Hiring a wedding photographer can be the most important decision you’ll make once you start the wedding planning process. These days, more and more people own a decent camera, and there are plenty of wedding photographers to choose from: from the best, most sought after (and expensive) photographer to the local, less experienced but more affordable photographer – they truly run the gamut.
While it’s true that a great photo captures a thousand words (or something like that), it’s important that you find a photographer who you wouldn’t mind spending your day with. Remember, depending on the wedding photography package you choose, this person may be with you from dawn till dusk on one of the most important days of your life. Choose someone who you feel comfortable around, and someone with a good sense of humour. They’ll be the one who’ll hold your train, the one who will wrangle your chatty family into a properly composed photo, and the one who captures the photos you’ll cherish for a lifetime. Be sure you do your research early on, too. For example, does your ‘dream’ photographer’s signature style work for the venue you have in mind?
Hire a wedding photographer who is willing to sign a contract – or better yet, one who wants you to sign a contract. Having a contract is one way to hopefully prevent any last-minute disasters. Your photographer’s contract should contain information on who will replace him or her should they be unable to perform their end of the bargain. A good wedding photographer will find you a similar alternative in the unlikely event of an emergency that prevents them from taking your wedding photos. Review the contract carefully before signing it and know what the conditions and expectations are for both parties. Ask as many questions as you like! Here are a few questions you could ask to clarify things between you and your photographer:
How would you describe your signature style?
Are other guests able to take photos during the ceremony/other parts of the day?
Do you have experience taking wedding photos at sunset/at the beach/in a dim room?
How long after the wedding will we receive our photos?
Will we receive a few ‘sneak previews’? If so, how will they be made available?
Do we have rights to the edited photographs? Will you retain any rights to them?
Will our photos be printed or digitally available?
What is your cancellation policy?
Do you require a retainer fee?
Plan several meetings with your photographer leading up to your wedding day. Provide them with an itinerary of the day and let them know where they are expected to be (and when). Share your ideas with your wedding photographer early on and set shared expectations for your day. Some photographers will request a list of photographs you’d like them to capture throughout the day as well. Be sure to also communicate what you’d like the photographer to avoid photographing – whether it’s an unflattering angle, a certain area of your wedding venue, or a portion of your day such as the late-night festivities.
The more time you spend building a relationship with the person you choose to photograph your day, the better the results. You’ll both feel more comfortable around one another, which will help you to feel more relaxed on your big day. You might even consider having your engagement photos shot by the same photographer, just so you can all be more well-acquainted.
At the end of the day, you’ll want to view your photographer as a new friend. They’ll be by your side on one of the most important days of your life, and you’ll want to feel comfortable being vulnerable with them close by.
What factors did you consider when choosing your photographer?