You’ll probably spend more time with your wedding photographer on the day of your wedding than any other professional or person. Although many wedding magazines recommend that you ask about equipment and style, it’s more important to choose a photographer with whom you can relax and who will provide what you’re looking for. Here are seven tips to help you select the right person.
- There are probably hundreds of listings in your area for wedding photographers. Browse through their portfolios and find three or four with images that you like. Once you’ve narrowed your choices, set up a time to meet with the photographer. Make sure you’re meeting with the person who will be at your wedding, not a sales person/consultant or the owner of the studio. You’re putting your wedding memories in the photographer’s hands. You have to like and trust this person.
- Don’t choose a photographer for these reasons:
- He or she is family or the friend of a family member. Just imagine if something goes wrong. You have to face this person at family reunions for the rest of your life.
- The venue made the recommendation. There are some venues that actually allow vendors to pay to be on the “preferred list.” It’s marketing, not preference.
- The wedding photographer is running a sale. Good photographers have to invest in professional equipment and pay taxes and insurance. If they’re offering a deep discount, you have to ask yourself, “Where are they cutting corners?”
- They’re popular and booked out for 300 weddings this year. Think about the logistics of doing 300 weddings in one year. Who knows who will be actually taking pictures of you on your wedding day?
- Ask what you get for their services. On average, you should expect 50 to 100 photos for each hour the photographer works. Who owns the rights to the photographs? How will you get reprints? How many of the pictures will be edited in post-production?
- Will the photographer do a first-look session? A first look is when the bride and groom spend a few minutes alone together before the ceremony. It helps to get the jitters out and lets you have that real moment of seeing each other in private. Your photographer can capture those raw emotions before the ceremony and then you can enjoy the cocktail hour after the ceremony.
- What happens if the photographer is sick? Although it is unlikely that the photographer you choose will get sick, you should know what the contingency plan is.
- Find out how much experience the wedding photographer has. Don’t simply look at years in business, but consider how many weddings the person has actually shot in that time frame. Someone with five years of experience who has only done 10 weddings may not compare to someone with just one year of experience who has done 50 weddings over that time.
- Do you get a contract that clearly outlines the details of the services? Be extremely wary of photographers who do not have a contract that offers pricing, resolution terms and cancellation terms. This is for your protection as much as theirs. Once you have a contract, any verbal statements that change the terms of the contract should be obtained in writing.
Choose Your Wedding Photographer Sooner Rather Than Later
You may need to book your photographer right after you choose the date of the wedding. However, don’t panic if you don’t get your first choice. You may be able to get a referral to someone with a similar style who doesn’t have a full schedule. Should you tip your photographer? While most photographers don’t expect tips, most will appreciate one if it is given.