Choosing a wedding photographer

While I am not in any way a pro with a camera, taking photos and capturing those special moments has always been really important to me. At university I was never without my little camera (ok fine, cameras – there were many thanks to a few too many glasses of wine and a traumatic incident with a canoe!) and two years ago, in preparation for our Everest Base Camp trek, I finally bought what I call my first “grown up” camera  – a Canon EOS 1100D.  A decision well made and a camera I would highly recommend to any photography novices looking to purchase their first SLR. 

So I guess it goes without saying that after getting engaged, finding and picking our wedding photographer(s) was high up on our list of priorities and is, in my opinion, one of THE most important decisions any couple make for their wedding day.

RBJ and I had a long list of things that were important to us when it came to shortlisting photographers: we were looking for someone who can take emotional yet beautiful shots of a day that everyone keeps telling us will go by very quickly. We also wanted someone to capture the little details that make our wedding ours and doesn’t just take the same old prescribed cliche photos at every wedding they attend. 

Shortlisting our favourite few wasn’t too hard – we knew we wanted a reportage style and we had a rough budget (which rapidly increased when we realised what a good wedding photographer costs). We also received a few recommendations from friends. Once our shortlist had received the photography expert seal of approval from my camera savvy big sis, we arranged to Skype each of them and I prepared a list of questions to ask, including the following:

  • How long have you been in the business and are weddings your main focus? 
  • What is your general approach to the day/ style?
  • How many photos do you normally take?
  • How and when do we get the final photos? 
  • Price, deposit and payment plans plus the cost for albums
  • Importance of going a pre shoot?
  • Do they need to come and see the venue before?
  • What happens if you are ill?

In the end, apart from price, the decision really came down to two things:

1. Photography style
I think it’s important to choose a photographer that has pictures in their portfolio that capture the way you would like to remember your wedding. Lots of photographers are now offering very “instagrammy” type photos – grainy and heavy on the effects. While I love a good Instagram filter as much as the next person (X Pro II or Lo Fi everytime!) I want my wedding photos to be timeless and I think with instagrammy shots, while this style is very current and modern now, they will very quickly date. So we avoided anyone who was too liberal with the filters and instead looked for photographers who used the natural light to capture beautiful shots.

2. Personality 
From the moment we spoke with Sophie and John, a husband and wife team based in Bristol, I knew they were going to be our photographers. I not only felt reassured by their experience as a duo but also felt incredibly excited suddenly about our big day, mostly because Sophie was so excited herself! John told us that every time they leave a days work after photographing a wedding, she turns to him and asks if they can do it all over again! Their enthusiasm and confidence made me feel at ease and I know they are people I would like to have around on our wedding day. 

Now I don’t profess to be an expert at this – the proof is in the photos – but my tip for anyone looking for a photographer is to focus on those two things and hopefully you can’t go too wrong.

Here are a few photos of our pre shoot with John and Sophie near Pembroke Lodge in Richmond Park:

Lorn & Russ - Engagement-024-Web Lorn & Russ - Engagement-029-Web  Lorn & Russ - Engagement-031-Web

The full album and information on John Barwood photography can be found on John’s website at   


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