Planning a wedding is a huge undertaking, with a long list of tasks that need to be accomplished before, during, and after the big day. You’ll be speaking with several vendors for the various aspects of your wedding, from florists to cake designers to DJs. For many couples, the wedding photographer is one of the most important professionals you’ll hire for the event.
Unlike the food, which will be eaten and quite frankly forgotten, and the dress, which will likely never be worn again, your wedding photos are a lasting reminder of one of the biggest days of your life, and you want to look your best and most radiant self in every shot. This is why it’s important to take the time to find the right photographer who understands what you want and can capture both the big, celebratory moments and smaller, more meaningful moments that make your wedding day so special.
If you’re getting married in the near future, ask recently-married friends and family for referrals. Newlyweds who were thrilled with their wedding photos will be happy to give you the name of who they used. When you have a short list, hop online and start browsing their websites. Do any of the photographers’ styles mesh with yours? If you don’t have a specific style in mind, will the photographer offer helpful suggestions and ideas for shots?
Contact the photographers whose photos you like most and request an in-person meeting so you can learn more about each other. The photographer will likely bring additional samples so you can get a better idea of their style and photo possibilities. Also, don’t hesitate to ask them for references. Below are some additional questions to ask each photographer you speak with:
- Do you have the date available? (A surprisingly obvious question that many couples forget to ask!)
- How far in advance do we need to book you?
- How many weddings have you photographed? Any similar in size or style to mine?
- What is your pricing? If the event is delayed or runs longer, will you stay, and will we be charged extra?
- What kind of equipment do you use?
- What’s your shooting style? (Do they prefer ‘posed’ or more informal shots?)
- Do you shoot black and white photos, as well?
- Will you be shooting the wedding? (If not, could you meet the photographer who will be?) Will you have an assistant?
- Can I give you a list of shots we’d definitely like to do?
- Why should I hire you over other photographers in the area?
- (If your wedding isn’t local) Do you charge a travel fee?
- Have you ever shot weddings at our venue before?
- Have you ever worked with our DJ/florist/videographer/event planner before?
- Do you customize the photo packages?
- How long after the wedding can we expect the proofs?
- Do you offer retouching services? What is your pricing?
- What is your ordering process?
- Will you give me the images/proofs on a disk? Is there an additional fee?
Make sure you receive a written contract from the photographer you choose. Review it carefully and make sure it includes all the terms and conditions you discussed during your interview.
Ultimately, it comes down to a mutual comfort level. Did the photographer address your concerns and answer your questions to your satisfaction? Photos are one of the most special mementos of a couple’s wedding day, and you want to make sure you hire a professional who can make you look your best and capture the specialness of the entire experience.
How did you choose your wedding photographer? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!