Choosing a Wedding Photographer

Shopping around for a wedding photographer or photography studio isn't easy and it certainly requires some extensive homework on your part before pulling the trigger. It’s often times perceived by some as necessary evil because of the negative experiences with of their friends or family members with photographers.

It isn't a simple matter, as you only get to choose one photographer to capture your special event and there will not be any second takes and Photoshop will not always be your good friend :)

Here are a couple of general ideas that I think should be considered when selecting a photographer:

  1. Check out photographer's website and their online portfolio.

 If one exists it's a good sign. But make certain to thoroughly examine their portfolio to see if it's professional and, most importantly, appealing to you. If there are ample wedding photos you should be able to determine what kind of photography style and approach is practiced; traditional, photojournalistic or mixture of both. While browsing their site make sure to the contact information is readily available and includes telephone number(s) and physical address in addition to email so you know you're dealing with a real entity. What's also very helpful is testimonials page and/or awards/achievements section, ideally with dates, which will give you more confidence that you're looking at work of seasoned and accomplished photographer. When reviewing portfolios request that you’d like to see full album(s) that show wedding coverage from the very beginning (including rehearsals) to finish. This will give you very clear picture of both the style and quality each photographer provides.

2.     Check photographer’s references.

A good starting point would be to talk to friends and network with people who had recent positive experiences with photographer’s work. Ask about credentials, formal education, certifications and degrees in photography, membership in professional associations, awards and accomplishments, as this will help with your selection process. You might also check out local Better Business Bureau and local professional photography organizations, as they all are excellent sources of information.

3.     Meet with photographer in person and have a casual one on one.

Once you've collected a list of a couple wedding/event photographers that you are seriously considering to hire because their portfolios and other positive experiences derived from their website, etc. it's time to talk to them. First thing to do would be to get in touch with each artist from you list either via email and/or telephone to get some general information such as their availability, range of services/packages offered, their photographic style and technologies applied and approximate charges for their services. Feedback you get from this initial form of contact will allow you to narrow you list down and determine which photographers you want to meet and go over specifics. It is advisable that at the very least the bride and groom participate in the meeting, unless someone else is taking care of all wedding arrangements and that they come prepared to ask questions.  If you're not sure what kind of questions to ask here's a general list that you might consider:

  • What are your standard wedding packages and corresponding cost?

  • How can be my album/pictured shared with friends and family?

  • What is the photographic style you practice and/or recommend?

  • Do you shoot digital, film or both?

  • Do you provide us with online album or galleries? Is that included in package?

  • When was your business established?

  • If we hire you to cover an event what kind of guarantee or assurance to we get?

  • What are your payment terms?

  • IMPORTANT – Always Ask this one: Do you have any contingency plan in case you are not available at the day of event? Do you make provisions to have a replacement photographer in case you become ill? Do you carry back-up equipment?

  • What is your policy in case of event scheduling change?

  • Do you work by yourself or have an assistant?

  • How do we get to preview and select pictures that are to be included in the final album?

  • What is your average turnaround time for delivering the initial photographs and the finished package?

4.     Communicate and try to develop a relationship.

During your interactions with photographers that you are considering always make sure they have a very good understanding of what your needs and expectations are. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions, especially those pertaining to service fees, extra charges, etc. The more you flush out during your interviews the more confident you’re going to be with your final decision, as you’ll leave no or little room for misunderstanding.


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