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Which Wedding Photographer to Choose

Choosing a photographer may be a daunting task, and staying within your budget may be even more cumbersome. You may consider asking a friend or relative to photograph your wedding for you; this is sure to be a bad idea for many reasons. A professional wedding photographer knows how to produce the best results in capturing all the moments by having years of experience and photography knowledge.

Finding a wedding photographer is a very easy task due to the number of photographers out there. There are numerous ways of going about finding one and many things you should take into consideration. The best way of course is being referred from another couple that got married recently and had their wedding photographed by a specific photographer. Please take note that by “photographer” I mean a specific photographer and not photographic studio with multiple photographers. Always be sure to find out who will be photographing your wedding.

There are numerous other ways to find a wedding photographer including news papers, billboards, the phone book and of course the internet. Over 70% of wedding photographers are sourced online. There are however a few things that you should know about searching for one on the internet.

1. Take Your Time
The first photographers you will find are mostly because of a large advertising budget. There is nothing wrong with this, but you should look at all available options.
2. Be Specific
When you use a search engine your search criteria should include your “state” and “professional wedding photographer”. The quotes will eliminate all general photographers and narrow your search to only wedding photographers. I recommend using Google.

Now that you know how to find a wedding photographer, which one do you choose? There are three primary factors that will determine which photographer to choose; style, price and personality. Style and price can be found on their website and is our starting point.

1. Style
There are many different style wedding photographers. Different examples are traditional, candid, formal, photojournalism, etc. Some photographers offer only one style, but the best photographers can offer all of these styles and would normally incorporate them into your wedding day coverage. It all depends on your requirements and needs. When viewing a photographers portfolio, remember that these are all his best shots. Always ask to see a full wedding coverage.
2. Price
You can spend anything from $500 to $10,000 on a wedding photographer. A good guideline is to spend about 10% of your entire wedding budget on a wedding photographer. Most photographers have packages that will include everything from the coverage to the album and final prints. Other photographers have complete al la carte pricing; if you are on a tight budget this is probably the best way to go. You will be able to select just what you want and can afford.

I would suggest buying your own wedding album and putting it together yourself. The cost of buying an album from the photographer is usually double the actual cost. Then of course doing it this way you can get it when you want and when you can afford it.

Considering style and price select your three top choices and schedule a meeting with them. There should be no cost for this. Before you meet with them you should pretty much want to hire them from the information that you have gathered about their style and price.

3. Personality
You want to meet with them to see how they present themselves and if your personalities match. You want someone that is personable and nice so they will get along well with you, your family, and friends. Never make an immediate decision, go home and think about it first and wait until you have met with all three. The meeting should be casual, discussing your wedding day in general. Never get sold on services that the photographer is trying to sell you at this point. Remember you have already decided you like the work and price before you got there, so there is nothing for the photographer to sell to you at this point. Just meet with them and get to know them.

Once you have made your decision, contact the photographer and let them know. Don’t forget to contact the other two photographers to let them know that you have decided to use another photographer and thank them for their time. Go over the details on the phone with the photographer you chose and get them to write up a wedding contract for you to review and sign. Do not pay a deposit until you have reviewed and signed the contract. Read the wedding contract very thoroughly; everything you are suppose to receive should be written down and have the price and payment schedule. Always make a very clear note of their cancellation policy.

Congratulations! You have a found your wedding photographer and have one scheduled. All you need to do now is schedule to meet with them about a month before your wedding date to go over the details again……and show up for your wedding!

Deciding on Which Wedding Photographer Is Right for You

First of all, the single most important thing about the photographer you hire is just how well you as the client and he/she as the service provider get along. Its important that both parties be able to communicate comfortably, the reason why I say so is because if both parties get along then the quality of communication between them is sufficient for both parties to understand their needs, fears and desires. This goes without saying if you’re a photographer, especially if you’re a photographer who makes their living out of photographing people. If I were an animal or pet photographer, it’d be most important that I get along with animals…

The next most important thing is, obviously, the quality of the photographers work, and this is a very subjective topic. What one person regards as good photography, is not necessarily what everybody else would consider good, this explains why there are so many wedding photographers who are quite frankly bad photographers (or not real photographers at all) but still seem to make boat loads of cash doing it. If you’re happy hiring someone who creates mediocre imagery by over-photoshopping their pictures, by all means hire them. On the other hand if its important to you that you continue to admire your wedding photographs years later, then try to look for someone who creates work that really impresses you.

In order to spot someone who claims to be a wedding photographer but is actually just a poser, or not experienced enough, there are a few things to look for in their work that are telling signs. These are a few of them:

  1. Look for pictures that were taken with head on flash. In other words, a picture taken with the flash while the flash is attached directly to the top of the camera. What this does is create unflattering light because the light from the flash is coming from the same direction from where the picture is being taken from. It requires quite a bit of experience with a TTL enabled flash to bounce the light from the flash off of walls and ceilings effectively thus creating a more flattering appearance of those photographed.
  2. Look for pictures that look as if the wedding took place in dark room. It requires experience to balance the light coming out of the flash with the ambient light in the room. An amateur will underexpose the ambient light in their exposure making the background in the image pitch black, which is very ugly.
  3. Poor cropping is another sign of inexperience. If you’re not a photographer this might be a little difficult to spot, but if the important elements in the image are not arranged in a nice way in the picture, the photographer is probably not experienced.
  4. The Decisive Moment. This is an obvious one, if a lot of the pictures have people in them that were half way through blinking their eyes at the moment the picture was taken, don’t hire this person. Being able to see a moment in which a good photo can be taken and then taking the picture at that exact moment, is a skill someone is born with, if this person does not have this skill, don’t hire them.

To finish off, the most important factor in photography is, LIGHT. If the photographer can prove a beautiful and flattering style in their use of light, you will most likely end up with wedding photographs that you’d want to brag about. And as a photographer I can tell you, that it is very satisfying if you find out through the grapevine that a former client of yours was bragging about their wedding photos.

Keep your wits about you and don’t just sign with the first photographer you meet with.

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.