The best guide to help you choose your perfect wedding photographer in the North East of England.


 Bride and Groom exit the church under a show of colourful confetti. Photo by Elliot Nichol Photography, based in the North East of England.

North East weddings are wonderful, beautiful, joyous events especially surrounded by some of the most breathtaking coastline & countryside in the United Kingdom.

As you know, or are soon to learn, weddings can also be sometimes stressful. You’ve (probably) never done this before and there are just so many options out there to choose between, decision fatigue will happen. For every aspect of your wedding there are tons of great suppliers in the Northeast from florists, caterers, seating arrangements, venues, dresses, stationery, cakes and then of course there's all the North East wedding photographers. How do you choose?

Before I start giving you my opinion, you should probably know a little about me. I’m a wedding photographer based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, but often travelling to weddings nationally within the UK and overseas in Europe. I’ve been a professional photographer for over 20 years, starting off my career as a Newspaper Photojournalist after graduating from studying photography at Art School. Many years ago I made the natural transition over to wedding photojournalism. To date I have had the pleasure and honour of photographing hundreds of weddings.

I’ve helped many friends and family members choose a photographer for their wedding (I prefer to enjoy their weddings as a guest) and in many ways the advice choosing a photographer in the North East is exactly the same as choosing a photographer in any location in the world.

So here's a little guide, by a wedding photographer, on how to choose the right wedding photographer for your wedding in the North East of England. 

These are what I think are the essentials, if you get these right you will be less likely to be disappointed.

1. WHAT STYLE DO YOU LIKE?

 Couple from Northumberland say their vows during a garden civil wedding ceremony. Photo by North East based photographer Elliot Nichol Photography

Style is in many respects the easiest thing to get right. With the proliferation of the internet wedding photography styles have formed into a few different schools. If you've looked online, read magazines, started a Pinterest account, you will now know that you either want a photojournalist style, editorial style or traditional style.

One style should appeal to you more than another. As a very quick guide here are some of my photos to highlight the difference:

  • Wedding Photojournalists tend to capture moments as they happen with very little direction leaving your more time just to enjoy your day.

  • Editorial Wedding Photographers is usually features some directing and stylising from the photographer to the subjects in the photo.

  • Traditional wedding photographers provide more classically posed images with much more hands control from the photographer.

I’m more of a hybrid. I predominantly shoot in a photojournalistic style with a touch of editorial style. It's also very important to me to create unique photographs that will make your wedding unique not just a replication of every other wedding photographed recently. For example, this image of newlyweds at their wedding reception, opening a bottle of champagne together in celebration of their day.

 North East couple spraying champagne during their wedding reception. Photo by Wedding Photojournalist Elliot Nichol Photography based in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

So make sure you choose a photographer who shoots in a style you like. It should be pretty obvious from their website, but if it's not or you aren't sure you like their style, move on. There are plenty of wedding photographers in the North East to choose from so don't feel otherwise.

2. Quality of the photographer

The second, and in many ways most important, decision you need to make is about the quality of photographer you want. I'm not talking about style here (editorial, photojournalism etc), or cost, I'm talking about the quality of the photographer. How many great photos do they take across the whole day.

 Bride and Groom kissing in the garden of their wedding reception venue in Northumberland. Photo by North East wedding Photographer Elliot Nichol.

Here's an attempt to capture the range of possible photographers for your wedding: 

# 1. Uncle Bob. He's always loved taking 'snaps'.
# 2. Jane's cousin David. He's a keen amateur who might have even studied photography once.
# 3. A "Professional wedding photographer".
# 4. A "Professional wedding photographer".

Hold on…… aren't #3 and #4 the same? Nope!!

I'd say 50-80% of "professional wedding photographers" out there are men and women who think buying an expensive camera makes them professional.

  • Buying a scalpel does not make you a surgeon.

  • Buying a website and putting a few photos on it does not make you a professional wedding photographer.

Becoming a #4 professional wedding photographer takes years of dedication learning the skills of photography. It takes commitment and passion and a constant desire to improve your art.

So how can you tell the difference between #3 and #4 professionals?  

 #3 will amaze you with a great website full of good images from different weddings, they may have slideshows set to music, they will be slick.

#4 will amaze you with a great website full of great images from weddings, they may have slideshows set to music, they will be slick.

Notice the difference? There's a key difference there. #3 will show you images from different weddings. #4 will show you images (especially if you ask) from ONE wedding.

 Bride and groom take their first dance together as husband and wife. Newcastle Upon Tyne wedding photographer Elliot Nichol.

That's the key difference.

A #4 photographer should be able to get good or great quality images across the whole day, not just one of two good images for the entire day. 

I show wedding blogs from real weddings with many images from the day, but will always show full example of one entire wedding I have shot if asked; everything from the getting ready shots to the late night dancing.  I believe this gives potential clients a realistic feel for the quality they can expect to receive across the entire day.

So, my #1 tip in choosing the right photographer for your North East wedding is insist on seeing images from one wedding.

That will give you a feel for how many good quality images you are likely to see after your wedding.

Which leads us to expectations….

 Newcastle Upon Tyne couple leaving their wedding reception venue through a sparking farewell from their guests holding sparklers. Photo by North East wedding photographer Elliot Nichol.

3. Have realistic expectations

The first thing to know is that photographers, even true professionals with years of experience, are not superhuman, they will not get award-winning, magazine quality images of every single aspect of your day from 8am until midnight. It just doesn't happen. If you are expecting stunning images from sunrise to sunrise, you will be disappointed.

Professional wedding photographers, by which of course I mean #4 photographers, will give you consistently good images across the entire day and this is what you should be aiming for. There should definitely be some great images in there, the sort you will be proud to hang up on your wall.

There’s a duo of immensely talented and expensive Canadian wedding photographers. Both are at the top of their game, are in huge demand, they charge over US$25,000. If you paid that much money and expected every single image to be a prize-winning image, you would be really disappointed. Some images are truly magnificent, most are really good, a large number are just 'snaps'. 

If you end up with 5-10 magnificent images, 50-90 or so really good photos, and the rest nice snaps, then you should be happy. 

Have realistic expectations.

 North East Bride light up by her bridesmaids using their mobile phone camera’s. Photo by Northeast based wedding photographer Elliot Nichol Photography.

4. You get what you pay for

Cheap is always cheap. Repeat after me: cheap is always cheap. If you pick a photographer because they are cheap you can expect the quality of your images to plummet. This might be all you can afford/budget for but don't expect miracles and don't expect to be anything but disappointed (particularly if you hope to share the images with your kids and grandkids some day).

GOOD WORK AIN’T CHEAP, CHEAP WORK AIN’T GOOD
— Norman Collins

I was recently contact by a bride who said she had decided not to use me because I was out of her budget. She had received her photos from her chosen wedding photographer and she was so disappointed when she received them. She booked post wedding session with me so I could create so beautiful images of her and her groom in their wedding day clothes.

Do keep in mind though that your wedding is a once in a lifetime event (usually) and it might seem like a good idea to skimp on photography but really after the day is finished, apart from memories, all you have left is the photos. Imagine your grandchildren sitting down to look at your wedding album and seeing cheap photos. Is that worth it?

 Newlyweds walk through the gardens of their wedding venue together with their young daughter. Photo by Elliot Nichol Photography.

5. A recommendation from a friend

If you've seen your friends wedding photos (all of them) and like them then this might be a good way to go. However keep in mind a few things.

1) Did you see all the photos?
2) How long ago did your friend get married (has the photographer aged in energy or style)
3) Ask your friend what the worst thing about the experience with that photographer was - if they suggest irrelevant things like they didn't like the package the images came in, then that's probably fine, if the photographer missed a key photo, that's not fine.

Don't take a recommendation as proof that the photographer is everything you want for your wedding, refer back to points 1-4.

Conclusion... 

Take these points as a starting point. There is way to find the right photographer for your wedding and I hope this helps in some way.

Click on any of the links below and find out if I'm your perfect North East wedding photographer.

North East Wedding Photographer covering Tyne & Wear, County Durham, Northumberland, Cumbria and throughout the UK & Europe.