10 Things To Consider When Booking a Wedding Photographer
These pictures will last your life and be all that remains- choose well!
1. Avoid hiring family or friends
The first thing to realize is that for your wedding, many people will offer to take pictures for you- most of those family and friends. While this can be a great way to save money and work with those you love, it is definitely not advisable! For one, you would probably rather have them attend as a guest. Do they really want to be working for 6-8 hours while you and all your friends are partying?
If you do decide to look more into their offer, make sure they have experience with weddings! Weddings require experience with fast moving situations and large groups. The photographer also must know how to properly use their gear to get the best pictures possible in any situation.
If, after all this you are still on board with booking them, please make sure you have a contract in place, even if it is your very best friend from kindergarten. I have seen way too many relationships go south because of misunderstandings based on unclear expectations! There are many basic contracts out there that can be found, if your photographer does not have one themselves.
2. Their shooting style
Most photographers today fall into a few different styles:
Documentary/Photojournalistic- These type of photographers are very much into less “posed” pictures and more into capturing the real and raw emotions and story of the day. They will have a lot more movement and candids in their portfolio.
Traditional/Classic- These photographers are much more likely to use a shot list and have posed pictures in their work. These are often the kind of pictures you might find in a magazine and are posed and often pre-planned.
Illustrative- This is kind of a combination of the two styles above. There will be posed pictures, often the formal ones with family and the bridal party. But there will also be many candid pictures and an emphasis on being relaxed and natural.
3. Their editing mood
Kind of like the above, what is the style of their pictures? Are they dark and moody? Are they bright and airy? Some can have a matte feel and some can have a high contrast look to them. Make sure you are comfortable with what their pictures look like, because yours will look similar.
4. Their use of light
Are you having an outdoor wedding in the middle of August? Is your wedding going to be indoors at night in the middle of winter? And even more practically- what is the lighting situation when you are getting ready? What about during the reception? Do they have experience in low-light situations? Are they able to photograph in harsh sunlight without looking blown out? Make sure that your plans are similar to what the photographer has in their portfolio and you are comfortable with what they can do.
5. Their second shooters or assistants
While a second shooter or assistant is definitely not a make-or-break must have, they are definitely something to consider! A photographer, no matter how talented they are, cannot be in two places at once. A second shooter allows for moments to be captured from different perspectives- for instance, they can capture the moment of walking down the aisle and see the bride and her father, and capture the groom’s reaction at the same time. See if your photographer has a second shooter included in their contract or if there is an option to add one.
6. What pictures/rights do you have at the end
Photographer’s packages come in many shapes and sizes. A few things to note- what size pictures do you get at the end? Are the low-res for being online only or are the high-res to be able to print? Do you have to buy prints from them? Do you get a printing release from them to be able to print elsewhere? While there are many ways to do things, it is important to be comfortable with their processes and policies.
7. How much and why they charge
One question that always comes up is why wedding photography is so expensive! Of course, there are different prices points everywhere you go, but the reasoning ends up being the same. Look at it this way- they are carrying around thousands in dollars in gear and spend often another 40 hours, minimum, working on your pictures after the wedding. Plus, you are trusting them with your big day- there are no do-overs!
When you are looking at a photographer’s pricing, look at their packages. How many hours are they available? Often, most start at 4-6 hours, as that is the bare minimum it takes for doing pictures from starting to get ready to the start of the reception. While you probably don’t need a photographer until the end of the night (trust me- you can only get so many pictures of people dancing!), you definitely want to make sure they are able to cover your full day. Do they offer an hourly option if needed?
8. After the wedding
Once the wedding is done, how long will it take to get your pictures back? Most photographers figure at least a month of time to go through and edit all the pictures and get them back to you. Sometimes this can be more during the busy summer season.
You will want to check to see how many pictures you will be getting back. This will almost never be all of them. Most photographers work with very large file sizes that some computers cannot read. Additionally, you probably do not want all the blurry, out of focus, and half-gaping faces that end up cut from the final files!
9. Make sure you have thoroughly investigated them!
I would wish this on nobody! You definitely do not want to be left in the lurch by a wedding photographer that skips town. Make sure that you have met your wedding photographer in person and have looked them up and seen their reviews. Are they a real company? A real person? Make sure you are buyer aware!
10. Do your personalities mesh? (You will be together the whole day!)
Now that you have gone through all the nitty-gritty of finding out about the photographer’s work, what about the photographer themselves? They are going to be the ones with you throughout the entire day, acting a little as wedding coordinator, usher, timekeeper, and guest. Do your personalities mesh? Are you comfortable with them? They may be the best photographer in the world, but if you are not good with working with them, it will end up being awkward for everyone. Your photographer wants you to be happy and your day to be joyous as much as you do!