Shopping for a wedding photographer isn’t like selecting outfits and bridal bouquets for one simple reason: you can’t see the pictures you’re buying until after you’ve made your decision. You never quite know who you are getting or how good they are. In the end, your decision will be largely a matter of faith. For many, price ends up being the primary determining factor, which doesn't make much sense when you consider that there are no second chances. Once the wedding is done, the photos and video are the only record of your important day. It is a one shot deal with no UNDO button.
The photographer is an investment worth researching. Price should be only one of your considerations for choosing a wedding photographer and is usually an indicator of the quality and level of service, but everyone has experienced exceptions to this rule. When comparing prices, you must keep in mind what you get for a given price: how many proofs, how many prints of which sizes, how many hours and which venues are covered. But first and foremost, hire a professional photographer. A professional will be competent, experienced and well equipped. They are trained, talented, and able to handle the fast pace and stress that is involved with wedding photography.
Start by building a list of several wedding photographers.
Your best resource is people you know. Ask ask your friends, family members and co-workers for their advice and referrals. They can provide some of the best information to you from their past experiences and observations. People who’ve had positive experiences with photographers are always happy to share their photographers names with you.
Visit each photographer's website.
Carefully review his or her portfolio. Try to concentrate on photos and not on website design. Today anyone can get a beautiful template flash website for a few hundred bucks. Are you looking for something different in your wedding photography? Some people don't like traditional "posed" pictures in wedding albums, and have turned to alternatives such as candid photos, black and whites, and grainy photojournalism shots. The photojournalist will record your day as it unfolds, capturing the laughter, tears, and spontaneity of your wedding in a candid and realistic style. Other photographers are more formal in their approach, focusing on posed and grouped shots in a more controlled setting with carefully chosen backgrounds. Most wedding photographers will work in a blend of these styles, shooting both posed and candid photos throughout the day. The most important thing to look for when hiring your photographer should be that you absolutely like their work and style. Just like you know when you find that perfect wedding dress, you will know when you find the photographer suited to you. Good photographers usually show plenty of their recent work online including full weddings - you will save time by pre-qualifying photographers who have comprehensive online portfolio for possible meeting. Create a list of those photographers.
Call or email each photographer on your list.
A quick phone call or short email will give you a number of key pieces of information, such as the photographer’s availability on your wedding day, type of photography specialties (e.g., candid, traditional, photojournalism, combination, film or digital, etc.), and a rough idea as to how much they’ll charge you and what you’ll receive for that fee. It will also tell you a bit about the photographer’s personality. Remember, your wedding photographer will be an integral part of the most important day of your life, so be sure you choose someone you feel good about.
Make appointments with the photographers who sound promising
so you can view their portfolios and discuss details. Make appointments to interview wedding photographers as early as possible preferably on a week day, or on a Saturday if you work during the week. Get there as soon as they open, before the crowds, as Saturday is the busy day for them. After work on weekday evenings is also a good time to go.These meetings should include both the bride and groom as well as the bride's parents, and anyone else who will either be paying for the work or working closely with the photographer. Write down all your questions before you meet, and take notes during the meetings.
The more questions you ask up front, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel on your wedding day. And remember, there is no such thing as a dumb question!
Questions to Ask BEFORE You Book a Photographer
- What is the name of the photographer?
- How many years have you been in business?
- Are you the person who will protograph my wedding?
- Do you bring backup equipement with you?
- What is your basic price?
- Can negatives be purchased? If so, what's the cost?
- What is the cost per additional hour of shooting?
- What is the cost of an engagement shoot?
- What is a cost of a photo album?
- What is a cost for frames?
- Do you use proofs?
- How many proofs will I get?
- What is your payment policy?
- What is your cancelation policy?
- Do you offer a money-back guarantee?