Many couples get so caught up with planning all the obvious details of their wedding–such as the cake, the wedding decorations, the gown and gifts for members of the wedding party–that they often overlook the importance of selecting the right wedding photographer. It’s important to remember that the photographer you choose will be responsible for capturing the moments and memories of what may be the most important day of your life! With this in mind, you’ll want to take great care in selecting a wedding photographer considering there are no second chances.
As you might imagine, wedding photography is one of the most challenging types of professional photography. The wedding photographer has to make everyone look beautiful, shooting in a multitude of locations in all kinds of weather conditions–and accomplish all this in minimum amount of time. At the same time, your wedding photographer should have the personality to compliment you on your most joyous day. Take your time and follow some of the simple suggestions discussed below, and you will most certainly be satisfied with the outcome.
Where Do You Begin?
Personal referrals or asking friends, relatives and co-workers for suggestions, is a great place to start. My Ideal Wedding provides a great search facility to see what other photographers are available. After compiling a preliminary list, visit each photographer’s website and thoughtfully review his or her online portfolio. If a portfolio looks appealing to you, chances are, that photographer might be a good fit. Next, call or email each photographer on your list. If you have selected photographers from the My Ideal Wedding search you can do a bulk email to them to request further information. Through this initial contact, you can determine the photographer’s availability, the type of work they specialize in (candid or traditional) as well as an estimate of the cost and what you’ll receive for that fee.
Schedule appointments with the photographers who seem most appropriate and ask to view their portfolios in person and discuss more details. Ask each of them to show you a complete portfolio of a single wedding–this will give you a much clearer sense of what you can expect than a collection of choice shots from several different events. Pay attention to whether the photographer is adept at portraying individual expressions and personalities. Ideally, these meetings should include the bride and groom as well as the bride’s parents since you will all be interacting with the photographer.
What Questions Should You Ask?
Be sure to write down all of your questions beforehand, and take thorough notes during the meetings. Although most professional photographers will provide you with a clear outline of their services and fees prior to your meeting, you will, in all likelihood, still have a large number of questions to ask. Remember, the more information you have, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel on your special day.
The following are some questions, courtesy of IQ Photo, you may wish to consider asking:
- How will you show me pictures for selection (e.g., electronic, proofs, contact sheets, online gallery, etc.)?
- Will you help me choose the final pictures?
- How will you make it easy for friends and family to order reprints?
- What are the costs of the various levels of coverage?
- Are there different degrees of coverage?
- What is your photography style; photojournalistic, traditional, mixed, etc.?
- How much for the duplicate prints, albums, folios, enlargements, thank you cards, etc.
- What’s your time frame for preparing the pictures for my selection?
- How about engagement session?
- How long do I have to make up my mind as to which pictures I want and how many?
- How long have you been in business?
- What kind of guarantee comes with my hiring you?
- Will you have an assistant?
- Do you have travel fees?
- How much is your overtime fee?
- What do you plan to do at my wedding to make my wedding photographs unique and personal to me?
- Do you have a backup?
- Will you be shooting my pictures personally?
- Will you use film or digital?
- What’s your payment policy?
- Do you give any guarantees on your services and photographs?
- What is the possibility of the pictures fading?
- How much will it cost?
Excerpt from My Ideal Wedding Blog