flash photography in a natural looking way. This is especially important when lighting conditions aren’t great (and believe me, many times they are not!). Ask your wedding photographer about his\her ability and approach to both lighting methods.
  • Attention to detail
    Wedding Posing

    Good posing should look natural and relaxed

    • Crazy about the little things? You will be looking for a photographer with the same attention to detail. Ask your photographer which details he focuses on and keep an eye out for details in his\her portfolio’s.
  • Storytelling
    • Weddings are all about story. You might be looking at an image and wondering “what made that person laugh like that?” or “What is the bride looking at?” These are all signs that the wedding photographer is telling a good story with their images.  
  • Fantastic posing
    • Great posing does not look awkward or forced, it looks natural and picture perfect 
  • Stylistic approach
    • Bright and angelic, romantic, moody, fashionable, use of colours etc.
  • Visual intelligence
    • The photographer’s ability to interpret a scene in a unique and interesting way.  

2) How to narrow your list down.

Get organized early on. One of the first things you should do is open central spreadsheet \ file or folder to keep all your favorite photographers information handy.

Don’t mix your photographers information with all the other elements for your wedding (dress, décor, to-do’s etc). This will help you feel less overwhelmed and give you a clearer idea of what you are looking for.

In the beginning, get information about photographers who’s images move you emotionally. Don’t clutter you file up with anything else! Next go through their pricing and remove anyone who is below or above your photography budget (see the next point for more on this)

Once you feel you have 5-10 of your best candidates use our handy cheat sheet to narrow your list down to the top 4.

3) Compare apples with apples.

Don’t take a wedding photographer who charges R8 000 – R18 000 and compare his \ her services and product with a photographer that charges 18 000 – R40 000.

There are very specific reasons why certain photographer charge what they charge. It’s easy to fall into the trap of “but photographer X is giving me the same for half the price”. Even though photographer X might have some pretty images on their website, It takes a lot more than that to consistently deliver amazing products. In fact, getting a portfolio of good work together is only half of what it takes to run a professional business & keep clients happy year after year. There is a reason why photographer X is only charging half. Avoid unforeseen disappointment, decide on your budget then compare your favorite photographers who charge within that budget. As a general guideline you should budget 12% – 18% of your overall wedding budget for your photography.

4) Speak to your favorite photographers about your budget.Warren James Wedding Photography

Don’t shy away from a photographer who you feel is perfect, just because they fall outside of your budget. Tell them what your budget is and ask if they can make any recommendations on how they might be able to accommodate you. If the photographer is not able to meet your needs, at the very least, they should be able to recommend someone they thing will be perfect for you. At least you know its coming from a credible source.

5) Ask to see a full wedding – with a twist.

The internet is full of advisers who say “ask to see a full wedding”. Although this is great advice, and your photographer should confidently be able to show you as many weddings as you would like to see. The problem with this advice is that it could lead you to make some incorrect assumptions if a photographer does not run a blog post about every wedding they shoot.

Here are a few reasons a photographer might not publish every wedding they shoot:

  • Client privacy. Many high-end photographers don’t want to give the impression that they are insensitive about their client’s privacy concerns.
  • Marketing and branding efforts. It might not be conducive to the photographers branding efforts to A) Have a smartiebox collection of weddings ranging from forests to urban settings to elopements, first and second marriages etc or B) Consistently only put a certain type of weddings out their alienating all the other clients they could be servicing.
  • Publishing weddings on the web is time consuming. It takes almost a full day to prepare a well thought out, and laid out, blog post about a wedding. Your photographer might want to spend that time giving their current clients better service and products (like writing articles like this J).
  • They don’t want to start something that they cannot maintain properly. The worst thing about a blog is when there are up to 1 year gaps between posts. This might be because the photographer is in such high demand they do not get around to posting regularly. The impression that is created by a poorly maintained blog, unfortunately leaves you with the opposite thoughts.

6) Ask to see some albums.

Wedding Album Design

The photo-album is a true culmination of a wedding photographer’s skill. It will give you a good idea about the photographer’s ability to tell a story through images. It will also give you an honest viewpoint on the photography skills as well as editing and stylistic approach to a wedding day. Again, I advise you to talk to your photographer about this and hear what he\she has to say about it.

7) Choose someone that you click with (pun intended).

Pay attention to how a photographer presents themselves. From their online presence, right through to the first meeting & product presentation. Remember, you are going to have this person alongside you during one of the most important days of your life… After all, they should make you smile 🙂


Make an Enquiry

If you feel that we could be your perfect photographers we would love to hear more about your wedding day. Fill out this form and we will contact you shortly:

Your First Name (required)

Your Last Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone Number

Your Event Date

Service Type:

How did you hear about us?:

Your Message: