Securing a wedding photographer is often left to the final wedding planning stage because there is simply the questions of Where do I even begin and How do I choose the right wedding photographer. You may have heard some horror stories or received several recommendations from family and friends. However, this still does not answer the question: Who is the right wedding photographer for you and your fiancé. I hope to serve as a guide through this process. In fact there are telltale signs when you have found the right wedding day photographer. You may be asking what qualifies me to be your photography guru. I have been in the industry for 20 years and I have photographed 400 weddings. So I feel confident in providing some foundational tips to ensure that you are on the right path when choosing a wedding photographer. I assure you this process does not have to be overwhelming. Here are some important starting points to consider.
When you complete an initial internet search for photographers in your area does this photographer’s website pop up within the top 10 sites. If it does this is a promising sign because this means that your photographer is frequently searched by other brides and grooms.
When you click on the website I want you to hold onto your first impression and ask yourself: Is this site something that I immediately gravitate towards? Do I want to explore it further based on the style and organization of the website, are there example photo galleries, available reviews from past brides and grooms, is there a biography about the photographer and his team, and is there an overview of straightforward packages and booking information. The reason that I mention a photographer’s website is because for the typical bride and groom this is where the search begins for vendors or there is a link to this photographer from popular wedding sites. Whether or not the photographer is reputable is dependent upon the factors I mentioned above.
Remember that the photographer who you choose is going to be spending 8 to 10 hours with you during your wedding day. There is an essential compatibility between a wedding photographer and the client. After you locate a potential photographer through their website the next step is contacting him or her via phone. Is this photographer passionate about his work? Are there an immediate connection and/or response between you and this wedding photographer? If there is not then I strongly recommend continue your SEARCH!!!!
Initial Meeting with a Wedding Photographer
After reaching out to this photographer, hopefully you are inclined to meet with him or her in person to discuss your wedding day vision. At this initial meeting the photographer should have an example of an album or another form of his work that represents his experience and be familiar with your wedding venue. The photographer should be able to easily explain what services he or she can provide to you, pricing and packages, do you own the full rights of your wedding photos, will your photos be posted on the photographer’s website or will you receive a disk of all photos, is his/her preferred photography style i.e. traditional or photojournalistic, and a detailed contract should be presented to you for review.
This contract should include: an area where all of the contact and wedding day information can be listed such as the bride and groom’s address and phone numbers, parents of the bride and groom, the bridal party, the ceremony and reception location and times, package price, cancellation and refund policy, photographer, bride and groom’s signature of agreement, and a checklist of must have photos. The initial meeting should not be pressure induced if the photographer recognizes the magnitude of making this decision. There should be an opportunity given for a follow-up meeting or discussion so that you feel you have all of the necessary information prior to making a final decision and submitting your contract and any payment.
Other Important Questions to Ask a Wedding Photographer
- Will this photographer be the one shooting your wedding?
- Does the photographer plan to schedule more than one wedding on your wedding day?
- What if my photographer is sick the day of the wedding?
- Does this photographer have back-up equipment?
- Is this photographer willing or able to take photos at night during an evening ceremony?
- Is there a limit to how many photos will be taken the day of the wedding?
- Will this photographer take photos at another site away from the ceremony or reception location?
- Is there a deposit requirement to hold my wedding date or can I just submit my completed contract?
- How do I pay the balance of my package price and can I pay in installments prior to the wedding?
- How long does the editing process take after my wedding?
- When will I be able to view my wedding photos or when do I receive a disk with the edited photos?
- If I do not choose a package with an album or parents’ album can I order an album at a later date and is there an extra charge?
- If my package includes an album am I, the bride and groom, included in choosing the photos to create the album?
A FINAL THOUGHT: Your wedding photographs are going to be your primary lifetime keepsake so you want to make sure that you are completely comfortable with the wedding photographer that you have chosen to capture all of your wedding day memories.
Cheers and Best Wishes,