How to choose the right wedding photographer in Ireland?

How to choose the right wedding photographer in Ireland?

This concise guide on how to choose the right wedding photographer in Ireland is crafted from my 15+ years as an Irish wedding photographer. Hopefully it helps you find the perfect fit. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here’s what I’ve learned, including key questions to ask (and a few of my own images for inspiration!).

How much is a good wedding photographer in ireland?

The average price for a good wedding photographer in Ireland will cost roughly €1400 – €1900 for coverage from bridal prep till when dinner is called. A full day’s shoot up til a few songs after the first dance is in the region of about €2000 – €4000. Whether they’re any good comes down to doing a little bit of research.  So lets start figuring out how to research your wedding photographer.

There’s so many different types of wedding photographers. How do I choose?

Ask yourself these few questions to try to narrow down your search?

Do you like more posed and beautifully lit photographs?

If yes, then go for a more traditional or classic wedding photographer. They’ll spend more time getting you in the best light and pose to capture you looking your best. These are photos that are carefully arranged. You’ll be put in the best light and in the most flattering pose. Be prepared for a classic portrait session to take about 15 to 30 mins.

Pros of a Classic-Only Wedding Photographer:

  • Formal & Polished Look: Classic photography prioritizes staged, posed shots that ensure everyone looks their best. This style creates a timeless and elegant feel for your wedding album.
  • Control & Predictability: You’ll have more control over the final photos. You can request specific group shots, family portraits, and individual couple portraits.
  • Flattering & Perfect Moments: Classic photographers use lighting and posing techniques to capture flattering images that highlight the beauty of the occasion and the people in it.
  • Clear & Crisp Photos: Classic photography typically uses techniques that result in well-lit, crisp photos with minimal blur or movement.

Cons of a Classic-Only Wedding Photographer:

  • Less Candid & Spontaneous: The focus is on posed shots, which can miss capturing the natural emotions and candid moments that unfold throughout the day.
  • Staged & Traditional Feel: The photos might feel less unique or personal compared to a more journalistic style.
  • Less Flexibility: There’s less room for capturing unexpected or spontaneous moments that might add a special touch to your story.
  • Potentially Stiff or Posed: Guests might feel awkward posing for extended periods, leading to less natural expressions.


Do you like more candid shots?

If yes, then go for a reportage or documentary style photographer. They’ll be more concerned with the couple enjoying their day so that they can blend into the background to capture the moments unfolding. This is my favourite approach to the day! There are pros and cons though-

Pros of a Reportage Wedding Photographer:

  • Natural & Candid Moments: Reportage photographers capture genuine emotions and interactions throughout the day. You’ll see real smiles, laughter, and tears, rather than posed expressions.
  • Storytelling: These photos tell a story of your wedding day, from getting ready to the final dance. You’ll have a visual record of the events as they unfolded.
  • Less Intrusive: The photographer blends in, allowing you and your guests to relax and enjoy yourselves without feeling constantly staged.
  • Unique Perspective: You’ll get unexpected and artistic shots that capture the atmosphere and energy of the day.

Cons of a Reportage Wedding Photographer:

  • Less Control Over Photos: You can’t necessarily request specific posed shots with family or friends.
  • Unflattering Moments: There’s a chance of capturing unflattering moments or blurry photos, since the photographer isn’t directing poses.
  • Reliance on Photographer’s Skill: A skilled reportage photographer is essential to capture key moments and emotions effectively.
  • May Not Suit All Personalities: If you prefer more traditional posed photos, this style might not be for you.

Do you like mostly family photos and group shots?

Then go for a more traditional wedding photographer. They usually have lots of group photos on their website where the couple and guests are looking at the camera in a posed manner. They generally cover lots of social events across Ireland that aren’t wedding related and work of a shot list. A lot of traditional wedding photographers would work in this manner. Taking into consideration all the family combinations.

Pros of a Traditional Wedding Photographer with Lots of Group Photos and Posed Portraits:

  • Formal & Polished Look: This style prioritizes capturing everyone looking their best in staged group shots and portraits. It creates a timeless and elegant feel for your wedding album.
  • Family & Guest Inclusion: Traditional photographers ensure everyone gets included, capturing formal portraits with family and friends. This is great for documenting who attended and celebrating with you.
  • Flattering & Perfect Memories: These photographers use lighting and posing techniques to capture well-lit, crisp photos that highlight the beauty of the occasion and the people in it.
  • Clear Communication & Organization: They excel at planning and coordinating large group photos efficiently, ensuring everyone is in the right place at the right time.

Cons of a Traditional Wedding Photographer with Lots of Group Photos and Posed Portraits:

  • Less Candid & Spontaneous: The focus on staged shots might miss capturing the natural emotions, laughter, and candid moments that unfold throughout the day.
  • Potentially Time-Consuming: Extensive group photos and portraits can take up a significant amount of wedding day time, potentially taking away from enjoying the celebration with guests.
  • Less Flexibility: There’s less room for capturing unexpected or spontaneous moments that add a personal touch to your story.
  • Staged & Traditional Feel: While elegant, the photos might feel less unique or personal compared to a style that captures more candid interactions.
  • Larger than life Personality: You might find your photographer commanding the groups like a drill sergeant in order to be as efficient as possible.


Do you like artistic wedding photography?

These are known as alternative or creative wedding photographers. They use different angles, mirrors and layers in their photography in a contemporary and unique way. They use poses and give plenty of direction too. They have a very unique style that generally people have a love or hate relationship. Think pineapple on pizza. The reality though is that they do everything that most photographers do but it just means that during the posing they’ll take a more contemporary and unique approach to the portrait session.

Pros of Hiring an Artistic/Creative Wedding Photographer :

  • Unique & Stunning Photos: They capture your wedding day in a way that goes beyond the ordinary, creating artistic and visually striking imagery.
  • Focus on Emotion & Experience: Their focus is on capturing the emotions, energy, and essence of your day through creative storytelling.
  • Modern & Edgy Look: Contemporary posing can create a stylish and visually interesting aesthetic, different from traditional wedding photos.
  • Unexpected Details & Moments: They might capture artistic close-ups or unconventional angles, highlighting details you might miss.
  • Memorable & Conversation Starter: Your photos will be unique and likely spark conversation with their artistic style.

Cons of Hiring an Artistic/Creative Wedding Photographer :

  • Not for Everyone: Their artistic style might not resonate with everyone, especially those who prefer more traditional photos.
  • Less Conventional Storytelling: Storytelling might be more abstract, relying on visuals and emotions rather than a clear chronological sequence.
  • Missing “Classic” Shots: Formal portraits and group shots might be less emphasized, potentially missing some traditional family moments.
  • Unfamiliar Posing: Contemporary posing can feel awkward for some guests or family members unfamiliar with the style.
  • Focus on Artistic Vision: The photographer’s artistic vision might supersede capturing specific moments you prioritize.


Mount Juliet Creative wedding photograph

I like all the styles, what do I do?

Yeap, most couples do and luckily enough most wedding photographers cover the different styles. Obviously some will shine in specific areas so if you really want artistic shots then make sure to book a wedding photographer that highlights mostly creative work but don’t expect them to be a ninja getting all the candids too.

With experience a good wedding photographer will have a unique look and consistency throughout all their photos from the candids to the creative editorial pieces. A professional will be able to direct you on the day when required and stay out of your way during the event. I’m more than capable in covering all the styles mentioned above but I like to meet my client’s expectations. This means good communication before the day on what photos they deem the most valuable and how to achieve these photos. All that takes is a quick discussion before the wedding day. Honestly, communication is key to getting the best out of your photographer.

The skills that I am constantly learning to be a better wedding photographer are as follows:
  • Technical Expertise: Wedding photography requires a strong foundation in camera settings, lighting, and composition. These skills are essential for any photography genre.
  • People Skills: Wedding photographers excel at working with different personalities, managing groups, and putting people at ease. This translates well to portraiture and documentary work.
  • Adaptability: Weddings involve fast-paced situations and unexpected moments. This ability to adapt and capture fleeting moments is valuable in all photography styles.
  • Eye for Detail: Capturing details like jewelry, flowers, and decor is important in wedding photography. This translates to capturing interesting details in classic and documentary styles.
  • Exercise and Healthy diet: Probably the most important. Wedding days are long and arduous. It requires concentration and creativity whilst maintaining energy levels, keeping calm and stress free. I’m at my best during weddings when I’m feeling my healthiest.


But if you had to choose just one style which would that be Phil?

I’m a documentary wedding photographer at heart. I think my portfolio throughout the years truly highlights my passion for reportage photography. I won Wedding Photographer of the Year from the IPPVA based on my portfolio of documentary images. It’s the moments that keeps me on my toes. 

You can plan ahead with studio lighting set ups at the venue, you can research the poses you want the couples to do and list the family photos required beforehand. There is a definite formula for getting the posed or prompted photos right on the day. However reportage photography just happens and I just need to have the experience to be in the right place at the right time at the right angle with the right camera set up to capture this beautifully unscripted thing before my eyes! It’s all very exhilarating and nothing beats the moment when you’ve recorded it just as it happens.

However I’ll never turn down the opportunity on the day to photograph a couple in the best of light in the best of poses. All we need is time…

What’s the first thing I should look for when searching for Irish wedding photographers?

The photographer’s real wedding galleries on their website is a good place to start. There’s no point looking at just their best images which could be a collection of all their weddings to date. Think about how your day should be covered? Do you want just a few good posed photos or do you want the story told in an unobtrusive but stylish documentary manner with some EPIC couple shots worthy of hanging over the mantelpiece in a giant frame ?

A wedding photographer’s real wedding gallery should hold at least 300 photos of the same couple’s day ( I deliver between 500 – 800 photos). It should have all the key moments of the day that you want to remember in a style that is pleasing to your eye. If you’re scrolling through their blog of another couple’s wedding thinking you’d be thrilled if these were your photos then get in touch quickly! These type of photographers book up fast!

Things to look out for on a wedding photographer’s website:
  1. Real weddings from real couples at similar venues that you’ve booked.
  2. A visual consistency in the galleries – for example, regardless if it’s a ceremony in a church or in the woods. Each gallery should capture all the key moments that make up the wedding day. Their signature style you expect should be present in every blog.
  3. Go back to older weddings from about 3 – 5 years ago. Most photographers would have deleted these as their skills progress. It’s a good sign if the photos from 5 – 10 years still deliver the same wow factor as today. Editing styles often develop with the latest fads (instagram filters). Does the photographer’s images date quickly? Was it just a gimmick colour filter he used at the time? Currently the latest trend is to desaturate all the greens in photography. People no longer have accurate skin tones and look somewhat orangey peach. Is that okay with you or is it so 2018?
  4. Do you want to go back and look at their website thoroughly? Has it been bookmarked? Have you left it open in a tab on your browser? If the answer is yes, then what are you waiting for!

So, I’ve found a wedding photographer with a style that I like, what next?

Get in touch. Tell them who you are and what you’d like on the day, let them know the date and the venues. The more details the better and expect a reply that caters to your individual questions. Personally, I would call the photographer. When it comes to the service industry the first point of contact means so much to me. A photographer should be polite, informative, understanding and most of all easy to talk to immediately. That’s the thing about good wedding photographers, they can relate to people instantaneously. A good photographer, doesn’t just have creative eyes, they’ve a great set of ears to listen to what’s being asked before the day, on the day and after the day. Most importantly they have the confidence and professional experience to deliver!

What Questions should I ask a wedding photographer?

This is where a phone call or a meeting is so important. Emails eat up a lot of a photographer’s time and they’ll send you a generic template to cover all the basics so if possible try and find their FAQ page. You can find mine here –

Wedding Info

Most importantly though ask:

Can you see a couple’s gallery?
Some couples may have given permission to their photographer to showcase their gallery to potential clients. I’d always show my clients galleries in person, whether meeting them somewhere convenient or over a skype video call. Seeing another couple’s wedding gallery at the same venue as yourselves can give you a real insight into how your own day will look at the venue. With the photographer there to lead you through the gallery, they can give you invaluable advice on how the venues run the day and where’s the best place to be photographed according to the season(weather) you’re getting married.

Can you see some albums?

Here’s where a photographer really shines. Their albums should be an heirloom of a couple’s wedding day. The album should last throughout the years using only the best printing methods.  Most importantly it should tell the tale of your day in a visually appealing manner. If their sample albums of a real wedding doesn’t appeal to you then quickly move on! I always showcase my albums in person or through videos!

Are there hidden costs?
Do the prices reflect travel to your venue, a photographer from Dublin covering a wedding in St. Stephens Green may not charge additional costs but the photographer from Mayo might include accommodation, parking, meals and tolls costs. Saying all that, a local photographer may not have the style that suits you and some couples will go so far as to fly their photographer from another country…a little excessive, Ireland has some of the worlds best photographers…I may not be number 1 but I’m number 52 out of 7000 on the Fearless list.

Do they have insurance? 

Public liability, professional indemnity? Without insurance your photographer may not be allowed to work at your venue! Ask to see their insurance papers. Give us a goo is fully insured and compliant.

Do they have back up equipment?

How many cameras do they hold on their person on the day? Lets say during the vows their camera malfunctions. Do they have another camera on their person or is it in the boot of their car? What if a lens breaks down? Do they have back up lenses? How do they back up photos?

Personally, I carry two to three cameras with me at all times and have back up lenses for all of them. Over the last 15+ years I’ve had many cameras and lens malfunction but thankfully was able to continue working without interrupting the flow of the day. My images are backed up on the day and later stored on hard drives and cloud storage.

What about a 2nd photographer to cover the candids?

While I value strong professional relationships, I personally prefer not to work with a second photographer for the entire wedding day. Having two photographers can make guests feel even more self-conscious, especially in a small venue with a videographer already present.

However, I’m highly skilled at capturing all the key moments discreetly and efficiently through effective time management. There are limitations, of course. If the groom is getting ready at a distant location, cloning myself to photograph him simultaneously isn’t possible (not yet but soon you sci-fi fans). In such cases, I can arrange for a second professional wedding photographer to cover just the groom’s morning preparations for an additional fee.”

What if they’re sick on the day?
This can happen to any service you book. However, a good photographer will have a good network of photographers they can rely on to take on your wedding at the same price. I’ve had to do this in the past when I broke my own ribs and got another professional photographer that I trusted to cover the job. The couple were thrilled with him on the day and I felt relieved that I could offer them the service. I’ve since put myself on the HSE waiting list for titanium ribs 😉

What if it pours rain or it’s too dark and cold outside?

An experienced wedding photographer can still capture professional photos despite the weather. Here’s how:

I, along with many other pros, carry a portable studio kit. This allows us to control the lighting no matter the location, ensuring your family and couple portraits taken indoors look as polished as a high-fashion studio shoot. I personally bring four strobes (lights) to achieve this. I can find a beautiful, well-lit room within the venue and use the strobes to create flattering portraits. Alternatively, I can also utilize natural window light for a softer touch.”

How long before you receive the photos?
Most photographers should be able to get your photos back to you within 6 – 8 weeks. I try to get them back to you within 2-3 weeks. It all comes down to having a good administrative workflow. Some photographers take longer and that’s because they might cover 70 – 80 weddings a year or they edit their photos heavily. Personally I cover roughly 40 – 50 weddings a year and maintain a good work balance.

How will I receive my photos?
Most photographers provide an online gallery for 6 months and deliver the photos in a USB format. I provide a long life gallery (for as long as the service can continue) and I remind clients to download and store them using online cloud storage. If you really want I can offer you a USB too but make sure you store it somewhere safe. It’s always best practice to print some photos or get an album.

What about USBs? 

Personalized USB sticks, offered in a variety of materials like traditional plastic, bamboo, or even snakeskin, are sometimes presented in charming boxes of straw or moss. But how reliable are they for long-term photo storage?

While I’ve experimented with personalized USBs from various manufacturers, I find them less dependable than established brands like Sandisk, Lexar, or Sony. For long-term photo security, online storage on multiple servers or physical backups through photo albums and prints are more reliable options.

Remember the days of CDs and DVDs? Many no longer have devices that can read them. Could the same fate await USB 2.0 and 3.0 drives? It’s a possibility worth considering.

What about a videographer? 

Absolutely, if your budget allows, wedding videography is a fantastic addition! Many couples experience regret later for not capturing their special day on video. Thankfully, there are numerous talented videographers with diverse styles. Over the past 15+ years, I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with several exceptional ones, and I’d be happy to recommend them.

However, it’s important to choose a videographer who complements your wedding photography experience. Some videographers, while skilled, can be overly intrusive. They might stand very close to you throughout the day, or use multiple cameras on tripods that crowd the space. Would you want photos capturing a videographer behind you as you enter a room, or tripods surrounding you at the altar?

The ideal videographers I work with are those who communicate effectively with me on the wedding day. We develop a natural flow that keeps the couple at ease. Sometimes we shoot side-by-side, or take turns capturing specific moments. Importantly, they understand my candid photography style and prioritize giving the couple space for genuine moments to unfold naturally. They maintain a positive and unobtrusive presence, preserving the authenticity of the day.

It’s so easy to FAKE NEWS and even easier to set up a website and steal images. How do I know if a photographer is genuine?

This is a real concern these days. Not enough can be said about public testimonials. My google reviews can be found below. Also, check to see how long they’ve been in business. Do they have a registered business number? Are they VAT registered? Word of mouth from friends or even friends of friends speaks volumes. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook. They should post good content regularly . Ask the venue if they’ve heard of them before? Ask make up artists and hair stylists. It’s a small industry and the good suppliers all know of each other.

There’s also the IPPVA – Irish Professional Photographers and Videographers Asscociation. The IPPVA requires that members adhere to a strict code of conduct and carry out their business dealings in a professional manner. It’s not easy to become a member and word spreads fast if any photographer does not stick with the rules. And yes, I am a member 🙂

Also, I would trust most photographers on One FAB Day. They only allow reputable photographers to advertise with them unlike many of the other wedding directories.

How do I secure booking a photographer?

A non refundable booking fee or deposit is usually paid. I take these via online bank transfer or credit card payments. A contract must also be signed and a receipt of payment delivered.

Anything else I should do after booking a photographer?

After booking your photographer, there are a few things you can do to ensure a smooth and successful collaboration.

Gentle Nudges and Inspiration:

  • A friendly reminder about your wedding date closer to the time is always appreciated. This helps solidify the booking in everyone’s calendars.
  • To share your vision, consider creating a Pinterest board filled with photos you love. This serves as inspiration, not a rigid shot list.

Building Trust and Creativity:

  • Rest assured, most professional photographers welcome your input! It shows your passion for capturing special moments. I personally enjoy browsing these inspiration boards to understand your preferences. It helps to be on the same page.
  • However, trust goes both ways. With my experience, I’ll often capture those desired photos in my own unique and creative way.

Open Communication:

That’s all you really need to do when it comes to working with your photographer. But of course, if you have any questions or want to discuss your wedding day in more detail, feel free to get in touch! I’m always happy to chat.