How do you plan on remembering your wedding day? That short amount of time that you spend SO much time planning will pass by unbelievably fast. So many people and conversations, so many things to do. You’ll have your memories, but after some time, even those will be vague. Maybe the memory that sticks with you will be how it rained all day or the guest who fell flat on their face on the dance floor. No one knows- but you can have vivid memories of your wedding with the help of a great photographer.
A wedding is not complete without a photographer. However, there are so many sad stories that go around the wedding industry having to do with photography- the photographer didn’t back-up photos and they all got deleted; there weren’t any photos of the bride with her family; taking 2 years to get the photos back, or never at all.
Most issues with wedding photography are the product of brides being misinformed when looking to hire their photographer. They are on a budget, so they just hire the most inexpensive photographer they can find, or they have Uncle Joe take the pictures with his snazzy new camera. I’ll be honest- photography is expensive. When I started on my photographer hunt, I was in shock when I heard the package prices for some of the excellent photographers out there. But I kept looking, and I did a great deal of research. I found a decent photographer for a decent price. However, I still regret not sacrificing something else in the budget to hire the more expensive photographer.
I’ve compiled a list of tips from articles floating around the internet. Hopefully these tips will help brides choose the photographer that is best for them!
Tips from CedarHouse Photography:
- “Please, please hire a professional. I’ve heard too many horror stories of bottom-of-the-barrel photographers who leave lens caps on, have their thumbs in all the shots, yell at your guests, don’t back up their images… the list goes on. I talk to people who say something like, “Well, my Uncle Bob / friend from college / next door neighbor has a really nice camera, so…” Great. Does your Uncle Bob / friend from college / next door neighbor know how to work their really nice camera? Have they shot a wedding before? Do they have backup equipment in case their camera fails for some reason? Do they know about lighting, angles, the most flattering way to pose people? Will they interact with your guests well? What do they know about composition? What sort of finished product will you receive from your Uncle Bob / friend from college / next door neighbor – a CD of unfinished, unedited images, or a professional-quality album?”
- “Trust your photographer. Do an engagement session! You’ll get to know your photographer and feel more comfortable with them. Meet your photographer face-to-face. Email is all well and good, but if you’re serious about someone’s work, take the time to meet with them and get to know them. You will be spending ALL day on your wedding day with this person, so you better be sure you’re comfortable with them. Your photographer will be with you while you’re getting ready, while you’re interacting with all those in-laws you just met, while you’re dancing the night away… make sure you like your photographer as a person, too, because you’ll be hanging out hard core.”
Tips from OnceWed:
- Get recommendations and referrals. If your photographer of choice is out of your price range, or booked, don’t be embarrassed to ask for recommendations of other photographers, either. It’s also a good idea to ask the photographer to give you one or two references from other brides and grooms. Take the time to talk to these people and get a sense of how happy they were or weren’t with the photographer and the final product.
- Ask to see a complete shoot, including outtakes. With the advent of digital photos, it’s pretty easy to make a picture, even a bad picture, look good online. Ask to see a complete job, including outtakes to get a good sense of the photographer.
- Understand your budget and the package. Depending on where you live, and what’s included a photographer can cost anywhere from $500 to $20,000. Now $500 may sound good, but what if you spend $500 to hire the photographer only to discover that you can’t afford to add any prints or an album? Make sure you consider the total cost of what you want when planning your budget. Don’t forget to ask the photographer about things like travel and parking charges, and how many people will be working your wedding.
- Make a list of photographs you want. An experienced photographer will know to get pictures of family, close friends, the bridal party, and older people. But, think ahead of time about which formal portraits you want, and make sure to let those people know where they need to be when.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate ask! I’d love to hear thoughts and more tips on choosing a photographer!