5 Tips for Choosing a Wedding PhotographerApril 18, 2016 by The Marquardt Ranch
When it comes to planning your wedding, the budget can basically be divided into three categories: reception and venue, photography, everything else. Because as you start to plan and hire vendors, you’re sure to discover that quality photographers come with a price tag.
Most wedding photographers are professionals, and for good reason. Just because your best friend takes great pictures for Instagram doesn’t mean she’s qualified to capture the biggest day of your life! You’ll want to choose carefully because, after all, the food and cake get consumed, the dress gets hung in the closet, and the flowers get tossed.
But the pictures? Those become part of your life forever. These simple tips will help you choose the best photographer for your day and your budget.
Know Your Style
When you begin researching and meeting wedding photographers, chances are you’ll be drawn to the ones whose sample albums catch your eye. This will help you define your style. Do you want an artistic approach with lots of natural light? A traditional, posed portrait gallery? A journalistic documentation of the day with lots of black and white? When you determine your style, narrow down your choices to those photographers whose work is what you want for your wedding.
Know How This Photographer Compares
Before you book the photographer who seems to perfectly embody your style, do a little comparison shopping. How do their prices and policies line up against others of similar work? If they seem inexpensive, or much more expensive, figure out why. Compare policies on picture rights, hours on the wedding day, consultations, and extras such as albums, sneak peeks, prints, and DVDs.
Know Exactly What You’ll Get
All that comparison should help you understand exactly what you’ll get from this photographer.
- Make sure you know who will be shooting your wedding (large companies employ multiple photographers), and consult with that person.
- Decide when you want the photographer to come, and understand the cost associated with hours over what your package contains.
- Know what kind of equipment is being used and if videography is included.
- Establish if your package comes with prints, a DVD, or an online gallery.
- Ask about sneak peeks and video reels than can be shared immediately.
Know Their Policies
The most important policy to understand is that of rights. If a photographer maintains rights to your photos, you will have to go through him or her every time you want to order prints. You will have to get permission to post online and you will not be able to scan copies. A photographer who maintains rights is often less expensive up front because their money is made in the after when everyone wants copies. However, if you choose a photographer who will give you all rights to do as you please, you may pay more up front, but you can print your pictures from any place you wish. (But if you’re going to pay for good photography, it’s also worth it to pay for quality printing.)
Know their “sick” and inclement weather policy. No one wants to think about the worst things that can happen on their wedding day, but it’s important to be prepared. If your photographer is a one-man show, you need to know the plan in case he or she is unable to fulfill this commitment. Oftentimes photographers have a network they are able to tap into for these rare occurrences. In the case of weather, especially if your ceremony and/or reception is outside, talk with your photographer about what they will do in the case of rain or snow. Many times they can still shoot beautiful pictures on these days, some even outside, but they’ll also need to be comfortable with your indoor site just in case.
Know It’s Great to ask Questions
The more questions you ask, the more answers you’re going to get and the better you will know your photographer. Research lists online of recommended questions and add in those unique to your situation. Some basics to start with include:
- Do you edit/retouch photos?
- How long will it take for me to get my photos?
- Will you do a sneak peek and when?
- What kind of equipment do you use?
- Can I contact your references?
- How many weddings have you done?
- What is your cancellation policy?
So what’s your wedding photography style?