Choosing a wedding photographer is incredibly important since it’s one of the primary ways to capture the special moments of your big day. It can be a complicated decision though, and there are certain things to consider when picking the right one. Consider an engagement picture shoot with your photographer prior to the wedding. Chances are he or she will be with you the entire day! This will get you used to the photographer being in your face all day taking pictures. As an added benefit, it will ensure you are more comfortable and less self-conscious about pictures being snapped every three seconds.
Use this checklist to make sure you’re meeting all the requirements couples look for when choosing a wedding photographer.
Wedding Vendor Checklist
[ ] Budget: Pricing may vary anywhere from hundreds of dollars to thousands, and is based on experience, quality, packages, day and time of wedding, and reputation. You’ll also want to consider if the photographer can travel to your wedding spot and how long he or she will be there.
Package pricing can be tricky however. For many couples, choosing a wedding photographer is based on price. Carefully review what is included in these pre-priced packages. Most of all, speak up and negotiate items you agree with.
[ ] Experience/Style: What is the photographer’s style? Whether it’s traditional or artsy, you’ll need to pick a wedding photographer that suits your style or theme. For example, a ‘barefoot on the beach’ theme may necessitate a photographer that shoots exclusively outside and is experienced with artistic nature shots.
You’ll also want to review a website or portfolio before choosing your wedding photographer. During the interview, ask the photographer to bring along pictures or albums of previous work. Ask yourself how obtrusive the photographer is during the actual shooting. Does he or she blend into the background while taking pictures or is it a more obnoxious approach?
Finally, what is the photographer’s personality like? Can you imagine yourself getting along with the person during the ceremony and reception? If you select a wedding photographer who is affiliated with a company, make sure you know who is taking the pictures that day. Sometimes, bigger companies have an apprentice or assistant taking your pictures.
[ ] Film: Ask what type of medium the photographer uses. Can he or she accommodate film and digital requests as well as color or black and white?
[ ] Capabilities: Remember – you will have choices to make, including how many hours you need the photographer to stay on and take pictures. What pictures do you want taken? Where do you want pictures taken? How many albums do you want?
Well before the day of the wedding, provide your photographer with a list of the pictures you want taken, including the bride getting ready, groomsmen, family, ceremony, and reception. This ensures that you have ample time to discuss the shots that are “must haves.” Plus, the wedding photographer is better prepared.
[ ] Developing: Can your wedding photographer put together a proof book with pictures from the wedding as well as a wedding album? Furthermore, you should inquire how you’ll receive your pictures and how long the turnaround takes. Some photographers upload pictures to a website and then charge you for every picture, while some give you all the negatives and then you print your own pictures. The rest may just give you the proof book to select pictures from. If you have the option to take them all, do it!
[ ] References: Don’t forget to ask your wedding photographer for references. The past experiences of other couples will help you make a more well-rounded decision.
The Trick to Choosing a Wedding Photographer
If you have a wedding planner — which is highly recommended – you’ll soon learn that he or she has relationships with all types of vendors and can introduce you to a few photographers who have proven their mettle. This type of scenario is a win-win situation for everyone. If having a wedding planner is unrealistic, referrals are a good place to start. Ask friends or family which budget wedding photography studio they used for their weddings. The internet, bridal magazines, and shows are other good methods of research when it comes to choosing a wedding photographer. Make sure you interview several photographers to find the right fit – just book fast – good photographers go quickly.