When you are planning a wedding, there are so many things to think about. Date, venue, fashion, flowers, guest list and the list goes on. No matter how large or small your wedding celebration is, hiring a professional photographer is the best way to capture all the moments of your special day and give you lasting images that you can enjoy forever.
When Should You Start Looking for a Photographer
Once you’ve set a date it might be time to start researching wedding photographers. Generally speaking photographers are booked 6 months to one year out. There are a lot of great photographers out there, but you need to find the right photographer for you.
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect photographer for your wedding:
1. Have a clear idea of the STYLE you like. This will help you narrow down the selection of photographers. Are you attracted to more traditional photography, posed images and pretty smiles staring at the camera? Do you prefer a documentary feel where the photographer goes unnoticed with no posed images? Is a candid style that captures the big emotions and little details to tell the story of the entire day your preference? Are you looking for someone who is going to pose each image? If you are not sure about your style, start a Pinterest board or collect photos from wedding magazines with what you like and don’t like.
2. Make sure you “like” your photographer. You are going to spend a huge part of your wedding day with this person. Hiring a photographer, no matter how great they are, what irritates you will only stress you out on your wedding day.
3. Ask your photographer to let you see photos from a real wedding. Its easy to post the perfect pictures on a website, but you need to see what kind of photos you are going to get. You want to see how they compose different shots. Look at the candid shots. Do they look natural? Do they tell a story?
4. Ask your photographer if they shoot with backup equipment. You don’t want your photographer showing up to shoot your day with only one camera body. What if the camera breaks just before the ceremony? Confirm that they have extra cameras and lenses.
5. Ask your photographer if they are insured. Professional photographers should be covered in case something happens to their gear or something accidentally happens to one of your guests involving the photographers equipment…. like a light stand falls over on a guest on the dance floor and injures them.
6. What is included in the price. How many shots are included? Will the images be edited or is this an added fee? How many poses/copies do you get? And, most importantly, do you get the digital files or are they extra? Whatever the details are, make sure it is all in writing.
7. When will you get your photographs? Although it will take some time to process and edit your photos, you do not want to wait 5-6 months. Ask up front so there are no surprises or disappointments.
8. Don’t “Cousin Timmy” it. Even if cousin Timmy owns a camera and has taken some photography classes, do you want him to be responsible for memorializing your wedding day? You may save some money, but you will have these photographs for the rest of your life.
9. Take your photographer to the venues before the wedding so you can talk about the shots you want. Try actually going at the same time that you will be taking photos. So don’t go in the morning if you are having a night wedding. But remember, your photographer has photographed hundreds of weddings. Be open. Do not limit your photographer to only the images you have pinned on Pinterest. Also, during the ceremony, make sure your photographer can get the photographs you want without blocking your guests’ view of the ceremony.
10. You get what you pay for. Everyone has a different concept of what expensive is. Be up front about your budget and see what the photographer can do within that amount. Remember that there are great photographers within almost every budget.