Hiring a wedding photographer is a big decision. More than just the significant financial investment, the photographs you get will most likely determine the way your wedding day is remembered for years (and generations) to come. There are some things you need to know before you hire someone to be your photographer. Here are some of the most important things you need to find out.
How much experience do they really have?
Photographing a wedding requires a highly specialized set of skills that take a lot of experience to really master. Being good at nature photography, portraiture, or photojournalism does not mean a photographer has the ability to cover all the aspects of a wedding day. Find out how many times they have been the primary photographer at real weddings.
Do they have a trustworthy backup plan?
Even expensive digital cameras and lighting equipment can fail. Does you photographer carry back-up equipment? Professional digital cameras designed for wedding photography will save images to two separate memory cards simultaneously. How will your images be stored? Computer hard drives fail and files accidentally get deleted. Will your photographer save your images to multiple hard drives, and even have an off-site backup of your irreplaceable images? And how long after the wedding will they keep your image files?
Can they tell the entire story of your wedding day?
Any reasonable photographer could pull out a few great shots from a bunch of weddings and put together a good looking online gallery or sample album. But can they consistently produce great images of every aspect of a every wedding they shoot? Ask to see the complete set of finished images from a single wedding. This will give you a much better idea of what you can expect to receive.
Can they create the style you want?
The look and feel of your wedding pictures needs to line up with how you want to remember your special day. Some brides like light, bright, dreamy images, while others prefer more of a dramatic, moody, artistic style. Black & white, soft muted colour, or rich, saturated images full of life and vibrancy. Decide what you like, and then choose a photographer who can produce the style you want.
Are they someone you will enjoy spending your entire wedding day with?
Typically, brides spend more time with their photographer than they will with anybody outside of their wedding party. You will want someone you like. Someone who is enjoyable to have around, and not someone who will add stress to your day, or make you feel uncomfortable. How will they handle problem people, emotional melt downs, inclement weather? Spend some time getting to know them during an in person consultation. Ask for references from other brides.
Once you have found a photographer that you want to entrust with your wedding make sure you get them booked early. Most serious photographer’s will require a contract and a hefty deposit. In my next article I will review wedding photography contracts and some legal issues you need to be aware of.