How to Choose the Best Wedding Photographer

When it comes to planning a wedding, choosing the right photographer is crucial. After all, these photographs will be cherished memories that you and your partner will look back on for years to come. But with so many wedding photographers out there, how do you know which one to choose? In this article, we’ll discuss what to look for in a wedding photographer, with a particular focus on their ability to capture the moment.

Capturing the Moment through exceptional Wedding Photography. The bride and her father share a heartfelt moment.

Great Wedding Photographers Capture the Moment

Bridesmaids gasp at the first site of the bride.

A distinct ability to capture “the moment.”  This is THE MOST important part of the process because it takes an internal component within the photographer to connect, comfort, and unobtrusively move through an event.  It’s the only way to document reality.  In our opinion this is what makes each wedding day unique and taps into the wishes of society’s most educated and successful individuals.  To put it in a simple fashion, successful people pose for imagery throughout their careers.  When getting married, they often internally desire that real emotion and personality comes through…..not for the public or social media…..for themselves.

Spend time in their portfolio

Newlyweds share a kiss as they ride away by horse carraige.

So, what should you look for in a wedding photographer when it comes to capturing the moment? First and foremost, they should have a portfolio that showcases their ability to capture candid, unposed moments. These are the shots that truly tell the story of your wedding day, and they require a photographer who can anticipate and capture them without disrupting the moment. Look for photographers who have a talent for capturing emotions, whether it’s the joy of a bride and groom seeing each other for the first time, or the tearful happiness of a parent watching their child get married.  Remember, a photographer’s portfolio is their chance to display some of their best moments captured. 

How should the best photographers communicate? 

An adorable flower girl waits patiently at the feet of the bridesmaids.

In addition to a strong portfolio, a good wedding photographer should have excellent communication skills. They should be able to put you at ease and make you feel comfortable in front of the camera. This is particularly important for capturing candid moments, as you don’t want to feel self-conscious or awkward. A good photographer will be able to strike a balance between directing you when necessary and stepping back to capture natural moments as they unfold.

Another important consideration when choosing a wedding photographer is their equipment and technical expertise. They should have high-quality camera gear and be skilled at using it in a variety of lighting conditions. This is especially important for capturing those candid moments, as they may happen in low-light situations or other challenging conditions. A photographer who can make the appropriate adjustments quickly is the photographer who captures the best candid moments. 

It’s also important to ensure that the photographer is professional and reliable. Ask for references from previous clients and check online reviews to see what others have to say about their experience. A professional photographer should be punctual, dress appropriately, and conduct themselves in a manner that reflects positively on you and your event.

Do your styles align?

When choosing a wedding photographer, it’s also important to consider the photographer’s style. Make sure you take the time to look through different photographers’ portfolios and find one whose style matches your vision for your wedding day.  A professional photographer should display the different styles they’re capable of capturing in their portfolio. 

Portraits are still important

Newlyweds share a moment after their wedding in front of The Greenbrier in West Virginia.

In addition to capturing the moment, a good wedding photographer should also be able to create beautiful portraits. These are the posed shots that you will cherish for years to come. Look for photographers who have a talent for posing and lighting, and who can create images that are both timeless and unique.  A talented photographer portrays qualities of a journalist; displaying the ability to document moments that capture the authentic expressions and spirit of a couple on that special day. 

How much should our budget be? 

A masterfully crafted wedding ring is on display.

Finally, don’t forget to consider the value of your wedding photographer. While it’s important to stay within your budget, remember that your wedding photos are an investment in your memories. Don’t be afraid to spend a little more for a photographer whose work you love, as the memories they capture will last a lifetime.

Bringing it all together:

When looking for the best photographers, start with searching your local area, reading reviews, on search engines as well as local directories, and start with. Choosing the right wedding photographer is essential for capturing the moments that will be treasured for a lifetime. Look for a photographer who has a distinct ability to capture the moment, as this is what will make your wedding day unique and memorable. Consider their portfolio, communication skills, technical expertise, and style to find the perfect match for your wedding day. With the right photographer by your side, you can relax and enjoy the moment, knowing that the memories will be captured beautifully for years to come.

If you have any questions or would like to work with one of the best photographers in and around the Charlottesville, Virginia area, please contact us here.

one moment – Omni Homestead weddings – Sharon and Onkar

When photographing weddings, it’s very important to compose, look for moments, and see the light. It all came together this afternoon in a very simple image. The Omni Homestead hosted Sharon and Onkar’s wedding.  There were two ceremonies, a traditional Indian wedding in the morning, and a western ceremony in the afternoon. During the traditional Indian ceremony, I noticed this little one drifting off to sleep with the window light was perfectly cast on his face.  The gesture of the hands is an important component. You can see the tremendous detail on the hands along with the feel of a caring mother’s touch.

one moment – Omni Homestead Weddings – with Tina and Monte Durham from “Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta”

Tina had no idea that “Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta” host Monte Durham would surprise her when she put on her wedding dress this summer day.  She was told her husband-to-be, Adam, was sending her a gift. She immediately became concerned and said, “We agreed not to get each other a gift.  I didn’t get him anything.” I reassured her that it was something small and not to worry. We had her cover her eyes while we brought Mr. Durham into the room.  The is her reaction. She is such a big fan of the show and was absolutely thrilled to have that experience.

Tina grew up

one moment within Veritas Winery Weddings – Natalie and Andrew

My passion is to make photographs at every wedding that make the day unique.  Simply put, I’m looking for “the moment.” That one split second, captured with the camera, that won’t ever be repeated.  It might be the way the light is falling on a tear, a laugh, a touch of emotion, or that feeling within someone that resonates when looking at the photograph of the moment.  I want to be surprised and give my clients that piece of the day that isn’t planned or something they didn’t notice. All photographers capture images of the wedding couple in an embrace, kissing, processing, recessing, dancing, cutting the cake, and the details.  It’s all part of a wedding weekend and so important to capture. To compliment those images, I have to go after something more avant-garde, special and heartfelt. It’s what I crave every time I pick up the camera, whether it is an image of my daughter in the comfort of my own home or a wedding photograph at any one of the many exceptional locations world-wide.  Here is just one of those moments and the story behind it. There are more to come.

one moment – A Wedding at The Greenbrier

I absolutely love this photo-journalistic portrait that was taken just before Dawn processed down the aisle for her wedding at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs.  I was changing positions and noticed that she and her father were in beautiful lighting next to the door, both in tears. They are wrapped up in the moment.  To me, this is simply beautiful.  I love that she is seemingly unaware of the camera and he is unaffected by my presence.  Greenbrier weddings are simply stunning, as there is such a beautiful backdrop everywhere you turn.

one moment – Courtney and Kip – Omni Homestead


I love layering images.  In this case, I got in between all of the groomsmen with a telephoto lens and tried to capture the intense expression of the bride gazing into the grooms eyes during the wedding ceremony.  Her look is so powerful and it’s enhanced even more by framing her within the men in the foreground.

Rob Garland is the owner of Rob Garland Photographers, an award winning Charlottesville wedding photographer that specializes in wedding photojournalism and fine art printing. Rob prides himself on a classic, intuitive, heartfelt documentation with the utmost in visual integrity. He has documented many destination weddings throughout the U.S. and abroad as well as Charlottesville weddings at many of our outstanding local venues. Rob loves imagery that fails to go in and out of style and personal touches that make each wedding unique.

one moment – Courtney and Kip


As many of you know, I am attracted to reality in my photography.  It goes deeper than that – I want to capture your soul and print it on paper (I wish people would print more on true fine art papers… is starting to become a lost art for a generation tied to their phones).  I don’t blog too many of the “standard” wedding images showing the details (giving us a taste into how much you did or didn’t spend), the typical posed group photos, the bridal party being silly, etc.  Weddings are fun….a joy…..I wouldn’t trade my job for the world, but I just can’t repetitively show the same thing time and time again.  I have to have capture feelings.  It’s why I frequently blog images in black and white, to not distract.  I love to simplify.

This particular photo is an image where I was watching Courtney and Kip for reactions during their toasts.  Kip lost his mother not too long ago and when Courtney’s father started speaking about how proud she would be of her son, Kip couldn’t help but show some emotion.  Courtney leaned in to her new husband and softly gave him a kiss.

To me, this is what we celebrate.  Love.  There is no better example than the image below.  Kip is expressing love for his mom, Courtney is expressing love for her husband.  In the background, you can see the look of concern….the love of a friend.  All three examples wrapped into one image.

Enjoy.  I certainly did.

Wedding: The Omni Homestead

Rob Garland is the owner of Rob Garland Photographers, an award winning Charlottesville wedding photographer that specializes in wedding photojournalism and fine art printing. Rob prides himself on a classic, intuitive, heartfelt documentation with the utmost in visual integrity. He has documented many destination weddings throughout the U.S. and abroad as well as Charlottesville weddings at many of our outstanding local venues. Rob loves imagery that fails to go in and out of style and personal touches that make each wedding unique.