QUESTIONS THAT YOU NEED TO ASK YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
1. How long have you been in the business? Where is your office located ?
It is important to know where your studio is located and how long have you been in the business to add peace of mind or to make sure that they are secured with the photographer that the couple hired
2. Who will be my photographer on my wedding day?
This is the first question the couple should ask once you have established that the photographer is available for the date and location, you will want to ask, “If we select your studio, will you be the photographer covering our wedding?” Some studios have several photographers and you may be speaking to a salesperson. The sample albums may have been done by photographers who do not even work for the studio anymore. If this is the case, you should make arrangements to meet with and see the work of the particular photographer who will be doing your wedding. You should also ask for a commitment from the studio to that effect, in writing.
3. How do I find the right wedding photographer?
You should choose a wedding photographer based on several considerations. First, of course, you must love his or her work. Look for a photographer whose work moves you, whose style you love, and who tells a story the way you want your story to be told. If you don’t love the pictures, nothing else matters. The second factor to consider is personality. Since your wedding photographer will be with you and your fiancÈ for a significant portion of your wedding day, and you will have close dealings with him or her both before and after the wedding, you need to make sure that you feel comfortable with this individual. One way to gauge this is to ask yourself: “Would my fiance and I be friends with this photographer even if we weren’t getting married?” If the answer to this question is “yes,” then you are that much closer to hiring the right wedding photographer for you.
4. How early in the wedding-planning process should I book a wedding photographer?
The timing of booking a wedding photographer will depend upon several factors. First consider what time of year you’re getting married. If your wedding will be during the most pleasant months in your area, during a holiday, or on another popular date, you may want to consider booking your photographer as early as 12 to 18 months ahead of time. If photography is very important to you, you will also want to book as early as possible even if your date does not fall into one of those busy periods. If you have a favorite wedding photographer in mind before you have booked your wedding venue, you can call the photographer to confirm his or her availability before signing the contract with the venue. In any event, it’s in your best interest to have your wedding photographer booked at least 10 months in advance.
5. Will the wedding photographer we want to hire hold our date or call us if someone else requests that date?
Don’t expect your wedding photographer to hold your date, unless you’ve signed a contract or paid a retainer fee. Although the exact policy may differ from wedding photographer to wedding photographer, many of them will require a non-refundable retainer and a signed contract to hold your date. This benefits both you and the wedding photographer: You benefit by securing a wedding photographer who has now set aside your wedding date and is contracted to provide services to you. The wedding photographer benefits by obtaining the guarantee to work and receive payment for his or her services. It’s always in your best interest to book your wedding photographer as soon as you have chosen one whose work you love.
6. What do I get and how much does it cost?
Even shopping for shoes or furniture you wouldn’t ask that question until you find the style and quality you like. After you have looked through a photographer’s portfolio – seeing candid, formals and illustrative pictures, you will know if this photographer has the technique, style and spirit to be the eyes through which you and your children and even your grand children will see your wedding day. Of course, you should determine if the photographer is within your budget, give or take a little, but what you really want from photography is memories and feeling. Look for an established and reliable photographer whose work moves you, whose technical quality is tops. If you find a photographer who makes you happy, you never will never regret your investment, whatever the cost. When we have invested in items that will be with us for the rest of our lives, our satisfaction has been highest when we have paid that extra bit for the best quality.
7. Why is wedding photography so much more expensive now than when my parents got married?
A lot has changed in photography since your parents’ wedding. Chances are that when your parents got married, wedding photographers typically worked from set shot lists and only took the photographs that they knew would sell after the wedding. This led to cookie-cutter wedding photography that left every wedding album looking almost exactly the same. The true story of the day was left untold. Your parents’ photographer probably took fewer than 200 photos at their wedding. Today’s wedding photojournalists may take 10 times that many as they document the unique story of a couple’s wedding day. Digital wedding photography has led to advancements in wedding albums, too. Today’s wedding albums are original works of art with custom-designed layouts that are produced using the same methods employed for art books and magazines. This is a time-intensive process that requires all of the skill, talent, and artistry that professional wedding photographers already bring to their viewfinders.
8. Why is there such a price disparity among wedding photographers?
There are a host of reasons why some wedding photographers will charge a lot and some will charge very little for their services. A well-established wedding photographer with a great reputation who has been shooting weddings for a long time can command a higher price, and still might have more business than he or she can handle. There is a misconception that wedding photographers makes a lot of money working only one day a week, but in addition to the actual day of shooting, there is usually at least 25 hours of back end work involved in each wedding.
9. What equipment should our wedding photographer have?
Every wedding photographer should have camera gear and accessories suitable for shooting your wedding in the style demonstrated in his or her samples. Depending on your photographer’s particular style of shooting, this equipment may include a variety of cameras, lenses, flashes, additional lighting, reflectors, backdrops, film or memory cards, batteries, and a long list of other gear. Your wedding photographer should also have backup gear sufficient to deal with the possibility of equipment failure. With all that said, I feel by far the most important piece of equipment your wedding photographer should possess is a creative, artistic eye.
10. Do wedding photographers offer discounts for off-season or weekday weddings?
The wedding photography business is time-sensitive because there are a limited number of high-season weekend dates each year. Photographers often get many requests for the same wedding date but are often limited to shooting only one wedding a day. To encourage clients to book off-season or weekday weddings, some wedding photographers may offer a discount or added services for those dates. Discounts may also be offered for smaller weddings or for dates that are booked a short time before the event. Other wedding photographers feel that they work just as hard and that their product and time are equally valuable on any and every day of the year, and therefore do not offer discounts for off-season or weekday weddings.
11. Can I give our wedding photographer magazine clippings of certain poses I want?
Every wedding photographer has a different working and shooting style. Some are happy to see examples of photos you like, and will use these as inspiration if they seem to compliment the photographer’s own style. If you have hired a wedding photographer who is more interested in recording the spontaneity of the day, it may be difficult for him or her to try to copy a specific image from another event with a different couple, different light, and different circumstances. Since your wedding photographs will be unique to your day, you will likely find it more enjoyable to simply allow events to unfold, and trust your wedding photographer to give you the images that attracted you to his or her work from the start.
12. What is a proof?
A proof is the first set of photos you see after the wedding! You’ll look at all of your proofs to choose the final prints for your album as well as your reprint orders. Some of the ways photographers provide proofs to clients include: an online website, a DVD of computer screen images, or 4×6 inch photo prints. Printed proofs may also come in the form of a contact sheet, which is a catalog of approximately 12 images on a page. Be sure to ask your photographer exactly what type of proofing he or she offers.
13. What is Pre-nuptial Pictorial? Why should we have a pre-nuptial pictrial taken?
Engagement portraits are a great way to get comfortable with your photographer. It really helps if you’ve already been around your wedding photographer when we have a camera in my hand. For the photographer, the same is true. We can figure out what poses compliment you best and establish a rapport with the couple. Plus, you get some great shots that you can use on invitations, sign in boards, and announcement cards.
14. What technical details in sample photographs should I watch out for?
Lighting quality is an important ingredient in superior photographs. The light in photographs should be natural and flattering, so that the pictures look three-dimensional. Overuse of on-camera flash can ruin wedding pictures. Watch out for flattened faces, harsh reflections off of cheeks and foreheads, and dark shadows directly behind or next to the subjects. With finesse, a fine photographer can work with almost any outdoor lighting situation without using flash.
Look for a variety in subject size – a mix of distant, medium and close-up pictures. Even with groups, lighting and posing should be interesting. There is a trend among skilled photographers to produce highly posed bridal portraits – which can get great scores in print competitions, but which may not be a true picture of the bride and groom’s personality. While you may anticipate wanting a few of these dramatic images from your own wedding, probably most of your album and your parents’ albums will consist of traditional and candid pictures.
15. What else should I look out for when I am looking at a photographer’s samples?
It is important that each album you see is only one wedding from start to finish, not just a collection of highlights from a dozen different weddings. If a photographer assembles and shows the best photos from several weddings in one album, you are not seeing an accurate representation of the results you might expect from your wedding.
PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR THE BRIDE AND GROOM
I want a professional to photograph my wedding.
What do I do next?
Visit several photographers
Look at their sample albums
Pay attention to your emotional response to the photography and to the communication skills of the photographer
Look for high technical quality too. Once you have decided on a photographer whose work has meaning to you, discuss prices, deposits, packages, quantity of pictures and so on.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?
Advice to brides and grooms to do their research, and then ask themselves some questions – and be honest
a. Do you want your wedding photographer to have control of how you look?
b. Do you want him or her to be directing you during the day?
c. Or are you the type of people who would rather not worry about the photographer, but instead have someone who is there to document the day as it happens, free from interference?
d. Are you confident enough to let the moments speak for themselves, or do you already know how you want the photographs to look, and you simply need a photographer to help you set them up and capture them?
CRITERIA IN CHOOSING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER
1. GET A SENSE OF TALENT AND STYLE (PHOTOGRAPHER’S STYLE)
Brides and grooms should in general try to assess the photographer’s imagination; someone who strives to be different rather that shootin the same kinds of pictures all of the time.
Look for a photographer that you truly like their particular style of photography. A note to look for: Just because someone says their style is photojournalistic doesn’t necessarily make it so. There IS a difference between candid snapshots and true photojournalistic images. Just because a photographer takes a few images in black and white doesn’t automatically make them a photojournalist. Look for someone that specializes in and has extensive experience in your favorite style. Look for a photographer that evokes an emotional response from you with their images. If they can do that with the photos from a strangers wedding, just think what they can do for yours! View sample photos with your heart as well as with your eyes. Remember that the equipment is just a tool, it is the technique and approach that set the photographer apart.
2. GET TO KNOW YOUR CANDIDATE (PHOTOGRAPHER’S PERSONALITY)
Most importantly, you want to choose someone who does not just view your wedding day assignment as simply another business transaction. Finding a photographer who really loves what they do and is v ery passionate about their work is key. “That is the type of person who is going to go the extra mile.
Look for a photographer that you really “click” with personality wise. Other than your bride or groom, there is nobody you spend more time with on your wedding day than the photographer. Make sure it’s someone you can have fun with and truly enjoy working with throughout your special day. Contrary to what many photographers may think, photography should NOT be the most important part of your day. However, having a great time and experiencing all the love and emotion of that day IS.
3. EXPERIENCE AND BRAINS
If a person has been doing professional photographer for 10 to 15 years, it is a good bet that they know how to handle any situation, and when problems come along, they become a problem solver. And ultimately, one of the most important tools a photographer has is his brain, because a photographer who thinks is going to get great pictures.
4. PHOTOGRAPHER’S FEE
Last but not least, of those that meet the above two requirements, then and only then shop for price and package options. Don’t spend it with someone you really don’t care for just because they are cheap! Set an approximate budget for how much you want to invest in your wedding photography but don’t be afraid to go slightly over or under if you find the perfect photographer for your specific tastes.
Remember, price is not the most important item – look for quality and creativity.