Guide to Picking the Perfect Wedding Photographer
April 18th, 2017 Wedding Ideas, Tips and Inspiration
If a picture is worth a thousand words your wedding pictures will be worth so much more! Your wedding day will be your most photographed moment in your life. So picking the perfect wedding photographer to capture your special day is not a task you should take lightly. Not only will your wedding photographer be capturing your special moments, but you will be spending the majority of the day with this person and their team. From getting your hair and makeup done, to pictures of your wedding dress, to cutting the cake. You want to choose a photographer who you like and feel comfortable with. If there are any red flags or your intuition kicks in, listen to it and reconsider your pick.
Our first tip to you is to look through a handful of wedding photographer’s website and samples, talk to newlywed couples, family and friends, and other vendors for recommendations. If you have a wedding planner be sure to ask for their recommendations. Your wedding planner is your resource and should be experienced enough to have a list of preferred vendors who are seasoned pros and will be able to produce beautiful pictures and are reliable.
After you have narrowed down your pick to two or three be sure to set up appointments to meet face to face. In person interviews are important because it allows you to get a feel for what the photographer’s style and personality. It also allows you to see whether they get to know you and your significant other along with your love story. Because at the end of the day, the photographs should tell YOUR love story.
Questions to Ask Your Potential Wedding Photographer
1) Are you available for my wedding date?
This is the first question to ask and can be emailed to your potential photographer prior to a meeting. If he or she is not, then there is really no point in having the in person interview. Some photographers will have multiple events in one day, so ask if he or she has other photo appointments the same day as your wedding. You don’t want to be competing with someone else on your wedding day. Bottom line, make sure the photographer is available for your wedding date and for the timeframe you need time.
2) What style do you specialize in?
Everyone has their own personality and perspective in life. It carries over to photography too. Each photographer has their own shooting style and perspective of capturing the wedding day. The photographer’s main style will always produce the best pictures. The most common terminologies for style are “natural,” “dramatic,” and “styled.” Your potential photographer’s style should match the vision you have about your wedding day.
3) How long have you been a wedding photographer? How many weddings do you shoot a year?
Experience is important. Photographers who shoot weddings as their full time job are well equipped with knowledge of how to handle last minute situations and challenges. FYI, a full time wedding photographer shoots approximately 20-30 weddings a year. You may question the photographer’s prices but just keep in mind, the more experience they have the higher the rate may be, but also the better your photos will turn out. Experience is the price justification.
4) What are your rates and what do they include? How many hours of coverage do we get?
Rates vary from photographer to photographer. Some will charge a flat rate (say, $4,000 for 8 hours of footage) with a-la-carte extras while others will charge by packages (ranging from least- to most-time intensive). Some photographers will charge overtime and if their overtime price is too high, opt for a longer pre-arranged duration. This may be cheaper than paying the overtime price. Packages can include digital copies, printed copies, canvases, CD/USB copies, and albums. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when talking about packages, rates and hours of coverage.
5) What types of equipment and technology will be used?
Wedding photographers usually use a professional camera. But do you want your photos to be film or digital or both? Does your photographer shoot in JPG or RAW format? RAW photos are easier to edit. Do you want pictures in all color, black and white or a mixture of both? Communicate your wants and preferences to your photographer to help him or her see your vision. Do they have backup equipment? You may think that because they are professionals, nothing can go wrong. In reality, things can and have gone wrong. And you can’t be over prepared for your big day. Pictures look different in certain lightings. Does your photographer have equipment to help shoot in low lighting? Have they ever shot in low lighting before? You want to know that your photographer isn’t new to the game and know what he or she is doing.
6) Will you be shooting yourself or will there be other assistants helping to capture the moments?
As a solo photographer, you will get one angle at a time of that moment. If the photographer has assistants, you can expect to have multiple angles of the same moment. For instance, the photographer will capture your groom’s facial expressions as he sees you for the first time walking towards him in your wedding dress, while the assistant will capture you in your gorgeous dress walking down the aisle. The photographer and assistants are one team and may have similar vision and perspective but they are not the same person. So with the assistant, you get a different interpretation of the photographer’s perspective. It will give you a variety in your pictures.
7) Do you require a deposit/or total fee payment before shooting?
No one really likes to talk about finances but it has to be done. Save this topic for near the end of the meeting. Getting an answers to this question allows you to prepare for payment. Just know that approximately 12% of your wedding budget will go towards the photographer. When talking about finances, ALWAYS get the agreement in writing. It will save you from headaches if anything does arise later.
8) Do you have any examples of your work? (If you have a coordinator ask for their recommendations previous work experience is important and dependable as well)
Looking at samples of the photographer’s work is great. But what’s even better, is asking to see photos of an entire wedding from start to finish. This will allow you to see the style and way the photographer shoots and see if it matches with your vision.
9) Have you ever shot at my venue(s) before? (important for knowing the logistics of the environment, experience at a location will help to get all the great shots without wasting time trying to figure everything out)
Each venue has its advantages and challenges, ranging from lighting to reflections to size of each venue. The benefit of the photographer shooting there before is that he or she will be familiar with lighting and angles as well as the most picturesque location. If the photographer has not shot there before, ask if he or she is willing to visit the venue beforehand to scope out the layout and lighting so no time is wasted doing this on the big day.
10) How long after the wedding will I receive my images? How will they be delivered?
We all know that you are super excited to see your pictures from the big day. And we want to see them too! Retouch and edits take some time to be done but your photographer should give you a clear timeline of when you can expect to see your pictures. This should normally take approximately three to four weeks. Some photographers will show you the proofs before editing and let you choose which pictures you want. They will then edit only the ones you have chosen. Other photographers will edit the pictures before showing you any of them. Most photographers will release them in stages; same day videos, teasers, digital copies then the entire day. Some will put it in a CD or USB drive for you while others will upload it online and you can order your pictures from there. It just depends on how you want your final pictures.
We hope the list of questions and answers help you in your quest to find the perfect wedding photographer for your big day. For more wedding day tips and inspiration be sure to sign up for our newsletter!