You have your date set and your venue selected. Eventually you’ll have to decide who will do the best at capturing your wedding in a style that fits your liking.
Ask the following questions of your photographer to find the best fit for your day:
1. Personality Match – You will be with your photographer for a considerable period of time on your wedding day. Make sure you get along with him! At the professional level, many photographers will give you what you want at the end of the day. Focus on who you can work with best at your wedding. You’ll have a better idea during your conversations with your photographer if there is a good match and if the chemistry is right. A photographer who is bossy and rude can ruin an otherwise perfect day. Pick one who is unobtrusive and friendly.
2. Find the right Style – Photojournalistic (‘reportage’) wedding pictures are now very popular. If you like this you will find almost all photographers shoot this style to some degree. The idea being the photographer would capture moments as they happen rather than set up poses. Others prefer set up shots to the documentary/photojournalism look. There are photographers that do only one style and others who can do both. Make sure you specify what percentage of your wedding you want covered in a particular style. Artistic, Photojournalistic, Traditional, a blend.
3. Ask for Commitment – Many wedding companies use photographers other than the person you think you’ve signed up for. It’s not uncommon. Make sure you ask to speak directly to the photographer who will be working with you on the day of the wedding. And don’t hesitate to ask for a guarantee in your contract. You should also ask if the packages include one or two photographers. The more photographers shooting your wedding, the more quality photographs you’ll have in the end.
4. Look for Experience – Has this person photographed other weddings in the past? Ask to see a selection of recent images from full weddings – start to finish. Also ask if the work you are presented with is a compilation of work from more than one photographer or the photographer you are hiring. This will help you judge the skill and style of the photographer you’re interested in.
5. The Offering – Make sure you understand what you’re getting in your packages. Sometimes the packages are set in stone, sometimes they can be customized to include changes in hours, shooting times, locations, end products, etc. Get this all laid out up front so you both have similar expectations. Are you interested in a “Shoot and Burn” wedding where you just want your images on a CD and that’s it? Do you want albums, proof books, online galleries for friends and family?
6. Product Delivery – Do want a website and CD of your images? How long does it take for your proofs to come in? Do you want albums or do you want to get those on your own? You don’t want to be waiting two months for the final product to arrive. Many photographers now offer you the copyright to the images. This will save you a lot of money by not having to use your photographer for prints and enlargements.
8. The Price is Right – Is this person within your budget or worth the price difference. You’ve heard it before. You get what you pay for. The best photographers will cost more than the mediocre and they charge more for their skill level. They’ve spent time developing their sytle a product and should be rewarded for it. From your end, make sure you understand what everything costs and what you’ll get in the end. If the budget is out of your price range, ask your photographer to work with you to customize the best package for your current situation.
9. The Contract – Make sure you have everything clearly worded and that you understand the contract. You don’t want to dabble in the fine print. A good photographer will be clear and honest with everything up front. Ask about deposits and cancellations before signing the dotted line.
All the best in your search!