6 Steps to Choosing a Wedding Photographer

After the dress is worn, the flowers die, the food is eaten, and the guests leave, the photographs are the only thing remaining to document your wedding day. Choosing your wedding photographer is one of the hardest wedding decisions because you can’t see the photographs you’re buying until you’ve already made the decision. This article will help you choose the best photographer to ensure you get the wedding photographs you want.

1. Price. Choosing a photographer based on price may not be the wisest decision. A photographer’s price not only reflects the quality of their work (generally), it also reflects how that photographer values their own work. You may be able to find a photographer advertising weddings for $299, but do you really believe that photographer places a high value on artistic quality? Do you really think they will spend hours culling, sorting, editing and retouching your wedding images? Chances are they will shoot and burn straight to a disk because, frankly, they’re not getting paid enough. Do you feel that you will get beautiful photos of you and your spouse to have for the rest of your life – to show your kids and grandkids? As far as wedding photography goes, you get what you pay for.

Note: Just because you have a smaller budget does not mean you have to sacrifice on your wedding photographer. Before you go asking your cousin’s boyfriend to shoot the wedding (because he has a nice camera), know this; there are many new wedding photographers who may be very talented, but do not have a lot of wedding experience. This does not mean they are horrible photographers, it just means they haven’t shot a lot of weddings. Because of this, you may be able to get reduced pricing, sometimes called “portfolio building” discounts or “introductory” pricing, etc.. It may be difficult finding these photographers because they may not be listed yet on search engines, as their websites may be brand new. So, you’ll have to do some digging.

2. Do some research: Ask your friends and family for referrals. People who love their wedding photos love to talk about their photographer! Search the internet. Go several pages back – don’t just look at the first page of search results. Check the listings of professional organizations like PPA – Professional Photographers of America or WPPI – Wedding & Portrait Photographers International.

3. Make a List: Once you’ve found 5-10 photographers that you like, make a list. Go to each photographer’s website and thoroughly review their portfolio. I cannot stress enough; the photographs you see in the photographer’s portfolio are the same types of photographs you will have of your wedding. How do you know if the photographer is any good? Follow these guidelines:

  • Are the images too light? Too dark? If the some images are too light and others too dark, or if they seem all over the place, that could indicate inconsistent quality.
  • How are the photographer’s Photoshop skills? Do the photos seem “over-photoshopped”? Do you see a lot of plastic looking skin or alien eyes? A good rule to follow; if you can’t tell the images are Photoshopped, then the photographer has excellent photoshopping skills. It’s like make-up – the best make-up is the kind that doesn’t look like you’re wearing any make-up at all.
  • Do you feel emotionally moved by the photographer’s images? Do they make you stop and stare? Gasp? Do you feel a connection with the images? This is the most important aspect of choosing a wedding photographer. You can spend all the money in the world on the most famous photographer, but if you don’t feel a connection with their images, you will most likely not love your wedding photos.

4. Check for Availability: After you’ve narrowed down the list, email or call your top 5 or so photographers. Check to see if each photographer is available on your wedding date, and get a quote or estimate. Emailing or calling each photographer will also give you a little insight into their personality. More on that later.

5. Ask for a Consultation: Your list should now be narrowed down to 2-3 photographers. Ask to meet each photographer – or at the very least, ask for a phone consultation. Talking with your photographer either in person or on the phone will also give you insight into their personality. Are they easy to get along with? Do you feel good about them? The photographer will be a big part of your wedding day and it’s important that you are comfortable with them. Some questions to ask:

  • What do you include in your wedding photography package?
  • When can I expect to receive my photos?
  • Can I review a copy of your contract?
  • Are you licensed?
  • Do you provide a second shooter?
  • Note: Be sure the photographer you hire is the same one who will shoot your wedding. Some photographers send their assistant or contract another photographer to shoot their weddings. Make sure you know who is actually photographing your wedding and ask to view their portfolio.

6. Make your Final Decision: Once you’ve talked with each photographer, you will now be armed with all sorts of information to be able to choose your wedding photographer. Remember, money comes and goes, but you can’t re-do your wedding day.

Professional Wedding Photographers – Advice on Choosing

Let’s face it getting married is one of the biggest and hopefully happiest days of your life. To guarantee that all goes according to plan, you want reliable professionals. Most of these wedding business exist to make sure the day itself goes well. The wedding photography, on the other hand, takes on a greater meaning in the days, weeks, month and even years that follow. It is important that your photographer is able to capture all that love and laughter and enable those happy memories to come flooding back with every turn of your wedding album page. So what are the advantages of hiring true professional wedding photographers for your marriage service and how do you tell them from the rest of the pack?

Reliability. True professional wedding photographers will have spent many years building up their reputation. Do you think they would let all that labour go to waste by being unreliable? Of course not. For a wedding photographer their number one priority should be to ensure they arrive on time. Having a fully documented “system” helps ensure that timings are known, and all photographic systems double checked. Once your memories have been captured they should be safely stored on different media, in different locations. Before booking ask your photographer when was their first wedding? How many have they photographed since then? What plans do they have in place in case of illness or transport breakdown? Finally, what do they do to ensure the safety of your images once they have been taken?

Quality. If you do something often enough, whatever that is, you should improve, makes sense, doesn’t it? But years of experience give couples like you more benefit than just better looking photographs. One benefit to you should be in the quality of wedding albums offered. The album considered by Wedding Photographers to be the best in the World is the story book album. This Album is usually hand made by craftsmen. So, before booking, be sure to ask if your photographer is a member of a professional body. In the UK this can be the M.P.A, the B.I.P.P or the S.W.P.P. Ask to see some testimonials, thank you cards or reviews on line. Ask how many years they have been using their albums for and why did they choose that particular manufacturer.

Organisation. Imagine having the best photographer in the world at your wedding. Now imagine that they have no rapport with you or your guests, so how are they going to get your guests in position for that photograph? For this reason one of the most important skills your professional wedding photographers must have is the ability to organisation. And the organisation of your guests has to be done in a respectful manner, rather than barking out orders! Being organised and efficient goes hand in hand, after all you don’t want to spend all day, away from your guests. And you certainly don’t want guests complaining about the amount of time the photographs took. Before booking did your photographer ascertain who at the wedding were the important people? Did they sort out a list of the photographs you want? Did they offer advice on how long the process would take?

Friendly. Sounds obvious, sadly, even some professional wedding photographers fail at this challenge. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is far easier to get your guests correctly positioned by asking them nicely, rather than ordering them around. Getting to know the whole bridal party and both families makes it a lot easier to get natural photographs. Who wants to be told to smile all day?! A laugh and a joke, a funny story and people smile naturally. Quite often I am asked which side does the Grooms button hole go. It’s not about being the photographer, it’s about being the go to wedding guy (or girl). Please do make sure, no matter how brilliant or how cheap your photographer is, that then have a personality that is easy to get along with.

Flexible. This indicates your photographers philosophy. Some photographers say these are my packages, pick one. Some say you can’t have a printable DVD. Some say, of course you cannot have photographs taken by your guests in my wedding album! And that hits the nail right on the head. They think it is their wedding album. A great wedding photography company should switch that around, it is your wedding and certainly your wedding album! Yes, packages should be available, but they should be more a la carte rather than fixed menu. Meaning you can swap parts around so that you get the exact service you want. Whilst you may not need this much flexibility, do make sure that your photographer is flexible enough to offer EVERYTHING you want.

Guarantee. Look for photographers that have been in business for a good number of years. Ten years of actually taking wedding photographs, easily beats 3 years doing a degree at University! Photographers with years of experience should be able to guarantee you reliability and quality. Your guarantees should even include things like turning up smartly dressed! Another important one is that your proof photographs will be ready to view in days not weeks or months!. Make sure that you have in writing, everything that you have agreed to.

Your Wedding Photographer – Some Typical Questions Answered

Before deciding upon a Wedding Photographer there are several questions that you should be asking. Included here is a series of questions and the answers given by a Professional Wedding Photographer with over 15 years of experience.

1. What type of coverage are you offering and for how long? Do you charge by the hour or just for the day?

White Wedding Photographers has only one package to alleviate any confusion. It includes photos at your wedding ceremony and at the location/s of your choice. This package cost $3300 and includes 2 Professional Wedding Photographers, a DVD with all of the photos in high resolution on it, a magazine style album with 20-50 pages as well as a Pre-Wedding Photography session.

We separate the package to give maximum flexibility for all budgets. If you want further coverage say at the brides house before the ceremony or at the reception then it is charged at $275 per hour. We have found that offering this is the best way to allow our clients to decide how long they want to be photographed.

So to answer the question more concisely we charge the flat rate of $3300 for the ceremony and locations photos and $275 per hour for any additional coverage you request. If you want us for the reception or any other part not included in the package we will agree on the amount of time before the day. This stops you from looking at your watch knowing that the clock is ticking. We maintain maximum flexibility to ensure we fit every budget. This has been our winning formula for many years.

2. What is included in your coverage? Which photographer/s will attend my wedding day? What will they be wearing?

Included as mentioned above are the wedding ceremony and location/s photos, any extra coverage is at $275 per hour. I (Susan White) will be your photographer; I have over 15 years experience photographing weddings. I wear black pants and a white button up shirt. It is neat casual and fit in well with the guests. I always have an assistant with me who also takes photos and they to also wear black pants and a white shirt.

3. What style of photography are you most comfortable with? What style are you most effective at?

I love to work with children and babies and over the years I have taken some beautiful photos of these magical little people. Wedding Photography is however how I make my living; I am comfortable in a candid journalistic style standing off with my zoom sniping photos of people having the time of their lives. I am also skilled at working with people on location and positioning them for their best angles! Working at weddings for years has given me many skills, most of all the ability to anticipate what is coming next and to recorded it.

4. What type of experience has my photographer had at weddings? Can you provide some recent examples of work?

As mentioned above I have over 15 years experience photographing weddings. Sometimes the subjects are non-cooperative sometimes they are a dream to work with either way I always manage to capture the essence of their day and this is truly a gift that I possess. I would love to meet with you over a coffee and show you some work first hand but in the mean time you can see some recent photos on my web site, the details are listed in the author bio.

5. I am a little self conscious of some of my physical flaws. What can you do to make the most of my physical attributes?

I can do lots for you: If you have some attribute or something that you just dont like about yourself I cannot stress how important it is to tell me, your photographer. I want to present your memories to you in the most flattering way and the last thing I want for you to say is: Gee I really love that pic except for the ____.

You can rest assured that there is nothing to be embarrassed about when consulting me on this issue. What ever it may be we will simply position and pose you for the best angles. The most important thing however is that you speak up because without this knowledge I may take an entire wedding of something you dont like because of something trivial that you never mentioned.

6. What is included in my package?

Included is coverage of your Ceremony and Location/s photos. As mentioned above any more is charged at $275 per hour with the amount of time pre-arranged before the day to stop you worrying about the time. You receive a DVD with the proofs as well as the hi res edited ones, you also receive a magazine style album and a pre-wedding photography session.

7. If I dont like a particular element of a package can I swap it for something that I do like? How will this affect the price of my package?

Of course, however the coverage of your ceremony and location is fixed. All other elements are interchangeable without any type of penalty to you. You can find our price list on our web site, the details are listed in the author bio box.

We have found that letting the client decide what they want to be the best way to put a package together. The average cost is around the $1200 mark; this usually gets some nice framed photos and a canvas or two. We dont have set packages with this album or that; we leave it up to you to decide what you would like. We can guide you on what works well and what is popular but ultimately you have the final say and you sure wont be getting something that you never asked for.

8. I am in the process of planning my wedding day and we are thinking around (state the date). Are you available?

Yes but usually we fill up well in advance so it is a good idea to pay your deposit to ensure that you spot is not taken by another couple. Our policy is a 30% deposit with 100% paid for 6 weeks prior to your day. We have various payment methods. The most important thing to remember is to book early to be sure you get your day and not a photographer you dont want.

9. What is required of me before my wedding day?

If you decide to use White Wedding Photographers I will personally be working very closely with you.

Initially I will email you a set of questions that will help me understand your needs and desires. They are not detailed, just an overview. I usually meet my clients for coffee to put a name to a face so to speak; this gives us a chance to have a chat and talk about the emails.

I will encourage you to send me emails of photos that you like and I will send some to you doing the same. This also helps us get a better idea of what you are seeking.

If you dont know what you are seeking I will work with you to show you the different styles and types of photos you can have as well as suggesting the best location/s for wedding photos. The questionaries, emails and interaction will get us to a point where you will know exactly how you want to record your wedding.

We will have the pre-wedding photography session where we will do a dry run of your location/s and give you a good understanding of what will be required on your day. This will leave you in no doubt as to what will happen and how I personally work. It is fun and always enjoyed by the couple and we will get some stunning photos.

10. I have heard of some photographers doing a pre-wedding photo session at the bride and grooms chosen locations to make sure everything will run smoothly on the day. Do you offer this service? If not, what will you do to ensure that my chosen locations are suitable for wedding photos?

As mentioned above: We will have the pre-wedding photography session where we will do a dry run of your location/s and give you a good understanding of what will be required on your day. This will leave you in no doubt as to what will happen and how I personally work. It is always fun and always enjoyed by the couple and of course we will get some stunning photos.

If you are unavailable for this session or simply do not want it then I always attend your selected location/s before the wedding, I seek out the best positions and will have a good understanding of where we will take the photos. I never ever turn up on the day and say: that looks good there. I am always prepared and have been to your location before the wedding day. Chances are I already know your location and have worked there before. But if not I will do a little recon to be prepared.

Good luck searching for that elusive wedding photographer and may your marriage be a long and lasting one.