So you just got engaged! YAY! Now it’s time to plan the Wedding! Yay! But Wait…with this exciting time comes a lot of decisions: Ceremony & Reception Venues, Photographer, DJ/Band, Bridal Dress, Flowers, Decor, Makeup/Hair, Jewelry, Color Scheme, and MUCH MUCH More! And with so many phenomenal wedding vendors, how do you know who is the right choice? Getting a Wedding Planner is a great way to pick GREAT vendors…but if you can’t have a wedding planner then informing yourself, knowing what questions to ask, & what to look for in your vendors is key…
Here are some things to think about when choosing the Wedding Day Photographer that will be the perfect fit for YOU!
- Set up a face to face Wedding Consultation & get to know your potential photographer better. This also gives you the opportunity to check out the various products they offer to their clients. Live out of town? Set up a Phone Consult & ask any questions you may have. You will likely spend more time with your Wedding Day photographer than most of your family or friends on your wedding day – so it is important to hire someone you feel comfortable with and want to have around on your wedding day.
- Ask if you can view a full wedding. Most photographers have online viewing galleries so you can get a password to view them online. This gives you a chance to see a wedding day captured from start to finish. Some photographers do not post a large number of pictures on their website & you want to see a large variety of their work – not just a few of their absolute best.
- Make sure you like their style & it matches what you are looking for. There are many trendy words to describe a photographers’ style: Boutique, Fresh, Modern, Contemporary, Photojournalistic, Editorial, High Fashion, ect…But don’t get caught up in the words they use to describe their style – look and judge for yourself. Make sure the photographer is able to evoke the feeling and emotion you are looking for from your Wedding Day photos.
- Ask the photographer how they store their images to prevent loss or damage. Digital photographers rely on memory cards & hard drives to archive images. Anyone with a computer will know that computers frequently have problems. Your photographer should have all images backed up in multiple places and perhaps a copy off site. These precautionary procedures cost money so be prepared that photographers with good back up plans will cost more, but are more reliable.
- Make sure your wedding photographer has liability & business insurance. This is important because many venues will require they have insurance before they are able to provide services. This also shows that they are running a responsible & credible business.
- Ask about camera equipment…more importantly BACKUP cameras, lens, and flash units. If the photographer does not have backup equipment they are not prepared to shoot your wedding. They should have a at least 2 bodies for each photographer and multiple lenses and flashes. This sounds trivial but digital cameras do fail & you can not re-do your wedding, so you want someone prepared for anything! There are many photographers who do not have enough gear to shoot at weddings, so make sure to ask.
- What if the photographer is very sick or unable to shoot your wedding due to an emergency situation? The answer you want to here is that they are in professional organizations such as PPA & WPPI or have photographer friends in their network who they can direct you to in the same style/price range as themselves.
- Pricing- Make sure you understand the Packages & Pricing of the photographer. If you book a photographer, make sure that the current pricing is included in the wedding CONTRACT, and will not change later if the photographer changes their pricing structure. Also be aware many photographers may have low introductory pricing & but will not include products so they can up-sell you later, which may cost you more in the end.
- Check out the internet for reviews on their services. Make sure to READ the reviews to gain insight on what former clients have to say about their professionalism, promptness, attention to detail, service after the wedding day, responsiveness, and ability to handle any situation. Also read testimonials on their website. Anything that will give you more insight to their business practices will help you in your decision.
- What type of training does the photographer have? There are many photographers that have degrees in photography and there are MANY more awesome wedding photographers that are self taught or trained under another wedding photographer to gain the knowledge they need to create beautiful images on your wedding day. The KEY is hands on experience. You want to know how long they have been in business to establish that they will still be in business a year from now when you have your wedding…and most importantly you want to ensure that they will be able to handle any situation , as they have seen it all before.
- Ask WHO will be your wedding day photographer. In some cases the photographer you meet with may not be the photographer shooting your actual wedding day. In some cases, the person meeting with you will fail to tell you that they are sending an associate photographer to shoot your wedding, and then you can feel blindsided. It is important to make that connection with the person you are having capture your day, so make sure the person you meet is the same person who will be there months from now.
- An experienced & competent photographer will have the answers to all of these questions. If you get a confused look about any of these easy questions from your photographer – chances are they are inexperienced or don’t take the responsibility of shooting your wedding day as seriously as they should.
- Ask about their relationships with their past clients. Does the photographer shoot many of their former wedding clients’ life events (ie: family, baby, or even boudoir)? Do they get the majority of their business from referrals from previous clients? A great photographer wants to be more than just your Wedding Day photographer, they want to be your life photographer – and capture the other important milestones in your life. More importantly, it shows the brides are happy with everything the photographer has done, from start to finish, and want to come back again and again!
The questions Brides SHOULD be asking…