Choosing a wedding photographer

How do you know the difference between a true professional photographer with training and experience, and a keen amateur who has a camera and a website, but little or no knowledge ?

The following guide has been designed to ensure you take the best possible steps towards finding the right photographer to suit your needs.

Congratulations on your engagement, the planning begins here! Learning what the differences are between an amateur photographer, and a fully qualified professional, is essential when you begin your search for who you’d like to shoot you’re wedding.

This guide has been written to provide you with information so that when you do start your search for a photographer, you know what to look for, what to steer away from and most importantly, what questions to ask.

A wedding can take months if not years to organise but there is only one chance to capture the images which you will treasure forever. Making sure you choose a qualified professional can ensure your images reflect the magic of the day.

What is the BIPP?

The photographic industry is unregulated — photographers don’t have to be a member of BIPP in order to call themselves a professional, but qualified BIPP photographers have had their work professionally benchmarked and assessed.

Before you begin your search for a photographer, make sure you are clear about what you are looking for and what you want. The clearer your brief, understanding and wishes, the easier your search will be.

Things to Consider

  • Do you have an exact date, time and venue? Two of the first questions a photographer will ask is where and when?
  • What is your end goal? Have you set your heart on a bespoke wedding album,a CD/USB of the images or both?  Would you prefer to pay for the photographer’s time (attendance fee) and then pay for the images afterwards ?
  • What is a realistic budget? You may not want to spend thousands, but you do need to be clear about what you’re buying — the work of a true professional photographer goes well beyond taking a few photos on the day! Investing in a qualified photographer will give you lasting images you can treasure forever. Remember, once the flowers fade and the cake has been eaten, you should be able to look through your images and remember your day.

Products & Services

The services offered by professional photographers will vary enormously. Some will charge by the hour, others by the day. Some will include images on a disc, some won’t. This all comes down to what you want. By all means listen to the options, but be clear about what fits with you, your event and your timetable.

Make sure you:

  • Meet the photographer before committing
  • Are sure that they’re able to provide the professional service you’re looking for
  • Ask to see sample images or albums of past or similar work
  • Like the style of the photographer’s work
  • Never make a decision without visiting the photographers at their work place beforehand.

Pro Vs Amateur photographer

In the last few years the photographic profession has witnessed an explosion of amateur photographers charging for their services in their spare time.

You need to decide if you can trust an amateur to produce your images and what will happen if something goes wrong.

What to look for with amateur photographers:

  • Can they work in difficult situations?
  • Is their equipment of a professional standard?
  • Have they got previous experience at the venue?
  • Have you seen any of their past work?
  • How are the images presented? Professional photographers who are qualified through BIPP are:
  • Experienced and know how to handle challenging circumstances
  • Bound by a code of professional conduct
  • Professionally insured
  • Assessed against strict criteria of professional competency, creativity, composition, et.
  • Entitled to have the letters after their name

Copyright Information

Understanding the basics of copyright can help you discuss what you want and need from your photographer.

Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988

Usually the copyright of a photograph belongs to the person who took it. Copyright lasts for 70 years after the author dies and offers protection against unauthorised reproduction of the photographs and entitles the owner to economic benefit from it.

In practice, this means that clients may only use photographs taken by a professional photographer in ways that have been agreed at the time they were commissioned.

Not all photographers will agree to let you have digital files of you’re wedding images, as it would be difficult for them to retain quality control of the images once you release them to friends/family , etc. This would be something that you would have to discuss with your photographer and make sure that both of you are happy with the contractual agreement.

If, after you’re wedding, you decide you would like to use further images, permission must be sought from the copyright holder and an additional fee agreed.

So, if you decide you would like to have digital files, the photographer may not agree to do this. This is why it‘s especially important to make sure all of your requirements are made known prior to signing a contract.


When they qualify, all BIPP Qualified photographers have professionally insurance. This insurance covers them should something go wrong with their equipment or should the images be lost. Ask your photographer if they hold Public Liability and Professional Indemnity insurance.