Choosing your wedding photographer

Wedding photography: choosing the right photographer to capture the magic of your big day

When planning your big day, every detail counts, but few things are as crucial as the choice of your wedding photographer. This professional is responsible for capturing not only the key moments, but also the essence and emotion of your special day. Your wedding photos are more than just images; they are precious keepsakes that tell the story of your love and celebration. In this article, we'll explore the essential aspects to consider for choosing the right wedding photographerensuring that every smile, tear and laugh is captured with art and sensitivity!


Shades Waves Wedding Planner Choosing Your Wedding Photographer
A wedding photographer captures the bride and her bridesmaids


Understanding photographic style

Before you begin your search for a wedding photographer, it's important to understand the different styles of photography that exist. Each photographer has his or her own unique signature, and choosing a style that resonates with your personal vision is essential to achieving results that will fully satisfy you.

Visit traditional style wedding photography is often centered on carefully orchestrated poses and special attention to the key moments of the ceremony and reception. These photographers focus on group shots, portraits of the bride and groom, and classic moments like the exchange of rings, the first kiss, and the cutting of the cake. If you prefer a structured wedding album with polished, formal images, a traditional photographer might be the right choice for you.

In contrast, the documentary style captures moments in a more spontaneous, less structured way. Documentary photographers focus on authentic moments and raw emotions, often captured on the spot. This style is perfect for couples looking to capture the real essence of their day, with all its joys, surprises and even imperfections.

Visit artistic style brings a creative and often innovative dimension to wedding photography. These photographers use unique techniques, unusual angles and creative compositions to create images that are works of art in themselves. If you're drawn to photos that are out of the ordinary and express an artistic vision, this style might be your preference.

Finally, the editorial style is inspired by the pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines. These photographers are experts at creating sophisticated, glamorous images, often with a keen sense of style and aesthetics. If you dream of a wedding album that looks like a magazine shoot, a photographer with an editorial approach could be the right choice.

Understanding these styles and thinking about what resonates most with you is an essential first step. Your choice will determine the type of photos you'll have and the overall mood of your wedding album. Take the time to browse portfolios, look at wedding albums and determine which style speaks most to your heart.


Wedding couple on the beach shot by a wedding photographer


Wedding photography: the importance of a portfolio

Once you've defined the style of photography you prefer for your wedding, the next step is to carefully examine photographers' portfolios. A portfolio is much more than a collection of images; it's a window into the photographer's artistic soul, a representation of his or her talent, technique and ability to capture meaningful moments. Here's how to effectively analyze a wedding portfolio:

First, look for the consistency in the photographer's work. A good wedding photographer must present a portfolio that demonstrates consistent quality across a variety of marriages. Lighting conditions wedding venues and styles may vary, but the photographer's ability to capture stunning images should not.

Next, pay attention to the ability to capture emotions. The best wedding photos are those that evoke feelings and tell a story. See if the photographer can capture intimate moments, spontaneous emotions and natural interactions between people. These images are often the most precious and memorable.

It is also important to consider the composition and lighting. A talented photographer knows how to compose an image to highlight the subject and use lighting to create the desired mood. Whether indoors or outdoors, day or night, the photographer must demonstrate a mastery of lighting and composition.

Don't neglect the details. Small details can often tell a large part of a wedding's story. A good portfolio should include photos of decorations, outfits, wedding rings and other elements that have been carefully chosen for the big day.

Finally, make sure that the portfolio reflects the style you've chosen. If you prefer a documentary style, the portfolio should be filled with candid images. For a more traditional style, look for posed portraits and well-organized group shots.

  • Consistent image quality
  • Ability to capture emotions and moments
  • Mastery of composition and lighting
  • Attention to detail
  • Suitability for the chosen photographic style

By carefully examining a photographer's portfolio, you can get a clear idea of his or her talent and ability to capture the essence of your special day. Don't hesitate to discuss the images in the portfolio with the photographer during your meeting, asking questions about specific photos that have touched you. This will not only give you information about their approach and technique, but also about their passion and commitment to their craft.


Wedding photographer photographing a couple
Wedding photographer photographing a couple


The photographer's personality

The personality of the wedding photographer is just as important a factor as his or her style and portfolio. On your wedding day, you'll be spending a lot of time with your photographer, and it's essential that you feel comfortable and confident with this person. A photographer with a good personality can not only put you at ease, but also capture more natural and authentic moments.

A wedding photographer must have professional approach while being accessible and empathetic. He or she must be able to blend into the environment, yet be proactive enough to capture key moments. During consultations, make sure the photographer listens to you, understands your needs and shares your vision of the wedding. Good communication is essential to ensure that your expectations are clearly understood and respected.

Visit patience and the flexibility are also important qualities in a wedding photographer. Weddings can be unpredictable, and it's important for the photographer to be able to adapt quickly to changes and deal with the unexpected calmly and professionally.

Finally, consider the passion of the photographer for his craft. A photographer who is passionate about wedding photography will invest his heart and soul in capturing the most significant moments of your day. This passion is often reflected in the quality of his work and his commitment to providing the best possible service.

  • Professional and empathetic approach
  • Good communication and understanding of the couple's needs
  • Patience and flexibility in the face of unforeseen circumstances
  • A passion for wedding photography

Budget and packages for a professional wedding photographer

Budget is a crucial aspect in choosing your wedding photographer. It's important to strike a balance between quality of service and what you can reasonably afford. Wedding photographers generally offer different packages, each including various services. Understanding what is included in each package is essential to making an informed choice.

Packages can vary considerably in terms of length of coverage, number of photographers, photo delivery (number, format, etc.), and additional services such as engagement sessions or albums. Be sure to discuss in detail with the photographer to understand what each package includes and if there are any potential additional costs, such as travel expenses or extra prints.

It's also a good idea to compare packages from different photographers to get an idea of standard rates in your area. However, bear in mind that the cheapest is not always the best. Investing in a quality photographer is investing in lasting memories of your special day.

Finally, don't hesitate to discuss your budgetary constraints with the photographer. Many are willing to customize their packages to meet your specific needs. Open communication on this subject can help you find a solution that suits both your expectations and your budget.

  • Understanding the details of our packages
  • Compare packages from different photographers
  • Discuss budget constraints and customize the package

Photograph of a couple exchanging wedding rings


Experience and references

Experience and references are key indicators of a wedding photographer's reliability and professionalism. An experienced photographer will not only have the technical skill to capture beautiful images, but also the ability to handle the various situations that can arise at a wedding. When selecting your photographer, take the time to discuss his or her experience in the field of wedding photography.

Asking for references or consulting online reviews can also give you an idea of the satisfaction of previous customers. Testimonials from couples who have already worked with the photographer can give you valuable information about their overall experience. A photographer with many positive reviews and recommendations is probably a safe choice.

In addition, find out about any difficult situations the photographer may have encountered at previous weddings, and how he or she handled them. This information can give you an insight into his ability to adapt and solve problems, which is crucial in an environment as dynamic and unpredictable as a wedding.

  • Discussion of experience in wedding photography
  • Consult reviews and testimonials
  • Assessment of ability to handle difficult situations

You can also read the article 10 wedding photographers the couples loved from, full of good advice!


Wedding photographer taking pictures of the bride and bridesmaids.
Wedding photographer taking photos of the bride and bridesmaids


Preparation and planning with the photographer

Preparation and planning are essential to ensure that your wedding photography goes off without a hitch. A good wedding photographer will work with you well in advance of the big day to plan the details of photographic coverage. This includes discussing the timing of different events, specific locations for shots, and important people to photograph.

An organized photographer will also help you develop a backup plan in case of bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. It's important that your photographer is flexible and ready to adapt to last-minute changes, while guaranteeing the quality of your photos.

Preparation also involves discussing any specific photography preferences you may have. For example, whether you have specific poses or moments you'd like to capture, or whether you prefer a more natural, spontaneous style. An attentive photographer will take note of these details and ensure that they are incorporated on the wedding day.

  • Detailed shot planning
  • Drawing up an emergency plan
  • Discussion of preferences and specific requests

To find out more about preparing and planning with a wedding photographer, take a look at the Marié guide, 10 steps to choosing your wedding photographer!


Photo of a young married couple in nature


Contract and conditions

Understanding the contract and conditions is an essential step in choosing your wedding photographer. A well-defined wedding photography contract protects both the couple and the photographer, clarifying expectations and responsibilities. Here are the key elements to look for in a wedding photography contract:

  1. Service details : The contract must clearly define the services the photographer will provide, including the duration of the coverage, the number of photographers present, and the types of photos delivered (digital, printed, albums).
  2. Costs and payments : All costs must be clearly indicated, including travel expenses, any additional costs, and payment terms.
  3. Emergency plan : The contract should include provisions for unforeseen circumstances, such as bad weather or personal emergencies on the part of the photographer.
  4. Image usage rights : Understand how you can use your wedding photos and whether the photographer retains any rights to the images.
  5. Cancellation policy : Check cancellation or postponement conditions, including any fees.

It's crucial to read the contract carefully and make sure you understand all the terms before signing. Don't hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification if necessary.


Questions to ask the photographer

Asking your potential photographer the right questions is an effective way of ensuring that you make the right choice. Here's a list of essential questions to ask:

  1. What is your experience in wedding photography? This question will help you understand the photographer's level of expertise.
  2. How would you describe your photographic style? Make sure the photographer's style matches your expectations.
  3. Can you show us a complete portfolio of a recent wedding? This will give you a better idea of the consistency and quality of the photographer's work.
  4. How do you handle unexpected situations? This question reveals the photographer's ability to adapt and manage challenges.
  5. What are the details of your wedding package? Understand exactly what is included in the package and any potential additional costs.

Preparing for the big day

Preparing for the big day is a crucial aspect of wedding photography. An experienced photographer will not only be able to capture the key moments, but also anticipate and prepare for the different situations that may arise. Here's how a professional wedding photographer prepares for the big day:

  1. Detailed planning : Before the wedding, the photographer should discuss with you a detailed plan, including the order of events, key moments to be captured, and specific preferences.
  2. Site visit : A preliminary visit to the ceremony and reception sites allows the photographer to plan the shots and identify the best locations for the photos.
  3. Emergency equipment : The photographer must have back-up equipment in case of technical failure, ensuring that no important moment is missed.
  4. Coordination with other service providers : Good communication with other suppliers (organizers, DJs, caterers) is essential to ensure smooth and complete photographic coverage.
  5. Mental and physical preparation : Being well rested and mentally prepared is crucial for a photographer, in order to remain focused and creative throughout the day.

After the wedding: photo processing and delivery

After the wedding, the photographer's work is not finished. Photo processing and delivery are key steps in completing the wedding photography experience. Here's what you can expect:

  1. Image processing : The photographer will spend several hours sorting and retouching the photos to ensure the best possible quality.
  2. Delivery times : Discuss delivery times with your photographer. Some can provide a preview shortly after the wedding, while the rest of the photos may take several weeks.
  3. Delivery formats : Photos can be delivered in a variety of formats, including digital files, prints and albums. Be sure to discuss these options in advance.
  4. Rights of use : Understand your rights regarding the use and distribution of photos. Some photographers may require credits for publication or sharing.

Shades Waves Wedding Planner Choosing Your Wedding Photographer 8


Tips for a successful collaboration with your wedding photographer

Successful collaboration with your wedding photographer is essential to ensure that your memories are captured in the way you've always imagined. Here are some tips for working effectively with your photographer:

  1. Clear communication: From the outset, establish open and honest communication with your photographer. Be clear about your expectations, preferences and concerns.
  2. Mutual trust : Trust your photographer's expertise. While your ideas and suggestions are important, allowing the photographer to add his or her creative touch can lead to outstanding results.
  3. Joint planning : Involve your photographer in planning the wedding, especially with regard to times and locations. Good planning helps optimize time and capture all the important moments.
  4. Constructive feedback: Once you've received the first photos or previews, give constructive feedback. This will help the photographer adjust his work according to your preferences.
  5. Personal preparation : Get ready for photo shoots. This includes choosing outfits, doing your hair and make-up, and knowing the poses or moments you want to capture.


Choosing the right wedding photographer is a crucial decision that will have a lasting impact on how you remember your special day. By taking into account style, portfolio, personality, budget, experience, preparation and collaboration with your photographer, you can ensure that every smile, every tear and every burst of laughter will be captured with art and sensitivity. Remember that your wedding photos are more than just images; they are the tangible memories of one of the happiest days of your life. Take the time to choose a photographer who understands your vision and can translate it into beautiful, timeless images.

For more information and tips on wedding photography, feel free to explore our blog and check out our other resources on Shades Waves Blog.

Frequently asked questions when choosing a wedding photographer

When should I book my photographer?

It's advisable to book your wedding photographer as soon as you've set the date and venue. Ideally, this should be done 9 to 12 months in advance, especially if you're getting married during peak season. Popular photographers can be booked well in advance, so the sooner you start your search, the better.

How long will the photographer stay during the wedding?

The length of time the photographer will be present depends on the package you choose. Some photographers offer complete coverage, from the start of preparations to the end of the reception, while others offer packages lasting just a few hours. Discuss your specific needs with your photographer to determine the best package for you.

How many photos will I receive?

The number of photos delivered varies according to the photographer and the package chosen. Some photographers provide an estimated number of photos in their packages, while others deliver all successful images. Be sure to discuss this with your photographer to get a clear idea of what to expect.

Does the wedding photographer retouch the photos?

Most wedding photographers retouch photos to improve image quality. This can include adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation and correcting minor imperfections. However, the degree of retouching varies from photographer to photographer, so it's important to discuss your expectations in advance.

Can I request specific photos or poses?

Yes, you can certainly request specific photos or poses. It's helpful to share your ideas and wishes with your photographer before the wedding. Some couples choose to provide a list of desired photos, especially for group shots or key moments.

How can I prepare for a couple's photo shoot?

To prepare for your couple's photo session, consider choosing locations that are dear to you or that correspond to your wedding theme. Discuss outfits in advance and consider a make-up and hair trial session. Be relaxed and natural, and trust your photographer to capture your complicity.

What happens if the photographer falls ill on the wedding day?

A professional photographer will have a plan in case of illness or emergency. This may include replacement by another photographer of the same level, or an alternative solution. Be sure to discuss this contingency plan with your photographer and check that it is mentioned in the contract.

When will I receive my wedding photos?

The delivery time for wedding photos varies according to the photographer and the workload. In general, it can take from a few weeks to a few months. Discuss deadlines with your photographer and check whether you can receive a few preview photos shortly after the wedding.


Project manager for over 10 years, including 4 years abroad, entrepreneurial mom and passionate about events, I'm here to help you coordinate your big day and organize your entire wedding.

As a representative of the Shades Waves franchise in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, and as the architect of your dreams, my team and I will be at your service to help you realize your project.

As an expert in organization, my experience, professionalism and attention to detail will be our watchwords in assisting you.

Together, we create the unique.

There's nothing so beautiful as a well-adjusted, peaceful marriage... Pierre Charron


I'm Joëlle, born in Beirut and having lived in Rio de Janeiro, the love of weddings and the charm of nature have always attracted me.
Passionate about Provence and the wonders of southern France, I moved to Marseille.

Coming from a paramedical background, my work as a nurse has given me a solid grounding in organization, dedication and attention to detail.
It has also enabled me to develop the listening skills that are essential in both my professional and personal life.

After training as an event and wedding planner in Aix-en-Provence, it is with great pleasure and passion that I will design and organize your big day. Together, we'll create unforgettable moments that will stay with you forever.

Whether you want a timeless Parisian wedding, a romantic Provencal wedding or a unique wedding in a heavenly location, I'll be at your side to help you design the wedding that suits you, with elegance and chic à la française.

I look forward to meeting you!


After a 15-year career in Paris in the events industry and a move to be closer to her family in the South-East of France near the Gulf of Saint Tropez, Vanessa Roussel, created the Shades Waves agency in 2016, passionate about her job, dynamic and motivated to take up every challenge that organizing a wedding represents.

Always listening to her customers, ready to innovate, curious about life, she enjoys discussing the projects entrusted to her with future brides and grooms, to get to know you better and suggest the best scenography to suit you and create emotion.

A perfectionist at heart, she will organize your wedding or corporate event as if it were her own, with method and rigor, meticulousness and good humor, always planning the smallest detail.


My name is Florence and I accompany future brides and grooms from the conception to the coordination of their wedding. Weddings have always been a dream of mine!
So, in 2019, I'm training to become a wedding planner and event project manager at the Jaëlys school in Aix-en-Provence.
Since 2020, as a private event planner, I've had the honor of helping couples organize and coordinate their weddings.
I specialize in elegant, romantic and refined weddings, for a French-speaking clientele looking to get married in Provence. A native of Aix-en-Provence, I've made the South-East my playground.
From Provence and its vineyards, to the Côte d'Azur and its seaside resorts, to the snow-capped mountains of the Alps, I'll accompany you wherever your love takes you.
My watchwords are: patience, kindness, calm, organization, discretion and respect.
I draw my inspiration from literature, beautiful things and the charm of the old.
Let's talk about your beautiful project.


I'm Bilitis, mother of an adorable little girl and entrepreneur. I have the pleasure of living on the Côte d'Azur, near Toulon, in the South of France. Before obtaining my wedding planner diploma, I trained at EFMM, which I obtained in 2018.
I'd been organizing private events for several years before turning to my profession.
My greatest pleasure? Creating unique, innovative and exciting experiences that reflect my customers' image. My aim is to help my customers organize unforgettable, festive events.
I bring a dynamic, innovative and organized perspective to every event. My love of planning and attention to detail are sure to create the perfect ambiance for your special day.
I'll be there to support you with the tools you need to ensure that "organization" rhymes with "tranquility and serenity".