Weddings are stressful and hectic enough without having to worry about whether hired services can actually deliver what they’ve promised. Among them is the wedding photographer. Far too many people have made the mistake of hiring a family member who photographs as a hobby, or perhaps an inexpensive photography student, or even a professional photographer who has not been researched properly. The result? Dismal images that utterly fail to capture what should have been one of the most important days in a person’s life. Just as we fully research and interview potential employees for a job at work, it is important to go through a similar process when hiring a wedding photographer.
There are many factors that go towards selecting the right photographer for your wedding. Finding them is the first question. One of the best ways to find a photographer is through word of mouth. Know anyone who has been married lately? Ask to see their wedding photos and if you’re suitably impressed, ask for a referral. Another option is to look through bridal directories and magazines in print or online, as well as hitting up bridal trade shows. Always ask to see the photographer’s portfolio if they don’t have it readily available (already, that should serve as a red flag). Most good wedding photographers today have updated portfolios on their websites and also print versions at their offices. If they don’t have any written testimonies, ask for contact details of past clients and follow up to find out how their experiences were with the photographer. For example, the images may have turned out great, but if working relationship was rough in several cases, that is a strong indicator that the photographer may be hard to get along with. After ensuring that their portfolio and referrals are both acceptable, review pricing packages to check whether it fits within your budget. Some photographers also offer custom pricing packages if your requirements are truly different from their main bundles. If you have doubts about the quality of their equipment, it is sometimes acceptable to politely inquire what they use. By all means, do find out about insurance that they carry in case of any mishaps, as well as taxes.
Popular wedding photographers typically book up to a year in advance, so make a reservation early! Don’t forget that they normally require a deposit when the booking is made, along with signed contracts. Step away if the photographer refuses to commit to any written agreements. Once these details are out of the way, make an active effort towards getting to know the photographer. Tell them about your own personal style as well as the style of the images that you have in mind. The photographer can be a great source of inspiration and can suggest other ideas that you may not have originally thought of before. Most photographers tend to shoot digital these days, but if you would like film for stylistic purposes, discuss that as an option as well. Do discuss the final number of images that you want, as well as the combinations of people that are absolutely mandatory. For example, give the photographer a list of names and relationships of all the important people at the wedding (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, bridal party and so on) with details of who should be photographed with whom. If this step is neglected, it could be quite awkward to find out later that one set of relatives were accidentally forgotten in the official family portraits!
During the selection process, don’t forget that you are the client. Don’t submit to pushy or obnoxious photographers, but instead take your time to make the right decision. After all, this is a once in a lifetime event, and the photographs cannot be retaken later! With the right photographer, the entire process of consulting and shooting should be enjoyable, with plenty of pleasant memories afterwards.
Content written and provided by Tom Tungsten